Welcome to #LetsReadIndie! Every Wednesday, RaeAnne and I spotlight an indie author in hopes of inspiring you to pick up their book. Today I have Leslie Hauser author of Chasing Eveline (out in July).
Interviewing Leslie Hauser
Welcome Leslie to As Told By Tina! Could you tell us a little about yourself and your book “Chasing Eveline”?
LH: Hi! My name is Leslie Hauser. I’m a 6th grade English and history teacher. I spend a lot of time running all sorts of distances and doing CrossFit. I also have a little rescue Pomeranian/Shih Tzu named Mr. Darcy who is my shadow! I write YA contemporary stories, and my debut novel is called Chasing Eveline. It releases July 11, 2017, and is about 16-year-old Ivy who’s trying to reunite her mom’s favorite band–80s Irish rock group Chasing Eveline. Ivy’s mom left two years ago, and this band is Ivy’s last remaining connection to her and maybe even a way to find her.
If you could describe Chasing Eveline, in only three words, what would they be?
LH: Hopeful, musical, awkward
What was the inspiration behind Chasing Eveline?
LH: The idea for Chasing Eveline was born from my love of music. I need music in the same way I need air to breathe and food as fuel. Every major moment in my life—sad, exhilarating, significant—has a song playing right beside it. The story of my life could really be told through one giant mixed tape. Since music is such a big part of my life, I wanted—in fact, I needed—to do something to show my gratitude, much the way my character Ivy does with all her fan letters. So I wrote Chasing Eveline as a giant love letter to music.
I see that you’re a middle school teacher, did that help you develop and connect with your characters?
LH: I spend the majority of my week with teens. In my life, I probably talk to teens more than I do adults. Haha. So that definitely keeps me grounded in the young adult world. And honestly, my own teen years still feel fresh in my mind, too, so when I put these two things together, it’s pretty easy to feel connected to my characters.
Chasing Eveline is your debut novel! (Congratulations by the way!) What advice would you pass along to inspiring authors?
LH: Thank you!! I feel that it’s almost become a cliche at this point, but the best advice I can offer is Don’t give up. I heard it so many times, I started to roll my eyes at that advice. But my story is being published because I decided at the last minute–in the depths of a rejection depression–to submit to a Twitter pitch event. My pitch grabbed the eye of Pen Name Publishing, and here I am about to have my dream come true. So it’s about the truest advice I can give. You may want to give up at some point, but some journeys just take a little longer than others.
Could you tell us a little about your writing process? Do you have a set time of day to write? A word goal everyday? Outline or not to outline? Or do you allow for the characters and story to take over?
LH: I only draft a new novel during the summers. Since I’m a teacher, I don’t work during the summer, so I make writing a full-time job. It’s difficult for me to write a first draft in bits and pieces here and there because I completely immerse myself in the story’s world. So the summer works perfectly for me.
I definitely need an outline! And it follows a very specific path. First, I outline in my head. I walk around with the story brewing in my mind for weeks or months, if necessary. I need to create a basic movie for how I want the plot to unfold. Then I map out the story on Post-it notes. Each chapter gets a Post-it note, and the chapters are divided into a beginning, middle, and end. This helps me hit a high point in each chapter, which keeps the story moving and helps maintain a sense of drama. It keeps me from having chapters that serve no purpose. Only after I’ve mapped out the entire story do I begin writing. Of course, things may change as I go. In fact, much of Matt’s storyline in Chasing Eveline was written by Matt himself. 🙂 I felt him sort of coming to life and taking over as I wrote, so I went with it. But I do need to start with a set plan—a set of directions—before I can begin. Otherwise, I feel too overwhelmed.
As a debut author, what would you say were the most exciting/scariest parts of your journey to becoming published?
LH: Submitting my work and waiting is definitely the scariest part of the journey. The exciting part is happening right now–the months leading up to the release. Seeing my book in its final format, being able to hold that paperback copy, participating in interviews like this one, and creating all the swag and giveaways…it’s so much fun!
I’m currently on break from reading YA (I feel too old for it right now) what would you say to me and other readers who are hesitant to pick up YA to pick up Chasing Eveline?
LH: I believe a person of any age can connect with the hope and heartbreak and family struggles that are found in a lot of YA. In some ways, I think we are always coming of age, and so these stories connect with us no matter where a person is in his or her life’s journey. In particular with Chasing Eveline, the older audience can connect with all of the 80s references–technology, band names, movies. Additionally, if you are a music lover of any age, you can connect with the different ways music colors our memories and helps bring people together.
Before I let you go, what project(s) are you currently working on?
LH: I just finished a short story that examines the idea of needing social media or a picture to document every important event vs. just experiencing the event and capturing it in your memory. It will be published May 30 in an anthology put out by my publisher Pen Name Publishing. All proceeds will go toward Wine to Water, an organization aimed at providing people around the globe with clean water. This summer, I’ll be writing a new YA contemporary novel. I don’t want to say too much about it. If you check back in August on my website, I’ll have the full description posted!
Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01N5F3T22