Thursday, March 19, 2009
Cheryl Renee Herbsman Interview!
Cheryl Renee Herbsman is the author of the upcoming novel, Breathing, which will be released next month.
Savannah would be happy to spend the summer in her coastal Carolina town working at the library and lying in a hammock reading her beloved romance novels. But then she meets Jackson. Once they lock eyes, she’s convinced he’s the one—her true love, her soul mate, a boy different from all the rest. And at first it looks like Savannah is right. Jackson abides by her mama’s strict rules, and stays by her side during a hospitalization for severe asthma, which Savannah becomes convinced is only improving because Jackson is there. But when he’s called away to help his family—and seems uncertain about returning—Savannah has to learn to breathe on her own, both literally and figuratively.
How did you come up with the storyline for Breathing?
I usually don't start with a storyline. I start with a character. Then I just write and see where it takes me.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what kinds? Do you have any special playlists?
I listen to music when I'm thinking about the story, but not when I'm actually writing. When I write, I try to leave behind the world around me and sink into the world of the characters. When I do listen to music, I like a variety of kinds. Here's a list of some of the songs I listened to while writing BREATHING:
Love Story - Taylor Swift
Fall For You -- Secondhand Serenade
Hurry Home -- Wavelength
Wish You Were Here --Fleetwood Mac
Going to Carolina In My Mind - James Taylor
Hot ‘n Cold - Katy Perry
Broken - Secondhand Serenade
Our Song - Taylor Swift
What made you decide you wanted to be an author?
I just love writing. I like connecting with characters, hearing their stories, and getting them down on paper. And I'm so excited to be sharing a story through the amazing path of publication.
Do you incorporate any of your childhood experiences into your characters or your stories?
Definitely. Sometimes on purpose and sometimes without even realizing it. I fell in love with my husband when I was about fourteen. He's older than me. And our relationship was long distance for a while. So I used a lot of the feelings I had then in Savannah's story because she's in love with an older guy and they are long-distance at times.
What is your favorite part about being an author?
I love when a story is really flowing, when I fall into that space where the story comes to life. It's like the best ride ever.
Who has been the most influential person in your writing career?
I don't think there has been a specific person.
How did Breathing change from the first draft to the copy that will be in stores?
There were certainly lots of small changes -- like editing out some of the dialect to make it easier to read, developing the characters further, etc. I think the biggest change was giving Savannah a summer job. Before that she had been spending too much time moping about missing Jackson.
Do you play any instruments? If no, what instrument do you wish you could play?
I really wish I played an instrument. I took a few months of guitar as a teenager and can still play a little, but not very well. I wish I'd stuck with it.
What was your favorite subject in high school? Why?
Psychology. It was what I studied in college and graduate school. Getting my first taste of it in high school was exciting, because I knew I wanted to pursue it.
What is your advice to teens who want to be authors?
Do it because it's fun. Try not to fall into critiquing too early. Write, write, and write some more. And then also read a lot. Let yourself play with it without worrying about making it "good" or "publishable" or whatever. Let yourself write whatever wants to come without judging it.
Thank you, Cheryl!