S.L. Rottman was born in Georgia in 1970. Her parents moved back to Colorado in 1972, so she doesn’t remember much about Georgia and considers herself a Coloradan. She attended Colorado State University, and earned an English degree with teaching certification. A high school English teacher and avid swim coach, she enjoys time with her family and friends in Colorado. Rafting, skiing, reading, swimming, throwing pots, watching movies, and camping are just a few of her interests.
When did you decide to become a writer?
The first time I remember writing a story that I liked, that my friends liked, and that my teacher liked (I got an A instead of an A+ because I can’t spell very well), I was in the sixth grade. That’s when I first thought that I wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first book, Hero, when I was 24.
What’s your favorite part of being an author?
It’s cool to go to conferences and meet other authors! I’ve got a pretty impressive collection of signed books now. I also like the fact that I can dress the way I want, I can set my own hours, and I can write wherever I want to (laptop computers are beautiful things!). I’m not sure how many hours I’ve spent writing while my kids played at McDonald’s Playland, or were at basketball or gymnastics practice.
Is there a common theme in your books?
All of my books are different and stand alone, but they all deal with the importance of family in one form or another.
So many of your books have dark ideas or teens with unhappy homes. Is that how you grew up?
No. My parents are still happily married, and I never wanted for anything growing up. Well, okay, I wanted a lot of stuff, but I never went short on the things kids need—love, affection, food, clothes, and books. As a teacher, I saw a lot of students who had hard lives, and I wrote for them. Hope is important for teen readers, but most of them see a very different reality in their day-to-day lives. The trick is finding the balance between supplying enough hope and still making the story 'real.' That’s what I try to do with my books.
Do you have brothers and sisters?
I have one younger sister. She also likes to read and write!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Laini Taylor, Will Hobbs, Chris Crutcher, Julie Peters, Denise Vega, Meg Cabot, Todd Strasser, Elaine Marie Alphin, Stephen King, Louisa May Alcott, Anne Rice, Robert Jordan, Christopher Paolini, and J.K. Rowling, to name just a few. I’m constantly reading and looking for new authors.
Where do you get your ideas?
Anywhere and everywhere. I can see something on the street, hear an interesting name on TV, or have an odd dream and find something in it worth writing about.
Why isn't there a picture of you on the back of your book?
Cameras and I don't get along very well.
Why does the back of each book say you live someplace different?
My husband was in the Air Force and we moved several times. We lived in Colorado, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Antigua & Barbuda, and Florida. Now that he retired, we are happily settled in Colorado.
What’s your favorite book that you’ve written?
I can’t pick a favorite—they’re all my babies. I spent months working and reworking each one of them, and they all have strength and weaknesses. It is easier for me to talk to a prospective reader and tell them which book I think that they would like.
Are you writing another book?
Always. Whether or not the new book gets published is another issue altogether.
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Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States