Today, we are celebrating the upcoming release of Sydney Logan's debut novel, Lessons Learned., and Sydney herself has stopped by for an interview. She's also brought a couple of ebooks with her for our giveaway!
Sydney Logan lives in the hills of East Tennessee. She has spent her life educating children and has recently made the transition from bookworm to author. She has a very unhealthy obsession with music, and her iPod is filled with everything from Johnny Cash to Eminem. When she isn't reading or writing, she enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her front porch with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat. For more information please visit www.sydneylogan.com.
Hi Sydney! Welcome to My Fiction Nook. Happy to have you here! Let's start with the first question. What inspired you to write Lessons Learned? What did you want to bring across with the story?
This story was one that I’d considered writing a few years ago, but because it was a somewhat heavy, emotional topic, I put the idea on the backburner. My favorite books are sweet, realistic romances that tug at heart strings, so that’s the kind of stories I want to write. There is such an epidemic of hatred in our society, so I wanted to write a story that showed that it is possible to be kind to another human being—even if you don’t agree with them.
When I read the prologue, it wasn't immediately clear to me that you wrote the scene through the eyes of a teacher. I thought initially that Sarah was a student who witnessed it. Despite the blurb on the back cover, I was also at first a bit apprehensive as to how you'd work a romance into the book after that kind of opening. You posted the prologue on your blog - what was your thought process behind doing that?
During the first draft of this novel, that prologue wasn’t there. That scene was in the story, but it was in a dream sequence later in the book. My editors felt that the story needed something attention-grabbing at the beginning, so it became the prologue. I’ve had many compliments regarding it, so I think it was definitely the right decision! I placed the prologue on my blog to give my readers an early treat and to generate some excitement prior to release. My Twitter followers had heard me talking about the book for months, so I wanted to give them a little something. :)
That was awfully nice of you. :) I know you're a teacher yourself - did you draw on your own experiences when writing Lucas and Sarah, meaning have you seen a circumstance where a teacher was falsely accused and had to clear his name, or have you spoken to any teachers who've been on scene during any of the tragic school shootings?
Thankfully, I don’t have experience with either of those circumstances. But when you’re an educator, and you hear those stories on the news, your heart just breaks.
Lessons Learned explores themes of bigotry and hatred that still seem to permeate some small, Southern towns. And I know you live in an area where these things still might occur. What are your expectations for folks back home after they read the book? Are you hoping to open a dialogue with your own students/neighbors/family?
I think any opportunity to open dialogue about things such as prejudice and hatred can only be a good thing. My hometown isn’t nearly as sheltered as Sycamore Falls, but it is a conservative area. My hope is that it makes people think about how they treat one another, whether they live in a small town like mine or a big city like New York.
I really appreciated how you depicted the romance between Sarah and Lucas as more of a slow burn, instead of an instantaneous attraction/love. It seemed much more realistic this way, especially in light of the demons they both have in their pasts. In this, your book deviates from most romance cliches. And Lucas, as you describe his character in the book, is very swoon- worthy. Did you use your own husband, or someone else you know, as a model for him?
Thank you. :) I’ve never really been a fan of the typical clichés (love triangles, being torn about by silly misunderstandings, etc.). It was very important to me to give Sarah a man who adored her. I just don’t think we see enough of that in contemporary romances. I have to admit that my husband is my very own “Lucas.” He has the patience of a saint and loves me far more than I deserve.
How has the fanfiction you've written in the past few years prepared you for writing this book? What lessons did you learn from those?
Writing fan fiction, and the reviews from my readers, gave me the confidence to write an original novel. I never considered fan fiction a place to “practice,” but I can say with 100% certainty that I’m a better writer today than I was three years ago. The fan fiction community is a place I truly love, and I plan to continue to write as much as possible. I think the greatest lesson I’ve learned in writing fan fiction is that you can’t please everyone. I’m a peacemaker at heart, so it’s something I still struggle with—in writing and in life.
What projects do you have planned for the foreseeable future? When can we expect your next book?
I am in the process of finishing up my second novel in this series, and it is tentatively set to be released Fall 2013. Once it’s submitted, the editing process begins!
Thank you, Sydney!
Sydney's Facebook Page
Sydney on Goodreads
Buy the book
You could win an electronic copy of Sydney's book by leaving a comment on this post.
Two winners will be randomly drawn from all unique commenters. Please be sure to be logged in (or leave info on how you can be reached) while commenting, so I can contact you. The contest will run from 9/1/12 through 9/8/12.
Thanks to The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House for sponsoring this contest.
And thank you, dear readers, for joining us today. Please share your thoughts with us and leave a comment.
Also, please check out these blogs for Sydney's other tour stops:
September 2 http://lorisbookblog.blogspot.com - guest post, giveway
September 3 www.sherrygomes.com - Interview and Giveaway
September 4 http://sweptawaybyromance.blogspot.com
September 6 http://underthemoonlite.com/blog - Review and Giveaway.
September 7 http://michelawalters.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/nose-in-a-book-reviews-lessons-learned-by-sydney-logan - Interview and Giveaway
September 8 http://saritadreaming.wordpress.com - Character questions, review and giveaway.
Until next time,