Harmony Book Reviews

Posts Tagged ‘author interview

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 Denver, 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 Gulf War.  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.  Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, Carolyn
Mackler, Julie Anne Peters, Ellen Wittlinger, Brent Hartinger, and 
Alex Sanchez?  I’ll read anything they write.  As for adult authors, 
Joy Fielding, Kristin Hannah, Ann Roth, Lawrence Block, Janet 
, Jennifer Chiaverrini, and Sophie Kinsella are my favorites.
  As a teen I loved VC Andrews, Judy Blume, Nancy Garden (especially 
the classic–Annie on my Mind), Rita Mae Brown (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, Brent Hartinger, Alex Sanchez, James St. James, Maureen 
Johnson, David Levithan, 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!


I’m super excited to tell you that I’ve done my very first author interview with none other than Lisa Schroeder, the author of I Heart You, You Haunt Me! Enjoy!

Can you tell me about your road to publishing?  Is it different than
you expected?

My road was pretty bumpy. And long. I wrote three mid-grade novels and
was halfway through a young adult novel when the idea for I HEART YOU,
YOU HAUNT ME came to me. With each novel, I’d tried to get an agent,
tried a few editors, and although I came close a couple of times, it
just wasn’t happening.

Since I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME is very different – a verse novel with
a paranormal twist, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy sell. I feel so
blessed to have found an agent who really “got it” and was
enthusiastic about the book. Still, quite a few editors turned us

I suppose it’s different than what I expected in that when I first
started writing and submitting, I knew it would be hard, but I don’t
think I knew JUST how hard.

How do you write? Is there a specific place or time you write best in?
Do you force yourself to write everyday or only when you have inspiration? Do you write from beginning to end or start somewhere else?

Since I work full-time and have a family, it’s often hard to squeeze
in time to write. I do find that once I start a project, if I make
myself write 100-200 words a day, minimum, that works best. Often I’ll
go beyond that, but setting that goal makes me open the document each
day and keep going.

I’m a morning person, so I’ll get up early and write. I have a laptop
now, so I may write in my office, or on the couch or in bed. Mostly at
home, though I would love to get out and write in coffee shops more.
Sometimes home can be distracting when I look around and see the
laundry that needs to be done or whatever.

I always start at the beginning and work my way through to the end. I
can’t imagine jumping around, although I know some authors write that

I Heart You, You Haunt me is your first novel. Is there anything you’ve written before (such as short stories, etc)? What can we expect from you in
the future? Do you plan on writing another novel written in verse?

I have one picture book out, BABY CAN’T SLEEP, and another picture
book coming out in 2010, called LITTLE CHIMP’S BIG DAY.

I have two young adult novels finished at this time. My agent and I
will be talking next week about our submission plan. One is in verse,
from a girl’s point of view, and I think readers of I HEART YOU will
like this one. The other one is in sparse prose, from a guy’s point of
view. I would love to sell both of them, obviously, but as to which
one will sell first, we’ll have to wait and see. 🙂

This book is obviously a hit among teens already, especially book
reviewers. What’s the best thing a fan has said or done to you? What do you think about having all of these fans so soon?

Just to see the word “fans” in relation to me, makes me all tingly
inside. I can’t even describe how giddy it makes me to know teens are
reading my book and loving it. It’s what I wanted more than anything –
to connect with my readers and to have an impact.

Every e-mail, every kind word written about my book means a lot to me.
Probably the most touching thing was when a teen girl came up to me at
my book signing and told me my book was somewhat therapeutic for her,
because her boyfriend had died last fall. If my book even helps one
person like that, then everything else is just gravy.

Jackson and Lyric are both great guys in I Heart You, though they are definitely different. Did you ever know anyone like either of them? Who or what gave you the inspiration for these two great characters?

When I was a freshman in high school, the football team went to the
state championship. There was one senior on that team – cute, smart,
nice, great athlete – who makes me think of Lyric. I didn’t know him
very well, but I probably secretly wished I’d wind up on a beach alone
with him.

As for Jackson, his character took awhile to develop. I write in a
very layered way, where it takes me a few drafts, and a few layers, to
really get to who the characters are and why they act the way they do.
The adventurous part came out as I was trying to figure out how him
and Ava were different and what attracted her to him.

There are a lot of music references in I Heart You. Are you a big fan
of music? What are your favorite songs and artists? Do you listen to music when you write?

Music inspires me and my writing SO much. I can’t even begin to
describe how, though. It just does. Music that really touches me makes
me go – I want do to THAT in my books. I find, especially with my
novels in verse, there will be certain songs that I listen to over and
over, because they create a mood I want to create in the poetry and in
the story.

With my latest verse novel, tentatively titled LOST WITHOUT YOU, I
listened to “Broken” by Lifehouse like every time I opened the
document. I also listened to a couple of songs by Sara McLachlan.

I can’t always keep the music on while I’m writing, but I listen as a
warm-up. And it helps so much!

What advice do you have for teens who aspire to be authors?

Read, read, and read some more. The more you read, the more you will
begin to understand what makes a great voice, memorable characters, an
interesting plot, etc. And of course, if you want to write, then
write. Everyday, write a little something, whether it’s in a journal
or whatever. The more you write, the better you will get at it.

I love this quote, by Jack Dann: “For me, writing is an exploration;
and most of the time, I’m surprised where the journey takes me.”

Read. Write. Explore. That’s what it’s all about.

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  • Megan: Just read LAST CHRISTMAS. I would SOOO reccomend it to people who havent even read the private series. It is soo good.The suspense was kiling me all t
  • Lola: Oh my gosh! i just finished it....i googled the song for i had never herd it before......may have been a mistake because it is in my head for taciturn
  • mais: heeeyyyy.... can anyonePLEASE give me the link or even send me the copy of the eighth book(revelation on my email because i cant find it anywhere for