This is the most exciting week that I’ve had in a long time because I’ve had THREE author interviews in one week! Keep reading to find out what Lisa Schroeder, author of “I Heart You, You Haunt Me,” “Far From You,” and “Chasing Brooklyn,” had to say when I interviewed her!
C: You write your novels in verse. Have you always liked reading and writing poetry?
LS: Yes, I have. I loved writing poetry when I was a kid, and I also had some children's poetry books that I enjoyed reading. I still have one of them, actually, one with beautiful artwork and little verses on every page. When I started writing books for kids about ten years ago, I wrote picture books, because I was instantly drawn to writing in rhyme. I loved the challenge of getting the meter and rhythm right while telling a story in the fewest words possible at the same time. It's interesting that now I'm writing novels in a similar minimalist manner, although not in rhyme, which would be REALLY hard. I hear people say sometimes that they are scared of reading a verse novel. Like it will be hard to understand, or will just be a bunch of poetry without a story. I always cringe when I hear this because I try very hard to walk that fine line between being poetic and being accessible. I want my books to be accessible. And the fact that “I Heart You, You Haunt Me” was chosen as an 2009 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers shows, I think, it's not a book that's difficult to understand. I always say - a verse novel is still a NOVEL. There are characters to fall in love with, a story to get lost in, etc. If anyone reading this is hesitant, I hope they'll challenge themselves to give one a try!
C: Your novels deal with loss and grief in one form or another. What role do you think novels can play in the grieving process?
LS: One of the things a book can do for a person, and not just a book about loss and grief, is to show the reader a character who is able to get through a difficult sitatuation and make it through to the other side. Death is as much a part of life as eating and sleeping, and eventually, we all have someone close to us pass away. We may not be sixteen when it happens, but it DOES happen. In my books, you'll see characters who struggle with that loss. It hurts. But through the course of the book, they get through it. While my books are about loss and grief, they are also very much about healing and hope. And that's what I hope people will take away.
C: I’ve heard through the grapevine that you have a children’s book due out in March. How does the writing process differ when you’re writing for teens versus when you’re writing for children?
LS: Yes, “It’s Raining Cupcakes” will be out with Aladdin in March. It's a book for 8-12 year olds. For me, the process isn't much different, it's more about making sure the voice is true for that age group and finding things kids that age struggle with. It's more about friendship than romance, for example, which is a big theme in YA books. One of the fun parts is I think you can be a little more quirky with characters in middle grade books, and kids like that. In YA, quirky doesn't always go over as well. I have the strongest memory of books during that period of 8-12, so I have a soft place in my heart for middle grade books, and I'm thrilled I get to have a book on the shelves for younger readers.
C: What was the last book that you read for pleasure?
LS: “Some Girls Are” by Courtney Summers, an intense, hard-to-read book that is at the same time impossible to put down. She shows us a side of teenage life we want to forget about - the cruel, painful side. I am in awe of Courtney's ability to make me care for a character I should be hating, because Regina, the main character, used to be a bully too, before she was frozen out of the popular group.
C: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Fifth Annual TBF?
LS: All of them!!! I'm so, SO excited to be a part of the festival. As a fan girl, I'm excited to meet Laurie Halse Anderson for sure. On a personal level, Jennifer Smith, because we have e-mailed each other over the past couple of years, and she is so sweet, and I can't wait to finally meet in person.
Lisa, thanks so much for all the great answers! My readers and I can’t wait to meet you in May at TBF 2010!