Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Author Interview: Lisa Schroeder

Lisa Schroeder is a native Oregonian and shares all of the wonderful things Oregon has to offer with her husband and two sons. She is the author of four verse novels, all with Simon Pulse, including the 2011 RWA RITA® finalist CHASING BROOKLYN and the forthcoming THE DAY BEFORE (6/28/11). She is also the author of the middle-grade novel IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES (Aladdin, 2010). You can visit her on the web at

In honor of National Poetry Month, it was my privilege to interview this lovely and talented author.
On Poetry:
Everyone should read at least one novel in verse because:
I say so. Ha! Actually, they should read one because I think they’d be pleasantly surprised. People who haven’t tried one often think they won’t like it. They think it’ll be too hard to understand or that the poetry will get in the way of the story. I work really hard at making my verse novels accessible. I get more notes that start out “I usually hate to read but I love your books…” than any other kind of note. So I guess I mostly want to say – try it, you might like it!
Favorite poet(s):
I love Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Also E.E. cummings.
Favorite poem(s):
“Hope is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
On Writing:
Favorite thing about writing a first draft:
I try to think of the first draft as a sandbox. It’s the time when I can get in there and play and have fun and not worry too much about anything other than getting to know the characters and story. It can be daunting thinking about writing a whole novel, so for me it’s all about mindset. I tell myself – open the document and play with that scene today, see what happens and where it takes you. I don’t think of it as writing a book, I think of it as writing one scene, then another, and so on.
Best thing about writing for kids and/or teens:
They send me the best notes and letters! Yesterday I got the cutest card in the mail from a girl who read my middle grade novel IT’S RAINING CUPCAKES. When they love a book, they love it with their whole heart and they aren’t afraid to let you know.
Favorite word:
One word that describes your path to publication:
If I could have two dream careers, I’d be an author and a:
On Life:
One question I wish I had a definitive answer to:
Why does Charlie Sheen think we care???
Best thing about being a child:
Joy is abundant and worries are few
Worst thing about being a child:
You hear the word “no” far too often
Most memorable teen moment:
Probably the time I was mowing the lawn and tried to back the mower up around a bush and ended up pulling it over my foot. Fortunately I had shoes and socks on, and only lost my big toe nail. But that summer was notfun because I had to keep a bandage on my toe for a couple of months and had to be careful about infection, which meant no swimming at the lake. Plus, a big bandaged toe is so unattractive!
A quote I live by:
“Don’t stop believing.”
My dream vacation:
Paris! Venice! London! Not necessarily in that order. I have never been outside of the U.S. and I really want to visit France and Italy especially.
In My Perfect World…
Everyone would get a shiny new book and the time to read it at least once a week.
There would be an abundance of all things delicious and lots and lots of love.
No one would be deprived of cupcakes.
Every child would have someone who says, “the world is a better place because of you. I believe in you!”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

National Poetry Month

It is with pleasure that I announce the winner of a copy of Jennifer Hubbard's debut novel, The Secret Year:

Kate Fall

Please e-mail with your mailing address: yascribe(at)

This month is National Poetry Month. What does that mean to me? Have I been reading, writing or thinking more about poetry? Well, yes. I must confess, I'm a novel in verse addict. Have you tried one? Would you like to? What's your favorite novel in verse?

Next week I'll be posting an author interview with Lisa Schroeder who has published three young adult novels in verse. I just finished Lisa's beautiful novel, Chasing Brooklyn. If you haven't read a novel in verse yet, there's a start. And I can recommend dozens of other authors including Helen Frost, Sonya Sones, Ellen Hopkins, Jandy Nelson. These are just off the top of my head. There are many more.

Do you have a favorite poet, poem, or novel in verse? Please share!!!

WHAT I'M READING THIS WEEK: Where She Went (G. Forman) Chasing Brooklyn (L. Schroeder) Between Shades of Gray (R. Sepetys) Not That Kind of Girl (S.Vivian)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Author Interview: Jennifer Hubbard

Long before I had the pleasure of reading Jennifer Hubbard's poignant novel, The Secret Year, I developed admiration and respect for her through her insightful and encouraging blog entries. If you haven't already read her debut novel or become a follower of her blog, I strongly recommend you do both.

Jennifer was gracious and kind enough to take a moment to answer a few questions here.

On Writing:

Favorite thing about writing a first draft: It can be as sloppy, rambling, or weird as necessary. There are no rules. It doesn’t have to be good until later!

Best thing about writing for kids and/or teens: The books we read when we’re young stay with us. Young readers have an enthusiasm for books that is amazing and refreshing and very satisfying.

One word that describes your path to publication: Roller-coaster. (I think many writers would choose this word!)

If I could have two dream careers, I’d be an author and a: philanthropist.

On Life:

Best thing about being a child: Being allowed, even encouraged, to play.

Worst thing about being a child: You have so little control over your life, yet everyone keeps telling you how great you have it.

Best thing about being a teenager: School vacations, especially summer; having close friends; having so many possibilities for the future

Worst thing about being a teenager: Acne and homework

Most memorable teen moment: One of the most memorable was standing on the football field at graduation, trying hard to believe that: 1) the sun was shining even though we had dared to have an outdoor ceremony; and 2) high school was really over.

A quote I live by: Do not wait until you are thirsty to dig the well.

My dream vacation: An around-the-world trip that hits mountains, desert, ocean, and forests.

If you'd like the chance to win a copy of THE SECRET YEAR please leave a comment below and check back next Wednesday to see if you're the one.

Jennifer R. Hubbard is the author of the young-adult novel, The Secret Year, and the forthcoming Try Not to Breathe. She blogs at and

Monday, April 4, 2011

How My Cat Helped Heal My Face or The Importance of Encouragement

Three months ago I had a nasty skin cancer removed under my eye (4 1/2 hours of surgery and 14 stitches). Friends exhorted me to use vitamin E to help heal the scar, but I kept forgetting to apply it on a regular basis. I needed help. Enter His Royal Catness.

My persnickety Persian discovered the bottle of vitamin E oil. Every time I pass by the bathroom, he jumps on the counter, stares at the bottle, and purringly begs me to use it. He loves the stuff!

But what does this have to do with writing a novel? Enter the Importance of Encouragement.

Writing companions keep me going. No, they don't jump on my keyboard, stare at me, and beg for a drop of oil, but they do pop into my inbox cheering me with heartening messages from time to time.

Last month I got a whole lot of help by means of March Madness. Thanks all of you who joined in. If you need a dose of motivation, hop over to Denise Jaden's Blog each Monday.

Speaking of inspiration, Wednesday I'll be posting an interview with charming YA author, Jenn Hubbard, and giving away a copy of her debut novel, The Secret Year.

Where do you find encouragement? Do you need some now?

WHAT I'M READING: Real Live Boyfriends (E. Lockhart) The Latte Rebellion (S.J. Stevenson) Delirium (L. Oliver) Wither (L. DeStefano)