Title: Finding You
Author: Lydia Albano
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: September 19th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Taken from home and family, all they have is each other.
Isla is kidnapped from a train platform in broad daylight, and thrust into a nightmare when she is sold to a sadistic aristocrat. Locked in a dungeon with a dozen other girls, Isla’s only comfort is a locket and the memory of the boy she loves. But as days pass and more girls disappear, she realizes that help is not coming… If they’re going to survive, they’ll have to escape on their own.
Swoon Reads is proud to present Lydia Albano’s debut novel, a powerful story of a teen girl finding strength and hope in even the worst circumstances.
1. What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start? Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)? If you plan it out, how do you do that? Outline, notecards, post-it-notes, etc.?
I’m a seat-of-your-pants writer, for sure. I think two or three times in my life I’ve actually mapped out a story, and then as soon as I know what’s going to happen I lose all interest in it! Finding You is a classic example of that- I didn’t know Isla was going to get kidnapped until the scene was underway and from there the story became about survival and strength and real love, and not just a girl trying to find her sweetheart. This book - like others I’ve finished - took on a life of its own. (I do use pinterest a lot, though. I have dozens of secret boards, and public boards as well- there are some for Finding You with character inspiration that helped me a lot.)
2. How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?
This is another entirely unhelpful answer, sorry! Usually they just pop into my head as a little thread of something that could be a story maybe, or even just a character or a situation. Mannerisms can trigger an idea, even. Emily, the heroine of one of my favorite trilogies (Emily of New Moon, by L. M. Montgomery), calls it “The Flash”, when you get that zing of inspiration and there’s nothing for it but to write. Sometimes a couple of ideas end up weaving together perfectly into a whole novel, which is why I’m quick to make a note in my phone any time I get any kind of inspirations.
3. How long have you been writing?
I think the first “book” I wrote (about twenty pages, hand-written, obviously about a kickass princess, utterly cliched) was when I was twelve or thirteen. That was followed by another, equally cliched fairy tale about a prince slaying a dragon with - again - a kickass princess to help him. No points for originality. But I’ve wanted to write for a living for the better part of the last seven or eight years; it fuels me in a way that nothing else I’ve ever loved does. Writer’s block or not, I don’t stop loving it.
4. What tips do you have for aspiring writers?
This is so cliche, but DON’T GIVE UP! It’s easy to look back at the last thing you wrote and be discouraged by something that’s wrong with it. But in a way, your words are magic. That story, those people, those places, are yours. You owe it to them and to the world that hasn’t met them to figure out their story. Find someone who’ll be honest and let them read your work. Read it out loud to yourself to work out the kinks. Then find a way to share it (hint: have you ever thought of submitting to Swoon Reads? ;) ). It’s become a kind of a mantra of mine, that the world needs your magic.
5. Some favorites:
Books/authors/genres - Peter Pan, The Night Circus, The Chronicles of Narnia / C. S. Lewis, Jane Austen, Eva Ibbotson / fantasy (I read fairy-tale retellings nobody’s business), drama, action/adventure- anything really that’s got good characters.
Movies/TV Shows - I love The Count of Monte, Belle, Moulin Rouge. I practically evangelize for The Man in the High Castle, and I love Grantchester. Lots of historical stuff, clearly.
Music - Umm this has earned me much teasing but most of what I listen to is just musical theater cast recordings. Like, at least 80%.
Food/Writing snack - I’ve had to swear off snacking while I write or else all I actually do is snack. In theory, those pomegranate chocolate things from Brookside. They’re my favorite ever.
Social Media Site - Pinterest, I think? Or instagram! I spend way too much time on both.