Our April Book of the Month author Lisa Schroeder was kind enough to answer a bevy of interview questions for us. We’ll be sharing her responses throughout the entire month, and today we’re excited to share Part 1 of our interview:
What made you decide to write your novels in verse, instead of “traditional” prose?
I didn’t choose it as much as it chose me. When I sat down to write I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, it wanted to come out in this sparse, poetic way. I was afraid at first, because a) I hadn’t ever written anything in that format and had no idea if I was doing it correctly and b) I’d heard verse novels are a tough sell. Still, it felt right, so I went with it. For me, the verse creates an atmosphere that I can’t get with regular prose. That’s really what it comes down to – an emotional, haunting, hopefully beautiful atmosphere.
All of your YA books have a common theme of characters dealing with the death of a loved one. What about this theme inspires you?
Death is as much a part of life as eating and breathing. We will all experience the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. It may not be when we’re sixteen, but it will happen. And I really believe that those we love and pass on never truly leave us, that they are always with us in our hearts, and that they want us to continue on – to live the happy lives we deserve to live.
How did you come up with the idea to write a ghost story (and in verse, no less!)?
I had a dream about a girl whose boyfriend died and he loved her so much, he didn’t want to leave her. Unlike most ghost stories, I didn’t want her to feel afraid. I wanted her to be glad he was back, because I thought that would be a story we hadn’t seen much. One editor asked me to revise and make it more scary, make Jackson more threatening. And I couldn’t do it. That wasn’t the story I wanted to tell. I’m so glad now that I held firm, because I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME has touched a lot of people.
What are the challenges of writing a novel in verse? The benefits?
The greatest challenge for me is being poetic, especially when there is dialogue that needs to be part of the story. My number one goal is to tell a good story. Always. But with verse, I have to try to tell it in a poetic way. It’s not easy. With every book, I think I’m getting better. I *hope* I’m getting better.
The greatest benefit I suppose is that I’m not one of those writers who can write long, beautiful descriptions of things, and in verse, there’s none of that so I don’t have to try and do something I’m not very good at.