In my month long continuation of celebrating National Poetry Month I am very honored to have the well known author, Lisa Schroeder with us today.  She has been very generous in answering a few questions!
But first, for those living Under A Rock, Lisa Schroeder is the very well known author of I Heart You, You Haunt Me, Chasing Brooklyn, Far From You, and The Day Before.  
You can buy all her books at Amazon!
1) I guess the most obvious question is Why Verse Novels?  Why do you write in Verse?
There are a couple of reasons, I think. The first one is it creates an atmosphere I can’t get with regular prose. In I HEART YOU, it creates this eerie feeling when the ghost of Jackson comes to visit Ava. In FAR FROM YOU, the cold and loneliness Alice felt while trapped in the snow storm is enhanced through the verse. I definitely try to use it in a way that adds something special to the story.
The other reason is it helps me get to the emotional core of the story. As I write, there is a lot that’s stripped away that would be in a novel with prose, and what’s left is generally the characters and the emotions they’re experiencing.
2) All of your novels are full of emotion.  What are your inspirations? Personal experience? 
Hmmm… I think it’s hard to write without letting some of your personal experience get in there. But more than that, I think it’s really getting to know your character and letting the emotions come through from what you imagine it’s like for him/her. When I wrote I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME I hadn’t had a deep and personal loss like Ava had. I’d lost my grandmother, who I loved very much and missed, but she wasn’t someone I saw on a daily basis and so my daily life wasn’t changed that much. When you lose someone you see or talk to almost every day, the change in your life is drastic. I know because I recently lost one of my best friends to cancer at the age of 47. Sometimes I wonder if God didn’t put these stories and characters into my heart and mind to prepare me for her passing. Anyway, when I wrote I HEART YOU, I just really tried to imagine what that would be like for Ava. The scenes that came to me as she remembered her times together with Jackson helped me to love him the way she loved him. And from there, the longing to have him back came naturally, I think.
3) In celebration of National Poetry Month, why do you think Verse Novels are important? What makes them stand out from normal Fiction Novels? 
There are many people who are afraid of poetry. They’re afraid it’ll be too hard to understand, too boring, or a hundred other things. Verse novels may seem, then, to be REALLY scary because a whole story written in poems? To some, that sounds like torture. But what I want people to know is they are still, first and foremost, a story. I try very hard to make my novels accessible in terms of the poetry while also telling a gripping story. I think verse novels are important because when done well, they are a joy to read, not hard, not boring, not scary – a joy. And they are especially great for reluctant readers. I get more notes from teens that start out, “I usually hate to read but I love your books…” than any other kind of note. The white space and the fact that there are no long chapters to wade through make them appealing to kids who usually don’t enjoy reading. 

4) Your novels focus on teenage girls.  Is this on purpose? When you write, do you have a particular age group, audience, gender audience, etc. set in mind?
No, I don’t think it’s on purpose, really. I write the story that speaks to me – that is not letting me sleep because it’s wanting to be told. Now that I know my verse novels have found a huge fan base at the middle school age, I probably do keep that in mind as I write. Middle school lbrarians and teachers write to me and tell me they love using my books in their classrooms, and I take that seriously. But otherwise, I write the story in my heart. So far, it’s been mostly about teen girls, but who knows, a boy character could be in my future at some point.


5) Which do you find more difficult to write: novels in one point of view or novels in multiple points of view (like Chasing Brooklyn)?
I think each book has its challenges. I’m pretty sure they are all difficult at one point, unfortunately. The first draft of CHASING BROOKLYN was so much fun. It really kept it interesting for me, having two people’s stories to share and trying to figure out how to best weave them together. The revision process is when it got hard. It was like trying to revise two books at one time in a way, because they each needed to have their own story arc and all of that. But I am so happy with how it turned out – I’m very proud of that book. I’d love to do another book with multiple POVs. Perhaps my next one? We’ll see…
6) Just out of curiosity, what are your currently reading?
Since CHASING BROOKLYN was recently chosen as a Romance Writer’s of America Rita award finalist, I’m trying to make my way through the other finalists before the awards ceremony in June. I just finished THE CLEARING by Heather Davis, a wonderful time travel book. Next up is I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE by Erin McCahan.

7) You have a huge fan following!  And its no wonder why!  You are an amazing author!  Just between us (and all the readers) are you currently working on anything new, or planning to soon??
Wow, thank you! I appreciate your kind words. I am ready to write a new verse novel, I’m just trying to find the right idea. The idea part of the process sometimes takes me a while. I wish they would all come in dreams the way the idea of I HEART YOU came to me. But alas, they don’t. So I have to work at them. I have a seed or two that I need to let germinate for a while and see what happens. So, sorry to say, I have nothing to share with you at the moment. Although honestly, even when I am working on something, I hold it pretty close to me. I find it can affect my muse if I say too much too soon about a story.
8) Try as I might, I never seem to get a hold on writing Poetry.  But for those that have the gift, and want to publish, do you have any advice?
I think it would be the same advice I give to all writers – read a lot and write a lot. If you want to publish a verse novel, read as many of them as you can. I actually just heard yesterday that Ellen Hopkins is teaching a verse novel intensive at the SCBWI conference in LA in August. If I were wanting to publish a verse novel, I’d jump on that class in a heart beat!

9) Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just want to wish everyone a Happy Poetry Month and I hope you’ll read a verse novel this month to celebrate. It doesn’t have to be one of mine! I recently read ORCHARDS by Holly Thompson and it is lovely as well as Kimberly Marcus’ debut novel EXPOSED. 

There you have it folks! Words of Wisdom of Lisa Schroeder herself!
I highly recommend reading all of her novels.
For more information about her novels you can check out my reviews on
Chasing Brooklyn and I Heart You, You Haunt Me.

Want a chance to win any of Lisa Schroeder’s books – Enter my YA Verse Giveaway in celebration of National Poetry Month!
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