Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2 books and some acknowledgments

Today there are not one, but two new books in the world. Yes, besides The Bridge From Me to You, the third CHARMED LIFE book is out (Libby's Sweet Surprise).

I always try to take a moment on release date to be grateful for this incredible job I get to do. It's not always easy - I often feel like a very small fish in a vast ocean, but the writing brings me joy. And connecting with readers is rewarding in a way I can't even describe. Knowing something I wrote touched a reader - there's just nothing else like it.

Scholastic mistakenly left out the acknowledgments I had written up for The Bridge From Me to You, so I'm posting them here, to say thanks to the people who helped with the book, and also to those who have supported me over the years!


First and foremost, thanks to Cheryl Herbsman who read an early draft of this book and gave me invaluable feedback. A huge thank you to Chris and Jenny Martin, as well as my friend Frank, for their help with my football questions. Any errors I made are mine and mine alone. A big shout out to Coach Wegner and the 1982 LUHS Warrior football team who gave me some of the best Friday nights of my life.  The “I believe” cards were Coach Wegner’s brainchild, and I couldn’t resist making them a part of Colby’s story. Thanks to Amanda Maciel and the entire team at Scholastic for the care they put into this book. Rachel Hawkins, thank you for your country living tweets that put me on the right path as I searched for a new story to write. Lindsey Leavitt, thanks for being you and for a fun and memorable retreat. I’d be remiss if I didn’t send my love and thanks to my “friends” in Dillon, Texas – y’all were a huge inspiration for this book. And finally, to the teachers, librarians, booksellers, book bloggers and readers who help make it all possible – I am so grateful for you!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quote of the day

This was actually yesterday's, but that's okay. I'm not very consistent about posting one everywhere every day.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Recommendations

I've read some good books lately and thought I should share them here!

Middle Grade:

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
This book has received many starred reviews, and it's easy to see why. Albie is such a great character.

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Kate is one of my favorite middle grade authors, and while this isn't my favorite book of hers, I still enjoyed it.

Young Adult:

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
A fantastic end to a fantastic series. I want to re-read the series back-to-back someday. So, so good.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
I read this on vacation and it kept pulling me back. Such a unique premise - really good!

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Note: this is definitely an upper-level YA (like 14 and up, at least)
It is one of the most strange, but also beautiful, books I've ever read. There is one troubling scene I really didn't like, but I still think about this book, months later, and that's saying something. I fully expect to see this one on award lists.

In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo
I know I keep saying unique and different, but here's another one!! The art, especially, is just... wow! 

Tease by Amanda Maciel
This is not an especially easy story to read (it's about a suicide related to bullying), but it's so well-done and I loved the alternating chapters between the past and the present. Another award-worthy book for sure.

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
A great summer read - I really loved this one a lot, with it's mystery of where her friend has gone and the new friends she makes that help her sort of find herself.

Finally making a dent in my TBR pile, and it feels good! 

Happy reading!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

I'm giving away an Advanced Review Copy of the book on twitter - you can find the tweet to retweet at http://www.twitter.com/lisa_schroeder.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Bridge From Me to You - Question 3 - Why half verse, half prose?

We are just a week away from the official release date, although I've had one report of an early sighting, which happens quite often when you're a mid-list author like I am. If they get shipments early, they only hold back the highly anticipated books. You know, the ones that are going to make a million dollars, haha.

SO, each day between now and then, I'll be posting a quote from the book. It's like pulling the spatula out of the bowl of frosting and having a little taste before you eat the cake.

Here's today's quote, and then I'll get to the answer to the question.

Until now, I've written four novels almost entirely in verse. I say "almost entirely" because THE DAY BEFORE has some letters sprinkled throughout.

FALLING FOR YOU was my first foray into regular prose (as far as YA, all of my MG novels are written in prose), because the story called for it, I think. With lots of characters and lots of dialogue required, it can be difficult to make verse work well. I never want to try and MAKE something work because that just isn't how it's done. The story has to flow for me in a natural way. It's like floating down a river rather than trying to paddle upstream, if that makes sense.

So when I started writing THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU, Lauren's voice came out easily in verse. But Colby's just... wouldn't. I tried a few different things, and it wasn't working. Once I wrote a short chapter in prose from his point of view, it felt right. Half verse, half prose is different. Whenever I do something outside of the norma, I'm not gonna lie, it scares me a little because there is some risk in that. Too different, and it might be hard to get a contract.

Fortunately, my editor liked how it turned out, as did the rest of the team at Scholastic. Sometimes you have to go with your gut and hope for the best!

Only one more week!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Bridge from Me to You - Question 2: Why Small Town Life?

