Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a young adult author with two books. My contemporary mystery with a historical angle will be released on 9/19/17 (Boyds Mills Press) and my debut, League of Strays, came out in 2012 (Abrams.)
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
I was listening to NPR, over 20 years ago, when the idea for Stolen Secrets came to me. The reporter was interviewing a Holocaust survivor, and it struck me how old she was and that in the decades to come, we would lose all our firsthand witnesses to the atrocities of the Holocaust. I don’t want to give the super twisty ending away, but I also have been fascinated with research about what happened to Anne Frank and her family after they were taken from their hiding place in the annex. I combined those two concepts into a mystery.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I can only think if I have a hot drink within arm’s reach. After my allotment of coffee, which is embarrassingly high, I move to licorice tea.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
You know, I don’t have many favorite books. I like so many, and each for a different reason. That being said, growing up I was definitely influenced by Judy Blume (for her candor and courage to explore all subjects) and Lois Duncan (thrilling mysteries). I actually ended up becoming Lois’ Facebook friend during her last few years. And just a few weeks ago, I managed to talk Judy Blume into taking a photo with me at a writers conference. Total fan worship moment.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on three projects at one time. First, I’m turning Stolen Secrets into a screenplay, because I always liked the concept for cinema. Second, I’m working on a picture book about a Jewish immigrant family and their relationship with Louis Armstrong. And finally, I’m writing a new YA about an Italian exchange student and his American sister, and how they end up saving each other.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
LBSchulman.com. In addition to information about my books and me, I have articles there for writers, too. Also, on Quora, I love to answer questions about writing fiction.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Spend one month reading everything you can in your genre. Analyze it. See what works and what doesn’t and then try to take that insight and apply it to your own work. Books are free master classes for future authors!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Learn from other people’s mistakes. If you understand how they messed up, you won’t need to follow in faulty footsteps…
What are you reading now?
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. It’s a little slow for me, but the writing is incredible and it hasn’t lost my attention. It’s being executed rather brilliantly (so far).
What’s next for you as a writer?
I want to do something, anything, with the screenplay for Stolen Secrets. Usually writers create a book and if they are very lucky, someone options it and another writer does the screenplay. I am taking initiative, you could say. I’m also working hard to get Stolen Secrets into as many Holocaust museum stores as I can because I share their goal of keeping teens interested in history.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Oh no, I can’t answer this. It’s making my palms sweat. The pressure is too much. How about I bring my Kindle (and its library) so I don’t have to choose? Sorry, I know that’s cheating. So sue me.