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 Gretchen Schreiber grew up between the hills of Kansas and the hospitals of Minnesota, but now call the hills of Los Angeles home. After getting her MFA from USC Film School, she now work as a professional bookworm for Hello Sunshine, Reese Witherspoon’s media company. She is always down to run away to Disneyland or a bookstore

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  • Is your day job really to read books?
    Well it started out that way! I do a lot of other things now at Hello Sunshine, but reading remains a big part of my day-to-day life.
  • Will you read my book?
    Oh man, well first congrats on finishing a book! But for all sorts of reasons—legal, ethical, and personal—no. Trust me this is for your protection and mine. If you’re looking to submit to Reese’s Book Club, trust in your agent and publisher to get your book into the right hands (those hands are not on this website). If I do critique events you can find them on my events page.
  • How many books do you read at a time?
    Typically — 10-20. It’s something that I’ve always done, and no unfortunately I can’t explain how I keep them all straight. It’s something I just do. Call it a super power. If you wanna hear about what I’m reading might I suggest following me on Instagram or signing up for my newsletter.
  • Are you disabled?
    I am indeed! Much like the characters I write about, I have VACTERLs. (Specifically the V (vertebrae), R (radial or renal), L (limbs), and C (cardio) letters.) A lot was done when I was a kid—I racked up 40+ surgeries before the age of 18.
  • Did your mom blog about you?
    No. Not at all. However, she was very active in the VACTERL community, founding a nonprofit (501C3) called VATER Connection. For years she put out newsletters, connected with families, helped run national conferences, helped gather research — and all while raising two kids and being married. She’s cool.
  • Do you have a soundtrack to your book?
    Sure do! I pretty much just listened to the FREE SOLO soundtrack while drafting. To this day, if I need to slip back into Ellie’s voice I just listen to the Main Title & Yosemite Valley track.
  • What inspired your book?
    A lot of things. I sometimes think there are layers to my inspiration—it’s a like a cake. But two big things were how my friends would react when I told them stories about my childhood growing up in and around a major medical institution. It was almost like I was describing a fantasy world to them and that’s when I knew there was a story there. Ellie’s particular journey is close to home. I broke my leg and a friend came to bring me dinner and sit with me until they took me up to orthopedics. When she left she told me that “hospital Gretchen” was her favorite Gretchen. This sort of split really intrigued me and I decided to push it to a larger extreme in Ellie.
  • Is the VCMC inspired by a real place?
    Loooolz. Of course it is. I named VKMC (Virginia Coffman Medical Center) after my maternal grandmother who often accompanied my mom and I on trips to the hospital. VKMC is largely inspired by my time spent at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Like Ellie, it was a place where all my high powered doctors practiced and where I spent long weeks during the summer making sure my body was still in proper working order.
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