Sunday, February 28, 2010

Teen Author Interview: Alexa Schnee

First of all, can you tell us about yourself, Alexa? What's the most interesting thing about you?

Well, I’m an eighteen year old high school/college student. (I graduated early so I could take some college classes.) I think I’m pretty normal…though my brother and sister might say differently. I like playing my guitar, watching movies, and reading. As far as interesting goes, I would say my love of writing is the most interesting thing about me, probably.

How does it feel to be a teenager and know that your novel Shakespeare's Lady will be published in 2011?

It hasn’t really hit me yet, even though I’ve known for several months. I still don’t think about it in the sense that my life has changed—even though it certainly has! I feel lucky to have found something I love so early in life and that people have given me a chance to do what I want.

Can you tell us about how your book became published?

I went to the Mount Hermon Writers’ Conference in California last year where I met some wonderful people. I pitched them the novel I had written and some of the editors from different publishing houses asked to see it. I sent it to Beth, whom is now my current editor, and Guideposts agreed to publish it.

How did you react when you found out the incredible news?

As with everything in the publishing world, negotiations were slow, so it wasn’t an instant moment where I knew it was going to be published. However, after I got the check in the mail I was pretty ecstatic. I think we had a mini-party that night with a few close friends and family. It is still a pretty surreal experience.

What sort of challenges have you faced from dealing with your career as an author and being a high school student?

This is a really good question. To say it hasn’t been a little challenging would not be true. Sometimes it’s hard to balance what is a higher priority. Both are important and trying to maintain grades and get your edits done in time can be a bit stressful, but it all works out in the end.

What's your favorite part about writing historical fiction?

Historical fiction is wonderful because it can transport you to another world. I love learning about how people lived during different time periods. How social norms differ from modern times just fascinates me, and yet, the people of the past felt the same emotions we do.

When did you first decide you wanted to be an author? What steps did you take to reach that goal?

I think everyone who wants to be an author has that desire from the moment they are born, so honestly, I can’t give you an exact moment when I decided that writing was what I wanted to do. For as long as I remember I have loved books. I was pretty young when I discovered I wanted to write them. I took a writing class when I was twelve and worked on my stories, but I never thought of writing a novel. It was only when my writing mentor, Tricia Goyer, said that she would help us publish our first book did I start on Shakespeare’s Lady at seventeen.

What are some ways you begin planning before writing a novel?

I use a timeline and character bios so I can feel like I have a good basis. For the book I’m working on right now, Burning Troy, I wrote a detailed synopsis. I usually plan things pretty well, but half-way through things start to take on a mind of their own. Sometimes it makes me wonder why I plan at all!

Out of all the characters you've created, who is your favorite, and why?

That’s a hard choice. I think in a way, every character has a part of the author in them, so it’s hard to choose just one. I would say I like all of them for different reasons.

Do you hope to still be writing novels ten years from now? If so, what other genres would you like to experience writing?

I do hope to continue writing as long as I live. I truly love it. I’m hoping that someday I can write contemporary fiction, non-fiction, and maybe someday a memoir as well. Anything to keep my fingers on the keyboard!

What advice would you like to give aspiring teenage authors?

I would say the main thing is to persevere. Writing is hard work and starting a novel with the idea that you have several hundred pages to put down even harder. It’s all worth it in the end, though! The accomplishment is well worth the effort.


Thanks for interviewing with us, Alexa! Congratulations on your success. :)

Connect with Alexa Schnee by visiting her website, following her tweets on Twitter, Emailing her, reading her blog, or becoming her friend on Facebook. Don't forget to be on the lookout for her new novel,
Shakespeare's Lady, coming to bookstores fall 2011.


  1. I loved this interview! Congratulations on your debut novel, Alexa! You've definitely inspired me today :)

  2. That was GREAT!! so interesting. thanks for asking those helpful questions. And thanks Alexa for answering them so Wonderfuly!

    God Bless,
    Lauren anne


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