We’re featuring our soon-to-be alumni as they look back on their time at Hamline University. Today’s new graduate is Sara Rose Getzin. She lives in Winona, MN. Find her on Instagram.
What do you do when you’re not working on packets?
When I’m not reading or working on my writing I’m usually spending time with my family and dog, Koda. I love art in all forms, and though I have played with most forms writing is the only one I would consider myself being really good at. I also enjoy watching tv and movies, mostly gravitating towards animation but I will give anything a shot!
How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?
I heard about it when I was in my first Masters program at Winona State University. I knew I wanted to continue with my literary education, but I wasn’t sure what path that would involve. I had considered a PhD (and still want to pursue it eventually), but my long time dream had always been to become a writer for children and teens. One of the instructors mentioned Hamline’s program, and while I was aware that MFA programs existed I had no idea that there were programs specifically focused on children’s and young adult literature. Discovering Hamline was truly a dream come true.
What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?
I first fell in love with reading and writing in the first grade. My school had a wonderful program that allowed students to write books and publish them in the school’s library. I knew then that I wanted to become a writer and have been writing on and off ever since. When I was in sixth grade I finished what I really considered to be my first manuscript, which actually ended up being the base idea for my creative thesis! During my undergraduate and masters I had to focus most of my attention on the academic side of writing, though I did take several creative writing classes. I was actually pretty nervous I had forgotten how to write creatively when I first started at Hamline, but it turns out that it isn’t something you can really forget and my academic writing was also a significant benefit to my experience!
What do especially remember about your first residency?
My first technical residency was actually pretty eventful though it only lasted 3 days. I ended up getting sick and had to head home before the first weekend was over. I had lost my voice too which had made the “get to know you” games we played the first night especially entertaining as I had to do it all by writing in a notebook. Everyone was incredibly kind and supportive and though I was heartbroken about having to delay Hamline by a semester, I had never been more sure about my decision to join the program.
Tell us about your Creative Thesis.
In short my creative is a middle grade book that I think is best described as a “dark fairy portal fantasy.” Ava was kidnapped as a baby, and while the rest of the world presumed her dead after being unable to turn up any leads on her whereabouts, in reality she had been spirited away to the realm of the Fae to be used for her magic as a pawn between the five warning Fae houses. On Earth Ava’s twin sister Taryn discovers that she also possesses a kind of magic that most humans have long forgotten we have the ability to possess. Certain humans known as Crafters are born with the ability to access magic through the creation of art. Taryn struggles to understand her newfound powers while also grappling with her recent OCD diagnosis. Using her powers and with the help of her best friend Sam Taryn plans to uncover the truth of what happened to her sister and bring her home.
What changes have you seen in your writing during your studies?
I think the easier question would be what hasn’t changed in my writing? I have learned so much from all of my advisors and from each of my residencies and my writing has evolved leaps and bounds during my time at Hamline. My biggest takeaways have been learning how to push forward in completing my manuscripts, learning the heart of my characters and writing from their hearts first and foremost, and perhaps most importantly writing first for myself, because I am my stories first reader and first fan, and if it is not something I love entirely how can I ask others to do the same?
Any thoughts for entering students or for people considering the program?
p style=”font-weight: 400;”>If writing for children and young adults is something that you love and are passionate about, there is no better place to foster that. It is true that there are many paths to being a writer, but the love, support, and wisdom at Hamline are unparalleled. I know that because of what I have learned at Hamline, my writing will reach my readers in the way that I want for it to, and inspire in those readers the hope and strength that made me fall in love with children’s and young adult literature to begin with.