This months author interview is with the lovely Rebecca! Thankyou for joining us and popping over for a chat 🙂
Tell us a bit about your book
My currently released novel, THE FRENCH IMPRESSIONIST, is about a girl named Rosemary who goes to France for the summer with the goal of never returning home. In essence, she’s running away and trying to create a new life for herself. While trying to fit in with her host family as well as live up to the identity she’s created for herself, she unwittingly uncovers a mystery in a long-abandoned apartment next door.
What would say is the genre for your book?
It’s a contemporary young adult novel with elements of mystery.
Where did the inspiration come from?
This story was inspired by real-life events. I was intrigued by the story of the apartment in Paris that was found about ten years ago, after having been shut up for over seventy years. Inside were found many lovely furnishings and a painting by Giovanni Boldini, which later sold for a good deal of money at auction. I remember thinking that I wish I’d been the one to find the place and be the first to see what was inside. The idea for my story, of a girl in the south of France who finds an abandoned apartment filled with paintings, grew from this real-life scenario.
Another aspect of the story is also inspired by real life. My main character, Rosemary, has a communication disorder that makes it difficult for her to speak. I am a speech-language pathologist who has worked many years with kids and adults like Rosemary.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Rosemary has a lot to hide. She’s pretending to be someone she isn’t, wanting to create a new life for herself. In essence, she’s trying to make an impression. Also, she’s in Nice, France–a place where many of the great impressionist artists lived and worked. So, the title is a bit of a play on words.
How long did it take you to finish writing the book before the first edit? How many drafts were there in total?
It took about three months to write the complete first draft, and in the end, there were at least six additional drafts that I can count. I do a lot of revising!
Are there any characters in the book based on people you know?
The character of Sylvie, Rosemary’s host mother, is loosely based on the mother of one of my dear high school friends. My friend’s mother had a heart as big as the world and she “took in strays,” which is something Sylvie does.
How did you celebrate being published? Did you have a launch party?
I had a launch party at my local Barnes & Noble store, as well as at a local event for artists and authors from my community. I also created a website to promote my writing and to share news and events with readers.
Would you care to give us an extract?
THE FRENCH IMPRESSIONIST
I’m here because I lied. A lot.
I know it was wrong, but I don’t care. I got away.
My world is no longer black and white. It’s alive with color. Blues and greens have melted together into a perfect painting of sea and sky. I smell the sharp sweetness of citrus. It must come from the trees that line the street and quiver in the soft Mediterranean breeze. I breathe in the scents of hot sun on sand, salty ocean, and a puff of sugary vanilla air exhaled from a nearby bakery. A tram whirs by and clangs its bell. A couple passes by, so close the woman’s skirt brushes my bare legs with a whisper of touch. She murmurs in the unfamiliar cadences of a foreign language, leaving behind a cloud of gentle laughter. I start to laugh, too. I take in my freedom like a drowning person gulps the air. No matter how many more half-truths or total lies I have to tell, I’ll do it.
I won’t go back home.
How do you beat writers block? Any tips?
My best tip is to sit down and start writing. If I’m stuck and don’t know how to move forward on a current writing project, I’ll start something else to get the creative juices flowing. That usually sparks ideas and I can return to my original project and keep moving forward on it.
Do you have any hobbies apart from writing?
I love to read! I also like to watch movies with my kids. I enjoy musicals, historical movies, and am a Star Wars and Marvel movie fan as well.
When you write, do you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a bit of both. I always start a project by brainstorming a particular idea and coming up with a basic outline. Then, as I start writing, new ideas always seem to change the original course of the outline, at least a little. My characters are stubborn and sometimes seem to have a mind of their own.
Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
Write often and explore various genres to find out what you like to write most and to learn what your own unique voice is. Also, don’t give up! Writers face a lot of rejection. Learn from the feedback you get and keep working.
If your book became a film- who would you pick to play the main characters?
I have no idea for Rosemary—I’m not familiar with most of the young actresses out there, and as Rosemary is only fifteen, the actress would need to be a teenager. It would have to be someone who could show Rosemary’s vulnerability as well as the courage it takes her to do what she does in the story. Hmm….
I see you have new work in progress- care to tell us about it?
Yes! THE DIGGER is a middle grade historical novel set in a small town in Ohio in 1875. It’s about Cap Cooper, a young boy roped into helping his father illegally dig up the recently dead to sell to nearby medical schools. It was inspired by real-life stories of grave robbing in the nineteenth century. The story is a bit on the creepy side, but explores the issues of family, friendship and loyalty, racism, and even first love. THE DIGGER will be released by Amberjack Publishing in 2019. I can’t wait to see it in print!
Lastly, where can readers find you and your book on the internet?
Here’s a link to my website: www.rebeccabischoffbooks.com
I’m also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaBischoffWrites/
And Twitter: https://twitter.com/BischoffR
Rebecca is a life-long bibliophile who loves to read, write, and eat chocolate. She lives in Idaho and currently work as a speech pathologist in schools. She loves learning about other languages and cultures, and at various times have studied French, Spanish and Italian. She spent a little time living in northern Italy in the early nineties, so can claim to be most proficient in that language. Her debut YA novel, “The French Impressionist,” was released in 2016 by Amberjack Publishing.
Thankyou so much Rebecca- I too love studying languages (French, bsl, Spanish and now Japanese!) well done for the bookshop launch party (would love to do that one day) and love the snippet! Great stuff!