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

More Than Maybe Review

More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn (May 2020)
Overview: Vada works at a dive bar, scraping together money for college and learning about running from a show her soon to be step-dad to get closer to her future dreams. She also runs the Loud Lizard's successful music blog Behind the Music. Vada is about to head off to LA and start working towards her music journalism dreams, but she has to make it through senior year first. Luke Greenly is the son of famous British punk rocker, Charlie Greenly. The whole family has set down roots in Michigan where his mom works at the university, but remnants of his dad's past life still follow them. Luke loves writing songs but hates performing, and, because of his dad, he's been thrust into the spotlight more than he'd like. For now, he'd rather stick to making successful podcast The Grass Is Greenly with his twin brother, Cullen, and hopelessly pining after Vada through stalking Behind the Music. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Vada is a charact…

Top 10 of 2019: All the YA Love

We're winding down 2019, so it's time to get reflective on the past year. It feels like multiple lifetimes have happened in this single year. It was one of the best years for the blog that I've ever had. Even though I might have read less this year, I expanded my interviews and guests posts, got to work closely with some wonderful writers, and fell further in love with the YA community. A huge thank you to everyone in the Novel19s for working with me, being so kind, and putting out some of the best books I've ever read. In the next few weeks, I'll be posting more about the future I see for the blog going into 2020 and it's third year, but, for now, let's celebrate all the amazing stories 2020 has brought to us! I did my Reading, Writing, and Me book awards recently which honored over 20 books in tons of different categories so if you need last minute holiday shopping inspiration, check out this list and the earlier one!

1. Permanent Record
I have not stoppe…

Top Reads of 2018

This year's best of 2018 list has tons of new categories to fit all of the amazing books I read this year. I've had the chance to read so many advanced books and recent releases, so most of what I read were books that came out in 2018. I mostly choose contemporary, so I've started with my favorite debut as well as the best books in other genres I've ventured into. After that, I have smaller categories in the contemporary genre. I hope you find new books to love and give to your friends and family for the holidays. If you're interested in learning more about the books on the list, click their titles to go to my reviews. Let me know if these are some of your favorites in the comments, and tell me your favorite books!
Best In Genre Top Debut
Nothing Left To Burn by Heather Ezell Nothing Left To Burn gave me the craziest book hangover. I was so immersed in the story, and I couldn't stop reading to do anything that I actually needed to be doing. There is a toxic relat…

Queen of Geek Review

Queen of Geek by Jen Wilde
Overview: Charlie is a famous You Tuber whose indie film has exploded in popularity. It's landed her at SupaCon in San Diego with two of her best friends. While there, Taylor and Jamie try to find a way for Taylor to meet her favorite author, and Charlie has to do tons of press with her exboyfriend. Luckily, though, the magic of the con brings them all some good luck and memorable moments. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 Charlie is so much fun. She's confident, has pink hair, and is full of life. She has some interesting commentary on being famous and also on how fandom works when people ship actors together in real life.
Taylor has anxiety and is on the autism spectrum. She's the biggest fan of the Firestone series, but winning the contests to meet the author requires her to step way outside of her comfort zone. With Jamie by her side, she reclaims a lot of confidence and makes the con her own.

Plot: 4 If you love books about celebrity and cons, you'…

I Got Rid of (Almost) All My Books

On Twitter, everyone loves to joke about their TBR piles that are heading to swallow them whole. We talk about buying way too many books. They're like personality traits for book bloggers and book community members, but we don't really talk about the reality of that. Running the blog for close to three years, it was starting to stare me in the face in the form of heaps and heaps of books. Books everywhere. Shoved onto my tiny bookshelf, stacked on top of it, piled on my nightstand, piled on the floor, and lining my long windowsill. I woke up one morning and decided it felt like the books were slowly creeping in and stealing all the oxygen. So I decided to do something about it. I gathered together all the boxes floating around in the garage from Christmas, threw myself on the floor, and started to make piles of my books.
It was honestly overwhelming to start deciding what I was giving away and what I was keeping. I was both feeling like "EVERYTHING MUST GO" and &quo…

