I'm very pleased to welcome Lisa Schroeder to Story Secrets to talk about CHASING BROOKLYN, a gorgeous verse novel just released by Simon Pulse and a companion to her very popular I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME.
Lisa and I met a couple of years ago at the second annual Kidlit Blogger Conference, and she just made the northwest trek from P-land to Seattle for our December SCBWI WWA meeting to talk about writing YA along with Liz Gallagher. (And I got a signed copy! Yay!)
CHASING BROOKLYN is about a girl who is still struggling with the death of her boyfriend, Lucca, from a year ago. Then, a friend of hers, Gabe, dies of a drug overdose and her world gets even darker. Gabe begins to haunt her, and she doesn’t know why. Lucca begins to haunt his brother, Nico, trying to get him to help Brooklyn. Told from two points of view, Nico and Brooklyn, we see them dealing with their pain and the ghosts in their own different ways, until they realize they might actually be able to help each other.
What inspired CHASING BROOKLYN?
My first YA novel, I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, has been fairly successful and I had many teens writing to me, asking me to write another book “just like that.” I approached my editor about doing a sequel, but he felt like we left Ava in a good place. He suggested we might have Ava appear in another book, however, and perhaps make it more of a companion novel. So I started thinking about what made sense, and I thought Ava might be there to comfort to someone else experiencing a difficult loss. And that’s how it started.
How did you come up with the idea to write from two points of view?
This might be terrible to say, but some of the details as to HOW I came up with the two narrators are a bit fuzzy at this point. I remember thinking that it needed to be different from I HEART YOU. It couldn’t really be another book about a girl being haunted by her dead boyfriend. And I think at some point, I decided adding in that second narrator would really help the book to be different. And wow, it was fun to write from a male POV for a change.
Are your novel ideas top secret, or do you share them?
It depends. I run the idea by trusted writing friends, and I’m now to the point where once I have a strong beginning, I send it to my agent to see what she thinks, along with a blurb that describes the story. But when random people ask me what I’m working on? No way. It’s definitely a big fat secret then! It doesn’t do any good to tell people at that point, and sometimes it can curb my enthusiasm, if I get a funny look when I start telling them what it’s about. So I keep it closely guarded now, except for the select few I let in as I need to, for feedback.
You're here to spill your secrets, so let us in on some!
Hmmm… Okay, here’s a little secret!
I based Brooklyn’s family life off of one I heard about on the TV show “The Biggest Loser.” My kids love this show, so every week we settle in with popcorn and juice and watch these amazing people drop the pounds and change their lives. At about the time I was starting to write this book, one of the young women on the show told the story of how badly it hurt when her mom moved out and took her brothers with her and left her to live with her dad. She always felt like her mom loved her brothers more than she loved her. It was an interesting family dynamic I hadn’t considered before, and I could totally understand feeling that way. And so, shortly after meeting Brooklyn in the book, the reader learns she lives with her dad, and her mother lives in Las Vegas with her twin brothers.
The only other secret is that I worked really hard on this book and I hope, hope, HOPE people see that and like the book!!
Excellent secrets, Lisa, and thank you for visiting to share them! To learn more about Lisa, visit her website.