Sunday, October 28, 2012

Interview with L.B. Schulman, author of LEAGUE OF STRAYS

1. Tell me about League of Strays. How did you come up with that story angle or idea?

Answer: I was fascinated by how Columbine came about and what motivated those two boys to do something so horrific. As it turns out, one of them has since been declared a sociopath. It seemed like that one boy influenced the other, which also intrigued me. I also wanted to write something that highlighted revenge as being its own form of bullying.

2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (YA-lit)?

Answer: I have always loved to read YA. I don’t even read adult fiction anymore. I just enjoy the quirky, exciting, adventurous lives of YA characters. As a writer, I’ve never wanted to go anywhere else. (Except for middle-grade, of course, but that's YA's sibling.)

3. What kind of research did you do for this series?

Answer: I spoke to police officers and lawyers, to make sure the ending was as realistic as possible. I also researched the viola so I could capture Charlotte's feelings about music. But I also drew from my own experience playing violin as a teenager.

4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

Answer: I am inconsistent, though I wish I could say otherwise. Some days I don't write at all, and others, I write for eight hours straight. I live a busy life with kids and other responsibilities and sometimes, I can't squeeze in the hours to write. That is why this book took me so long to write...two to three years to get the first draft done and more to revise. I write in my living room on the couch with my laptop.

5. What is the hardest/easiest part of writing for you?

Answer: It’s hard to begin my writing day when I don't feel inspired. But I know from experience that I need to motor through that lethargy and just start. Soon, I will be on a roll. The easiest part is when my characters seem to write the book for me. My fingers just dictate what they tell me.

6. What’s the best thing about being an author?

Answer: For me, it's being able to pass along my world views through writing. If I have an important thought that I want to share, my characters can help me. As an author, I get to choose the theme and so writing the book is pure fun. I love what I do.

7. What are you working on now?

Answer: Another contemporary YA with a very cool hook. But I don't like to talk about my books until I've written them, because I am always changing my mind about the plot until it's done.

8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Answer: For most of us, it takes a really long time to be published. Don't give up. Read, read, read. My writing really improved when I started reading a YA every week. And get a critique group. Their reactions have really helped me refine my writing.

9. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?

Answer: I like so many books, it's impossible to say. I find wonderful qualities in almost all of them. I could never pick just a few.

10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

Answer: What is the number one quality that a person needs to succeed in anything he or she attempts? Perseverance. If you keep knocking, they will answer eventually, even if they are only doing it because they are annoyed with you! 

11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

Answer: Keep on Knocking: The L.B. Schulman Story (title inspired by previous question.)

12. Is League of Strays being made into a movie/TV series? If you got the opportunity to cast the characters, whom would you choose and why?

Answer: Well, the book would have to be hugely popular for that to happen, I think. I’d take either of the Fanning sisters, or Drew Barrymore as a teenager, for the role of Charlotte. For Kade, I’d have to say Robert Pattinson. Yes, I know: he’s Edward Cullen, and Kade on my cover even resembles him. But still, those eyes and that intensity. Yeah, he’d be good. Real good.

Flash Questions:

1. If you could trade places with a person for a single day, who would it be and why?

Answer: I think it’s hard to be a celebrity, so I really don’t want to be one, even for a day. Everyone has his or her struggles, and no one lives a perfect existence, so I will stay in my own body for now.

2. What was the last movie you saw?

Answer: Oh, you would have to ask this. I am so embarrassed. Gulp. WAYNE’S WORLD TWO. But hey, it was Inappropriate Movie Night at my house. That title came from my constant admonition that such and such movie was “inappropriate” for my children, but I was seriously outvoted so many times that we now make a night of it.

3. What is your biggest TV addiction?

Answer: The Biggest Loser (inspiring while I do my elliptical) and American Idol. I also like any paranormal show, like Touched or reruns of The Ghost Whisperer. I don’t watch much TV though, because I get easily addicted to junk, and it’s a huge time waster.

4. Guilty pleasure?

Answer: Lattes, all day long. And chocolate bits: milk chocolate, not dark.

5. Fruits or veggies?

Answer: Mangoes and avocados….the ones with the most calories possible.

6. Favorite childhood toy?

Answer: My counting jump rope. I liked trying to beat my own records.

7. What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Answer: A hard-boiled egg, a latte, and then an hour later, a bowl of Cheerios. I eat all day long. Hard for me to write without food nearby. Bad habit, I know.

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