Lisa Schroeder is a native Oregonian which means her childhood summers were spent camping, fishing, reading books (of course!) and playing in the sun, when it finally came out. These days, Lisa spends her summers, and every other part of the year, sharing all of the wonderful things Oregon has to offer with her husband and two sons. She is the author of numerous books for kids and teens, including CHASING BROOKLYN (Simon Pulse, 2010) and IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES (Aladdin, 2010).
Which character came to you first – Amber or Cade? What sparked their story in your mind?
Amber came first, though I didn’t know much about her when I started writing. I’m very much a discovery writer, so I take a couple of seeds of ideas, and start in and see where they take me. As Amber began packing that morning for the day, I thought, hmmm, what’s she going to take with her? It was then that I discovered her love of jelly beans and that she was a drummer.
When I started writing, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on in her life that would cause her to want to get away for the day. All I knew was I wanted to write a book that took place over 24 hours, the day before a girl’s life was about to change forever.
How do you think you’d react if you found yourself in Amber’s position?
I think I’d be really pissed off and scared to death. And I honestly can’t imagine doing It – getting on that plane and going to a place unknown.
Amber has fantastic taste in music. Do her preferences reflect your own? If you had to pick a theme song for The Day Before, what would it be? Why?
She’s a big fan of Pink, and I love her too. She also loves White Stripes, which is probably an obvious choice because of the female drummer, and while I enjoy a couple of their songs, I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan or anything. The other reference in the book that comes from my own tastes is Matt Nathanson. I LOVE him. They’re in Cade’s car at that point, and I could totally see Cade being a Matt Nathanson fan, because Cade is a singer/songwriter I think Matt is one of the best singer/songwriters out there today.
Both Cade and Amber are talented musicians. Do you play any instruments? Are there any you wish you could play?
I wish I could play the guitar. I recently took some lessons, but my hands are just too small and it’s really hard for me. I’ve been toying with the idea of taking piano lessons – we have this beautiful piano in our house that my in-laws gave us, and no one plays it. I can dink around on it, and play melodies by ear, but I am seriously considering taking up lessons in the fall.
What’s your favorite jelly bean flavor? Do you have any calming quirks like Amber’s jelly bean habit?
Oh, hard question. Favorite flavor. Um, I’ll go with tutti-frutti. As for calming quirks, since I was a little girl, I’ve twirled my hair around my finger to calm myself. I still catch myself doing it on occasion.
Cade and Amber play a game where they test one another’s knowledge of popular movies. Are the movies they mention favorites of yours? How did they fit into the story – did you have the particular movie in mind as you crafted the scene, or did you find movies to match the moment?
A couple of them would probably make my top twenty list, yeah, like “Say Anything” and maybe “Footloose”. Mostly, the movies came about as I was building that scene and I’d try to think of a movie that fit the moment. It was pretty fun, actually, and it felt a little bit like I was playing the game with the characters too. I did work at putting one movie in there – “Before Sunrise” – because I wanted this to be almost like a teen version of that movie. So that was one I worked a little harder at putting in there.
Have you ever written a story in prose? Do you find verse easier or more challenging? What would you say to a potential reader who might be wary of a verse novel?
My middle grade novel, IT’s RAINING CUPCAKES, is in prose. And my next YA will actually be in prose as well, though there will be a bit of poetry sprinkled throughout. I think both have their own challenges, really. With the right story, verse comes easily for me. I don’t know why that is, and I’ve stopped trying to figure out why, I just go with it.
It makes me sad that people are wary to try a verse novel. What I want people to know is there is still a story there. I mean, story is always my number one priority. The verse will never take away from the story, but instead, add a little something special to it. The language, the line breaks, the poetic devices – all of it helps to create an atmosphere I can’t get with regular prose. I know not everyone will like it, but I wish people would be so quick to judge it before they give it a try.
What is a random fact readers probably don’t know about you?
I am not a fan of macaroni and cheese. This is one reason why I adore Cade.
If you had one day to spend however you wanted, what would you do?
I would probably go to either the beach or Central Oregon and take a walk along the river. I’m pretty sure the day would involve being around water in some way. I think water has such a calming effect, you know? One of my favorite things to do is walk along the beach and then sit on a blanket and read a book with the beautiful ocean in the background. Sounds pretty heavenly, doesn’t it?
Thanks so much for having me, and for your wonderful review of THE DAY BEFORE!
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Thanks to the amazing Lisa Schroeder, one (1) winner will receive an adorable sand dollar necklace (like the one Amber has in the book!) from this etsy seller, AND a signed copy of The Day Before!
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Thanks so much to Lisa Schroeder for taking the time to answer my questions, and for providing this awesome giveaway!