Saturday, August 25, 2012

Behind The Pages #10: Lisa Luedeke Interview & Giveaway

Lisa Luedeke is the awesome author behind the debut novel Smashed. A story about a field hockey star battling addiction and other things, more or less. 
It's definitely a pleasure having Lisa on my blog, and I wanted to introduce her to my cool readers if you haven't discovered her as yet. Check out the interview and continue below for a chance to win a signed copy of Smashed.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

In high school.  I was assigned to write a personal narrative, which is like writing a short story, except that it’s true, it’s an incident from your life.  I loved the process immediately: the blending of description and dialogue to try to convey an experience in such a way that others could also see it, and feel it in an emotional way.  My teacher loved my story, and that helped, too.  I was not a fabulous student across the board, but my teachers started giving me great feedback about my writing.  It was their encouragement combined with my love of the process that did it.

Who are some of your biggest influences in literature?

In terms of writing for young adults, Robert Cormier was a big influence.  His book The Chocolate War knocked me out when I first read it twenty years ago.  It was just superior writing and character development and storytelling.  It was about evil.  I knew I wanted to write like that, and explore the dark side of people the way he did.  His books are all very dark. 
I also love Jane Austen.  She’s all about character, and character-development.  I both admire her tremendous talent and love reading books that are character-driven.

DSC_0295.JPG Your debut novel is described as compelling and realistic. In your words, what's Smashed really about?

I find that’s the hardest question, because to me it’s about many things.  It’s about loneliness and sadness and loss.  It’s about perseverance and resilience.  It’s about making life altering mistakes and finding your way back from that, with help.  It’s about friendship.  
Some things you can control in life and some things you can’t. Sorting all that out and moving forward is a central theme of the book.

How difficult was it to write on a topic like Alcoholism?

It wasn’t difficult for me, because it’s a subject I know a lot about.  It runs heavily in both sides of my family, back for many generations.  Not long ago I asked my father about a great uncle I’d never met, and he said, “I don’t know what happened to him; he just disappeared.”  Of course, I thought immediately about Katie’s father in the book disappearing.  Alcoholism wreaks havoc on families.

Your next novel is rumored to be just as intense. What made you decide to write in this direction as appose to going into the trending fantasy genre?

I always wanted to write realistic stories.  In fact, making my stories believable is very, very important to me.  If they aren’t, I’ll lose my readers.  Growing up, I read realistic YA.  I loved S. E. Hinton, for example.  I’d have no business writing fantasy, because it’s a genre I simply have never read until recently (I love the Mortal Instruments series).  I know very little about it.    I believe you should write what you love, never mind the trends.  Trends come and go.

What are you hoping to achieve with your novels?

I want to write books that keep readers in the grip of a really good story.  I also want to write stories that linger in the minds of my readers, stories that make people think.

Where do you get the motivation to keep writing and doing what you love?

I can’t not do it.  The stories come and the characters come.  They fill up my head and I have to get them out. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard, or that I don’t procrastinate sometimes.  It’s a bit like exercise: I love it once I get out the door, but getting out the door is sometimes hard.  You learn to be disciplined.  The payoff is there in the late revision stages and the final draft.

Step outside of your passion for a minute, if you couldn't write what else would you be doing?

Well, I am a full time editor of professional books for English Language Arts teachers, and I have been for fifteen years.  I love that job.  I took a year off once and missed it terribly.  Someday I’d like to teach Ashtanga Yoga, which I’ve been practicing for fifteen years now, too.

Thank you so much for taking the time. Do you have any words of encouragement for aspiring writers and readers of your work?

Write every day.  Make it a habit.  You will absolutely improve through practice. By the time I’d written an entire draft of my first book, I was a new writer.  I’d improved dramatically.  Second, writing and publishing is all about perseverance.  You can’t give up.  You need to be able to respond to criticism and weather rejection.  Every writer goes through it.  Keep doing what you love and write about things you are passionate about! That passion will shine through in your writing.

~Book Blurb~

Released: August 21st 2012 | Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis via Goodreads:

A field hockey star grapples with addiction in this riveting debut that will appeal to fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’sSpeak.

Stay out of trouble for one more year, and Katie Martin can leave her small town loneliness behind forever. She is a field hockey star on the fast track to a college scholarship, but her relationship with alcohol has always been a little questionable. Then trouble finds her. Alec is the most popular guy in school, and also the biggest bully—with his sights set firmly on Katie. When Alec turns on the charm, Katie thinks she must have been wrong about him.

Except that she wasn’t. On a rain-soaked, alcohol-drenched night, one impulsive decision leaves Katie indebted to Alec in the worst possible way. This debut novel is a fast-paced and compelling story of addiction, heartbreak, and redemption.



  1. Lisa has such a beautiful smile! And her book, Smashed, sounds powerful - definitely going on my want list :)

    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

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  3. Aww I love how she decided to become a writer! A teacher's encouragement always meant a ton to me too! I don't read too much realistic fiction but I do love when a book really hits honestly on tough issues. This books sounds great and I love the cover. Thanks for sharing the interview!!

  4. Thanks for the giveaway! I'd love to read this book!

  5. Wow. Smashed sounds like a fantastic book. Imsuch a fun of Contemporart ya. Can't wait to read this. And nice interview!

  6. Smashed does sound really interesting. I can't wait to read it :)

  7. I've been wanting to read this and review for a while, hope I win!


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