Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Aspiring Author Thursday: Introducing Lisa Turner

Today I'd like to welcome, Lisa to my blog. I met Lisa through Mormon Mommy Writers about a year ago, and we were put in the same online critique group. She is awesome and an amazing writer. I got to meet her in person at LDStorymakers this year. She won the first chapter contest in her genre, women's fiction. It was SO awesome to see her win! Check out her blog, here.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Seriously, this is a trick question. When I was in like the third grade I remember having this idea or dream (can't remember which anymore) that I should write a book about my teacher being an alien. But I ignored it. Then, a year or so later, a young boy came to our school touring with his published book about his teacher being an alien. I kind of took that as a sign, but didn't get serious about writing.

I've always loved writing but it was always my worst subject in school. ALWAYS. I couldn't get my brain to write the supposedly simply 5 paragraph paper. My neurons just don't fire that way. Well, I took the bad grades and negative responses I got from classmates (that's a whole other story in itself) and convinced myself I wasn't a good writer and that I couldn't and therefore shouldn't write. So, I quashed my love for storytelling, at least on the page. I've been an avid daydreamer forever. I can still remember the day I unlocked that secret world and how it transformed me. There is nothing more magical than creating a world all your own inside your head. 

About eight years ago I had this idea I should start writing down the ideas that popped into my head. That gradually morphed from short ideas to longer ideas. Eventually I began dabbling with paragraphs, then pages, then one day I accepted the little voice in the back of my mind that had been telling me I should be writing and started putting my daydreams into words. It took a while before I told anybody what I was doing.

So, in answer to your question, the moment I realized God (i.e. the little voice) wanted me to write and that I liked to write, a pamphlet from our local community college extension office came in the mail. In that pamphlet I discovered the first ever (for our small community) creative writing class and signed up. (I had decided the day before I needed a creative writing class because I didn't know ANYTHING about the mechanics of story telling. The timing isn't a coincidence.) That was almost two years ago. When I realized that the promptings and my acceptance of them had aligned perfectly with the creative writing class being offered for the first time I knew that I wanted to be a writer. For some reason I needed a little validation to let myself actually accept my love for writing. That's when I knew.

That is so awesome how everything just clicked into place. You were obviously supposed to be a writer.

Do you have a writing schedule, or do you just sit down whenever you get a spare moment?

Schedule? Ha! I tried to do a schedule but that didn't work. My kids don't seem to want to cooperate. I write when I can. Sometimes that means I'm madly typing out a chapter when I should be fixing dinner. Sometimes it means I don't write at all for weeks at a time. I don't really struggle with a muse problem. I just have to force myself to sit down and focus. Then the words seem to come. I won't guarantee they aren't crap, but at least they're coming.

My muse is always there as well. Sometimes, too much. ;)

Could you tell us a little about yourself? Random facts? Hidden talents?

My, myself, and I is very shy. I used to be outgoing but those nasty teenage years made me very self-conscious. I'm working on it. I am doing better and find myself not nearly as nervous as I used to be. I actually attribute some of this to Paula Dean--don't laugh. Her story of overcoming her social issues made me feel like there was hope. If she can go from shy and withdrawn to the wonderful, friendly, and happy chef we all know and love, maybe I can to (except for the chef part--not my thing).

I don't have a favorite of anything. Not even a favorite color. My favorite shifts with my mood.

Random Facts: I lettered in track (sprinting) my Freshman year of high school then quit my sophomore year because I didn't really like the stress of it. Nothing made me sicker than a pre-basketball game stomach ache or the anxiety of getting ready for a race. If I could have done sports without all the coaches yelling and the teammate drama I would have loved it. But confrontation and negative behavior (coaches yelling) was too hard on me. Instead of being inspired to try harder, I withdrew and struggled to give the effort I should. My friend informs me that this is because I am HSP--and I'm inclined to agree.

Hidden Talents: I can play the piano (don't tell anyone at church). I am super organized (when I want to be). I have an uncanny ability to gauge people's emotions--at least I think I do.

That is exactly the same reason I didn't do sports in high school. Sigh.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing you couldn't live without? (Besides your family and a laptop of course.)

I have no idea! Seriously, I love the idea of it. I always wished I could be a member of the Swiss Family Robinson. Getting stranded in some place deserted with my family sounds awesome. (It helps that my hubby is a super-duper outdoorsman who could be confused with MacGuyver because he's so handy!)

