A whole new chapter

English teacher prepares to publish two new books

Gabrielle Wilkinson
English teacher Sara Zimmerman works on lesson plans for the week in her classroom at Braswell High School on Dec. 7, 2017. Zimmerman is currently in the process of publishing two books: “Vegas Girl” and “Cliff Jumpers.”

“I don’t really understand my thoughts until I write them down,” Sara Zimmerman, English teacher and soon-to-be published author, said.

Zimmerman would often find herself narrating her life through writing as a way to entertain herself during grade school. She wrote her first short story in fifth grade and finished her first novel in middle school. Writing, she said, has always been her niche.

Writing makes me feel as if anything is possible,” Zimmerman said.

Prior to marrying her husband, Zimmerman was inspired to write a novel titled “Lucy’s Day,” featuring a girl who runs out on her wedding to a guy who was a perfectly fine guy, but not the guy for her.

“I actually thought of [the idea] because of the boy I dated before my husband,” Zimmerman said. “He was a perfectly nice person, he just wasn’t who I was supposed to marry.”

“Lucy’s Day” would have been Zimmerman’s first novel, but she’s never quite perfected it to the point she wants.

“I’ve changed [“Lucy’s Day”] so much I can’t fix it,” Zimmerman said with a grin. “I don’t know if I’ll ever finish it. Maybe I will, but it’s definitely an unfinished novel.”

So Zimmerman moved on to other things. She began working on “Vegas Girl,” a memoir of her teenage life.

“My high school experience had many low points, and I believe that is part of what drew me to teach teenagers in the first place,” Zimmerman said. “‘Vegas Girl’ is my story or part of it.”

Although “Vegas Girl” is based on Zimmerman’s own life, the memoir did come with obstacles — it was a challenge to remember every event that had occurred those several years ago.

“I went back to journals and called friends,” Zimmerman said. “I wanted to make sure that I had the events linear. Also, there were some emotional moments, but that was to be expected.”

Cliff Jumpers is Zimmerman’s second novel. She has been writing the story since grade school, yet the idea came back to her after she was reading a short story about going back to one’s childhood home.

“I wanted to write about someone who had to face their past in order to move on and truly grow up,” Zimmerman said.

In “Cliff Jumpers,” a young man named James must return home after being absent due to his mother’s death. Through flashbacks, the reader learns the activities that led to the man’s 10-year absence from home.

It follows the journey of a young man having to face his childhood in order to truly grow up,” Zimmerman said.I liked the idea of a man looking back at his childhood and having to deal with that.

Both novels, Vegas Girl and Cliff Jumpers, will be published sometime in 2018.

“If you truly want to write, you’ll find the time,” Zimmerman said. “Initially I only wrote when I was inspired. You fight with yourself.”

Zimmerman was finding it challenging to write as much as she needed, so she began writing down her word counts at the end of each day. But no matter the obstacle, she continues to write.

“When the kids were little, I wrote late at night, and now that they’re older I write earlier in the morning,” Zimmerman said. “There is no simple answer, you find time for what you need to do.”

Of course, Zimmerman has deadlines when it comes to writing her novels, yet writing is Zimmerman’s “outlet”, as she puts it, more than a career. When she feels as though she cannot communicate with someone, she writes the person letters; she finds that she is more eloquent in writing.

I think there’s a lot of subconscious going on in my writing,” Zimmerman said.  “I think we put ourselves into all these different characters and different traits of ourselves, so there’s a lot of psychoanalysis you can do on yourself based on the people you create.”

For the fellow aspiring authors, Zimmerman suggests they “read and write” for it’s the best advice. Zimmerman has come a long way to accomplish her dream; after conquering many obstacles, she has finally arrived. She is proof that it is possible.

“We don’t have a whole lot of control over life sometimes, but not only can you control the things you write about, but in a sense, by writing you’re then weaving and controlling your own fate,” Zimmerman said. “And to have a dream and want to do something more than anything in the world… you just can’t sit on that.”