Although not officially an Apocalypsie, debut author Leah Scheier has been riding high this past month with the debut of SECRET LETTERS. We caught up with her for a quick download!
Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic
country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she
learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora
jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in
solving the mystery of her cousin’s ransomed love letters.
arrives in London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her
dreams dashed, Dora is left to rely on her wits—and the assistance of an
attractive yet enigmatic young detective—to save her cousin’s
reputation and help rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way.
Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this gripping novel
heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice in young adult literature.
Welcome to the Lucky 13s! With your first book out, what did you do to celebrate?
I took an emergency resuscitation review course on my release date (June 26, 2012). That had nothing to do with my novel, although if I wanted to be melodramatic I'm sure I could find an unlikely link between the two things. :-)
My day job is pediatrics and every couple of years I have to get PALS recertified. I suppose I could have postponed it but I figured the alternative would be me sitting at home obsessively checking my computer.... for something. I've done enough of that over the last few months. So I thought-- why not keep myself busy on the big day?
In the evening my husband took me me out for a fancy dinner. And then I went to see BRAVE in the theaters. I can't get enough of strong heroines!
What did you enjoy most about writing SECRET LETTERS?
Writing Dora and Peter's conversations. I loved it every time he teased her and I so enjoyed hearing her snappy comebacks. Nothing makes me smile like a little sexy bickering!
Was there anything about it that surprised you?
The revision process was full of surprises. It usually went like this: "Wait--my editor wants me to change what??" *hand wringing* *several frantic calls to my sister* "Ohhhh, there's no way that's going to work! What am I going to do? *strangled sob*" "Okay, okay-- I'll give it a try...." *scribbles frantically for a couple of weeks*......"Oh, my God. I can't believe it. That is so much better!!!" And------Repeat. And---Repeat. I learned so much during each round of revisions. And my editors (Lisa and Catherine) were the best teachers.
What has your journey to publication been like?
I was lucky; I found my agent (Irene Kraas) pretty quickly, less than two months after I sent out my first query letter. From there it took about six months until we found an editor who was interested. From that point to signing the contract was actually a pretty long process– more than a year. This was mainly because I had originally intended the book for adults, and revising it for a young adult audience took a while. After I signed the contract it was another year and a half of further revisions. So– altogether almost four years from the time I put the final period on my first draft to publication date. But I count myself very fortunate. SECRET LETTERS is actually the first novel I ever wrote and when I started it I never dreamed that anyone would ever read it!
Do you have a typical writing day, and can you describe it?
Not really. I write around my day job (pediatrician) and my three daughters. Usually when the kids are in bed or in between patients. I also allow myself ridiculously long breaks after I finish a project, to re-fuel by catching up on great movies and reading everything I can get my hands on.
What’s next for you?
I am currently sketching out a sequel for SECRET LETTERS; more on that as it comes together! A few months ago I finished a second novel and sent it to my agent. It's completely different from the first. GOLDEN BOY is a contemporary YA story about a teenage girl whose first love is diagnosed with schizophrenia. There are a lot of books about depression, anorexia and bipolar disorder in the current market, but I've seen very few that address this heartbreaking illness. I know it is a heavy topic but the focus of Golden Boy is on the person behind the disease, and the girl who falls in love with him. I am hoping that Irene will find a great house for it! (I'm still waiting on that...)
And last of all, because we’re a superstitious lot here at the Lucky 13s, we love to find out what other writers’ superstitions and lucky charms are. Do you have any, and if so, what are they?
I have a Sherlock teddy bear that sits next to me when I write. He is my lucky charm.
About Leah Scheier