Today I get to interview the fabulous Lisa Schroeder. With one YA book out and another coming in January she’s our publishing expert and I have lots of questions for her!
1) How much of your life experiences go into your books? Are any of your characters like you in anyway and if so-- can you tell us something you share with one of them?
So far, my books don't really have anything to do with my real life. Except, at their core, my two novels have to do with kids going through hard times and coming out the other side okay. I can relate to that, having had some difficult times with my parents divorcing when I was younger. But mostly, everything about my books are made up. As far as characters that are like me, uh, no, not really. I'm too boring!
[Kristina: Well poop. I’m one of those people who likes to believe that whatever happened in the book has happened to the author. I was hoping for a good my old boyfriend haunted me story. :-)]
2) What are three of your favorite things?
Hugs from my kids
Ooey gooey chocolate chip cookies
[Kristina:Oooh, good favorites! Now I want a cookie. And a hug.]
3) How do you prepare for a book signing/speaking engagement and do they get easier the more that you do them?
I write out what I want to say, even though I don't necessarily take the whole written thing with me. I think that works well for me because I'm a writer first, a speaker second. I want to write it out and know what I want to say, and then from there figure out how I'm going to present it. Once I have what I want to say down, I practice in the car. Who cares if people think I'm crazy because I'm talking to myself. It's a great place to practice and since I'm in the car for an hour a day, commuting back and forth to work, it's a way to put that time to good use.
It definitely gets easier the more you do them. For me, really, it's not the speaking that worries me anymore, it's having something worthwhile to say! If people are coming to spend their valuable time with me, I don't want them to walk away wishing they had done something else with that hour of time. So I worry more about that more than anything.
[Kristina: I wouldn’t worry about people thinking you’re talking to yourself. With all the hands-free headsets for the cells now everyone looks like they are talking to themselves.]
4) What do you do to keep calm when you are waiting for a BIG CALL from your editor or agent?
I don't know! I think it's good that I work a day job because if I stay busy, I don't think about it too much. It's the slower days when my mind creeps there and I start thinking about it and getting anxious.
The thing is, in this business, we will always be waiting for something. After you sell, you then wait for the editorial letter, then the contract, then the advance, then the copy edits, then the ARCs, then the final book, then the reviews, etc. etc. Of course I want my manuscripts to sell and to start on the exciting journey of watching my words turn into a real, live book. But I've learned I just have to let it go - I can't control how quickly something will sell, no matter how much I wish I could. When it's out of my hands, I really try to focus on the things that are in my hands, like finishing the next book, working on promotion for my other books, and remembering that it's important to have fun and spend time with my family too!
[Kristina: Good point!]
5) What things do you NEED to have when you sit down to write?
Mostly, I just need a good chunk of time. It's so hard for me to get into a story if I only have 15 minutes. I need a good hour, at least. I also NEED my inner critic to go for a walk around the block while I do my thing. It's so frustrating on the days I can't seem to shut her up. Some days, I need to listen to a certain song or certain type of music to get me to the place I need to be to create the emotion I want to create.
In the early mornings, I make myself a cup of tea, and sip on that. I find in the afternoons, I like to chew gum while I write. I'd love to have a big bowl of M&Ms, but I can't be gaining weight every time I write a book, so gum is really the best. :)
[Kristina: Ok, M&Ms would be funny. Then you’d gain weight with each book just like with each baby. And people would shake their heads and whisper to each other, “She never did lose that book weight.”]
Thanks for answering my questions Lisa! Tomorrow Lisa’s posting the final interview with Kate, Miss Apprentice Writer, so don’t miss it!
Kristina, Miss Soon-to-Pub