Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME by Lisa Schroeder

Lisa Schroeder, a native Oregonian, received her bachelor's degree from Oregon State University. Her debut YA novel with Simon Pulse, I Heart You, You Haunt Me, is a novel-in-verse that gives new meaning to the words "undying love." She is also the author of the picture book Baby Can't Sleep (Sterling, 2005). Lisa, the officialdog-walker of the family, lives with her husband and two sons near Portland, Oregon. Visit her website at for more information about her and her books

Please join me in welcoming Lisa to the Cafe.

MaryP: Tell us about I Heart You, You Haunt Me.

Lisa: It’s a novel-in-verse about a fifteen-year-old girl, Ava, whose boyfriend dies, and comes back to live in her house as a ghost. More than a ghost story, however, I believe it’s a story of love, loss, healing, and hope.

MaryP: Do you remember writing the first words? Are they still the same?

Lisa: I do remember writing the first words, because it was the morning after I had a dream about the characters. The first words initially were of Ava looking at her scribbles on a notebook from school, all of which included the words “Ava” and “Jackson” in one form or another.

That beginning is since gone, although the first words that are there now are ones I did write that first morning. During the revision process, I decided that although it was a sad place to start, starting the story at Jackson’s funeral made the most sense.

MaryP: What is your favorite line, passage, chapter from this book?

Lisa: It’s hard to pick, but one of my favorites is the following:

An excerpt from Beauty Everywhere

“The sun starts to set
and tangerine orange
turns to
cotton candy pink
and I wish
my man
Jackson was here
to give me some
cranberry red love.”

MaryP: What's on your nightstand right now?

Lisa: I received THE POSSIBILITY OF FIREFLIES by Dominque Paul for Christmas, and I’m enjoying that. Plus, being a member of the Class of 2k8 has its advantages, as I am currently reading an ARC of Debbie Reed Fischer’s BRALESS IN WONDERLAND, which is wonderful.

MaryP: What do you do to "unblock" writer's block?

Lisa: For me, writer’s block usually means I don’t have a clear idea of where the story is going. Or it may also be that I’ve chosen to go somewhere that isn’t working, and I need to backtrack and make some changes. I don’t do a detailed outline like some authors do, because so many wonderful things appear when I don’t have everything all planned out, but I do make notes on note cards about characters and plot. So, if I’m stuck, I pull out my notecards, look at what I already have, and write up some more and see if I can figure out what I’m missing to give myself more direction.

MaryP: Do you do other types of writing besides YA?

Lisa: I am one of those writers who likes to write whatever strikes a chord at the moment. My writing runs the full gamut – picture books, mid-grade novels, and YA. I have one picture book published – BABY CAN’T SLEEP, Sterling, 2005, and another one with Sterling under contract. Recently my agent and I have been trying to sell a mid-grade novel-in-verse, but we haven’t found the right editor. Yet.

MaryP: I am sure you will, Lisa! Thanks so much for joining us at the Cafe! We wish you much success with your new book!

~~~Cafe Note~~ As a regular part of our interviews, featured authors will pop back in for one week after their interview is posted to answer any other questions blog readers may leave for them. So if you have any questions or comments for Lisa, send them now! She'd love to hear from you!


R.A. Nelson said...

Hi, Lisa! I have a friend who has been RAVING about your book, so I can't wait to read it. It sounds great. I just wanted to ask you the age-old question all writers get, where did you get your idea for this wonderful story?

Mandy said...

Hi Lisa,
I was wondering, have you always known you wanted to be a writer all your life?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,
I loved your book! I so admire writers who can tell a complex story with so few words. Those words you chose pack quite the punch! Is your wip in verse, too?

Amanda Marrone

Lisa Schroeder said...

R.A.: Wow - raving! That's great to know, thanks!

My ideas come from so many different places - a line in a song or movie, a person I meet, a newspaper story, etc. For this book, the idea came to me from a dream I had. It had never happened to me before, but I woke up and felt the love between these two people so strongly, one alive and one who had passed on, I had to sit down and start writing that morning. It was awesome. I wish it would happen again!!

Hi Mandy: I have always enjoyed writing, and remember getting nice remarks about my writing from teachers. But it wasn't until maybe ten years ago I started thinking about writing stories and trying to get them published. And even then, I thought about it for a long time before I started doing it. So, I guess the answer is no. :)

Amanda: Yes, my WIP is in verse. I'm very excited about it, and think the setting in part of the book - a very cold place - works well in the verse format.

I have another YA finished that my agent will be sending out in February and it's not in verse. So we'll see what happens with that one! :)

Thanks for stopping by!

PJ Hoover said...

I so can't wait to read my first novel in verse! Go Lisa!

KB said...

I'm a middle school librarian and I LOVE novels in verse. I'm always trying to find them. I can't wait to add your book to our library. I know why I like them: the spare words make such a clear picture, story is a fast read, they usually leave you with such memorable lines...
Why do you like them? Are they harder to write than regular novels? Why or Why not?

Lisa Schroeder said...

Hi kb - I'm so glad you stopped by. Thank you!

There are SO many reasons I love novels in verse. Because they are often shorter in length, more time can be spent rereading favorite passages and savoring the words. I simply love the combination of story telling and poetry - it's unique and fun.

As for writing them, I'm not sure I can say whether it's easier or harder than writing a novel in prose. Every book is going to have its own set of challenges!

I do know that some authors are extremely talented at writing beautiful prose, like Deborah Wiles or Gary D. Schmidt, but my brain seems to like trying to create a unique picture using as few words as possible. So verse novels, for me, come fairly easily IF the story is suited to that kind of writing.

Melissa said...

Hi, Lisa!
Love your cover. Did that come from an idea of yours, or was it all the art department?

Lisa Schroeder said...

Hi Melissa, I can't take take any credit for the cover, the designer came up with it himself, and I hear it was an instant hit with the marketing and editorial staff. Now I just hope it's a hit with teen readers! :)

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Kim Antieau said...

Great interview. Looking forward to reading the book!

Kelsey said...

Hey Lisa,

I am on spring break this week and I went shopping on thursday night for books. I found your book and I thought it looked interesting, so I bought it. I had it finished it by Saturday Morning. It was a wonderful and compelling book. I just wanted to give you kudos for your undeniable talent

Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa,

Your book was really interesting and I really liked it. I really related to it because I lost my boyfriend and weird things happen in my house and is just like what happens to Ava.I hope you make a second book about it.

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