I’ve never done an interview before, but I decided that we have a lot of amazing talent at the Facebook WMD! We have so many new faces, new authors and best-selling author’s there that we all should get to know. Who knows, you might even learn something.
Today I’m interviewing Lisa Olsen. She is a new author within the past few years and obviously has the heart to write. She is an active member of Facebook WMD, a wife, mother and author. Let’s find out more about her.
1. What or who inspired you to start writing?
I’m not sure what triggered it really. I didn’t write much as a child or a young adult. I was more into music, (I actually recorded an album at age 7!) but performing scares the bejeezus out of me, so it made singing a gut wrenching experience all through my formative years. Writing satisfies that same need to perform I suppose, but I can maintain a level of comfort while I do the actual writing. As for what inspired me to actually complete a novel, NaNoWriMo was the catalyst for me two years ago. It helped me get past my inner editor and complete my first novel, and I haven’t looked back.
2. I’ve had a Paranormal experience, and I wrote about it. You write about the Paranormal. Have you had any paranormal experiences, and did you write them into your stories?
I love reading about the Paranormal, but I haven’t had many personal experiences myself. The closest was my husband stayed on a haunted ranch in Australia when he was a small boy. They would find random items under the bed from time to time, left by ghosts. I incorporated that into The Touch.
3. How do you juggle family life and writing?
I’m very lucky because my kids are pretty self sufficient these days. I don’t know how people do it when they have kids under ten. It’s rough on the kids sometimes when I’m in the middle of a project and I don’t have time to help make cookies or dye someone’s hair purple, but I tend to write in bursts, so I try to make time to do fun family stuff too. Learning to find balance continues to be something I struggle with, since ALL I want to do is write sometimes.
4. You’ve just participated in NaNoWriMo and you’ve succeeded in getting a full length novel written in a month. Have you done this before? Did you already have the idea ahead of time or did the book just sort of “come” to you?
Yes, This is my third NaNo and I’ve also successfully completed a WriDatNoJun (write that novel in June) which gave me Pretty Witches All in a Row (98,500 words) and SeptNoWriMo (September Novel Writing Month) which gave me Angel of Mercy (78,000 words). I very much like the deadline, and I can handle 50k in a month no sweat, but I tend to want to finish the WHOLE book, and completing it all in a month can be rough. My preferred pace is to keep it between 2-3k words per day, and write every day barring illness or catastrophes and just power through it until it’s done.
I’m definitely a planner instead of a “pantser” when it comes to writing. When I’m heading into a writing project, I go through a list of ideas (I’m a HUGE believer in lists. I even have a list of lists!). Because I am constantly writing down book ideas, I whittle down the list of potential ideas and pick out the one that speaks to me the most. I take about a week to flesh it out,sometimes a few days extra if it needs some research, and get my outline done. Then instead of starting, I go back through my outline again. If I don’t start hearing the characters talking to me for different scenes and capturing bits of dialogue, then it’s not a good project to begin. So I’m pretty prepared when the actual writing begins, I’ve got most scenes sketched out in my head with at least the bare bones of what I want to happen.
5. What kind of support system do you have?
My husband is fantastic! He formats my books for e-book and print, designs my cover art, helps me coordinate the advertising, he’s my sounding board for ideas and phrases and he makes a mean cup of cocoa! My mother helps me with editing and my oldest daughter is an amazing proofreader (I can’t believe what she finds after it’s already been through four pairs of eyes!). They’re all fantastically supportive and give me the space I need to write… most of the time. I’ve also found a great group of writers online (you know who you are!) who have been tremendously supportive and that is so buoying, especially as a self published author. It’s great to hear positive feedback from people who aren’t genetically linked to me, you know?
