Only three days left until Tiffany Schmidt's HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH goes out of the book womb (sounds gross?)! To hype it up even more and get you even more excited, I'm interviewing Tiffany today. Don't forget to join the giveaway as well!
Title: Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family#1)
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Date of Publication: May 19, 2015
Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.
Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can't protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.
And in her family's line of work no one can be safe forever.
All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.
For today, I have Tiffany Schmidt to answer my questions. So, if you don't know, I LOVE anything mafia. Proof: I vowed to name my first hypothetical son Vito, after Don Vito Corleone of The Godfather because OF COURSE MY SON MUST BE NAMED VITO. Moreover, my degree is in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology so AN MC WITH AN AUTOIMMUNE DISORDER YES PLEASE I WANNA READ THAT. So, yeap. That's my outlook towards Hold Me Like a Breath. I'm really excited to read it and even more excited to host Tiffany. Let's all welcome TIFFANY SCHMIDT!!
Describe Hold Me Like A Breath in 140 character or less.
I've been itching to ask you this since I read the synopsis for Hold Me Like A Breath. On a scale of 1 to 10, how obsessed are you with the mafia/crime families? Why did you decide to write a novel set in the shady and gritty world of the mafia?
On a scale of one to ten, I’m pretty close to an 11. :) When I decided to write a Princess and the Pea retelling, I knew I wanted it to have a contemporary setting. I didn't want royal families, but I wanted people who felt above the law. This married so well with crime families that as soon as I connected the two ideas, I was off like a shot.
I've always been obsessed with the gray areas of morality (probably because I accidentally got in trouble so often as a child). So, once I’d decided to swap crowns for criminals, I knew I wanted something morally ambiguous. Two of my favorite YA series are Heist Society and The Curseworkers. Both of these contain crime families that are complex and neither all good nor all bad.
In the same way, Penelope’s Family, the Landlows, and the other Families in the book are straddling the line of right and wrong in their transplant transactions.
If Penelope didn't have her autoimmune disorder, what are the top three things she would love to do?
This is a complicated question because there are so many things Penny has been told she can’t do—not because having ITP makes them impossible, but because her parents’ REACTION to her having ITP has made them forbidden. Their response to her diagnosis is beyond extreme and over protective. Considering how dangerous the Family Business is, it’s understandable, but it also complicates Penny’s perception of her own strength and fragility.
But – if she had no limits – health OR family—Penny would love to:
1) Go to a regular high school
2) Go on a shopping spree down Fifth Avenue
3) Travel somewhere tropical and remote, go snorkeling, cliff diving, slip and stumble while exploring tide pools, turn cartwheels in the sand, then snuggle up by a bonfire with the guy she loves.
With being sheltered all her life, I want to get to know Penelope more. What are her favorite books, films, and musicians?
Penny is obsessed with New York City. She has been since her dad took her to see Annie on Broadway back before she got sick. Annie remains one of her all-time favorite musicals – Though Once Upon a Mattress is a favorite too. *wink*
Penny is a big reader and there are some obvious books set in New York that she loves – She swoons over Adam in Gayle Foreman’s Where She Went and wants an adventurous NYC night like the one in David Levithan and Rachel Cohn’s Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Gabrielle Zevin’s Birthright trilogy, with it’s NYC-centric mafia stories about a world in which chocolate is forbidden make her laugh, but also sad that she’s kept away from the Business side of her crime family.
Since Penny loves fairy tales, she’s a fan of all sorts of retellings. Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles is at the top of her list. She loves the TV show Once Upon a Time. Her favorite movies are Enchanted and Sleeping Beauty and The Great Gatsby.
As for music – her father raised her with a strong appreciation for show tunes. Carter and Garrett forced her to listen to rap. But when she’s alone, she loves Taylor Swift and top 40 hits, and any song that tells a love story.
So I'm obsessed with anything mafia and I read any book even with just a mere mention of the mafia. Then you add in an autoimmune disorder and my degree pretty much made me enjoy reading anything about immunology. How did you go about your research for this novel? I imagine this is a research-heavy one.
You’re right – this was the most research intensive novel I’d written so far (topped only by its sequel, Break Me Like a Promise). There were many different aspects of the novel I needed to research – organ transplant, organ trafficking, Penny’s autoimmune disorder, crime families, etc. etc.
When I was researching Immune Thrombocytopenia, I started with journal articles and the various foundations and websites devoted to this bleeding disorder. From there I contacted doctors and also posted in an ITP forum. I’m eternally grateful to the different individuals who patiently answered my questions and shared their stories.
Do you listen to music while writing? What songs did you listen to while writing Hold Me Like A Breath or what songs can be its soundtrack?
I always have music on while I’m writing (and absolutely silence while I’m editing). Some of the songs on my Hold Me playlist can be found here:
Lastly, Hold Me Like A Breath is the first book in a series. Can you tell us something about the upcoming books?
Break Me Like a Promise is the second book in the Once Upon a Crime Family series. This story is narrated by Magnolia Grace Vickers, the daughter of one of the rival crime families. Maggie’s upbringing and attitude toward the Business couldn’t be more different than Penny’s. Maggie’s always been involved with her Family’s Business; she’s never hesitated to get her hands dirty or shout down anyone who gives her Good Ol’ Boy attitude. And Maggie’s always only wanted two things – the boy she loves and to be the head of her Family. When Break Me Like a Promise opens, she’s lost one of those and is threatened with the loss of the other.
Thank you so much for dropping by, Tiffany! And for your enthusiasm in answering my questions. My dear readers, be sure to get Hold Me Like a Breath when it comes out in three days. Better yet, pre-order it!
About Tiffany Schmidt
Tiffany Schmidt is the author of Send Me a Sign, Bright Before Sunrise, and Hold Me Like a Breath. She’s found her happily ever after in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles.
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