Seven Questions with Geeta Schrayter- Author of Reaching Riverdale.
1- Your book, Reaching Riverdale is coming out this fall through TLT Publishing, how did the story of Annebelle Roth come to mind? Annebelle came to mind while I was walking through the meadows at my family’s summer home in Vermont. I remember sitting on one of the hills – I think I was still in high school at the time – looking out at the mountains in the distance and thinking about how much I loved life up there. I love the calm, simplicity of it all. But at the same time, there’s something invigorating about life in the city, and I love it there as well. It’s through those somewhat contradictory loves that Annebelle’s story came to be. It’s the tale of her own struggle to figure out what’s important in life and which place is truly meant for her, which I think is something relatable to a lot of people.
2- Tell us about some of your other projects. What can we expect to see in the future from Geeta Schrayter? Right now I’m working on my second novel, with plans for the third and fourth not far behind. This next novel travels outside of New England, halfway around the world to India. It’s inspired by my own experiences studying there in 2009 and visiting earlier this year, as well as my upbringing – I’ve been around Indian culture my entire life (hence the Indian name). When I studied abroad in the southern city of Hyderabad during my junior year of college, my dean had me start a blog to chronicle my time there. I loved sharing my adventures and received a lot of positive feedback about it, so I’m very excited about this next story. I know I’ll be using many of the things I wrote about within the book, so I recently made the decision to turn the blog private, but I can’t wait to “travel” back there with everyone once novel #2 is complete.
3- As a reader, which do you prefer Ebook or traditional paper books? Why? I definitely prefer traditional paper books, but recently my views have altered regarding the electronic versions. As a soon-to-be author, I realize there’s the potential for a big portion of my sales to be through Ebooks – how can I dislike something that’s going to help bring my story to so many readers? On top of that – and this is an “ah-ha” moment that came to me thanks to the recent Nook commercials, which I think are fabulous – reading is reading. If Ebooks will make people read who were perhaps less likely to before for whatever reason, I can’t say anything bad about them. That being said, I prefer traditional paper books because I like the physical act of reading. I love the feel of the pages beneath my fingers and the weight of the book in my hands. I love the smell of the classics my family owns and the way the pages have all slightly yellowed. I love borrowing a novel and finding a note scribbled somewhere in the middle or kitty-cornered pages that show just how much it’s loved. I love wondering who, and how many people, have held the same book before me. Reading a traditional book is romantic.
4- Every writer has a “set up” to write. What are three things that you must have in order to zone out in your work? The most important thing would have to be a specific writing “environment.” I need to have an area designated solely for writing. When I graduated college and wanted to finally focus on finishing Reaching Riverdale, I found that in order for me to get a significant amount done at any given time I had to go some place I didn’t already associate with something else. It couldn’t be the living room where I’d normally watch TV or at the same desk where I’d surf the Internet – if it was, I’d take to doing those activities. My writing environments ended up being our local library and, cliché as it may be, Starbucks. That’s really the only thing I need. I don’t even necessarily need quiet, and I think that’s because I have a big family. You get used to noise, and consequently ignoring it when you have three brothers, a sister, and the type of home where friends were always dropping in for a visit. Starbucks would get quite busy at times, but once I became immersed in my writing, the noise never bothered me. As a bonus, I’d have to say a latte. I’m trying to give up coffee, but before I settled down for an afternoon of writing at Starbucks last summer, I usually liked to grab an iced-soy-something or other to sip on. As to whether that’s one of the things I “must have” or something I did because I’d feel strange sitting there if I didn’t, I’m not totally sure. A bit of both, I suppose.
5- What author’s inspirations do you think shows in your own works? Before my Great Aunt – who Reaching Riverdale is dedicated to – got dementia, she read all the time. As a result, I was always taking books from her library or reading titles she passed along to me once she was finished (every time she was done with a book she’d place a checkmark inside the cover to remember she’d already read it – that’s how much she read – and there’s something comforting about coming across one with that telltale sign now). Because of this, the authors I read over the years whose inspirations are likely to show in my own work would be some of her favorites: the likes of Debbie Macomber, Fern Michaels, Nora Roberts, Barbara Delinsky and Linda Lael Miller – other writers who tend to focus on life’s everyday occurrences and trials of the heart.
6- Outside of the literary realm, what do you enjoy doing with your free time? Apart from writing and reading I love running, baking (you should see the kitchen during the holidays), catching up with friends, spending time with family, shopping, going on road-trips and traveling.
* SUPER SEVEN*
Give us seven books that you never get tired of reading: 1- Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen 2- Persuasion, Jane Austen 3- To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee 4- Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte 5- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain 6- Sugardaddy, Lisa Kleypas 7- He’s Just Not That Into You, Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo – it may not be fiction, but those thoroughly highlighted pages have saved me plenty of time pining over guys who were, well, just not that into me 😉