Welcome to my stop in the HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH by Tiffany Schmidt Blog Tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club. Today on my stop we have an Interview with author Tiffany Schmidt, + an awesome Tour-Wide Giveaway!!
Hold Me Like a Breath
Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.
Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can't protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.
And in her family's line of work no one can be safe forever.
All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.
TIFFANY: Hi Alicia!
Thanks so much for having me on your blog! I really enjoyed these great questions – thanks for asking!
ALICIA: 1.) Can you tell us where the inspiration came for HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH, and do you think the finished copy turned out to be what you planned on, or did it change from what you initially mapped out for it?
TIFFANY: Hold Me Like a Breath was inspired by the bedtime battles I used to have with my parents when they read The Princess and the Pea. I was convinced they were skipping pages or leaving out parts. (To be fair to ME, my accusations were not without precedence. To be fair to THEM: I was not the easiest child to get to sleep and I used to pick the longest books on my shelves). I wanted to know why the princess was alone in the storm. Where was her family? Why was it important that she bruised?
Once I realized that the answers I wanted were truly not in the story, (sorry, Mom & Dad for calling you liars!) I had no use for the fairy tale. But I never stopped thinking about it. All these years later, HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH is my answer to my kiddo questions.
So, yes, to answer your second question, it’s wildly different than the story I would’ve imagined or planned as a six year old J It’s also different than the story I started writing a few years ago – but for me, the way a story evolves and surprises me during the writing process is one of my favorite parts of the journey.
ALICIA: 2.) What was the most challenging, and the most enjoyable aspect of writing HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH, and why?
TIFFANY: The most challenging aspect of writing Hold Me Like a Breath was researching and imparting information about Penny’s bleeding disorder. She has immune thrombocytopenia, a condition that causes her body to destroy its platelets and makes her susceptible to bruising and bleeding. This is a very complicated condition because it manifests differently in each person. Added to this, Penny’s family doesn’t just react to her diagnosis, they OVER-react. This is understandable when you consider the dangers inherit to the Family Business. It was a challenge to both present the facts, but also the way the Landlows have slanted them, and made Penny internalize the idea that she’s incredibly fragile—bordering on untouchable.
And, as always, for me—writing the kissing scenes and romance are always the most fun!
ALICIA: 3.) Why did you decide to write about crime families and black market organ transplants? I mean that's not something you see everyday in the YA genre, which makes it that much more appealing! ;)
TIFFANY: I don’t think I fully realized how unusual (um, weird!) this book was going to sound until I started describing it to other people. I’d start by saying it was a Princess and the Pea retelling and they’d nod. Then I’d add that when I decided to set it in modern America, I swapped royal families for crime families. And the people listening would start to hmmm or tilt their head. Sometimes they’d say, “Oh, that’s cool.” Then I’d go on to add “and the crime families traffic in human organs,” that when I get THE LOOK and the “oh...” Usually followed by a long pause and a “How the heck did you come up with that?”
And to be honest, I can’t say that I can point to an exact moment I made the decision to go with the transplant trade. I knew right away that I wanted the crime families to be morally ambiguous. I wanted them to do as much good as they did harm. I also loved the juxtaposition of having the Families be in the position to save the lives of so many other people—but not being able to ‘fix’ their ‘fragile’ daughter. One of the first lines I wrote for this book was—“Depending on which Lifetime movie you were watching, my Family was either presented as some sort of medical Robin Hood, or a group of evil body snatchers.”
(I just checked, the final version of this line appears on page 235 and reads:
But if TV was to be believed, then, depending on which Lifetime movie you were watching, the Families were all mafia thugs or medical Robin Hoods, and I was either a blond bombshell or a bedridden invalid.
ALICIA: 4.) Do you free write by writing whatever comes to mind, or do you map and plot everything out before you sit down to write?
TIFFANY: As a kid I loved to do logic puzzles—the kind that were like: “If Rusty has a parakeet, then he doesn’t work at the mall. The person who owns a dog is not the person who is a dentist. The mechanic buys a lot of cat food.” This reminds me of my writing and revision process. I don’t write in order and I’m constantly shuffling scenes and plot threads until it all settles into place. I don’t map or plot everything out before I begin, but I generally have the shape of a story in my mind. And I write the ending fairly early in my first draft—so I have a strong sense of where the story is headed. It might not be the most efficient (or logical) way to write, but it works for me!
ALICIA: 5.) Can you tell us five random things about you?
TIFFANY: 1 – I have a huge blood phobia. Like, thinking about it makes me dizzy. Paper cuts can make me faint.
2—They knew me by name in the ER when I was little because I got hurt so frequently (which was extra fun, because à see #1)
3 – I’m allergic to mustard
4 – I’m also afraid of bridges, sleeping with the closet door open, and snakes. (are you sensing that I’m a big of a scaredy cat?)
5 – I love to write in cursive. I love to handwrite letters. Checking the mail is one of my fave parts of the day.
ALICIA: 6.) If you could describe HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH in 15 words or less, what would they be?
TIFFANY: Modern retelling of The Princess and the Pea, set in organ trafficking crime families.
ALICIA: 7.) Who was your most favorite character in HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH, and why?
TIFFANY: Carter Landlow is my favorite character in Hold Me Like a Breath. I always wished for an older brother, so I definitely imbued Penny’s big bro with a lot of the traits I wanted in my imaginary sibling. He’s loyal and funny and protective. Even when he’s busy, he does his best to make time for Penny. And his heart is HUGE. Carter loves big and he loves deeply. He might be impulsive and sometimes thoughtless, but the people in his life know he loves them dearly.
ALICIA: Tiffany, thank you so much for stopping by today, and I'm soooo excited to finally read HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH! :)
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Tiffany Schmidt is the author of Send Me a Sign, Bright Before Sunrise, and Hold Me Like a Breath. She’s found her happily ever after in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles.
SEND ME A SIGN is her first novel. BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE will follow in Winter, 2014. The ONCE UPON A CRIME FAMILY series begins with HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH in 2015. You can find out more about her and her books at: TiffanySchmidt.com, TiffanySchmidtWrites.Tumblr.com or by following her on Twitter @TiffanySchmidt.
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