Monday, September 23, 2013

Interview with Alexa Schnee

Alexa, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! Well, I just turned twenty-two and have finished up my college education. I published my first novel when I was twenty, and I wrote a good chunk of it when I was still a homeschooled student. Right now, I'm getting ready to move to Italy to teach English, applying for grad programs, and writing, of course.

I see you have done a lot of traveling. What has been your favorite place to visit.
That's really hard. I've been to over ten countries in the past year, so it's hard to narrow down a specific place I like the most. I loved Wales when I went through there last (I hope to live there someday), and I'm always up for France or Italy. I also recently got to go to Stratford and see Shakespeare's birthplace and home, which was amazing.

The homeschooling experience is different for everyone. What do you feel made your experience unique?
One of the best things about homeschooling for me was that I was able to travel a lot and see new things. My parents both contributed to my education, and they wanted to make sure that we learned outside the classroom as well as in it. I also had a lot of time to think and create and imagine, and I think that gave me the time to think about being a writer for a career.

Have you always been interesting in Shakespeare?
I have been! I remember reading Shakespeare when I was very young, and I have always had an interest in him as a both a writer and as a person. Me and my siblings used to put on excerpts of his plays, and my mother made sure it was required reading for us.

What caused you to start writing?
I've always written for pretty much as long as I can remember. There was never a time where I didn't have a pen in my hand, really. I would write short stories, novellas, plays, whatever I was interested in at the time.

What inspired you to write Shakespeare's Lady?
I was actually writing my last report as a homeschooled student (I graduated high school early and started taking college classes at sixteen) and I was writing about Shakespeare's poetry. I came across this woman whom he wrote sonnets for, the "Dark Lady," and was amazed that no one still knows who she is. After doing some research, I found a woman several scholars have contended was the "Dark Lady"--Emilia Bassano Lanier, one of England's first published female poets.

Could you give us a description of the book?

Shakespeare's Lady is about Emilia, who arrives at court during Queen Elizabeth I's reign. She is forced to deal with all the court intrigue and her unsanctioned relationship with Shakespeare. It's also about writing and the development of some of Shakespeare's greatest works, which is kind of fun.

Who will enjoy it?
Anyone who loves Tudor fiction or historical fiction. Shakespeare fans should like it, and those who like historical mysteries.

What process did you go through to get Shakespeare's Lady published by Guidepost?
I went to a writer's conference in California. I would recommend any young writer to go to Mount Hermon. Everyone there was so encouraging and wonderful. I met both my agent and my editor there, and pitched Shakespeare's Lady to them. After a month or two of negotiating contracts and things, I had signed the dotted line and we went into the editing process. That took a long time, but it definitely made it a better book.

Do you plan to write more books?
I do! I have written two others. We're pitching my second to a few publishing houses right now, so we'll see when it comes out. Writing is my life, and I can't imagine not working on some book or another.

If you had to pick your favorite line by Shakespeare, what would it be?
I love the line from Hamlet: "My words fly up, but my thoughts remain below..." (Act III, Scene iii). For me, it represents the fact that words can take us places, but we are still grounded in our own humanity. In the context of the play, Hamlet's uncle, Polonius, is asking for forgiveness for murdering the king. He knows he is still human no matter what. Hamlet is also my favorite Shakespeare play.

Do you have any final thoughts?
Just thanks for interviewing me! This has been a ton of fun.

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