Today's Muse: Courtney Sheinmel, author of new release My So-Called Family (Simon & Schuster, 2008).
Starring in: An interview!
Bookworm: What inspired you to write My So-Called Family?
Courtney: There were a few different things that all happened around the same time - a friend of mine used a donor to have a baby, and my best friend told me about a movie that featured a number of donor kids. Then one day I was watching The Today Show, and there were a bunch of women being interviewed whose kids all had the same donor. I thought about what it would be like to have siblings you might not even know about, and the character Leah was born.
Bookworm: Which character can you relate the most with?
Courtney: I think I relate to Leah, the narrator, the most. Even though I have a dad and not a donor, I did give Leah a lot of my personality traits. Worrying what other people think of me was a very big thing for me in middle school and high school, much in the way that it is for Leah. I also picture Leah looking something like me - green eyes, light brown hair, and on the short side.
Bookworm: What do you like most about writing for kids/young adults?
Courtney: I think the tween/teen years are just about the most interesting years of life. In a lot of ways, the person you're going to be as an adult is shaped by the people who are around you and the experiences you have during that period. At least that's the way it was for me. Also, writing for kids and young adults gives me an excellent excuse for reading other MG/YA books, which are some of the greatest stories I've ever read.
Bookworm: What is your favorite modern young adult book?
Courtney: I read Shug by Jenny Han a couple years ago, and I fell in love with it. I bought it for my niece, and talked about it with her and her friends. And now I'm anxiously awaiting her next book. Some other recent favorites are Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr, After the Wreck...by Joyce Carol Oates, A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt, and of course the books by my fellow Class of 2k8 members!
Bookworm: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Courtney: Read, eat good food, go to movies, go to Broadway shows, and just hang out with my family and friends.
Bookworm: What do you want your readers to know about you?
Courtney: I want readers to know how thrilled I am that they are actually reading my book! I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. When I was in elementary school, I used to staple loose leaf pages together to make "books". So the fact that a real book with my name on the cover exists in the world is the most exciting thing - and the idea that people will pick it up and read it makes me feel so honored.
Many thanks to Courtney for the awesome interview! Keep your eyes peeled for a review of My So-Called Family coming soon, and don't forget to check it out (it was released yesterday-so, yes, you can find it on Amazon)!