Hi all! This here is an interview with Lisa Schroeder who is the author of I Heart You, You Haunt Me (which I’m giving away! To enter the contest click here. It ends 9/30). She will also be releasing a new novel titled Far From You in January 2009. From experience I can say she’s very down-to-earth and friendly towards her readers, so check her out on her website and on her MySpace. Lisa was nice enough to answer some questions I had about her and her book. The questions are in bold and the answers are in normal font. I hope you enjoy it!
1. How did you come up with the idea for I Heart You, You Haunt Me?
I had a dream about a girl whose boyfriend died and loved her so much, he couldn’t leave her, and came back as a ghost. I got up the next morning and started writing. And so, the book was born.
2. Why did you write I Heart You, You Haunt Me in verse? Was it because that’s your style or because it fits the story?
I’ve been a big fan of verse novels for a long time, but had never tried writing one. When I sat down to write it, that’s the way it came out. A few pages in to it, I thought, is this the right thing? Do I know what I’m doing? Should I do it this way? But it seemed to create an atmosphere that worked, and I liked what I had so far, so I kept going.
I will write in verse when I think it fits the story. If it doesn’t fit the story, I will write in prose. I’m very aware not everyone likes books written in verse. And that’s okay. The way I look at it, no matter what I do, not everyone is going to like it. There are also a lot of people who love it. They love the way the format packs emotion, they love that it is usually a quick read, they love all of the white space on the page, etc. So, I have to trust that the books written this way will find their ways into the right hands. Becaue I enjoy writing in verse and my editor has liked my books so far written in that format. I also think sometimes, something different that sets you apart a little in the very competitive market of publishing can be a good thing.
3. Music is a very important part of the book. Why did you make it so?
I think it came about because I needed a way for Jackson to communicate to Ava. Then, as I wrote, it just seemed natural, because music IS a very important part of teens lives. I also think of a song as a form of poetry, so music may very well be an important part of all my verse novels, we’ll see!
4. How do you come up with character names?
Oh, that’s a good question. And a hard one. J I will often go to baby name web sites and look around and try to find something that seems to fit the character. I’ve learned it’s important to try and have names that start with different letters so readers don’t get confused, so that’s one thing I take into consideration. I don’t know – sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard. I like a combination of traditional names with very different names, for some reason. I think different stands out, but too many of them and readers are going to think that’s weird. But if you go into any class in an elementary school, you’re going to find a combination of different and traditional. So it makes sense to me to do it that way.
5. Was getting I Heart You, You Haunt Me published an easy or difficult task?
It’s a very different book, so it definitely wasn’t easy. First I had to get an agent, and I had some agents who wouldn’t even read it (you send a query letter first and try to peak their interest) because they didn’t know what a verse novel was or what would make a verse novel good. Finally, I had an agent who said she wanted to read it, and thankfully, she loved it and wanted to take me on as a client. When we sent it out for submissions, we received quite a few rejections from editors before we finally found one who loved the story. I think a lot of editors just didn’t know what to do with it. It isn’t quite literary, because it has the paranormal element, but it’s written in verse, which is a more literary style. But, as I’ve told other authors, all it takes is one!
6. Can you tell us anything about your new book, Far From You?
My editor and I just finalized what the jacket flap will say, so I’m happy to share that with you.
Lost and alone…down the rabbit hole
Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn’t quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can, by writing her music, losing herself in the love of her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.
But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half-sister, she’ll face issues she’s been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful.
Perhaps she’s not so alone after all…
7. Do you believe in ghosts?
I’m not really sure. I think I do believe that our loved ones I the afterlife are closer than we think. And I don’t think they haunt us as much as they just want us to know they are okay, and they love us.
8. Describe yourself in three words.
Work in progress.
9. Did you always want to be an author?
No, not really. I’ve always liked to write but I think I was afraid to try, like I should have had some kind of training, like an MFA in writing or should have majored in English in college or something. Once I realized there was no harm in trying, and I could learn what I needed to learn on my own, I was on my way and let myself want that.
10. Do you have any life mottos or quotes? If so, which?
Oh, I love quotes! I’ve started doing a thing on my livejournal blog every week called Motivational Monday, where I pick a quote and talk about what it means to me.
I really love this one – “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” – Ursula K. Le Guin
Writing and getting a book published is freaking hard, so I have to remember to find joy in little things along the way, and to remember why I started – because I love to write!
11. Do you have any advice for teens who want to become published authors?
First of all, read, read, read. Reading a lot will only help your writing. Secondly, write for the love of it, not because you hope to get published. I wrote a lot of books before I finally got one published. Those books were my schooling, and helped me to learn things about writing, and also gave me confidence to know I can see a book through, beginning to end.
12. Would you rather: be a teenager or an adult?
Oh wow. I’m glad I was a teenager, but I don’t know if I would want to be one again. I had so much fun in high school, but I don’t miss the drama with friends and boys and parents and all that. Everything just seemed so big and important, and I’d get wrapped up and bothered by things that make me laugh now.
Being an adult is hard too, but I think you have more of a perspective about what’s really important in life. Or something.
13. Any last words?
Thank you SO much for choosing my book as one to offer as a prize for your contest. And thanks for wanting to interview me for your blog, I’m truly honored. I think you do a great job with your blog and I enjoy popping by and seeing what you’re reading and what you have to say about the books you’ve read.
And with that I’ll just wish you and all who stop by here these words:
I know, I know, you must be mesmerized by her coolness by now. Remember to enter my contest for this book… it won’t disappoint! Wait around for Far From You and a shout out to Lisa for answering my questions!
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 🙂