Saturday, February 14, 2015

0 Cindy L. Rodriguez, author of WHEN REASON BREAKS, on not writing every day

What was your inspiration for writing WHEN REASON BREAKS?

Two main things inspired my novel: teen depression and Emily Dickinson. Depression runs in my family, and I have struggled with it in the past. Also, as a teacher, I have seen the effect depression has had on some of my students. Deep down, I knew I'd write about depression at some point, whether it was my first novel or not. At the same time, I have long admired the life and work of the great American poet Emily Dickinson. She, too, struggled with depression and thought often and deeply about death and the afterlife, as documented in her poems. My goal while writing WHEN REASON BREAKS was to merge these two things that have played significant roles in my life. In the novel, the two main characters, Emily and Elizabeth, battle depression in different ways, and their characters borrow from Dickinson's life and poetry to make sense of their situations.

How long did you work on WHEN REASON BREAKS?

It took about three years for me to write the novel. That's a long time, I know, but I started writing it a few months after my daughter came home from Guatemala. So, I was a new, single mom who also worked a full-time job outside the home. I couldn't write every day. I tried. It never worked for me, so I wrote when I could. This included when my daughter was sleeping, snow days, school vacation days, and weekends when my daughter had sleepovers with her grandparents. Although I couldn't write daily, I mulled the story over in my head every day. This mental planning proved invaluable because when I did sit to write, I got right to it. The scenes were in my head--no staring at a blank screen wondering what to do next.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

One piece of advice is that there's more than one way to write a novel. What I mean is, I violate the number one rule you always hear: write every day. While my routine may not be ideal, it works for me, and my guess is, it'd work for other people. Not everyone can write daily, so write when you can. Find the chunks of time you need and chip away at it, It might take you a bit longer to complete your manuscript, but you'll get there. If I listened to the "writing rules," I might have decided, "I can't do this. There's no way I can do it the way you're supposed to." Don't compare your life and writing routines to others. No one does it the "right" way. Do it your way. Figure out what works for you.

What are you working on now?

My second novel, which is completed, is tentatively titled AESOP'S CURSE. In it, Alexandre Hart, a half-Brazilian freshman boy connects with Kyros, his spirit guide, through his dreams. Kyros informs Alex that he is the reincarnation of Aesop, the fabulist, and he needs to make up for what Aesop did in his final days: he judged the people of Delphi, took away gold promised to them by the king, and then cursed them before he was executed by the villagers. Alex would rather cruise through high school unnoticed and unscathed, but fate has other plans.


When Reason Breaks
by Cindy L. Rodriguez
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 2/10/2015

13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.

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cindyrodriguez2Cindy L. Rodriguez is a former newspaper reporter turned public school teacher. She now teaches as a reading specialist at a Connecticut middle school but previously worked for the Hartford Courant and the Boston Globe. She and her young daughter live in Plainville, Connecticut. This is her debut novel.
Twitter: @RodriguezCindyL

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