Today, I am so pleased to be bringing you part 1 of our three-part exclusive interview with Lisa Schroeder, the author of The Bridge from Me to You (among other great titles). Thanks, Lisa, for stopping by!
I know you & I have talked before about the many things that influenced THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU. Tell us a bit about the different elements that lead to this book.
It all started with some tweets by Rachel Hawkins, which goes to show that twitter is not necessarily a complete waste of time! She had just read a book featuring a small town, and she started tweeting these descriptions that instantly took me back to my teenage years, going to school in a small town in Oregon. Things like – big sky, wide open roads, driving aimlessly in the country, and field parties, to name a few. And I thought, why haven’t I written a book about small town life, since I LIVED that life? I got a notebook and started jotting down thoughts and ideas. Ever since CHASING BROOKLYN, which many teens have told me is their favorite book written by me, I’d been wanting to do another dual point of view, and I decided this book would do that. I wanted one character who was new to town and trying to figure it all out and another character looking ahead, thinking about leaving town and the mixed feelings that come along with that. And so, Lauren and Colby were born.
You grew up in a small town in Oregon. How much did your own experience go into creating the town of Willow?
Willow, Oregon is a fictional town, and I actually first created it when I wrote It’s Raining Cupcakes. At the time, I wanted a small town where kids rode their bikes to places like the library, and to the diner that served awesome chocolate shakes and french fries. When I started writing THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU, I decided I really liked the idea of using a fictional town, and my thoughts drifted to Willow. It seemed like it could work well to use that town here, and simply expand on what I’d already created. So that’s what I did. I’ve changed the names of the roads and the creek and the hill where the kids go to party, but all of that came from my memories of growing up in and around Lebanon, Oregon. So yeah, there are probably more of my own experiences in this book than in any other book I’ve previously written. Even the cards that Colby’s teammates carry around in their wallets came from my high school days. The football coach at the time did all of that which is described in the book, and we went all the way to the state championships two years in a row. Following that team around the state and cheering them around my sophomore year is some of the most fun I’ve ever had.
You’ve written prose before, and you’ve written in verse before. But I think this might be the first time you’ve combined the two so significantly in a single book. What was it like alternating between verse and prose for the different chapters?
With every book, it’s about doing what will serve the story the best. Lauren’s part wanted to come out in verse and Colby’s didn’t. Lauren is dealing with a lot of emotional stuff, and the verse allowed me to really get to the heart of all of that. I honestly wasn’t sure how it would work out to alternate between verse and prose when I started, but the more I went along, the more I really liked it. The nice thing is that if people aren’t huge fans of verse, it won’t get in the way of them enjoying the story. I’ve already had one reader tell me she liked the book, even though she doesn’t always like verse novels. But for teens who enjoy my verse, they’re going to be happy too. So it’s actually nice to have a combination this time around.
Thanks, Lisa! Tune in for part 2 on Wednesday!