For our April Book of the Month, author Lisa Schroeder answered a whole bunch of interview questions for us. We’re sharing her responses throughout the entire month, and today we’ve got Part 2 of our interview (see Part 1 here):
Speaking specifically to the plot of Far From You … as an Oregonian, was this story at all inspired by real events of people getting trapped in the snow? (Specifically, the James Kim family?)
The original idea came when I thought of the classic Newbery award winner OUT OF THE DUST by Karen Hesse. In that book, we can almost taste the heat and the dust because of the incredible verse. I was thinking, what would be the opposite of that? What if I wrote about a big snow storm – I bet it would lend itself well to a story in verse. So that’s how it started, and yes, I did find pieces of inspiration in the Kim story as well.
With Chasing Brooklyn, we revisit some of the same locations and characters from your first YA novel, I Heart You, You Haunt Me. What drew you back to this first novel? Why write CB as a companion novel?
Many fans of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME write to me and ask if there will be a sequel. They’re curious about Ava and want to know she’s okay. When I proposed the idea to my editor, he felt like we left Ava in a good place, but suggested maybe she could make an appearance in another story. So that’s how it all started. I wrote CHASING BROOKLYN specifically for the fans of I HEART YOU. They will find similar themes here, and yet, it’s a very different book with different characters. I’m really proud of how it turned out, with the two points of view, and reader response has been very positive so far.
What do you hope readers take away from your books?
First and foremost, a good story. A story that touches their heart. A story that reminds them that life is precious. Love is precious. Don’t take it for granted.
What are your writing inspirations?
Music. Always music. Every book has a song or a few songs that specifically remind me of writing the book, because I listened to them over and over again to get myself in the mood of the story. In a way, I want my books to be like one long, beautiful song. A well-written song that touches my heart makes me want to write a book “like that.” And so I try.
Also, nature. The beauty in the blossoming trees or the splendid colors in a sunset. It’s like I want to try and capture how those things make you feel and put into a story.
If you met someone in a bookstore, and they were thinking about buying one of your YA novels, what would you say to convince them?
Um honestly? Probably not a whole lot. I hate trying to sell my own books. Give me ten other books by other authors I loved to sell, and I’d gladly spend an hour selling them.
My mom always asks me – how would you describe your YA books, so people want to read them? I’m like – maybe a touching story that will remind you how precious life is.