Skip to main content

Into YA with L.D. Critchon



All Our Broken Pieces is one of my favorite books of the year! I'm so excited to get to talk to L.D. about the book and her unique path to publishing. If you haven't already, I recommend you go ahead and read my review so you have some context, and if you'd like to purchase the book, you can use my link here. 
1. Since All Our Broken Pieces is your YA debut but not your official debut book, I’m wondering about its beginning and publication process. Why did you decide to write a YA story. What was its road to publication like? Did already having another book, even though its in a different genre, influence your path?
I love this question! It’s not technically my official debut but it is in a way because it will be the first time I’m ever able to physically hold a paper copy of one of my books in my hands, and who doesn’t dream of that? I still need to pinch myself some days to remember that this is real! 

My writing history involves starting to publicly share my work on the platform, Wattpad. For a very long time all I wrote was YA. The first novel I ever finished (it’s kind of cringeworthy) was YA posted to Wattpad. 

The book that came before ALL OUR BROKEN PIECES is the same one that got me signed with my agent, and obviously was my first published work. At the time, New Adult was massively popular on Wattpad, so I wrote a new adult story called THE ENCHANTMENT OF EMMMA FLETCHER. It got picked up by pocket books (which is the ebook division of Simon and Schuster), removed from Wattpad, and e-published. 

Afterward, my agent asked for more ideas so we could chat about what to work on next. I figured I should make it similar to my existing genre and I sent him 6 or 7 ideas. ALL OUR BROKEN PIECES was the only YA idea on that list. I told my agent that’s what I wanted to write the most. It’s where my best writing voice came from and where I wanted to go again. He fully supported the idea and I started writing. 

I have a very unusual road to publication for this specific book—although not unusual for many writers on their journey in general. I suppose the road started 15 years ago when I decided I wanted to be a published writer and naturally an uphill climb, many stories, countless rejections, self loathing, questioning life choices, dusting self off, getting up, trying again followed for many years.  

But from the day I sent my finished manuscript to John, my agent, it went out on submission about two weeks later . Three weeks after we had our first reply which was a preempt offer from Hyperion. The rest, as they say, is history. :) 

2. You masterfully craft both Lennon and Kyler’s voices to be completely distinct, which is not an easy skill. What helped you find their voices, and what advice do you have for writers who are trying to write multiple POVs?
You kind of answer the question in your question. The key is making your POV completely and utterly distinct. If there were no chapter heading you should still be able to tell who is doing the talking. People are so unique as their authentic selves. We think, talk, look, and feel differently, Your characters need to do this too! 

As for their voices, I don’t know—dig deep ? Characterization is what drives a story. Use your own thoughts and feelings and experiences and inject those into your writing as much as possible. If you have friends that have the coolest personality traits, or outlooks on life, borrow from them. As a writer, you need to collect pieces of people and their stories and their feelings and experiences in everyday life and put it on the paper. In my opinion, that’s the key to making characters relatable. 

3. Kyler is a musician and a skilled one at that. Was that always part of his character? I love all of his lyrics and wish they were real songs! Were they hard to write? 
I have an unhealthy obsession with music and a weakness for musicians. 100% always always part of his character. I tried desperately to teach myself the actual fundamentals of a song, like verses, and bridges, etc but most of them still ended up basically as poems. It was not hard to write them, because by that point, I felt Kyler so deeply, it was easy to express what he wanted to say. 

I used to write these poems for my parents on post its or write them on looseleaf and draw flowers around them and put them in their cars, or on my mom’s mirror, like from a very small age until probably 16 or 17  years old. When my mom passed away, I actually found a binder where she’d kept so many of them. *sobs* 


4. Lennon struggles with OCD, and you do a remarkable job portraying her and her OCD with honesty, sensitivity, and accuracy. What went in to building Lennon’s character? Did your prewriting involve lots of research on the subject?
I’m going to preface this answer with this. I know a lot of readers are going to have this question and I’m happy to answer as open and honestly as I can, but please note that I’M NOT AN EXPERT. The answer is based solely and completely on my own experiences, thoughts and opinions as a person.
I have an anxiety disorder that I take daily medication and see a therapist regularly to manage. Lennon and I share a lot of similar fears, so writing about OCD (I thought at the time) would allow me to explore that in a relatable way but also ‘remove’ me enough as the creator of Lennon and Kyler’s world.

I did a lot of research. Hours and hours of reading and watching multiple documentaries, a lengthy phone call with a psychiatrist who specializes in youth and mental health, speaking to friends with OCD.

