Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family #1)
Release Date: May 19th 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.
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I’ve been fascinated by The Princess and the Pea since I was a little kid. It was actually banned as a bedtime story in my house because I would get really angry whenever it was read and accuse my parents of skipping parts or pages. It always seemed like, if you were going to title a story The PRINCESS and the Pea, that the focus should be on the princess. The main character of Andersen’s fairy tale is definitely the prince, but the princess’s story—showing up alone in the middle of a thunderstorm—seems much more interesting than his hunt for a bride. All these years later, HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH is my response to my childhood questions.
Only I decided to nix the royal families and set my book in crime families.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
Carter Landlow. I’ve always wanted an older brother, so I gave Penny’s big bro a lot of the characteristics I wished for in my imaginary sibling. Carter has his flaws, and he and Penny might drive each other sibling-crazy, but he’s fiercely protective and loyal. No matter how busy he is or how different their lifestyles, Penny’s never doubted how much he loves her, or that he has her back.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came SO far ahead of the title on this book. While I was drafting, the Scrivener file was just titled “Pea.” And once I got the stage where I needed an actual title, I went through a bunch of either horrible, or vague, or ones that had already been used a bunch of times. For awhile the book was “Untouchable”—as a nod to Penelope’s brusing and also the mafia movie “The Untouchables” but there are so many UN- titles and I wanted something that would stand out more.
I actually came up with the title for the second book, Break Me Like a Promise (courtesy of a Taylor Swift song!) and the third book first. And then I sent out an email to a handful of writer friends who knew the project I was working on.
The subject of the email was: “Verb me like an abstract noun” – because I knew I wanted this pattern but was stumped. It was the older sister of a dear friend who came up with HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH, which was perfect! And the rest is history ☺
4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Chapters 9 and 17. I can’t say more without major spoilers. They were two of the hardest scenes to write, and I cried my way through both, but I’m proud of how they turned out—and the fact that readers have said they made them cry too.
5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned as an author is to keep an eye on MY vision for a project. There are so many voices coming at you as a writer, and it can be really easy to lose yourself inside everyone else’s opinions. I adore my critique partners for a million reasons—they’re some of my closest friends—but I’m doubly blessed because they often have polar opposite reactions to aspects of my manuscripts. While this drives me batty, it’s also incredibly helpful because it makes me reflect on what I want from that scene, chapter, or the book as a whole.
6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The blood spatter! And for a person with extreme blood phobia, that’s saying a lot. But I love, love, love the way the design team at Bloomsbury took a beautiful photo of a butterfly and then made that aspect so much darker by splattering blood on top.
I also love the way the series logo incorporates a bullet hole.
7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2015?
ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers just released a few weeks ago, but I have no doubt that it will remain my favorite book of 2015. This story is SO powerful, achingly raw, and incredibly important. I want to thrust a copy in the hands of every person I know.
8. What was your favorite book in 2014?
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. It was sweet and swoony and the perfect escapist read. Who doesn’t want to imagine falling in love with a passionate artist in NYC and France and Spain?
9. What’s up next for you?
The second novel in the Once Upon a Crime Family series, Break Me Like a Promise, comes out next spring.
10. Is there anything that you would like to add?
Nope! I think you’ve covered everything in your excellent questions. Thanks so much for being a part of Hold Me Like a Breath’s blog tour <3
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Tiffany Schmidt lives in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles. She's not at all superstitious... at least that's what she tells herself every Friday the thirteenth.
SEND ME A SIGN is her first novel. BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE will follow in Winter, 2014. The ONCE UPON A CRIME FAMILY series begins with HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH in 2015. You can find out more about her and her books at: TiffanySchmidt.com, TiffanySchmidtWrites.Tumblr.com or by following her on Twitter @TiffanySchmidt.