How long did it take you to write OF BREAKABLE THINGS from start to finish?
Well … *clasps hands together* that’s the funny part. I never set out to publish Of Breakable Things. I just had some time and a story in my head, so I didn’t plot it out. I just wrote and wrote until the story was finished. The initial version was about 800 pages! My best friend asked to read it, and although I doubt she read all 800 pages, she liked the gist of it. We started googling how to become published, and whoa. If I knew then what I know now I would have taken up knitting or something. The first version took about a year to write. I spent the next year editing (and chopping it in half), and then I began submitting to agents. So, I guess the solid answer would be two years.
What was the inspiration for OF BREAKABLE THINGS?
I can’t pinpoint one thing, but I had this idea that wouldn’t leave me alone. I thought about how much we love things. How much we hate things. How much knowledge we gain in a lifetime. I couldn’t imagine that when the body died, that all of the mental energy just … disappeared. So I started thinking that maybe those emotions and that intelligence could come alive into a projection of a person.
Then I needed people. I needed a girl who would die prematurely, to be physically breakable. And once I began researching Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (vascular EDS if we want to get specific), Alex came alive in my mind. And Chase just appeared there beside her one day, holding her hand. Chase’s brothers kind of elbowed their way into the story after that. They’re pushy.
If you had your pick, what movie star(s) would you pick to play the main character(s)?
I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to blast some music and surf the internet for pictures. I enjoyed the hours it took me to find the faces matching the ones in my head, especially the boys. All of them are older now, but their teen pictures are perfect.
Alex is shorter, and her hair is a bit darker, but everything else is perfect especially the big eyes.
There are four Lasalle brothers, and they all look similar, but Chase (the youngest) and Kaleb (the oldest) look like a young Rob Lowe:
I’ll throw in this one too. I know you won’t complain:
Jonas and Gabe, the middle brothers, are more serious. The picture below of James Dean reminds me of Jonas, who is rougher around the edges.
Gabe is the bookworm, so let’s use James Dean with some frames.
Where's your favorite place to write?
I’m a regular at my local Barnes and Noble. It’s usually pretty quiet in the café. Also, there’s a beautiful store downtown in Annapolis with old books, wine, and coffee. It’s great, but parking is a nightmare, and I stress about things like that. So, usually I write in my office at my house because I have notes pinned to the walls and the desk and the chair and the door. All over. It’s a mess and I love it.
The cover is beautiful. How much input did you get to put into the design? And tell the truth - how many times a day do you stare at it? ;-)
HAHA! Thank you! I was asked originally what I envisioned for the cover. Broken glass. Maybe part of a face. Or a reflection in the glass. I had the opportunity to see a few of the ideas, and I was completely enamored by what was then a black and white image (it would later become the cover). I’m thrilled it was picked because I didn’t want something ethereal. Alex’s life was hard. Her illness was hard. Her death was hard. Her afterlife is no walk in the park either. That face has a great story to tell, and I hope readers think so, too. I hope they pick it up!
Do you have any trunked manuscripts? If so, how did you know it was time to move on?
A few, yes. I can usually tell after a few pages if the writing is going well or not. If I’m getting bored or restless writing it, a reader will feel the same way. Some ideas are so much fun, and I just can’t get into the characters. I never throw away anything though. One day it might work.
I see from your website bio that you have an agent. How long did you query, and how did you know she was "the one?"
I racked up a lot of rejections. I keep them in a computer file marked with an inappropriate word. Queries are so, so agonizing to write and my pitch was really lacking. I worked on it for months. Then, I got a few bites. I received some great criticism. I wrote and rewrote and revised and reworked. I know it’s been said again and again, but it only takes one person (and maybe a little luck). My agent, Rachael Dugas, found the manuscript in a pile left by a former agent. She was the one because she understood my vision for who I wanted the characters to be, and what I wanted that afterworld to be.
Any words of wisdom you can share with writers still working their way through the query trenches?
Enroll in workshops. I took a query workshop taught online by Kristin Nelson, and after that, I signed with Rachael.
What did you learn from the publication process that surprised you?
So. Many. Writers.
It really is so competitive. That’s why it’s difficult to land an agent. That’s why it’s tough to find an editor who hasn’t heard a pitch similar to yours.
On the plus side, networking with other authors has been inspiring. Writers are an odd breed, and it’s wonderful to be around people who are similar to me.
Congrats on the launch of your book, and thanks for the time!
Thank you so much for having me! Your questions were fabulous. Readers can find me online here:
Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
About Of Breakable Things:
A captivating debut about the fragility of life, love, and perspective.
Alex Ash was born broken. Living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is like living on death row, but she is willing to fight for her frail life as long as it includes the boy next door. Chase has always held the pieces of her together, but when he dies tragically, Alex’s unfavorable fate becomes a blessing in disguise.
Faced with a choice, she finds herself in a peculiar world where rooms can absorb emotions and secrets are buried six feet under. Among limitless minds, envious spirits, and soulless banshees, Alex hardly rests in peace.