Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Interview with Cheryl Renee Herbsman

Go check out Cheryl's guest blog over on the Book Chic myspace here!

1) How did you get the idea for Breathing?

The initial idea for this book came to me at a writing group. We were doing this exercise where you have to write down a sound (the ocean), two numbers (15 and 36), a color (yellow), and a secret (can’t say this one). Then we wrote a piece that incorporated all those elements. On that night, a woman with a very strong Carolinian accent came to the group for the first time. Something about hearing her voice and those particular details set the story in motion. Savannah was born, and once that happened, she pretty much took over. Having said that, I’m sure that my own long-distance relationship with an older boy as a teen affected my telling of the story.

2) Are you like your character Savannah at all? Or are you more like another character in the novel? How much of yourself do you put into your characters?

I am like Savannah in that I’ve always been a dreamer and a romantic. I have to admit I also kind of felt like no one understood how hard it was to have a long-distance relationship as a teen. Like her, I did well in school also. I think my characters are affected by me on a subconscious level. I don’t necessarily intend to put myself into them. It just sort of happens.

3) What book(s) are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about it?

I’m working on a novel that takes places at summer camp. It’s about the power of friendship, self-discovery, and of course, romance!

4) What sorts of writing rituals do you have, if any? What's your writing process like?

I write while my kids are at school. I sit on my bed, usually wrapped up in a blanket, ‘cause I’m always cold. I light candles and incense to set the mood and make the atmosphere feel different. Then I sit with my laptop or pen and paper and try to just listen to what wants to be written.

5) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?

Hot cinnamon!

6) What book(s) are you reading now, or are about to start?

I’m reading Susane Colasanti’s Waiting for You.

7) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

The standard advice is write a lot and read a lot. But beyond that, write what moves you. And if you hope to get published, when that time comes, take classes or go to conferences that teach you about the business end of publication. There’s a lot to learn. And sadly, having a good story isn’t enough by itself. And finally, believe in your dreams and never give up!

1 comment:

  1. great interview! the way you write is the way I read. I have to be comfy and I am also always cold.