Monday, July 18, 2011

Author Interview: Lisa Schroeder

First a little background on Lisa Schroeder as an author...

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 of the wonderful things Oregon has to offer with her husband and two sons. She is the author of numerous books for kids and teens, including CHASING BROOKLYN (Simon Pulse, 2010) and IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES (Aladdin, 2010).

And now on to the interview...

How does writing in verse help your stories?

I think the verse creates an atmosphere I couldn't create with regular prose. It also allows me to get to the emotional core of the story. I work really hard to make the verse accessible, and to not take away from the story. Story is always my number one priority - writing a book that will keep the reader turning the pages. The verse is just a way to tell the story in a way that will make the story more lyrical, perhaps, and more emotional.

If you could put a label on all your published novels, what would it be and why?

For my YA novels, it would be:

Try it, you might like it!

Some people open the cover and are turned off by the verse. So many people were reluctant to try it and then write to me or tweet about it and say how it was not what they expected it all, and that they really enjoyed the book a lot more than they thought they would. I don't want people to have preconceived notions about the book. It's still a story with a plot and compelling characters and I *promise* it's not hard to read at all. In fact, I have a good following with reluctant readers.

Is it conscious on your part to have a theme of loss in most of your books?

No, it just sort of worked out that way for the first three books. THE DAY BEFORE has a much different theme, I think, so hopefully readers will enjoy seeing a new area explored. In this one, I tackle fear - and that sometimes, you have to feel the fear and do it anyway, and trust that everything will work out as it should.

Would you ever consider writing a book not in verse? If so, what would it be about? If not, why not?

I've actually published a middle grade novel not in verse (IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES) and have another one coming out in September called SPRINKLES AND SECRETS. And I recently sold a YA to Simon Pulse that is in regular prose as well. It doesn't have a title yet, and publication is a long way off, so I'm not saying much about it yet, but yes - I do like to write in regular prose too! Verse isn't going to work with every story. In fact, I'd probably argue, it's not going to work with most stories. But when it does work, it helps make a story extra special.

Who is an author in the YA genre you admire and why?

Oh, that is so hard - I admire many, many authors. I especially admire the many mid-list authors who don't get a lot of recognition but write wonderful books and they keep writing and try to maintain a positive attitude in the face of it all. Authors like Saundra Mitchell (THE VESPERTINE), Sonia Gensler (THE REVENANT), and Cheryl Renee Herbsman (BREATHING). I'm starting to think writing the book is the easy part, it's surviving and keeping your sanity in this really tough business that is the hard part.

What are some of your favorite pass-times?

I love reading, of course, watching movies, walking my dog, baking yummy treats, and just hanging with the family.

Thank you for sharing, Lisa!

LiLi