The Story is About + novel

Author Interview: Lisa Schroeder

Today I have an interview with author Lisa Schroeder. This is part of a tour for her upcoming release of her new novel Chasing Brooklyn

which hits shelves today January 5! Hope you enjoy the interview, and be sure to check out Chasing Brooklyn!

Restless souls and empty hearts

Brooklyn can't sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can't stop. He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

One sentence blurb: A story about two teens, Brooklyn and Nico, the ghosts who are haunting them, and how they must learn to let each other in, or not one soul will be able to rest.

Having written two novels and just releasing your third, as a writer do you see your stories sharing a common theme?

Well, if you look closely, they all have spaghetti in them. So perhaps a slight Italian theme? Just kidding. Although now you can probably guess what one of my favorite foods is!

I suppose each one, on some level, is about love and loss, healing and hope. I think I write about loss for a couple of reasons. First, death is as much a part of life as eating and breathing. We may not be sixteen when we lose someone we love, but it will happen. So I hope people walk away with a new sense of how precious life is and that our family and friends shouldn't be taken for granted.

I should say that I didn't really set out to write three books about loss, it just sort of happened. I'm proud of the body of work, but I am also feeling ready to do something different next time. But we'll see!

Is it hard as a writer to write about death? Does it effect you emotionally when writing?

I think most of the time, I'm working so hard to make the story real, the characters real, the verse poetic, etc. etc. I don't get caught up in the emotional part of the story on a personal level. I cry at the drop of a hat, so it's strange I don't. But maybe it's like a doctor focusing on the job at hand and getting lost in the work and not dwelling on the sadness that someone is in pain and there are people in the waiting room holding their breath, waiting and hoping, that everything turns out okay. You have to sort of shut everything off and just get the work done.

Having said that, there are moments, certainly, where I pause and get that tingly feeling like I'm going to cry. And with my books, I simply take that as a sign. A very good sign!

Do you draw your inspiration from a life experience?

Um, yes and no. I mean, I certainly know what it feels like to lose someone you love. And I suppose I try to tap into those feelings when I'm writing. But writing fiction means creating characters and writing what they are feeling and experiencing. So the further I get into the story, the less it becomes about me and the more it becomes about the characters. And that, I think, is how it should be.

Do you believe in ghosts, angels, the afterlife?

I think I do. I like to believe that I have someone on the other side looking out for me. I don't have any proof. Like, I've never had a ghost turn the radio on to send me a message. And I certainly haven't seen any ghosts. But I think they are closer than we might think.

How does Chasing Brooklyn differ from I Haunt You, You Haunt Me?

I wrote Chasing Brooklyn specifically for the fans of I Heart You. It actually started as a sequel to I Heart You, but my editor felt like we left Ava in a good place. So he asked, what if you wrote a book where Ava makes a brief appearance? And as I thought about that, I thought it might work well to have her offer support to someone else who had experienced loss.

Chasing Brooklyn has two main characters - Brooklyn and Nico. The story is told from both of their points of view, alternating throughout the book. I think people who liked I Heart You will like Chasing Brooklyn. But I worked hard to make it different. There are two main characters, each with their own issues, and this time, there are two ghosts instead of one. And one of them is pretty creepy.

Which novel has been the easiest to write?

Definitely the first one - I Heart You, You Haunt Me. It just poured out of me, and I didn't have to worry about what my agent, editor, readers, etc. would think because I didn't have any of those things yet!! It was just me and the story. We think it will get easier the more books we write, but that isn't necessarily true because after that first book, there are expectations. And it can be hard to write with those all around you.

Still, I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to publish three YA novels. I'm so thankful for that opportunity. And I hope readers like the new book. I really, really hope they do!

Thank you for having me Kristi!! I really appreciate it!

Thanks Lisa for that fantastic interview! I'm really looking forward to reading Chasing Brooklyn! You can stop by Lisa's next stop of her tour tomorrow at The Obsessive Reader.

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Author Interview: Lisa Schroeder + novel