When I read about Alexa Schnee and her just published Shakespeare’s Lady, I was amazed both by the author's young age (she’s as old as my son and not much older than my students!) and the fascinating story kept behind that gorgeous cover. I’m longing to read the book, meanwhile I’ve tried to know something more about the writer.
Join me, meet Alexa Schnee and congratulate her on her great achievement.
First of all Alexa welcome at Fly High! It’s a great pleasure to have you as my guest here. First question is … could you please tell us how old you are?
I am twenty years old, but I turn twenty-one in July!
So young! You are just my son's age. And how does it come such a young girl has an interest in Shakespeare and his world?
I’ve really had an interest in Shakespeare since I was a kid. I used to read Romeo and Juliet when I was about ten years old and act out the different parts. When I decided I wanted to write the book at sixteen, I had also been reading a lot of literature based in the Tudor time period—so I guess it’s always been a time period I have been interested in.
Do you mind introducing your novel briefly to our readers?
sonnets. No one really knows who she is, but I found out about a woman living during this time at Queen Elizabeth I’s court who had been proposed to be the dark lady by several scholars. I tried to weave a fictional account of a relationship between her and the up-and-coming playwright, William Shakespeare.
I know many of my writer friends are eager to ask you about this. I’ll do it for them. What’s the secret of your getting to be published at such a young age and with your first book?
I’m not sure if there’s so much a secret. I’ve been really lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I would say persistence is really important. The act of writing is in itself a great undertaking—and to follow it through takes some patience and work.
Has writing always been your dream job?
It has. Really for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a writer. It has been incredible to see that dream start to come true.
I’ve got a student, a boy, who dreams of becoming a successful writer of fantasy books, his favourite genre. What are your tips to young people like him and yourself who want to start a writing career? And what are the pros and cons of this choice?
I would tell him to read, read, read, and write, write, write. It takes a lot of practice—and by reading what other people have written you start to develop your own style. As far as pros and cons, a major pro is that you are doing what you love. One of the cons is that it takes time to be successful, and a lot of work to get there. Unless you’re an overnight success, you probably won’t become “successful” for a number of years. But I wouldn’t choose to do anything different, and if that’s his dream, I would tell him never to give it up.
Let’s go back to Shakespeare. Have you got a favourite play among his many?
It always depends on where I am in my life and my current state of mind, but right now I absolutely adore Hamlet. I think I’ve read it three or four times in the past year. It’s a beautifully tragic, epic play with some humor thrown in.
And what about his sonnets? What’s your best favouite?
I feel the same way about the sonnets. It depends where I am in my life, but currently Sonnet 140 is my favorite. Shakespeare is such a master at conveying emotions.
What do you like best / admire most in the heroine of your book?
That’s a really good question, because a lot of the book is about my main character making some choices I don’t think I could! I would have to say I admire her sense of loyalty and duty. She eventually learns that sometimes your own happiness must come before others’, but Emilia is very aware of her place in Elizabethan society and how she should act within in.
What would you miss the most if you could enter the book and swap life with her? What would instead thrill you at the chance of living in Shakespeare’s age ?
Great question. I would definitely miss my computer and a good cup of coffee in the morning. Writing longhand, hundreds and hundreds of pages, would not be fun. But I think Shakespeare himself, as the man and the writer, would make up for these minor inconviences.
Have you got any favourite authors and books that you’d like to suggest us as a reader?
I recently read The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, which was recommended to me by a friend. It really touched me on an emotional level and I would highly suggest it.
What’s next to Alexa Schnee?
I’ve been working on my third novel, drinking a ton of coffee, and looking at applying to some graduate schools. I’m not sure exactly what is going to end up happening, but as long as I have a good book with me, I think it will be okay.
Thanks a lot, Alexa, for accepting to answer my questions and being my guest. Great success to your book and best wishes for everything in your life. I can’t wait to read Shakespeare’s Lady!
About the Author
Alexa Schnee has always wanted to be a writer. She loves the smell of the bookstore, because nothing in the world smells exactly like it. When she isn’t writing, she’s murdering some musical instrument or hitting the road. She will never, ever like math and will always love dancing in the Montana rain. She is currently attending Sarah Lawrence College near New York City.
Leave a comment + your e-mail address to get a chance to win an e-book copy of Shakespeare's Lady.
There are two copies for two winners! This contest is open internationally and ends on June 15th when the names of the winners are announced.
Visit Alexa Schnee's website www.alexinksit.com
Her Blog www.alexinksit.wordpress.com