The illustration is of Malcolm, the angel! He's sweet and gets into a lot of trouble because he is curious about people. For the drawing, I tried to incorporate coffee and some misty-dawn type of feel. (You like my art-speak there?)
1) What is COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL about?
It's about a sixteen-year-old girl named Katrina who feels totally lost. She's got these two friends with clearcut goals and amazing talents, but she has no idea what she's going to do with herself once high school is over. She works every day in her grandmother's coffeehouse and basically that's her life. That's why people call her Coffeehouse Girl.
It's about an angel who also feels lost.
It's about how we choose to define ourselves. Do our feelings of self worth come from the outside or the inside?
2) I'm sure a lot of teens can relate to that. What inspired you to write the story?
This conversation I had with a friend whose daughter is also 16. The mom was basically freaking out because she thought her daughter didn't have enough stuff scheduled for the summer, and that she wouldn't be able to get into a good college. This girl's summer itinerary included swim club, sailing lessons, Spanish lessons, a volunteer church project, and a bunch of other things I can't remember. I felt stressed out just hearing about it. And I realized that this generation of teens is under a ridiculous amount of pressure to succeed. Somewhere along the way, our priorities got really messed up.
3) What is your writing process like?
I've been under contract with two publishers for a couple of years now so my deadlines can be very tight. I write mostly from 10 to 2 but usually not on weekends. I prefer to write outside the house, at a coffehouse or library. After 3 my kids are home and then my life as a mom takes over.
4) Can you describe your journey toward getting published?
My first novel got me an agent and 12 submissions to publishing houses, and 12 rejection letters. I wrote a couple more books but nothing clicked into place. Rejection almost got the best of me. I came very close to quitting but then I decided to try a different type of story. I wrote a middle grade novel called To Catch a Mermaid, got a new agent, and it went to auction in 2005.
And here I am.
5) Now, for some hints about your next project! You named a secondary character in your work-in-progress book "Realm." Can you give me a preview of what she's like?
Ah yes. Well, I met you last year at an event at Barnes and Noble in Bellevue. Your name really stuck with me. I'd never heard it before and loved it. So in my next teen novel, which I'm currently revising, there is a girl named Realm. She's darker than my usual characters. She struggles with an eating disorder.
Ooo, a dark character named Realm! I think I'm going to have a lot of fun reading this book. *g* Thank you so much, Suzanne!
Want to read COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL? You can order it here!
If you're an author, editor, agent, or illustrator and would like a five question interview and a drawing of your character (or of yourself), email me at rtlovejoy (at) yahoo (dot) com. Check out the FAQ page for more info.