Dec 10, 2011

Author Interview/Giveaway: Avery Sawyer - Notes To Self

Please welcome Laura Schaefer to the blog today! Her new novel, Notes To Self, is a YA book written under her pen name, Avery Sawyer. It sounds super interesting and different, so check out the book description and this really fantastic interview with the author! Also, be sure to enter the giveaway for an ebook copy of the novel below!

Avery Sawyer - Notes To Self

• Pub Date: November 20, 2011
• Publisher: Avery Sawyer
• Format: ebook
• Age Range: Young Adult

Two climbed up. Two fell down.

One woke up.

In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, Robin Saunders has to relearn who she is and find out what happened the night everything changed.

Mickey: Hello there, Laura Schaefer! Welcome to the blog. Please introduce yourself.
Laura: Thank you for having me. Avery Sawyer is actually a pen name; my real name is Laura Schaefer. I’ve been writing for over ten years, most often for young readers. I’m so excited to have a new book out this fall!

Mickey: Your new novel, Notes To Self, has just released. Tell us about it.
Laura: In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, fifteen year-old Robin Saunders has to relearn who she is and find out what happened the night everything changed. The book’s first title was 25 THINGS ABOUT ME. It started when my fiancĂ© remarked that the 2009 Facebook meme would make a good novel. I began thinking about a reason someone would want to write or revisit a list like that.

Almost right away, I landed on the idea that the central character didn’t know who she was anymore, and the concept of a traumatic brain injury grew from that. The interesting thing is, most teens don’t experience TBIs, but most of them struggle with identity anyway. That’s why I think the book’s concept will resonate. It is essentially about one girl deciding who she is and what really matters in the wake of a tragedy.

Mickey: Sounds good! Is any part of this novel autobiographical? Or is there someone you know who has been through a severe brain injury and inspired this?
Laura: No one I know has been through a severe brain injury, but there are elements of the book that are indeed biographical. Since Robin is exploring her memories, I pulled some moments from my own life and put a new spin on them. One element of the book that is personal for me is its Florida setting. I don’t live near Orlando, but I have family there and visit often. I find the whole idea of living in the shadow of all those theme parks very intriguing.

Mickey: Intriguing indeed. You also write under another name. What kind of books do you write under Laura Schaefer?
Laura: I have two middle grade novels out under my real name. They are The Teashop Girls and The Secret Ingredient. I also started the Planet Explorers brand, which is a series of non-fiction interactive travel guidebooks for kids.

Mickey: Very cool! Are there any plans for an audio book for Notes To Self? If you could pick any narrator for your novel, who would you choose?
Laura: I don’t have any immediate plans to make an audio book, but I will do it if there’s demand. I’d love to have someone with a distinctive voice narrate the novel, like Scarlett Johannson or Sarah Vowell. But more realistically, I’d probably read it myself or ask a teen reader to do it.

Mickey: Nice choices! What book or idea do you wish you'd written or come up with first?
Laura: Great question! I wish I’d come up with the concept behind Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Both are brilliant and captivating reads because they’re based on such strong and unique premises.

Mickey: Before I Fall is next on my list! What movie could you perfectly reenact for us right now?
Laura: The Princess Bride or Clueless

Mickey: YEAH! I love those movies!! So, your bio says you love tea. What's your favorite kind?
Laura: It’s hard to pick one favorite. I’ve been drinking a lot of Sleepytime tea lately, which is a mix of chamomile and mint. It’s so yummy and relaxing during Wisconsin’s chilly fall/winter evenings.

Mickey: Mmm that sounds delicious. Tell us a little bit about your travel guides for kids through Planet Explorers.
Laura: Thanks for asking! The books are designed for smart phones and e-readers. They are heavy on fun facts and interactive links. The writing style is quick and chatty, so kids don’t get bored with long descriptions. My hope is that tweens will use them to become more involved in planning family vacations. I also see the guides as a way for families to take learning out of the classroom and into the real world, where it is more likely to stick.

Mickey: Those sound very awesome! Now, I'm a huge pet person, and I love your cat! Do you have any other pets?
Laura: Nope, just the one cat. Her name is Ramona, and she’s fabulous! She loves all people. Such a cuddly little love bundle. :-) I think she is part Maine Coon, and they have a reputation for being awesome.

Mickey: Thanks for being here today! Any final thoughts?
Laura: Thanks for having me and thanks to all my readers!

Laura Schaefer got her start at the University of Wisconsin’s student paper The Daily Cardinal and went on to write regularly for The Princeton Review and She is the author of The Secret Ingredient (Simon & Schuster 2011), The Teashop Girls (Simon & Schuster 2008), and Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005). Writing as Avery Sawyer, Laura recently released the YA novel Notes to Self. She is also the author and publisher of Planet Explorers travel guides for kids. Laura lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her fiancee and enormous cat Ramona. She would like to eat macaroni and cheese every day.

Find Laura:
twitter | facebook | amazon | goodreads | smashwords

Giveaway Alert!!

Laura Schaefer is graciously offering up an ebook copy (in winner's format preference) of her new novel, Notes To Self! Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Ends 12/17. Questions? Comment here with a way to get back to you. This is international because it's an ebook! Thanks and good luck!!



  1. such an interesting concept for a book! and i like that the idea started from the facebook meme - that's kinda charming. :)

  2. This book sounds amazing. It's going on my TBR list!


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