What is one book you could read over and over and over?

I must confess I have a hard time re-reading anything! Once is usually enough. But, I'd have to say the Harry Potter books would fall under that category. J.K. Rowling did such a good job of layering and creating more than just one plot that there's always something new to discover!

I totally agree. LOVE Harry Potter! :D

What book are you dying to read this year? 

Depends on your definition of dying. If you mean dying in the sense that I'm dying to get it over with then I would say my public speaking textbook. If you mean dying to get my hands on it--I don't have one. I'm a pretty picky reader and it's rare to find a book that makes me salivate like that.

But I am excited to read Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. I'm getting it from the library this week!

I know I did this interview about a month ago... I'm curious how you liked Paranormalcy!? Loved it.

What genre do you write and why?

I write mostly Women's Fiction and Fantasy. Why, because I LOVE them and because that seems to be where my ideas come from. I am a closet Sci-Fi fanatic. Even those cheese Sci-fi channel movies that have bad acting and sub-par plots catch my attention. There is something about the medieval time period merged with fantasy that I adore. Deep down inside of me there is place that is drawn to castles and armor and horses and battles and the peasant's life. It's almost like a yearning or a craving I need to satisfy. I can't explain it any more than I can satiate it. If I could travel through time and see, first hand, the era of King Arthur I would do it in a heart beat (so long as I was guaranteed safety and a return to my own time).

Take me with you.

Do you have any writing rituals? Music, silence, eating, etc.

No rituals with the exception of silence. I can't write when music is on. I daydream to music but it blocks the words from getting to the page.

It depends on my mood. Sometimes I can write to music, and sometimes I listen to it and turn it off to write.

Where do you come up with your ideas? Dreams, while driving, etc?

Ideas just strike me out of nowhere. One short story I wrote was inspired by picking a dime up off the kitchen floor. I stuck the coin in my pocket and raced to my computer where half of the story just flowed out of me. Really, I feel like my inspiration comes where it needs to. Sometimes, when I'm sitting in church and a lesson or a comment strike an idea (all for the same story--every time) I know it's divine inspiration and I listen extra carefully.

Awesome. I rarely get ideas at church. Maybe I should listen more... ;)

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Write for yourself. Who cares if you get published? If you care, you're motivation is all wrong. That doesn't mean it can't be a goal or a dream, but your love and drive shouldn't be hinged on a publication deal.

And, write the story you want to hear. Don't write it for someone else to love. You have to love it first.

Great advice. Write for you. Not anyone else.

Random Writing Question: If your MC could turn into any animal, what would it be and why?
Which MC? 

Brenna--a caterpillar. I know, technically that's a bug, but the transformation she goes through is so like that of a beautiful butterfly.

Haedric--(I made up that name--no stealing.)  He would become a wild horse because his strength is useless until it is tamed. Once he can master himself and his demons he will be a force to be reckoned with!

 Thank you SO much, Lisa! You rock! :D


Michelle Merrill said...

Great interview. Good luck keeping the piano playing quiet at church. I don't even play well at all and now I have that calling. Grr. At least the little kids don't care so much :)

Love Harry Potter too! And I'm excited for you to read Paranormalcy. It's a great book.

Also, great advice for writer's. And I love the name you made up for your character. I make up names all the time too.

Great to meet you Lisa and thanks Chantele for the introduction :)

Brenda Sills said...

What a fantastic interview! I loved reading every bit of it! Lisa sounds like such a warm, interesting, talented person! It was so much fun to read about her. Thanks for giving us a chance to get to know her!

Katie Dodge said...

Great post! Loved getting to know you a little better,Lisa! :D

Ruth Josse said...

Nice to meet ya, Lisa!

LisaAnn said...

Thanks for the interview, Chantelle!

Michelle--I am fortunate I live in a ward with a ton of musically talented people. People far more talented than I will ever be so I shouldn't have to worry. Famous last words.....

Brenda & Katie--It was great meeting you guys at LDStorymakers!

ali said...

Great interview Chantele and Lisa! And I totally agree with your advice to aspiring authors. This work is too hard to do it for any other reason than that you love it.

Jolene Perry said...

I've gotten loads of ideas at church - it's one of the reasons I LOVE to write LDS fiction.


Patti said...

Another great interview, I love reading about how other people write.