Loughborough Alumni


25 Jan 2019

Alumna's first novel hits high-street book shops

Sarah Juckes has spoken of her pride at seeing her first book sit on the shelves of the book shops she visited as a child. 

‘Outside’, a thriller aimed at young adults and above, tells the story of Ele, who has spent her life trapped inside a small room with nothing but books and the Others for company. When she finds a hole in the wall, the truth of the Outside world starts leaking in.

Sarah, who graduated in 2010 with a BA in English, started writing the book in 2014 after three unpublished drafts “didn’t quite make the cut.”

She said: “I wrote my first book before University and realised pretty soon that getting anything published was going to be near-impossible. I loved writing though, so I took every Creative Writing module I could as part of my English BA.

“At Loughborough, I fell in love with words all over again and learned how to push the boundaries of language to create something that felt entirely my own. More than that though, the tutors at Loughborough showed me that with enough hard work, even something as unlikely as getting a novel published is possible.”

On the inspiration for Outside, Sarah said: “The idea came to me on the train and the more I explored Ele's world of fairy tales and trees, the faster I wrote.”

“My mind works in mysterious ways and story ideas will often just pop into my head without any rhyme or reason.

“This one definitely had influences, though: Emma Doneghue's Room is one of my favourite books for its depiction of captivity through innocent eyes. The voice was also inspired by the brilliant Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman – a very different book, but with a beautiful voice.”

She describes the experience of being published and seeing her work in the shops as “some kind of crazy dream!”

“I saw it for the first time in the Waterstones I went to as a kid, and it was a surreal moment.

“The thing I love the most is when readers chat to me about the story like it's as real to them as it was for me when I wrote it. There's something really special about that.”

More information about Sarah’s work and how to purchase a copy is available on her website.

Congratulations to Sarah on her achievement.

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