6. Do you work outside the home as well? If so, what do you do?
Boy do I! I work full time as an auto insurance medical adjuster which means I talk to people who are hurt in car accidents all day long, helping them understand their coverage and trying to get medical providers to bill me. It’s amazing to me how many hoops I have to jump through just to get a bill sometimes. Hello, I just want to give you money!!! It’s incredibly stressful and time consuming, especially when half of our department are deployed across the country to assist when hurricanes or storms hit hard and we have to pick up their work too, but it pays well and that gives me the ability to self publish without having to stress over much on every expenditure since I am just starting out.
7. How long have you been writing?
Hmmm, I learned to read and write when Iwas three, but that’s not what you’re asking is it? I’ve been an avid online RPG writer (that’s role playing games for the uninitiated) for about fifteen years, writing everything from Buffy, Star Trek, and Lost fandoms to original sci-fi and fantasy stuff. Before I started writing books, I juggled up to twenty games at a time, writing for multiple characters several times a day. Right now I’m pared down to a single game because of time constraints (though I do play about 5 or 6 characters there, not all at once). Some of my favorite characters have been in writing back and forth with my husband. We’ll be inspired by a movie or TV show and just start writing together, it’s very relaxing and some of what we’ve written has turned into book ideas.
I’ve been writing novels for about 2 years. Before that I’d started and discarded project after project for a decade or so. I published my first book this past June. I also write fan fiction for Vampire Diaries and True Blood on fanfiction.net under the name Mystewitch for about a year and a half. I love the instant feedback from the reviews there, and it’s neat to see I have readers from all around the world!
8. Tell us about what you’re working on now?
I’ve just finished my first draft of my new vampire series, Wake Me When the Sun Goes Down. I knew I wanted to do a vampire project for this NaNo because I love vampires and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do one (for my first book I literally flipped a coin – vampires or werewolves, and werewolves won out), and I knew I wanted to do an origin story for a girl who wakes up in a morgue as a vampire with no memory of how she turned. I had this idea about an Order of vampires that polices the general vampire population who’d come knocking to check her license and registration for being a newbie vamp, and the story grew from there. I’m about a third of the way through edits now and hope to have it out later this month. Here is the blurb:
“It was ironic that this happened to me; I was never a night person at heart. So you can see right off the bat why a vampire was the very last thing I would have chosen to be.”
Anja Evans wakes up in the morgue with a helluva hangover. It takes almost eating her best friend before she figures out… she’s a vampire! When a dark and dangerous vampire shows up at her door asking to see her license and registration, Anja assumes Bishop is a regular cop. But breeding among vampires is strictly controlled, and her unlicensed status makes her an enemy of the Order. Struggling to find a balance between her former life and her undead one, Anja tries to blend school and living up to her new identity, all while searching to find the elusive Viking whose blood gave Anja the strength of a vampire hundreds of years old.
9. What else would you be doing if you couldn’t write, and why?
Wow, I actually can’t really picture what else I’d be doing at this point, writing has been so integrated into my life now. Like I said before, I get too much stage fright to pursue any singing anymore. I’d love to open up a little curio/bookstore/coffeeshop I suppose, but only so I can write when it’s not busy. So damn, that fits writing back into the picture again!
10. What kind of books do you like to read, and do you write reviewsfor them?
I have so little time to read anymore! I know I probably should, but I seem to be always writing when I have free time. I enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse books quite a bit, and I loved Anne Rice’s vampire and Mayfair witches series. I’m also a huge fan of some older classics like Gone with the Wind, East of Eden and To Kill a Mockingbird. I am guiltyof not leaving a review for the last book I read, but I was only lukewarm about it, so I decided it was best not to review at all. I plan to read Mark Hunter’s Storm Chaser next, hopefully when I’m done with edits for Wake Me When the Sun Goes Down.
Thank you, Lisa for your candid answers. I really think that you will go far with your writing. I thoroughly enjoyed The Touch and you can read my review of this book at www.writersofmassdistraction.com or at www.shamelessreviewsandpromotions.blogspot.com. You can also view Lisa’s web site at http://www.lisaolsen.net/.