Today's Muse: Laura Schaefer
Author of: The upcoming Teashop Girls (review here)
Bookworm: To start, what's your favorite kind of tea?
Laura: My standard tea, the one I drink over and over again, is English Breakfast tea, which is a black tea. I enjoy making it with cream and sugar--delicious! I also enjoy white tea, which has such a delicate and lovely flavor that I drink it all by itself, with no cream, sugar, or lemon. Finally, I really like citrus-flavored green tea made by Salada. It's nothing fancy, but I feel really healthy and good when I drink it, because they fortify it with extra antioxidants. That one I have with honey.
Bookworm: Who or what inspired you to write The Teashop Girls?
Laura: I was vacationing in Florida in the summer of 2005. The small town outside of Orlando where my dad and brother live has a tea shop called Sherlock's. It was when I was sitting there, on its outdoor patio, that the title The Teashop Girls came to me. I'd been a freelance writer for many years by then and always enjoyed taking my laptop to work in coffee and tea shops and cafés. It seemed natural to write about such a lively--yet comforting and peaceful--setting. I remembered how voraciously I read books when I was 10, 11, 12 years old and how the books I loved at that age were warm escape from everyday cares. I wanted to create that kind of world for my readers, and when I looked around Sherlock's that day, I knew I had found my inspiration.
Bookworm: Which Teashop Girl are you most like?
Laura: I have a bit of all the Teashop Girls in me, I think. I'm sensitive and sometimes self-conscious like Annie--yet fierce about what I believe in. I'm drawn to art like Genna and tend to enjoy lots of attention like her, too. Finally, I have a deep practical, matter-of-fact, type-A streak like Zoe. I guess when I created the girls, I really found an excuse to write all about myself! Huh.
Bookworm: Were any of the characters in the book based off of real-life people?
Laura: Yes, loosely. I'm lucky enough to have such a wonderful family, group of friends, and co-workers. I think I've stolen bits and pieces of lots of them to create the world of The Teashop Girls. But no character IS someone I know. It's my little fantasy world.
Bookworm: Did you have any influence in the choice of cover for your book?
Laura: I did not, other than to voice my complete love and enthusiasm for it. Isn't it the cutest? Annie is just how I pictured her.
Bookworm: Are you planning on writing any more books for teens?
Laura: Absolutely. There's nothing else I do--besides maybe dancing--that makes me happier than getting into the writing "zone", and just flying with it. My next project is (tentatively) called Here's Looking at You, Frankie Sullivan. It's about a teenager living in Hollywood during World War II. She's immersed in the world of movie-making, and I'm having so much fun working on it. Last summer, the Michael Mann picture Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp did some location filming in Madison, Wisconsin (where I live). I watched everything that went into shooting a scene, and I thought "I want to write about this. It's fascinating!"
Also, I plan to have The Teashop Girls become a series. I have a second book outlined now, and hope to begin working on it soon.
Congratulations, Laura on the almost-release of The Teashop Girls (coming out December 31)! (: