Today I’m really excited to have been given the opportunity to interview one of Carina’s newest authors, Liesel Schmidt. Liesel’s debut novel, Coming Home to You is released TODAY (click here to get your copy) and it sounds amazing. Liesel’s writing has already been comparied to that of Jojo Moyes and Cecelia Ahern so I am sure I’m not alone with having HUGE expectations for this novel. Liesel tells us what it’s like to be compared to such authors and what it’s like to (finally!) have her book out in the big, wide world…
Hello Liesel, a big welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! Thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Hmmm…I guess I would have to say I’m a thirty-one year-old former bookkeeper turned freelance writer. I’m single and live in Pensacola, Florida, and spend everyday chained to my laptop, pounding the keys as I work on articles I’ve been assigned for various publications in my area…I have to be honest, I think I’m quite boring, so I’m not sure what else to say!
Can you tell us a bit about your debut novel, Coming Home to You (released 6th October 2014 by Carina)?
I wrote the novel six years ago, and I began writing it sort of just for fun…never really thought it would go anywhere, but when the opportunity to write professionally unexpectedly came across my path, I decided to take the plunge and see if I could finish it. Coming Home to You is––to put it in a nutshell––about a young woman trying to find herself and her purpose after she loses her fiancé. Part of that finding herself is finding a place to heal, a place to call her very own and learn her own heart. The book is about finding both a literal and an emotional home, I guess you could say.
I love the sound of Coming Home to You, the storyline sounds amazing and I can’t wait to start reading! What inspired you to write this novel?
I don’t know that it was really one thing in particular. When I started writing it, I was going though a lot of things emotionally––I was struggling with some unrequited love and trying to stay sane. A friend of mine had just committed suicide, I was stuck in a job that left me feeling really unfulfilled somehow, and I was just experiencing so many things that gave me ideas for different characters and situations.
Are the characters in Coming Home to You completely fictional or are they in any way based on yourself or people in real life?
A few are inspired by certain characteristics in people in my own life, and there’s really a lot of me poured into Zoe’s character.
I’ve heard some fantastic things about your writing and seen Coming Home to You compared to Cecelia Ahern and Jojo Moyes’ novels. How does it feel as a debut author to hear those comparisons?
It’s a huge honour to hear such high praise, and I hope that other people agree. It’s a little overwhelming, too!
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
Tears. Lots of tears. Tons of researching different agencies and query letter formulas and what to do or say or include for different packets to be sent to different people and companies. It was a full time job in itself, and so very much of a waiting game. You really learn how to take rejection and look at it with the realization that it’s not always even about you. Some agencies and publishers are just so busy that they don’t take time to even see potential in a manuscript. And then they send you the insult of a poorly worded form letter rejection. So much paper gets wasted in the whole process! I actually finished the manuscript in 2008 and started looking for an agent then, but it took more than a year to finally get an agent. Still, once you get an agent, you’re far from done. They have to start doing their own hunting for a publisher, and then the whole will they or won’t they dance starts again. More tears. More wasted paper and waiting. I had to play this game until earlier this year, when my agent and I decided to part ways. I wasn’t quite ready to give up yet, so I started looking for agents again, and then I found Carina. After checking to see if they took US authors, I sent them my query and a few pages, and then they sent an email asking if we could chat on the phone. That was one very important phone call, as it turned out!
Has it always been your ambition to be a writer?
Not at all! Writing used to terrify me, since I always put so much pressure on myself to get it all right. It seemed almost overwhelming most of the time, so I didn’t think it would ever be something I was doing EVERY day.
How does it feel to have your book out in the big wide world?
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I have so many! Cecelia Ahern, Mary Kay Andrews, Janet Evanovich, Jennifer Cruise, Claire Cook, Fannie Flagg, Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner…and a whole maddening list of British writers. I’d be broke if there wasn’t a library, I read so many books! I think my favourite genre would be contemporary women’s fiction. I also love witty memoirs.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
I don’t want to give away the surprise! But it’s definitely not a sequel, I will say that much!
To get your copy of Coming Home to You (released 6th October 2014 by Carina) click here.
A huge thank you to Liesel and to Sara from Carina. ♥