Interview with Sharon Huss Roat, author of Between The Notes

Can you tell us a little about your debut novel?between the notes 

BETWEEN THE NOTES is a story of friendship, first love, family, music, and what happens when life as you know it turns completely upside down. Sixteen-year-old Ivy Emerson’s family loses their home due to financial hardship caused in part by the cost of therapy for her disabled little brother. In moving from her affluent neighborhood to a small apartment, she must give up her most prized and necessary possession—her piano. Ivy’s music is a private outlet for her emotions (she suffers from a paralyzing stage fright, so never performs in public), and now it’s gone. Adapting to these changes—and trying to pretend that nothing has changed at all—proves difficult! Especially when a frustrating new boy next door tries to ruin everything…

Is it a standalone book or part of a series?

It is a standalone, though I have an idea for a companion novel that would pick up the characters a year or two later as Ivy is going off to college. I don’t know if that will ever be written but I will certainly let you know if it is!

Who inspired your main character?

Nobody inspired Ivy. She just gradually formed in my head. I did get some inspiration for the situation she faces from stories of people facing foreclosure on their houses. I imagined it happening to someone who had never really struggled financially before, though struggled with other things… and Ivy was born.

Are you a plotter or do you just write whatever is in your head?

In the past I have written whatever is in my head, or have done so until I got stuck and had to plot out the rest. On the novel I am currently writing, which is on a fairly short deadline, I haven’t had that luxury so I outlined before writing. I do, however, let inspiration lead me astray. Characters have a wonderful habit of behaving in unexpected ways and I usually follow where they lead me, at least for a little while!

Do you require silence when writing or do you need background noise?

I prefer silence. I did, however, listen to some of the music that is mentioned in BETWEEN THE NOTES while I was revising that novel. And sometimes I put on a white noise soundtrack of a thunderstorm.

Are you writing your next book?

Yes, I am! I’m working on my second novel for HarperTeen. It’s called HOW TO DISAPPEAR. I’m just finishing up my first draft, and hope to share more about this book soon! It is scheduled for Winter 2017 publication.

BIO: sharon roat

Sharon Huss Roat lives in Delaware with her husband and two children. Her debut novel, BETWEEN THE NOTES was published by HarperCollins/HarperTeen in June 2016. When she’s not writing (or reading) books for young adults, you might find her planting vegetables in her backyard garden or sewing costumes for a school musical. Visit her online at or on Twitter @sharonwrote.


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