Home Literature In the Limelight: Navigating Life’s Puzzles with Sarah Jackson’s “A Bit Overwhelming”

In the Limelight: Navigating Life’s Puzzles with Sarah Jackson’s “A Bit Overwhelming”

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In the Limelight: Navigating Life’s Puzzles with Sarah Jackson’s “A Bit Overwhelming”

Ever felt like life presented you with an unsolvable puzzle? Alice, a 24-year-old who has just left her job, might resonate with you. She’s struggling to complete her novel while juggling visits to her hospitalized best friend Mia and facing the complexities of her social circle. This is the essence of “A Bit Overwhelming,” the inaugural work of novelist Sarah Jackson, which deftly weaves the intricacies of relationships and life’s imperfections.

In “A Bit Overwhelming,” we delve into Alice’s tangled world where her loyalty to her best friend Mia is tested against the backdrop of her own freedom. We watch as she navigates through strained social outings, the allure of new romantic interests, and the persistent echoes of past flings.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Jackson to discuss the messiness of living, crafting imperfect narratives, and the inspirations behind her novel.

Remarkable to see your first work make its way to readers! What feelings come with releasing your novel into the world?

It’s an honor and quite the thrill, alongside being rather daunting. But the support, especially from Bookstagrammers who’ve reached out, has been incredibly affirming. It is profoundly touching when strangers relate to my work, as it validates the universality of my writing outside my personal circles.

Alice is avoiding life’s pitfalls while struggling with her best friend’s sickness. What drives you to explore life’s darker aspects?

One motivation is my personal encounter with those dark corners, and another is creating a bond of empathy through written words. There’s a solace in realizing you’re not alone in your struggles. Literature, I believe, can be a silent confidant for many.

Alice must confront her own desire to live fully while Mia’s hospitalization limits her life experiences. What’s the origin of this conflict?

At 17, a cancer diagnosis uprooted my life, similar to Mia’s. The profound disparity in freedom between patients and friends struck me, and it seemed like poignant ground to explore within the realm of fiction rather than a biographical account.

Your portrayal of the suffocatingly realistic party scenes is impressive. Are they drawn from life or purely imaginative creations?

Those are imaginings with a pinch of true encounters. Characters are exaggerated reflections of early 20s insecurities, those versions people project when craving acceptance.

The protagonist’s bouts with writing resonate with many. Did it mirror your own journey as an author?

Absolutely. The saga of my novel began a decade ago with many starts and stops. It truly was a battle against self-doubt. And the final product is a vastly pruned version of my original drafts—the result of patience and persistence in the craft.

“Unlikable” narrators have become trendy. What compelled you to render Alice in her authentic, flawed form?

Truth in storytelling. Alice’s vivid insecurities and struggles might not endear her to everyone, but they reflect real inner battles. Her authenticity may connect with readers who have wrestled with the same demons.

This book doesn’t shy away from the messiness of human interactions. Was there a conscious decision behind portraying flawed, complex characters?

Certainty. Each character’s blunders were intentional, aiming to depart from stereotypes and embrace human imperfection in all its rawness.

You resisted the urge to neatly wrap up the novel’s ending. Why opt for an open-ended conclusion?

Life doesn’t always provide neat conclusions. With Mia’s unexpected demise, Alice’s universe is irrevocably altered. The indeterminate ending mirrors the book’s overall tone and retains its unwavering grip on the stark realities of life.


“A Bit Overwhelming” is presently gracing bookshelves.

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