Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Author Interview: Lisa Schroeder

Lisa Schroeder is a native Oregonian, which means her childhood summers were spent camping, fishing, reading books (of course!), and playing in the sun, when it finally came out. These days, Lisa spends her summers, and every other part of the year, sharing all the wonderful things Oregon has to offer with her husband and two sons. She is the author of three verse novels for young adults published by Simon Pulse - I Heart You, You Haunt Me, an ALA 2009 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Far From You, a Texas TAYSHAS selection, and Chasing Brooklyn. She is also the author of It's Raining Cupcakes, a middle-grade novel published by Aladdin.

Sounds awesome right? I was so excited that Lisa was able to come by the blog for an interview and can't wait to share, so check it out!

Katelyn: In college as an English major I used to cringe when I was given a syllabus that included works I was required to read that were in verse. But after picking up Chasing Brooklyn my whole attitude changed towards verse. What led you to write mainly in this format?

Lisa: Thank you for saying that. Chasing Brooklyn was a bit of a challenge, but I'm really proud of that book and how it turned out. So many people are afraid of verse novels for some reason, and so it always makes me happy when someone who didn't think they liked them finds they actually do like one or more of mine.

When I sat down to write my first verse novel, I wasn't thinking - I want to try writing a verse novel. The verse sort of chose me. I started writing the story, and it really wanted to come out in this sparse, poetic way. I wrote about ten pages and then sat back and thought, what am I DOING? I had read other verse novels by authors such as Ellen Hopkins and Sonya Sones, but I had never imagined myself writing one. I almost stopped writing, because I thought - as if it isn't hard enough to sell a novel, with something like this, it will be even harder.

But I kept going. I liked what I had and I wanted to know what happened. In the end, it definitely was a harder sell. But thankfully, it did sell, and I Heart You, You Haunt Me is now in its 8th printing and still has people passing it around to friends almost 3 years after it came out.

I think authors write in verse for different reasons. For me, it's all about atmosphere. I use the verse to create an atmosphere I can't get with regular prose. It adds a special something to the story, or I hope it does anyway. I never want it to take away from it, that's for sure.

Katelyn: You've got several books out on the shelves now including Chasing Brooklyn, I Heart You, You Haunt Me, and Far From You. With each and every one I can only imagine how crazy a process it must be, how do you handle it all? Do you have a favorite or least favorite part about the writing and/or publishing processes?

Lisa: Most of the time, I love writing the first draft. To me its like a sandbox where I jump in and just play and see what happens. Sometimes the middle can be difficult - because you start to have so many worries about the book and whether you can pull everything together. But mostly, I find a lot of joy in the writing of the first draft. I sort of revise as I go, too, so when I finish a book, it's usually a solid draft.

The revision process, from an editor's letter about what needs work, to me is hard. But I'm actually one who loves a good challenge. So although it's always scary diving in, and really scary in the middle of it, when it feels like it's torn up and throw around the room and I don't know if I can put it all back together again, I love the challenge of trying to take the book to the next level. To take it from good to great.

The part I like the least of my job is the promotion part. I'm not comfortable talking about me and my books. I'd much rather talk about other books and authors I love.

Katelyn: What's your favorite book/author?

Lisa: I think I'd have to go with The Book Thief as my favorite book of all time. I'm actually listening to it now on audio, and it's blowing me away in a whole new way, hearing it read out loud.

I have many, many authors I love. I tend to lean more toward contemporary - John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, David Levithan, Sarah Ockler, L.K. Madigan, Sarah Dessen, Gayle Forman. Although I am reading Clockwork Angel right now by Cassie Clare and wow, loving it!! I'm considering sort of an historical fantasy type book for my next YA, so it's been interesting to read something different from what I usually read.

Katelyn: Did you have a favorite character while writing Chasing Brooklyn? If you did, can you tell us who it was and why?

Lisa: Yes, I was madly in love with Nico. I still am, actually. First of all, he cooks. My husband doesn't cook, and every night around 6:00, I'm longing for a guy who could whip me up something good to eat. Second of all, he is passionate about running and I love people, in general, who have something they enjoy who are passionate about something. Finally, he is a sweet guy. I'm a little tired, to be honest of girls in YA falling for these guys who are mean to them. I don't get it. It takes the "bad boy" to a whole new level. It's one thing to be tough on the outside but sweet on the inside. But girls who are falling for guys who are trying to hurt them or kill them? Ewww.

Katelyn: Are you working on any other novels/works at the moment? Can you tell us anything about them, any juicy details?

Lisa: My next young adult novel will be out next June and it's called THE DAY BEFORE. At its heart, it's a book about facing your fears, which is something teens have to do everyday, whether it's walking into a new school or calling up the cute girl or any number of things. Once again, there is a cute, sweet guy who you'll fall in love with, and a cool girl I hope you'll like a lot too.

Katelyn: Anything else you'd like to add?

Lisa: Thanks for having me here, and I'm so glad you enjoyed Chasing Brooklyn!

Lisa converted me into a fan of verse novels, or at least of her verse novels, if you haven't had the chance to check them out for yourself I highly recommend it. You can take a look at my review of Chasing Brooklyn here, and be sure to check out I Heart You, You Haunt Me, and Far From You.


  1. Thanks for the great interview!

    I've read both I Heart You, You Haunt Me and Chasing Brooklyn. While I did enjoy both, I have to say Chasing Brooklyn REALLY connected to me. I loved Nico for the exact reasons you listed. The connection he had with Brooklyn was very believable. I had a wonderful reading about those two coping together and growing closer.

    The Book Thief is one fantastic piece of literature. I adore it to pieces.

  2. Thanks Edna...I'm totally on the same page as you, I'll have to check out The Book Thief now that everyone's recommending it!



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