Tuesday, November 15, 2011
DECEMBER BOOK LAUNCH EVENT: Author Interview ~ Lisa M. Lilly
Mystery Writers Unite is DELIGHTED to be supporting the work of Lisa M. Lilly author of THE AWAKENING (see below).
Lisa M. Lilly’s poems and short fiction have appeared in numerous print and on-line magazines, including Parade of Phantoms, Strong Coffee, and Hair Trigger. She also is an attorney who handles appeals and business-related lawsuits. After losing her parents due to an intoxicated driver, she joined the board of the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM).
MWU: Let me start by saying thank you for agreeing to let Mystery Writers Unite interview you. I’m sorry for the loss of your parents as I know how devastating that kind of loss can be. I commend you for joining the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists to continue the battle against drunk driving! Is there anything you would like to say to those that still continue this ridiculous behavior?
Lisa M. Lilly: The man responsible for my parents’ deaths is now serving a 12 year prison sentence and has to live with the fact that he killed two people by choosing to drink and drive. It may be inconvenient and expensive to take a cab or find another ride home when you’ve been drinking. But compared to the harm to yourself and others that driving after even a drink or two can cause, it is well worth it to find another way to get where you need to go rather than take the risk. So, please, if you drink, don’t drive.
MWU: Now on to more pleasant things...aside from the main character in THE AWAKENING, who is your favorite character and why?
Lisa M. Lilly: Cyril, because he is so conflicted. He truly wants to do what’s right. Yet he so often does terrible things either out of believing they are right at the time, or being unable or unwilling to examine why he believes what he does or what his motives really are.
MWU: What is one of your favorite chapters or scenes in THE AWAKENING why is it your favorite?
Lisa M. Lilly: One of my favorites is the scene where Cyril first confronts Tara and she’s all alone in the Laundromat where she works. It’s nearly midnight and the Laundromat is deserted, and this man she’s never met, who may well be crazy, insists he must talk to her about her pregnancy. She needs to make quick decisions about how to handle it, whether to trust him, and how to protect herself.
MWU: Now that you’ve completed this book, is there a character in it that you may want to go back to at another time and write about them again?
Lisa M. Lilly: Yes, I’m writing the second book in the series. In addition to Tara (of course), Tara’s sister Kelly will have a major role. She didn’t get too much time in The Awakening, and she really wants to be more involved in Tara’s life and Tara’s quest for the meaning of the prophecies about her.
MWU: Another question I ask every author I interview. Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you cope with it?
Lisa M. Lilly: I’ve never had writer’s block, but I’ve certainly had those times where my stomach clenches and it feels like it’ll be impossible to write. Usually for me, that comes from my fear that what I write won’t be any good. It also happens when I don’t know where my story is going. So I tell myself that I’m just going to write something terrible, and that’s okay. And if I don’t know what to write, I start by writing that and then musing about what my character could do next or what I might someday write about. So something like, “I don’t know what to write. Maybe Tara needs to go overseas. What about that church she tried to find in Armenia? No, I don’t think she’ll go there again….” Once I get my fingers moving across the keys, I almost always write a scene or scenes I end up using. If not, I try again the next day.
MWU: I always ask a published author what advice they would give to those of us still working away at their first novel, first draft?
Lisa M. Lilly: Write as much as you can as fast as you can, and don’t worry about if it works, or it’s good, or it’ll sell until you finish it. Save the editing for the rewriting process. I know so many truly gifted writers who have fabulous first halves of novels. But three years later, they still have the first half and nothing to market. Also, it’s hard to tell if your beginning or middle will work until you get to the end. All that time editing chapter one may be wasted if you finish and realize your story actually started three chapters later.
MWU: What did you learn from writing THE AWAKENING?
Lisa M. Lilly: I learned a lot about pacing. My early drafts had a lot of conversation and explanation in them and showed all the research I did about early goddess cultures and the origins of various current religion beliefs. Most of that I cut, though I loved it and I’d spent so much time on it. It’s a much better book with only a fraction of the research included.
MWU: How did you choose the title for your book? Did you know right away what the title would be or did you let the story brew for a bit and then choose?
Lisa M. Lilly: It took a long time to decide on the title. I discarded quite a few and asked a lot of people for feedback on what each title made them think of. The Awakening comes from a yoga concept that Tara learns about.
MWU: If you had less than a minute to tell a perspective reader what they could expect from THE AWAKENING (you are at a trade show and someone has stopped by your booth) what would you tell them? Go….
Lisa M. Lilly: It’s a fast-paced thriller with a strong female protagonist. The main character is a young woman whose mysterious pregnancy may bring the world its first female messiah – or trigger the apocalypse.
MWU: Is there anything you would like to say to new writers, new readers or current fans of your work?
Lisa M. Lilly: I appreciate you! Thanks for taking the time to read my work, and I hope you’ll support other independent authors, including my colleagues in the WLC Mystery Book Launch. Also, I love hearing from you -- which characters you loved or hated, what scenes you enjoyed the most, what questions you’d like to see addressed in the next book in the series.
The synopsis for THE AWAKENING:
Will Tara Spencer’s mysterious pregnancy bring the world its first female messiah? Or trigger the Apocalypse?
Tara Spencer’s mysterious pregnancy causes her family and fiancé to turn against her. Only a stranger, Cyril Woods, believes her claim that she’s still a virgin. The religious order Cyril belongs to believes Tara’s child may be a new messiah, fulfilling signs in the Book of Revelation. But when Tara discovers the baby will be a girl, the order sees her as the mother of the anti-Christ who must be destroyed before she triggers the first stage of the Apocalypse.
This post is part of a DECEMBER BOOK LAUNCH EVENT ---->> Join LISA M. LILLY and 9 of her author friends at WoMen's Literary Cafe's Mystery Book Launch, December 13-15. Ten authors will discount their eBooks to just 99 cents. Buy 3 get 1 FREE!