An Author Joins Us: Alyssa Sheinmel of The Lucky Kind
We are so excited to have a talented author, and fellow publishing colleague visit with us today. Alyssa Sheinmel is the author of The Beautiful Between and most recently, The Lucky Kind (published May 10). Both are equally lovely YA novels with gripping stories, beautiful writing, and believable characters, friendships and romances. Today Alyssa answers questions about her new book, writing advice, and balancing her careers as writer and children’s book publishing marketing manager.
RAoR: Are you working on a third book?
I am – thank you for asking! My third book is called The Stone Girl, and it’s publishing in 2012. It’s a bit different from my previous books – it’s in the third person, which is a first for me, and it’s a bit darker than either The Beautiful Between or The Lucky Kind.
ROaR: What has your favorite event experience been so far?
My favorite part of events is hearing from and speaking with teens. Last year I participated in Teen Ink magazine’s annual writing program, and I got to talk with aspiring teen writers for over an hour – their questions were insightful, surprising, and refreshing.
RAoR: Was it difficult to write The Lucky Kind from a male perspective?
I loved writing in Nick’s voice. In fact, one of my favorite things about being a writer is getting to play ventriloquist. I never really made a conscious choice to write this novel from a boy’s perspective, but as the idea for the story developed, it was just a boy’s voice that popped into my head, narrating the novel. I couldn’t have written the story any other way – it was always Nick’s story.
RAoR: What was your favorite genre to read as a teenager?
I pretty much read everything I could get my hands on. I loved Wuthering Heights and Gone with the Wind; I loved One Hundred Years of Solitude and I loved The Great Gatsby. I can’t think of a particular genre that I loved best, but in my senior year of high school, when I was seventeen, there was a period during which I loved reading memoirs, especially memoirs about girls when they were around my age. I must have read Wasted by Marya Hornbacher a dozen times that year.
RAoR: How hard is it to balance working for a publisher with being a published author?
Even though I love both of my jobs – writing and marketing children’s books – it can be a bit of a balancing act; the worlds tend to collide from time to time. But I try to turn off my author-self when I’m wearing my marketing hat at work. And I absolutely take off my marketing hat while I’m writing; I don’t want to be worrying about the marketing concerns that might pop up down the road. I want to be thinking only about telling a story.
RAoR: Do you plan to continue writing young adult novels or do you think you might write for adults down the road?
I honestly don’t know. The stories in my imagination right now seem to all be YA stories. I do think I’ll want to keep trying new things as an author though, and face new challenges. So I definitely wouldn’t rule out the notion of writing an adult book – though I don’t think it’ll happen any time soon. There are plenty of challenges I have yet to meet writing YA! And, the truth is that I love writing YA. I know it’s a bit of a cliché to say this, but I think it’s true that the books you love when you’re young stay with you in a unique way. I’ve always thought of myself as a reader, maybe never more so than when I was a teenager.
RAoR: I love that the relationship between Nick and his father in The Lucky Kind is so complex and believable. What made you want to include strong adult figures in the book?
Well, first of all, thank you! Honestly, I don’t think that was a conscious choice, either. When I’m writing a story, I just want it to ring true. Nick’s story happens to have grown-ups in it; he has a complicated and lovely relationship with both his parents. If he didn’t, then he wouldn’t have been so deeply affected by the revelation that his father had been keeping a secret. I think the story would have felt less true to me if I hadn’t included those relationships.
RAoR: What is one piece of advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?
My number one piece of advice to aspiring authors is never stop reading. I think you can learn everything you need to know about how you want to tell your stories from the books that you read. And I don’t just mean novels; I think inspiration can come from surprising places – non-fiction and articles, essays, even textbooks. I genuinely think I have something to learn from almost everything I read. (I’ve been told that I am irritatingly chipper about the value even in books I don’t like!)
We are the last blog stop on Alyssa’s two week blog tour so if you’d like to read more about her and her writing, check out these blogs:
Sunday, May 1: Reading Teen (Interview) http://ReadingTeen.net/
Monday, May 2: A Good Addiction (Review) http://agoodaddiction.blogspot.com
Tuesday, May 3: Bloggers Heart Books (Top Ten List) http://bloggers-heart-books.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, May 4: A Fanatic Book Blog (Review) http://afanaticbookblog.blogspot.com/
Thursday, May 5: The Book Scout (Interview) http://thebookscout.blogspot.com
Friday, May 6: Total Bookaholic (Review) http://totalbookaholic.blogspot.com/
Friday, May 6: Writer Unboxed http://writerunboxed.com/
Saturday, May 7: Page Turners Blog (Interview) www.pageturnersblog.com
Sunday, May 8: The Book Scout (Review) http://thebookscout.blogspot.com
Monday, May 9: A Fanatic Book Blog (Top Ten List) http://afanaticbookblog.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, May 10: Reading Teen (Review) http://ReadingTeen.net/
Wednesday, May 11: Total Bookaholic (Interview) http://totalbookaholic.blogspot.com/
Thursday, May 12: Page Turners Blog (Review) www.pageturnersblog.com
Friday, May 13: A Good Addiction (Interview) http://agoodaddiction.blogspot.com
Friday, May 13: Writer Unboxed http://writerunboxed.com/
Saturday, May 14: Bloggers Heart Books (Review) http://bloggers-heart-books.blogspot.com/
Please leave a comment if you haven’t read Alyssa’s books but would like to. We’ll do a random drawing and send one reader (U.S. resident, please) a copy of both books.