1. When did you start putting pen to paper?
The first story I ever wrote was in the second grade. My teacher gave an assignment to the class–write anything you want, as long as it reached two pages in length. For a second-grader, two pages felt like a novel! But once I got started and the words came out, I had a lot of fun, and the story reached four pages. It was called “The Magic Key,” and I’ve been hooked ever since!
2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?
I’ve dabbled with poetry, but I am definitely a prose writer. I love to get lost in stories and ideas and let the characters take me where they will.
3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
That’s a good question! If I had to choose just one, I’d probably say Sherlock Holmes. I’m a big Holmes fan, and love his quirks and dry sense of humor. Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective was well ahead of his time, in many ways.
4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?
Probably Ray Bradbury. He was in love with the fantastic, the imaginative, the world of “what-if” and “maybe,” and “out there.” Many of those aspects are what drive my own writing.
5. What are your current projects?
I am currently writing the sequel to The Eye-Dancers, a YA sci-fi/fantasy novel I published a couple of years ago. It’s been a lot of fun, and very rewarding, revisiting this world and these characters! I also maintain The Eye-Dancers blog, and post fresh material on there on a regular basis.
6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?
I don’t think so. When you write a novel, or any long piece of writing, there is the first-draft stage, the second-draft stage, the third-draft stage, the copyediting, proofreading, fact-checking–a whole slew of versions, revisions, rewrites. You pour so much of yourself. your time, your energy into the process, and do the very best you can. And, when it’s all over–if you know you’ve done everything you can do to create the best possible product, I don’t think you can allow yourself to feel any regrets. As writers, we do the best we can, and hopefully our work reflects that.
7. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write what you love–the stories, ideas, themes, characters, passions, dreams, fears that resonate for you, not for anyone else. Don’t worry about what’s “hot” or in vogue. Don’t worry about following the right trends. Create your own trends. Write the stories only you are meant to write. Your readers will be glad you did.
8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful ;)
No, they were generally A’s.:) I always loved English!
9. How much research do you do for your writing?
I suppose that depends on the project. If it’s a personal short story, there would be very little research. If it’s a novel that takes place in a different era, or if it deals with a technical or historical subject, I’ll definitely want to make sure I have my facts straight. For example, in The Eye-Dancers, there is a parallel-worlds dimension, and one of the characters, Marc Kuslanski, is the class science wiz. He discusses several quantum theories that he thinks might explain some of the incredible adventures he and the other main characters are going through in the novel. I wanted to make sure I brushed up on basic quantum theory before writing The Eye-Dancers!
10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I just use Microsoft Word on my PC–a trusted and an old friend.:)
11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Probably from my academic advisor in college, who also taught several of my classes. He knew I wanted to be a writer, and he emphasized the “small stuff”–the grammar, the editing, the rewrites, all the “grunt” work that goes into a finished manuscript. “Don’t leave it to your editor,” he said. “Sweat the small stuff yourself.” And he was definitely right–the “small” stuff is, in fact, not really small at all.
12. What book do you think everyone should read?
The Eye-Dancers, of course! Just joking. Well, sort of. I’d have to put To Kill a Mockingbird right up there at the top of the list–the greatest novel I’ve ever read.
13. Two-part question: Do you play an musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play?
I do not! But if I ever take the time and effort to learn it, I’d love to be able to play the guitar.
14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published?
I initially created query letters and a synopsis, and was ready to go the traditional route. But after thinking it over, weighing all the options, and observing the way indie publishing has come into its own–not to mention all the flexibility it offers–I decided to self-publish The Eye-Dancers. I haven’t once regretted the decision!
15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?
I suppose, just to get the “inside story” and really see what it’s like, I’d want to “sit in” the White House for a week and serve as president of the United States. In addition to everything else, it would also provide ample grist for the writer’s mill!
16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?
I don’t even know! It’s so hard imagining a life without writing at the center of it, I don’t even think I can answer that . . .
17. Two-part question: Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And John Cleese or Michael Palin?
Bill Murray and John Cleese!
18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)
I think publishing The Eye-Dancers–after all the rewrites and revisions–and then starting and continuing to maintain a blog devoted to the book, producing so many posts on the site, virtually meeting so many great people from around the world. The entire experience has been fantastic.
19. What quote do you live by?
I’ve always tried to aspire to FDR’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I often fall short of that, of course, but at the same time, I always make a concerted effort to put myself and my work “out there.” Anytime any writer does that, he or she risks criticism, negative feedback, bad reviews . . . But it’s the only way to share your work, your passion, your heart with others.
20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition? (famous Pulitzer prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.)
I guess selling enough copies of my work where I can devote all my time to writing, and not have to go to a “real” job every day. Writing creatively full-time, and making a living from that–it doesn’t get much better than that! Maybe someday . . .
21. Would you like to ask me a question?
I’d actually like to ask you one of the same questions you asked me! What would be your advice to other writers?
I also wanted to take this time to thank you for interviewing me, Lisa! I really appreciate it, and I had fun answering your questions!
Awe… so glad to hear you had fun interviewing with me and likewise! In answer to you question, see no. 7 answer :)
Special thanks to Michael and if you haven’t checked out his awesome book yet, do so.
Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! XO, L.