The time it was about When Reason Breaks

Posted April 9, 2015 by Stacee in Blog Tours, Giveaways, Interviews | 3 Comments

When I got the invitation from Bloomsbury to be part of the blog tour for When Reason Breaks, I had just finished reading the arc.  I had really enjoyed the ambiguity of the story, so I was excited to be a part of it.

WhenReasonBreaks_blogtourbannerBefore we get to Cindy’s interview, let’s check out the book!

713 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.

Sounds good, right?


1. Where did the idea for When Reason Breaks come from?

In 2007, I took a graduate course on Emily Dickinson. Before the class, I knew a few of her poems and what most people knew about her–that she was a recluse whose poetry wasn’t published until after her death. During the class, I fell in love with her life and work as I realized how complex both were and what a genius she was. Around that time, I saw a part of the opening scene in my head: a teacher running through the woods toward a student who was trying to commit suicide in the woods near the high school. When I really started to plan the novel, I decided the main characters would represent Dickinson in certain ways and struggle with something both she and I have struggled with–depression.

2. Why do you love Elizabeth and Emily and why should readers root for them?

I love them both because they are wrapped up in contradictions. Elizabeth is a badass Goth girl known for her short temper and violent outbursts, yet she listens to classical music, was once in a bowling league, and has a loving relationship with her little sister, Lily. Emily is a quiet, smart girl who avoids trouble and has lifelong, yet she’s in a relationship that will get her into big trouble with her dad and she hides important things from friends. They have strengths and weaknesses; they are resilient and vulnerable. Readers should root for them because they have probably known an Elizabeth or Emily in their own lives, a person who is in pain and is struggling and needs to turn a corner mentally and emotionally to start getting better.

3. What was the strangest thing you had to Google while doing research?

I didn’t have to Google things that were strange, really. I did a lot of double-checking of Emily Dickinson information, looked up information on Día de los Muertos, and watched videos of cosmic bowling. On some days, though, I had to Google tough things like how an ER handles an attempted suicide from an overdose of sleeping pills and the average hospital stay after a suicide attempt. I didn’t have to Google anything that would interest the government!

4. Without spoilers, were there any scenes that had to be cut that you wish could have stayed?

My original manuscript was on the short side, so I actually added more than deleted. One major change made during revisions was we pulled back the adult character, Ms. Diaz, to make sure the teens were in the spotlight. Many of the previous scenes with her were reshaped, though, and ended up in the final draft. In the end, I was fine with all of the changes; my editor’s suggestions were spot on.

5. Describe When Reason Breaks in 5 words.

Fighting through darkness, finding hope.

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.

I was at work (I’m a teacher), so I walked through the halls shouting, “My book’s getting published!” to anyone who passed by. After, I went back to teaching. I was probably super easy on my students that day since I was in such a good mood!

2. What three things would you take to a deserted island?

Some kind of pop-up shelter

A first aid/survival kit that included a water bottle with a filter system that made sea water drinkable, matches, a small spear for fishing, a notebook, and pen. Is this asking too much?

A flare gun with lots of flares so that I could be rescued as soon as possible because I seriously lack any “outdoorsy” skills.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

One book? This idea is worse than being stranded on a deserted island. I’d have to say an anthology of some kind. Technically, it is one book, but it would offer me some variety.

4. Who are your favorite swoony boys/girls?

Tripp from Mary Amato’s GUITAR NOTES and Adam from IF I STAY each had a great mix of attitude, charm, and musical talent.

Each of the cowboys in Stacey Lee’s UNDER A PAINTED SKY had me grinning while reading.

And I have always been a member of Team Peeta.

5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

There’s so much information online about publishing, including private online forums where you can ask anything and authors give you answers, advice, suggestions, and support. I have been taking advantage of these sites and have learned a lot. I wish, though, that I had followed all of the “don’t” advice, like don’t Google yourself, don’t read reviews, don’t try to make sense of the rankings on Amazon, don’t compare yourself to other writers. All of these are solid tips that are good for your mental health during the publishing process, but I did them anyway. It’s almost like when a parent says, “Don’t touch the stove. It’s hot.” Makes sense. You know it’s good advice, but you do it anyway just to make sure. Why? Why do we do these things? So, in the future I’m going to follow people’s good advice more often.

6. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently? {Thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me take this question!}

If I were Bella, I would have moved to sunny Florida with Mom instead of living in dreary Washington. There, I would have eliminated my Vitamin D deficiency, gone to college, and fallen in love with a handsome, smart, cake-making, guitar-strumming, cowboy-esque young man (a combo of the swoony boys mentioned above). In this reality, Bella would be the star of a fun, romantic, summer beach read!


cindyrodriguez (1)Cindy L. Rodriguez is a former newspaper reporter turned public school teacher. She now teaches as a reading specialist at a Connecticut middle school but previously worked for the Hartford Courant and the Boston Globe.

She and her young daughter live in Plainville, Connecticut. This is her debut novel.


Huge thanks to Bloomsbury for the invite and to Cindy for taking the time.  Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, and adding her book to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

Now.  Haven’t had a chance to get this book in your greedy hands? Bloomsbury is so nicely offering up a copy! Giveaway is US only.  And make sure you check out the rest of the tour stops for all sorts of goodies.  Schedule is listed after the Rafflecopter.

**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway


April 6th  Write All the Words!
April 7th  The YA Kitten
April 8th  YA Romantics
April 9th  Adventures of a Book Junkie
April 10th Itching for Books
April 13th   Fic Fare
April 14th  The Book Belles
April 15th   Novel Ink
April 16th   The Reading Nook Reviews
April 17th   YAdult Review

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3 responses to “The time it was about When Reason Breaks

  1. It looks like the kind of book that breaks stereotypes and the kind of book that people can easily relate to. We need more amazing books that tackle mental health. Plus, I’ve interviewed Cindy and she’s so sweet! Thanks for an epic giveaway!! :)

  2. Amanda

    I love the work of Emily Dickinson (I’m a former English teacher), and I love to read books with diverse characters.

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