Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on YA author Lisa Rosinsky this Friday! Lisa will be in our 65 James Street store THIS SUNDAY, May 6, from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM reading from, talking about, and signing her debut YA novel, Inevitable and Only.
Lisa Rosinsky is a poet and young adult author. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, she now lives in Boston and is a senior editor at Barefoot Books, where she gets to edit, art-direct, and sometimes even write picture books. She has worked a variety of odd jobs, including vegan restaurant waitress, tarot and witchcraft book editor, and actress. Her favorite role was as half of a two-person traveling production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that toured the state of Maryland. She’s happy that her job now involves significantly fewer costume changes.
Thank you so much for joining us, Lisa! What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
Inevitable and Only takes place in Baltimore; the main character’s family lives in the same neighborhood (Hamden) where I used to live. They’re quirky, artsy people, like the people I grew up with. Acadia, the main character, isn’t me—but scenes and characters from my favorite plays inspired her love for theater, and many of the places in the book are real places that are near and dear to me. (Like the corner ice cream shop, Charmington’s, where you really can get chocolate-fudge-and-Old-Bay ice cream.)
The best part of the research for this book was digging up and reading through my journals from college, when I threw myself into drama…remembering the thrill of discovery in a new role, finding all the ways acting lit me up and made me glow. I’ve always been a writer, but I think I really found my voice on stage. That blossoming, that self-discovery, brought Acadia’s story to life.
What was the inspiration for [newest release/series release is part of/spotlighted release]? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
Inevitable and Only is about three of my favorite things—sisters, secrets, and Shakespeare.
But originally, the idea came from a lie I told when I was 12. I’ve always wanted an older brother. I actually invented one in middle school, and all my friends thought he was real, until the stories I told about him got too ridiculously far-fetched. But I never forgot that idea of a secret sibling, and I love family dramas.
One night, on a long drive (I always get my best ideas on middle-of-the-night drives or in the shower), the name Acadia popped into my head. I started wondering about her . . . why did she have that unusual name? What was her story? I gave her an artsy, Jewish, close-knit family like the one I grew up in–plus, that secret sibling I’d always wanted–and the story started to unfold from there.
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
I love Cadie’s sister, Elizabeth. She’s quiet, studious, and carrying a heavy load of grief in this story. She’s also grappling with religion and sexuality, as I did growing up. I’m a lot like Acadia, but I also see a lot of myself reflected in in Elizabeth. Of all the characters in the book, I wonder most about her and what she’s up to now.
And I fell in love with Cadie’s drama teacher, Robin Goodfellow, who walked into my brain fully formed and speaking his own lines of dialogue. He might be making a guest appearance in a future book…
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
Silence. I absolutely cannot write if there’s any background music. I grew up playing a lot of music—piano, violin, singing, a little guitar—so when I hear music, my brain automatically switches into active-listening mode instead of writing mode.
I also constantly reread my words silently to myself, in my head, as I’m writing—I think that’s a habit from my work as a poet. That’s how I know if I’ve got the pacing down, if the rhythm’s right. Listening to music interferes with hearing all of that.
But when I’m trying to capture the mood of a new story, or if I’m taking a break from writing to go for a walk and think through a plot problem, I love listening to music. Sometimes a line of lyrics or a feeling from a song will inspire a whole new scene or character.
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
I sure do! I have a cat, Zoe, who thinks she’s a dog (she loves tummy rubs, she wags her tail when she’s happy, and she comes running to the door to greet me when I come home). She is very helpful with my writing process. She curls up on my lap and refuses to get up, which means I have to keep my butt in my chair and keep writing. Sometimes that’s all you need.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
The beginning, the middle, and the end. Also, the title.
I’m not kidding! So far, every book I’ve tried to write has been completely different. I started off as a poet, and I only wrote poetry for many years, so fiction still feels new and scary to me. I can’t just quit when I’ve written fourteen really great lines?!
So I don’t know how to answer that question…except to say, I try to overcome it by finishing the things I start, and then starting new things. That’s a paraphrase of a Neil Gaiman quote, and it’s the best writing advice I’ve ever heard.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)—though they should totally check here first!)
Anywhere you can buy books! You can also find my stories published in back issues of Cricket and Highlights. And my poetry has been published in a variety of journals, print and online. You can find a list on my website: lisarosinskywrites.com
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
Twitter: @Lisa Rosinsky
Thank you again, for the great interview, Lisa! We look forward to having you at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester THIS SUNDAY, May 6, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM!