Friday, April 17, 2009
Book Launch: Breathing
This post I'm so pleased to introduce a wonderful debut novel, BREATHING, and Cheryl Renee Herbsman.
Congratulations on the publication of your novel, BREATHING. Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?
BREATHING is the story of fifteen-year-old Savannah Brown. She’s growing up on the Carolina Coast with her mom and brother. When she meets a cute guy named Jackson on the beach, she becomes convinced that he’s not only her one true love and soul mate, but also the cure for her life-threatening asthma. When Jackson is called away to tend to family responsibilities and is uncertain of returning, Savannah has to learn to breathe all on her own. All this while pursuing a lifelong dream that might come true just when she’s no longer sure she wants it.
I met my husband when I was a teenager. He was older than me (like Jackson is older than Savannah) and we endured a long-distance relationship (like they do at times). I’ve always been a dreamer and a hopeful romantic. So there’s definitely some of me in Savannah.
Your character deals with asthma. Is this something you're familiar with? Was it a difficult subject for you to tackle?
My husband and my daughter both suffer from mild asthma. I also worked with hospitalized kids and teens during college, some of whom suffered from asthma. And my husband is a pediatrician who has done some special work on treating kids with asthma. So I had some good resources. But since the asthma my family has suffered from has been quite mild, it was not a terribly difficult topic for me to tackle.
How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?
Before writing BREATHING, I wrote a YA fantasy which has not been published.
Can you describe your path to the publication of BREATHING?
While I was trying to sell my YA fantasy, I started writing BREATHING. I went to a conference in NY to try to sell the fantasy, but everyone there was much more excited by the first few pages of Breathing. So I went home and spent the next couple of months finishing the manuscript. I sent it to three agents, one of whom was very interested and made some suggestions for a revision. After the revision, that agency ended up rejecting it, which was terribly upsetting. But three days later, I sent it out to five more agents and one of them took it right away. Three weeks later, I had a book deal!
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Just write, a lot, whatever you feel most driven to write about. Try not to worry about the form it takes or how long or short it is, just write, and slowly but surely, the form will begin to take shape. No writing is wasted. It’s all part of the process.
Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
I’m a stay-at-home mom with two kids – a girl and a boy. I feel so fortunate to have had the freedom to be home with them. I write while they’re at school and that makes me feel really lucky, too. My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary soon. Our relationship is still an inspiration to the romantic stories I write.
Do you have any new writing ventures underway?
I just sent a new manuscript off to my agent. I’ll keep you posted!
Do you have a website where readers can learn more about BREATHING?
Yes, you can find me at http://www.cherylreneeherbsman.com or my blog at http://blog.cherylreneeherbsman.com