However, the further I dived in to this world, the more I began to question if my mother had it. She passed away 13 years ago, so I can’t confirm but several of the things Lennon does in the book came from routines I was taught as a child—we always thought my mom was a ‘clean freak’ but now that myself and my two of my children all struggle with diagnosed anxiety issues, I suspect there is much more to it than that. 

Lennon’s catastrophic way of thinking is at it’s core, is a reflection of  my own anxieties magnified on paper. I can’t relate to her compulsions, but I 100% understand her thoughts. I have always been a ‘worrier’ but after losing my mom, it’s been a struggle that I battle with all the time. 

For all of these reasons, I sincerely hope Lennon is real to readers as much as she is to me. 


5. Your YA debut comes out next week, but I’m already excited to see more of your work! Do you have any upcoming projects you can talk about?
Thank you! I’m so excited! I’m working on a manuscript that is currently homeless called (tentatively) Caged Birds Can’t Fly and have a few other ideas in the works— it’s a matter of time, which, due to unforeseen recent circumstance, I have some of now… so the future looks bright!
Books By This Author...
All Our Broken Pieces: Review Here

Links of Interest:
What's Coming Up In May: Here
Ship It: Review Here
Taylor Swift and the ME! Era: Here
With The Fire on High: Review Here

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Halsey's I Would Leave Me If I Could Poetry Review

  I Would Leave Me If I Could  by Halsey  I've started this review a couple times and scrapped all of them. I've written hundreds of reviews before, and this is the first time I have absolutely no clue how to review a book. It's not just because it's poetry. And it's not because I don't have thoughts on every single poem. I've read the book twice and scrubbed a million notes around her words and highlighted every poem on my second read through. I have so many favorites, and my heart feels like it's going to burst after finishing each poem. Halsey exceeded every expectation I had set to the high bar of her music. I almost feel like this book is too good for my review to remotely do it justice, so I don't even know where to begin.  This book is extremely vulnerable. Halsey has never held back on telling the ugly truth in her lyrics, but the poetry takes it so much farther. She has space to tell the entire story, fewer constraints than what will fit in

Blog Tour Stop: Like Home by Louisa Onomé

  Today, I want to shine the spotlight on Like Home by Louisa Onomé, which came out this week. That means you don't even have to wait to pick up a copy of your very own. Thank you to Turn the Pages Tours and Penguin/Delacorte Press for arranging this. So let's get into what this latest YA is all about! Synopsis: Fans of Netflix’s On My Block, In the Heights, and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Ibi Zoboi will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws her relationships and even her neighborhood into turmoil. Chinelo, or Nelo as her best friend Kate calls her, is all about her neighborhood Ginger East. She loves its chill vibe, ride-or-die sense of community, and her memories of growing up there. Ginger East isn’t what it used to be, though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, all her closest friends moved away, except for Kate. But as long as they have each other, Nelo’s good. Only, Kate’s parents’ corne

YA You Need To Read: April 2021

It's already April! School has been super super hectic, and I'm starting my old job as a bookseller again, so I haven't had much time for reading lately (ironic, I know), but I did want to talk about some books coming out in April that I can't wait to read (one day) that might inspire you to pick them up. I particularly can't wait for My Epic Spring Break Up! It's been on my list for a while now (I mean, look at that cover), but I also found some new books that hadn't been on my radar while browsing around the internet that I wanted to bring to your attention.  Let me know in the comments what April books you can't wait for!  Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Kahn  April 6th Zara has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas for a while. She's always dealt with the Islamophobia that's rampant in her high school, but when the star football player gets suspended, Zara becomes the target of a racist attack by the rest of the team that puts her and her family'

Swimming Lessons By Lili Reinhart Poetry Review

  Swimming Lessons  by Lili Reinhart  Overall: 5 This is the first poetry book I've ever read in its entirety outside of Shel Silverstein, so I've checked off one of my reading goals for the year with this one. I've now read a graphic novel and a book of poetry. I've been anticipating Swimming Lessons  so long that I can't believe it's actually in my hands. I've been a fan of Lili since Riverdale, and I've continued to be a fan of hers even when the show got a bit too ridiculous for me to keep watching every week. I've been excited for the chance to get to see something completely created a controlled by Lili.  I'm not sure what I expected from Swimming Lessons . I think I had almost no idea what it would be like or the topics it would cover. After the first couple poems, I was completely hooked. In the intro, Lili prefaces the collection by noting that poetry has always given her solace in knowing other people felt the same specific emotions tha

