New from Simon & Schuster

Author Revealed

About Laura Schaefer

Q. What is your birthdate?

A. 7/22

Q. Previous occupations

A. waitress, bartender, hostess, babysitter, standardized test question author

Q. Favorite job

A. writing fiction

Q. High school and/or college

A. I went to high school in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at Lourdes High School and college in Madison at the University of Wisconsin.

Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

A. Sam Cooke

Q. Favorite movie

A. Almost Famous

Q. Favorite television show

A. The West Wing

Revealing Questions

Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?

A. Enjoy each day with tea, dancing, and friends.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. People need a purpose.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. Perfect happiness is a day in which I fall in love, or create something I'm proud of. Just regular happiness is giving back, dancing, laughing, and eating expensive cheese. Oh, and noodling around on the Internet with no deadlines.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?

A. Right here in Madison, with the option to jet off any time it blizzards.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. indeed

Q. What do you regret most?

A. the times I could have been kinder

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

A. I'd be an elite lindy hopper or an excellent pianist

Q. What is your greatest achievement?

A. getting The Teashop Girls published

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. self-involvement

Q. What’s your best quality?

A. generosity and humor

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?

A. I want to be writer and philanthropist with a long career.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?

A. I laugh easily.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. Harriet the Spy, Elizabeth Bennett from Pride & Prejudice, Larry Darrell from The Razor's Edge, and Wesley from The Princess Bride

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

A. Captain Hook

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. banality

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?

A. dancing, reading, IMing

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. White House senior staff

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?

A. wit, curiosity, compassion

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?

A. the World's Greatest Sandwich from Mickey's, or guacamole. That's a tough one.

On Books and Writing

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sarah Vowell, Richard Yates, Aaron Sorkin, Meg Cabot, Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, Irvin Yalom, Elizabeth Gilbert, Judy Blume, Louise Fitzhugh

Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

A. Day dream, take it one day at a time, and break up a big project into little parts.

Q. How did you come to write The Teashop Girls?

A. I was vacationing in Florida in the summer of 2005. The small town outside of Orlando where my dad and brother live has a tea shop called Sherlock's. It was when I was sitting there, on its outdoor patio, that the title The Teashop Girls came to me. I'd been a freelance writer for many years by then and always enjoyed taking my laptop to work in coffee and tea shops and cafés. It seemed natural to write about such a lively--yet comforting and peaceful--setting. I remembered how voraciously I read books when I was 10, 11, 12 years old and how the books I loved at that age were warm escape from everyday cares. I wanted to create that kind of world for my readers, and when I looked around Sherlock's that day, I knew I had found my inspiration. As the book grew, many things that I believe in found their way onto its pages. I've worked for a local business in Madison for many years and knew that supporting small shops was something that I felt passionately about and wanted to explore in my storytelling. It was so right to make The Steeping Leaf, the main setting of The Teashop Girls, a family-run business. Also, I've always been a person who needs quiet time in life for reflection and relaxation. It was important for me to create a world in my fiction that honored this trait. So many young adult novels are focused on stressful social issues, glamour, or labels and brand names. I wanted my story to be warm, a little old-fashioned, and centered on things in life that matter most...friends, family, good food, and community. I'm proud to say that The Teashop Girls is about all of these things.

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