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Sarah Nicole Smetana grew up in Orange, California, where she wrote songs, played in a few bands, and successfully pilfered all of her parents’ best vinyl records. She received her BFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University and her MFA in Fiction from The New School. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their three-legged cat.

The Midnights (HarperTeen/HarperCollins) is her first novel.



I've been writing, in some form or another, for as long as I can remember.

In my earliest writing memory, I am probably about seven. A friend of mine is sleeping over, and we stay up really late writing pop songs. We craft together lyrics of the "roses are red" variety (I mean just terrible basic rhymes about love, and unrequited love, which obviously neither of us had experienced, because we were seven), and we make up band names and give ourselves rock star alter egos.

No, I can't remember anything more incriminating—I mean defining—about my alter ego.

The first time I tried to play guitar, I was ten. It was really hard, and it really hurt my fingers, and I gave up . I picked it up again when I was a freshman in high school, and this decision, it turns out, would come to define a huge part of my life for a very long time.

I've always loved school. I wish I could be in school forever. I even graduated Summa Cum Laude from college, which basically proves that I'm a big nerd (proud of it, too).

I've been living with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) since 2010.

My favorite piece punctuation is the em dash, or —, not to get confused with the en dash, –, or the hyphen, - . Oh, the subtle power of the em dash... So versatile! So emotive!

I'm a dog and a cat person. And while I'm on the subject, why is this always an either/or, anyway? Dogs and cats are so different. They shouldn't be thought of as mutually exclusive.

Right now, though, I only have a cat. She has three legs. She was hit by a car before we adopted her. When she walks, she reminds me of a slinky.

My karaoke song of choice is "Spiderwebs" by No Doubt (off the inimitable Tragic Kingdom—an iconic [and totally brilliant] Orange County album).

I'm one of those weirdos who give their cars names. I named my first car Rini after the character in Sailor Moon.

I find it impossible to pick favorites of almost anything. I'd say I have at least twenty favorite movies, a dozen favorite albums and books. The only time I can pick a favorite is when it comes to dessert: chocolate. (Okay, I guess that's not really narrowing it down much, is it?)

I currently own six different pairs of prescription glasses.

I was pretty obsessed with video and computer games in my youth. The only reason that's no longer true is because I don't have the time to play them. (Got to write those books, ya know?) In particular, Kings Quest 4: The Perils of Rosella had a huge impact on my childhood. It's sooooo comically dated now, but at the time, it was revolutionary, and the female protagonist was a major, major plus. Second place for all-time favorite game is probably Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for SNES. Or, The Legend of Zelda: Occarina of Time for N64. I guess I'm just a sucker for games with exciting adventure words in the title  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (Honorable mention to Mortal Combat on Sega Genesis.)

I like the crisp, specific crunch of stepping on fallen leaves.

I write my name in each of my books, along with the month and year that I read it, because I remember opening one of my mother's books when I was young and seeing her name and the year on the inside cover, and thinking that was the coolest thing. Besides, I like physical keeping track of what I've read, when.

I love instant photography. This includes polaroids, photobooths, and, naturally, Instagram. I'm also a sucker for all things vintage, particularly clothing.

I've gone through a number of super wacky fashion phases—most prominently, when I was in high school, and I tried to make my hair look like Robert Smith's from The Cure. (Spoiler alert: it didn't really work.)

Tim Burton + Danny Elfman = the stuff of dreams.

Once upon a time, I was a pretty decent tennis player.

In 2012, I married my favorite person in the world (I guess I really can pick a favorite after all).

And, lastly, coffee. Enough said.