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Q & A With Author Joe Sitzwohl

What are your ambitions for your writing? 
If Surrounding Saturdays is received well I hope administrators at Ohio State notice and adopt it as a summer reading recommendation for incoming students. That would be a dream come true.

What would your career look like in an ideal world?
Well right now writing is just a fun hobby for me, not a career. I’m starting a fulltime job in NYC soon that I’m excited about. But if I find time to hone my writing skills I’d love to publish more books.  I think going on a book tour and doing signings one day sounds like a super cool thing to do.

Which writers inspire you?
I feel like 9/10 readers and writers my age would all say JK Rowling, so I feel uber unoriginal saying her, but how could I not? She instilled in me a love for literature from a young age.

Did you make the drawings in your book yourself?
Yep, I’m obviously no Van Gough but I took a drawing class once and enjoy doodling so I scanned each drawing in.

How did you pick the quotes for each chapter?
I keep a big whiteboard in my room, right over my bed, which is always filled with inspirational quotes. So naturally I wanted to include them and pair their meanings with each anecdote.

What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m taking a break from writing and just focusing on promoting Surrounding Saturdays. I’m moving to NYC in June so I’m crazy busy preparing for that too. 

What inspired you to write this book?
For my Design minor I took a Typography class where we were assigned to craft a small book. Then I just ran with it, enjoying the whole process of sharing my stories and adding illustrations.

Who is your target audience?
I mainly hope soon-to-be undergrads read it and use it to feel better prepared for college, it’s the type of book a younger me would have appreciated.  Also, I think parents might appreciate getting a taste of what their kids are experiencing. And lastly, I wanted to paint a picture for international readers who are curious about the atmosphere at US universities.

What is your favorite genre(s) to read?
I love non-fiction. Biographies like River of Doubt and Where Men Win Glory really inspire me.

Why do you write/journal?
Main reason I journal is because I don’t trust my memory, I love being able to flip back and refresh on life lessons and experiences I’ve had.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
After completing my Design minor I’ve learned to use my creativity with a purpose.  I used to doodle and write haphazardly, but now I’m always thinking what could this be used for?

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Hardest thing is the iterative process. I could literally spend all day going over the same sentence and tweaking each word over and over. It’s tough to know when to accept what I have and just move on. 

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
I’d have to say the iterative process of not knowing when to move on, having second opinions helps enormously though. 

What is the easiest thing about writing?
Titles.  I know many other writers write and then whatever they have molds an appropriate book or chapter title. But for me thinking up a catchy title first inspires me and sets my direction.

What book/s are you reading at present?
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel  Kahneman.

Tell us about your cover and how it came about.
I had designed the text with the doodles first, so then naturally when I started designing the cover I wanted to use them again.  I purposely put the doodle of the football stadium in the center, with the other things surrounding it as an interpretation of the title.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Definitely. I spent some time studying all the popular covers on the iTunes bookstore and noticed not one cover in the top 100 sellers was simply black and white, so I made sure to add color.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I love receiving letters via email, so they people can always reach me at  Also, feel free to connect on Linkedin or even follow me on Instagram @pixwohl.

Check out my review of Joe Sitzwohl's book Surrounding Saturdays.

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