I’m so happy to announce that I have an interview with Lynda Sandoval, who was one of the amazing authors that wrote Breaking Up is Hard To Do which comes out soon!
So your latest work for young adults was a short story in Breaking Up
is Hard To Do with three other authors. How was this different than
writing a regular book?
Well, it’s much shorter, so I wrote it quicker! My first novella (AKA
short story) was in an adult anthology called NAMES I CALL MY SISTER,
which came out from Avon A+ last year. Initially I feared the
novella, because I tend to write long. But I read and studied many of
them to better understand the format, and once I got to the writing
part, I found I really enjoyed it. I’d feared I wouldn’t be able to
get a full, rich story into relatively few pages, but it all comes
down to your scope. I knew I needed to focus a smaller window, I
guess you’d say, into Mia’s world.
Aside from that, two of the other authors and I are friends. Terri’s
been my best, best friend for years and Nik and I have been very close
for several, too. I’m just starting to get to know Ellen, but she’s
so sweet and immensely talented. We all wanted to do a book
together…and there may be more to come! Stay tuned.
The story you wrote is about Mia, who is a gay teen. Her girlfriend is
struggling to decide whether she’s gay or straight, which causes some
problems and ends up making Mia’s life really bad for a while. How
did you come up with the idea for this? Did you or a friend experience
anything similar as a teen?
Not as a teen, no. When I was a teen, I mostly dated guys because
that’s what I was socialized to think was right, although I
experimented with girls on the side (because dating guys wasn’t right
*for me*. But in my 20s…let me just say, the phenomenon of falling
in love with a straight girl and getting your heart broken is almost a
rite of passage for a lesbian. LOL! Unfortunately. A lot of teens
and twenty-somethings experiment these days without considering the
consequences. For a straight girl, it’s just a foray into the
unknown. She’s probably never going to get her heart involved,
because she doesn’t identify as lesbian. It’s almost like a “friends
with benefits” thing for a lot of straight girls. But, for a gay
girl, that line between friendship and romance is blurred. A lesbian
doesn’t look at it as a “FwB” relationship, even if the other girl
identifies straight. I mean, in society, we almost always think we’re
straight until we don’t anymore, because that’s how “the majority”
rolls. It’s the truth. So while the straight girl’s just having fun,
the lesbian gets her heart involved, and that’s a Red Danger Zone.
Being in the gay community, it’s really something I wanted to explore
in fiction. Falling in love with someone who will never really be
able to love you the way you love them. It’s crushing.
At school, Mia and some others start an acceptance club of sorts. I
think that’s a great idea, and something every school needs. Did you
ever have anything like that at your school?
I wish. 🙂 When I was in school, a club like this would never have
been approved. Now there are Gay/Straight alliances in so many
schools, and I think they’re important and an incredibly positive step
in the right direction for the world. It allows people to see that
we’re all more alike than different. Whether you love the opposite
sex or the same sex, the important thing is that you *love*. I
volunteer at a LGBTQ drop in youth center in , one of the few of
its kind in the country. I’m constantly in awe of these kids for
their bravery and strength. In fact, the novella in BREAKING UP is
dedicated to them.
What are you working on now? Do you have any plans to write more short
stories for teens?
I’m working on a full length novel for Houghton Mifflin about a
straight girl from a very gay-friendly family (she has close gay
relatives and considers herself part of the gay community) who finds
out her best friend is gay, which–surprisingly–shakes her sense of
place in the world. It’s an exploration of friendship and the way it
changes over time. Also, I can’t say much yet, but we’re in
preliminary talks about doing a few more anthologies similar to
BREAKING UP. I’ll let you know when we get the greenlight. We’re
really excited about them.
What advice would you give to teens who are writing and trying to get
Publishing is a difficult and frustrating business–not that I’d
choose anything else–but the key for the writer is the writing. You
must love the process, because that’s all you can control, and it’s
the whole point anyway! Learn everything you can about markets and
writing, but above and beyond everything else, read a ton, write a ton
and a half. Consistently. I’ve had a barrage of ups and downs in my
career, but the one constant has been the joy of sitting down to
create. No business annoyances can take that magic from you.
What’s one thing that readers don’t know about you?
Hmmmm. Let’s see. My first long-term girlfriend was active duty
military, and we lived overseas together for four of our six years,
part of it during the . Ours was a “don’t ask, don’t tell”
relationship, because it had to be, and that took a horrible toll. If
you’re forced to tell people you’re just friends (or cousins, like we
did) for years and years, it starts to feel true. Lying sucks. I
think anyone who is brave enough to serve his or her country should be
respected for whomever he or she loves. Period. The “don’t ask,
don’t tell” policy is degrading and needs to be changed.
I also think everyone should come out as they’re ready. It’s so
freeing, and if certain people don’t like you because of it, they
weren’t worth your time in the first place. This includes family.
Sorry, but it’s true. I’m lucky, and my family is, and has always
been, wonderful. Not so for my partner. But this is why, in the gay
community, we call each other “family.” You’ll never be alone. It’s
more important to live your truth.
What are you favorite books now? What were your favorite books as a
I have sooooo many favorite books.
Mackler, Julie Anne Peters, Ellen Wittlinger, , and
Alex Sanchez? I’ll read anything they write. As for adult authors,
, , Ann Roth, , , Jennifer Chiaverrini, and are my favorites.
As a teen I loved , , Nancy Garden (especially
the classic–Annie on my Mind), (and her classic,
Rubyfruit Jungle) and a lot of adult fiction. My favorite book of all
time is A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, by Betty Smith. It was written
decades before I was born, but it’s timeless.
Anything you’d like to add?
I think it’s so important for straight teens to read books outside
their experience. Well, it’s important for all of us to read widely.
So I hope kids pick up LGBTQ fiction by Julie Anne Peters, Ellen
Wittlinger, , Alex Sanchez, James St. James, Maureen
Johnson, , Nancy Garden, and so many others. Me! I
almost forgot me. LOL! Readings opens up worlds, minds, and hearts.
I welcome people to come visit my website: www.LyndaSandoval.com, or
www.myspace.com/LyndaSandoval, or to be my friend on GoodReads.com,
and I’m available for school visits, too. All the info is on my
Thanks so much!