When I was in 8th grade, my mom, my brother and I all moved to the farm where my grandparents lived. We lived in the little white house where my great grandparents had raised their two daughters, next door to my grandparents' house they'd built sometime during the late fifties or early sixties. My mom was going back to school to study computer programming, and living on the farm allowed her to save a lot of money.

Here's the old barn that my great grandparents built when my grandma was a little girl. When she was just eight years old, her parents sent her down to the river bed with a buckboard and she gathered rocks that would be used for the barn's foundation. I love old barns - there's just something about them that are cool.

"Town" as my grandma called it, was six miles away from the farm. If I wanted to go see friends, I had to get someone to take me, or ride my bike (which I did a lot the summer before my freshman year).

Sometimes it's fun to write about places you don't know. It's fun to do research and learn about interesting things about faraway places. And sometimes it's fun to write about places you do know. Writing The Bridge From Me to You was a little bit like going back to high school - revisiting the fun parts. Because the thing about small town life is that if you can't find any fun, you make your own. And there is something pretty special about that.

I hope that teens from small towns enjoy reading a book that probably feels a little like the place they live. And I hope teens who don't know what small town life is like have fun "visiting" somewhere different from what they know.

Next time I'll answer the question - why half verse, half prose?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Bridge from Me to You - Question 1: Why Football?

Over the next two weeks, before the official release date of July 29th, I'm going to answer some questions about my upcoming young adult novel, THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU. Questions people might have as they consider whether they want to read the book, or maybe while they're reading it, or even when they're finished with it.

The answers to these questions will mostly be just little peeks inside of my brain that may or may not be interesting to you. If not, it's okay. My brain is a little odd sometimes, I get it.

Okay, so the first question is - why football?

Colby, one of the main characters of the book, plays on his high school team, so football plays a part in this book. I know not everyone loves football. I like football when I'm watching a team that I'm invested in, for whatever reason, and somehow have a personal connection to one or more of the players. It's the reason I like the Green Bay Packers, for example. Aaron Rodger's mother took care of my son when he was two years old in her home daycare. I can still remember watching Aaron and his two brothers throw the football around in front of their house in the street. If only I'd had fortune telling abilities, I could have gotten his autograph at the ripe age of 12 and been rich in fifteen years!!

It's also the reason I enjoyed watching football in high school. We had a good team, a great team actually, and I knew some of those boys on the field. Some of them I didn't know, but I saw them in school, obviously, and I might have crushed on one or two of them. Maybe. Okay, actually, I'm not telling.

Our team made it all the way to the state playoffs two years in a row. My sophomore year, a bunch of us caravanned around the state and watched every playoff game. We slept in cheap hotels and even a church one time when the game was on the other side of the state. The year I went to the championship game, it was a nail biter, but in the end, we lost. Still, so many wonderful memories from that season. This is me (the one with the blonde hair) cheering for our Warriors at the championship game. If you can't tell, we really wanted our team to win. More than we wanted our hair to look good, obviously.

So why football? This book is about small town life, and I think in a lot of small towns, like the one I come from, the high school games are something a lot of people look forward to on Friday nights. It's a social gathering for the entire community. The games bring people together and for a couple of hours, everyone can forget their problems and focus on the players on the field.

The TV show Friday Night Lights will always be one of my favorite shows, ever. I miss that show. I miss Eric and Tami Taylor, Julie and Matt, Landry, Riggins, Smash, Vince, Lyla and Tyra, and the rest of the gang. Even though football was a part of the show, again and again you'd hear from people who watched, "But it's not about football."

I think it's the same for my book. It's not about football, but football is a part of the story, the same way football was a part of my high school experience. The same way football is a part of many teens'  high school experiences. Can you read the book and enjoy it if you don't really care about football? Yes!!!

So there you go. Next time I'll answer the question - Why Small Town Life?

(in case you missed it - there's a pre-order contest going on over at the Novel Novice blog. Check it out HERE!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Back from Vacation

Hey there! Happy summer!! Hope you are having a good one.

We went on a little vacation to central Oregon last week and stayed in a house at Sunriver Resort where we went on lots of bike rides, walked and hiked along the Deschutes River, ate delicious ice cream, and stood on a bridge in awe of the beautiful sunsets. Oh, and at the end of the trip, we drove to Crater Lake to see that gorgeous piece of work.

I'm busy with revisions on my 2015 YA novel right now, but after that I will have some fun posts to share as we move closer to the release date of THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU!

For now, a few pretty pictures.

Ha, had to sneak that last one in there. Came home to a finished copy my editor had sent me. Nice way to end a vacation. :)