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi: YA Book Review

  Yolk  by Mary H.K. Choi Overview: Jayne is in fashion school in NYC. Well, she's enrolled. It's debatable how often she actually attends. June has a fancy job in finance, or that's what everyone thinks. But when June gets cancer, the estranged sisters are pulled together because June needs Jayne's identity to get treatment. By pretending to be her sister to get the life-saving procedure, June is forced to come clean and pull Jayne back into her orbit. Though their relationship stays rocky, they're suddenly glued together, forced to admit that their respective glamorous lives are actually filled with roaches and trauma and missteps. Overall: 5+++ This book made me happy cry (that's never happened while reading) and sad cry. Characters: 5 The book is told from Jayne's perspective in an extremely close first person. This book has plot. Things happen in the way that life happens, but it's mostly just characters getting split open and probed for all their w

Four Years of Reading, Writing, and Me

Sooooo it's my blogiversary, and in true blogger form, I am writing this post the night before. I've been thinking about how to celebrate or what to say for a month, ever since Google sent me the email telling me that I once again have to pay to renew my domain name.  I've been a blogger for four years now. That feels surreal to say. I started this blog in 8th grade as a 13-year-old who had just picked up her first YA book ever (still thoroughly intimidated by that section of the library because I didn't feel teen enough. Now I'm grappling with suddenly not feeling adult  enough). I'm writing this close to turning 18, taking Zoom college courses from my bedroom. The me that started this blog would think you were lying if you told her about me today. And yes, the math between my grade levels is weird because I've blogged through a whirlwind 2 years of online high school that ran through weekends, summers, and holidays and a gap year working at my local bookst

Writing Morally Gray Characters: A Guest Post by Laurie Devore, Author of A Better Bad Idea

Laurie Devore is stopping by the blog today to talk about her new book from Imprint, A Better Bad Idea , which is out now! This mystery/thriller/romance fusion is Laurie's third book, and it's a new twist on her usual contemporary YA stories. For this guest post, Laurie talks about crafting morally gray characters that your readers will still feel attached to and cheer on. Here's her best writing tips:  I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of what people will do when they’re pushed to their brink. While my new novel, A BETTER BAD IDEA, may seem like a departure in some ways from my previous novels, I actually think their DNA is quite similar. The stakes are higher, but as ever, this book is about girls making unimaginable choices because of their circumstances, whether self-inflicted or not.   I’m constantly thinking about what it means to write morally gray characters, and I think the main takeaway from me is that I’m just much more interested in what people do and w

They Both Die At The End

They Both Die At The End  by Adam Silvera (368 pages) Overview: Mateo and Rufus are both going to die at the end, but I'm guessing you got that from the title. The thing is, Mateo and Rufus don't know each other till the day they are going to die. After getting their calls from Death Cast, the new organization that lets everyone know that they are going to die with a call sometime after midnight. While trying to digest the news, they both turn their attention to the Last Friend app in search of finding another "decker" to spend their final day with. As the boys try to think of ways not to waste their final moments, they start to form a bond they never anticipated. Overall: 4 Characters: 4 I have to applaud Silvera for keeping his (mostly) duel prospective narrative voices so separate. Mateo and Rufus not only have different traits but totally different dialects. Mateo is Puerto Rican, quiet, and totally paranoid with a hyperawareness about safe. Both careful an

Fear of Missing Out

Fear of Missing Out  by Kate McGovern  Overview: Astrid has a form of brain cancer called astrocytoma that causes a star shaped tumor to form near her brainstem. Though she was in remission, two years later, the cancer comes back, and Astrid becomes convinced that she won't beat the disease. She starts to pursue options that will allow her to have a life in the future, namely, cryopreservation. After essentially freezing her body, she hopes to wake up when there's a cure for her cancer so she can rejoin the world and see some of the milestones she fears missing. On the road trip to tour the Arizona facility, though, Astrid makes other realizations about her life and eventual death that alters how she sees her original plan. Overall: 4  Characters: 4 Astrid is relatable. She has a touch of dry, witty humor that makes her relatable. She loves her friends and family deeply, but she also has a conviction to follow what feels best for her. I appreciated how she always tried t

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon: Romance Review

  The Ex Talk  by Rachel Lynn Solomon Overview: Shay Goldstein was born to be on public radio. She used to pretend to host a radio show with her dad when she was a little kid, and she was crushed when he passed away. Now that she's getting ready for her first hosting gig, Shay feels like she's making him proud. Well... mostly proud. He always loved the truth that radio brought out and her new show is built on a little white lie- the idea that she used to date her co-host Dominic Yun. Though they bicker like exes, they never actually dated (though they might be currently?). As the popularity of the show takes off, all of Shay's dreams are coming true, and she might actually have found her dream guy too. And then everything falls apart. But it's a romance, so I think we all know how this ends. Overall: 5 Perfect for: enemies to lovers fans  Characters: 5 I love Shay and Dominic and their show producer, Ruthie. They're all just great. Shay is super relatable. She's