One author, Four questions. Today we’re talking to A. Lynden Rolland, author of OF BREAKABLE THINGS. Here we go!
Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?
As a child, I carried notebooks and documented everything. In fact, my best friend and I even created a club for junior spies called the Snooper’s Society. We would secretly jot down interesting activity, mainly the actions of my big sister and her friends. But espionage was not my calling. It’s funny to revisit what I then called a “journal” because the elaborations and exaggerations were a figment of my drama even then.
Fast forward fifteen years. When my oldest son was born, I took a leave of absence from teaching high school English and focused on being a new mother. I spent a great deal of time rocking my sleep-hating son back and forth and staring at the wall. Just me, my baby, and my imagination. Finally when he began to sleep in stretches longer than six hours, I wrote down the story of the characters who had kept me company during those periods of idleness.
After my second son was born, I attempted to take a break from writing and the stings of rejection involved in the agent submission process. Just as I was shelving the manuscript, I received an email from my now agent, Rachael Dugas. My manuscript had been sitting in a pile left by a former associate. Rachael found it, loved it, and the rest is history!
What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?
Of Breakable Things is about a girl named Alex Ash who lives with a rare disease called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which makes her body seemingly broken. She knows she will die young, but when her best friend, Chase, dies tragically at sixteen, her unfavorable fate becomes a blessing in disguise. After her life ends, Alex discovers a new existence hovering between the physical word of the “bodied” and wherever we go when we’re truly dead. Without the armor of the body, her survival is purely mental, and without boundaries, her thoughts can produce some radical things. But one thing is not a figment of her imagination: Chase… or his brother who also made the cut, neither of whom are willing to give up their love for Alex.
Of Breakable Things is about the fragility of life and love, but it’s also about the fragility of perspective.
What are your desert-island books?
The classics simply because they are timeless for a reason. I always go back to them, but sometimes they come back to me as well. True story. The other day Wuthering Heights actually leapt off the shelf and landed eagerly at my feet. I took it as a sign.
My favorite book is The Great Gatsby because it changed my life. It was required reading in eleventh grade, and it began my love affair with words and my hopeless crush on imagery. I was actually given the opportunity to teach it to honors tenth graders during my student teaching internship. They recognized my obvious obsession and surprised me with a Gatsby-themed party on my last day. I miss them. They were the ultimate class.
What cool facts might readers not know about you?
Three facts readers might not know:
1. I was a competitive gymnast. Even after two kids, I can still do a full (a flip with a full twist) and hold a handstand for over a minute. Sometimes when I can’t think straight, I actually do a handstand to clear my mind. My four-year-old thinks I’m a superhero because of this. It comes in handy.
2. I love juice boxes. If it’s in a cup or a bottle, I don’t like the taste, but I could chug juice boxes all day. It’s kind of expensive.
3. My youngest son’s name is Chase which is also the name of Alex’s love in Of Breakable Things. Although I was prepared to shelve the manuscript when I was pregnant, the name was still low on the list of favorites because character-Chase dies, and that just seemed like a bad omen. When my son was born, however, it was the first name I blurted out. Whoops.
|A. Lynden Rolland is a mother of two and a former high school English teacher who moonlights as a writing tutor and gymnastics instructor. When she isn’t chasing her two rambunctious boys, she can be found hiding behind a laptop at her local bookstore. Her debut YA novel, OF BREAKABLE THINGS, will be released from Month9Books in the spring of 2014.|