Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Interview With Myself About Confessions Of An Immortal Heart

So...I'm bored and tired so I'm going to interview myself to answer all of your lovely questions about Confessions of an Immortal Heart. Why am I asking them? Because they're things I've been wanting to explain to people who are in the process of reading, or potential agents:

When did you write this?
I wrote this my sophomore year of high school? I know it wasn't my freshmen year, but I may have started it then. I finished it sometime in college when I submitted (kind of crappily) to an agent. Of course I got rejected.

Why did you write this?
Erika Wilke told me one day to write a story for her...so I started...and kept going...and it kept going. I felt bad because I kept saying "Oh, you'll have it by Easter, by my birthday...by the time I graduate...." but she still hasn't gotten a copy....(Now she and I don't really talk that much..)

So.....What happens if this gets published?
Well, hopefully I'd be able to do a book tour. I've moved around a lot, so I have three solid fan bases: in the towns of Shepherd, Mt. Pleasant, Auburn, and Bay City, Michigan (my home state), so I feel like that would be a good place to start. (I'd LOVE to have a book signing at Book Mark in Mt. Pleasant, or somewhere in Bay City, and I feel like I would have a good turn out.)
In Biddeford/Portland, Maine, where I attended the University of New England (getting a Med Bio degree!). I have a lot of friends that way who constantly say, "When you get published, I'll be in the store to buy it!" When I was published in Zephyr, a few people made me sign their copies which was HUGELY flattering. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have a signing at Bullmoose. And then on the Outerbanks of North Carolina where I currently reside. It's a smaller following, but I work for a pretty big company (Kitty Hawk Kites), so I feel maybe we could do a co-thing? Try to get both of our names out there?
Thankfully with these places, I feel I'd be able to set up the book signings myself (with maybe some research and direction from an agent/editor...but if they don't have time, I could figure it out. It's not that hard to call places and I'm familiar with the areas in question/the bookstores.)

So, the main characters don't have names...why?
When I first wrote it, I just kept going back to "I" and "me" and "he" and "him" thinking that I would name the characters later. But as time progressed, I listened to people talk about their significant others, and they constantly said, "I'm going out with him" "She's mad at me again". The more I listened the more I heard that we as people don't usually use names, and it's seems like it's a sign of affection. If you're with someone, you love them, and everyone else knows. You talk about them without using their names....so...if you're telling a story about losing the person you love, everyone should know who that is without having to say the name.
I feel like this tactic makes the character more relateable (some may disagree, like my sister). But without names, the characters can become anyone they want to be, it can become your story, it can become mine.
Plus, I read Swann's Way in college, and the narrator was "I"...so I felt it was okay.

How many rounds of editing has this piece gone through?
Oh geeze....umm...a million?
When it was first finished, I left it alone for a few years and went back to it. As I read through it, I found that the writing was unGodly weak, but I had some solid ideas behind the writing. Around the same time I read Three Weeks With My Brother, by Nick Sparks, and he talked about his first book, and how he scrapped it, and I considered doing the same with this...but there was something about it saying "Just edit me, just edit me!" so for the last few years, it's what I've been doing.
When I finally got it to the point I started considering submitting to agents, I sent it out to friends who were avid readers and read things like Twilight, or Harry Potter, and things that were slightly outside our realm of comfort (except, again for my sister...this is NOT her genre). They LOVED the idea behind it. My sister on the other hand said, "I read three pages, lost interest. Please don't make me read anymore."

Wow, that was harsh....what did you do?
Well...I looked at from the reader/author relationship. If she's not connecting well enough to the character, it's a problem on my end of things. I ended up cutting the intro from about 20 pages, down to 5. I described in more detail the world the narrator lived in and rearranged a million scenes.
She later had a problem with the first meeting scene, so I added more dialog with that. I also completely deleted chapter 9 because...well...it sucked. I'm not afraid of changing things as long as it conveys what the story is about

And what is the novel about?
Hahahaha, I hate this question. Actually after the first rejection today, I went to Taco Tuesdays and told the bartender about being rejected after she asked me how I was. We finished our conversation and I heard someone behind me say "So...what's your novel about?"
I laughed and said, "Okay, but you gotta not judge me."
So in short: The narrator is immortal (and unnamed as previously discussed). While most stories have the man stronger, this one revolves around her trying to protect him in some way. Well....he gets murdered, and she basically loses her mind and goes on a killing rampage.
(In this description, I leave out the fact that 90% of the novel builds up to that moment, and explains their relationship together. It follows their meeting where she hated him, to falling in love with him, right up to his death).

Wow. That's pretty intense. What is your inspiration behind this?
Well...there's a lot. The relationship/emotional aspect of the story revolves around my relationship with the guy I loved in high school. Some of the stories are based around things we did, and really it gives me the strongest sense of love and the ability to write about what I felt at that time period.
The death scene and those emotions around it are tied into the death of my best friend, Kellie Lynne Wheeler, who was killed in a car accident when she was seventeen. (I was in my sophomore year of high school when my sister called and told me the news...). It's hard going from returning home from school each day and waiting by the computer to chat with her...to suddenly never seeing her log on again. I wanted something to cement the fact that it's okay to grieve forever, to be in pain from the absence of someone you love. I was so pissed when I went to school, and a week later one of my friends said, "It's been a week, you're not over it yet?" I wanted to strangle him.
I wrote the murder scenes when I was pissed off at my sisters for one reason or another. It helped manage my anger :)

What do books do you consider to be similar?
Umm....the romances are similar to that of the Twilight Saga (the whole "Oh man, this person is my entire world, and I feel like I'd die without them) and the Kissed By An Angel Trilogy (the guy dies and she has to learn how to function again....)

What is your target age group?
When I started this, I was in high school, so that was my original target. But now I'm 22, and have friends my age, and older, and younger. Most of the people who've been reading this are between the ages of 20-40+, but most of us still feel like young adults. I think because of the LOSS and LOVE factors of the novel, anyone who has lost someone can related to the narrator's story. So really, all ages, I guess (though there are some rather graphic scenes)...so maybe young adult and older? If you're making me be specific, I'd aim for 14 and older.

Would you be willing to do an audio CD or anything like that?
I would be. I'm not sure how those work, like...would I be the one reading, or do they hire someone to do it? I'd honestly kind of like to be the reader (don't get me wrong, I hate the sound of my voice), but I LOVE Sylvia Plath, and for the first time last year, I heard a recording of her reading, and it was....horrifying, and inspiring, and if my work reaches anyone, I'd like them to be able to hear -me-. If not...that's okay, I'm sure I'll get to do a partial reading at some point in my life :) Yey youtube!

What other things are you working on?
Well, I'm midway through my second novel, which I started writing because of the great Tammy Henry. If that one gets published, it will be dedicated to her. It's tentatively called The Secret Keeper. I've been working on the ending for quite some time now....
I also write short stories, nonfiction, and poetry, so a lot of my time has been spent submitting things to competitions and trying to bulk up my resume/publishing background.

Okay, I feel like that's sufficient. If you guys have any questions about the novel, the submission process, or anything else, feel free to let me know and I'll answer!


  1. um, did you interview "yourself" or Stephanie Schmidt?

  2. This is very informative and it was fun to read. I cant wait until you have a real interview by a real journalist. Keep up the good work and dont let the haters get you down.


Please know that if you comment and I don't respond, it's not because I don't love you. It's because I don't have wifi, but I do have a bad memory.

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