Reflecting on 2019 and the Decade

"It was the end of a decade, but the start of an age"- "Long Live"

I can't believe it's finally here. We're all getting ready to step into 2020 tomorrow. It always seemed so far away. We've all been talking about it so long that it's managed to creep up on me. I guess we're all getting a little extra sentimental because we're ending a decade (in terms of the popular view of decades). We're moving into the 20s. Seeing everyone's decade later comparisons has been weird because the 2010s were the first full decade I've ever lived. I started the decade as a six year old in first grade, so, even though I feel like I've accomplished far less than some people on Twitter, I have, in fact, managed to graduate elementary, middle, and high school and get into college in the last 10 years. I've also become a person.
Most of what's shaped me has happened in the last ten years. I've learned an incredible amount about mysel…

Waiting For Fitz

Waiting For Fitz by Spencer Hyde (March 5) Click to Purchase
Overview: Addie is in the hospital for inpatient OCD treatment. She's not thrilled, particularly because her mom might watch The Great British Bake Off without her, but, overall, she's ready to try whatever it takes to get better. And it turns out that most of the orderlies are nice and her fellow patients are great company, especially Fitz, who's been there for two years battling schizophrenia. Inside, she makes major strides toward recovery, but Fitz comes to her and asks for help breaking out. Against her better judgement, she can't refuse to help him. Overall: 4 

Characters: 5 I enjoyed reading from Addie's prospective. I thought that Hyde did an awesome job portraying OCD and the compulsions and obsessions that come with it. Addie is sarcastic and sensible. She has a wonderful, supportive mom and a team behind her that's determined to help. I love how she is both reasonable, and takes time to quest…

Izzy and Tristan Review

Izzy + Tristan by. Shannon Dunlap (324 pages)
Overview: Izzy and Tristan have a love story. When Izzy's family renovates a moves into a new house on a Brooklyn block their lives change. Her twin brother Hull almost immediately gets into a fight, pulling a knife on some neighborhood kids after a gambling chess match goes wrong. Izzy falls for Tristan, the boy who won Hull's match. With Hull away at a rehabilitation center, Izzy and Tristan are free to fall for each other until Marcus decides that he wants to take revenge on Hull by dating his sister. And even when that battle is overcome, police brutality draws a permanent line between the couple. Overall: 2

*Okay, I'm not really sure how to write a spoiler free review of this because the shocker ending is what I take the most issue with. I'll keep it spoiler free in the characters and plot section, but I will talk about the ending in the writing section. I still recommend you read it, even if you plan on reading the boo…

What If It's Us

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (448 pages)
Overview: Ben and Arthur meet at the post office during a flashmob. Well, Arthur followed Ben into the post office because he thought he was and, and, just as they started talking, in true form with Arthur's New York fantasy, a flash mob erupted. When the boys and split up, Arthur loses his chance at connecting with Ben, but when he can't stop thinking about him, he explores ways to reconnect even in a city of a million empty faces like New York. Even if they can find each other, with Arthur going back to Georgia at the end of the summer, will it even be worth it? Overall: 4/5

Characters: 4.5 I'm not sure what to say about the characters. I liked them enough, but I didn't feel any real attachment to any of them. I liked the cast of friends, but they all lacked a certain weight that would give them a stronger sense of reality. My favorite relationship in the book was the friendship between Dylan and Ben.…

The Cheerleaders

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (372 pages)
Overview: Five years ago, five cheerleaders on the same high school squad died in three separate incidents, but how separate were they? That's what Monica wants to know. Her sister, Jen, was the last teen to die in the tragedy when she died by suicide, but Monica isn't convinced it was simply survivors guilt at play. She's also not convinced that Jack Canning was truly at fault for two girls murders or that the car accident that took the final two girls was really an accident. With an unlikely friend by her side, Monica sets out to dig up the truth about what really happened to those five girls even if it jeopardizes her own life. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I loved Monica's voice. Even though it's told in third person, her character really shined through. Despite making some poor choices and putting herself in dangerous situations, she does strive to do what she thinks will bring truth or justice. Ginny, a girl she connects…