Interview, Part 1: Lisa Mangum the Author

 Lisa Mangum

Originally posted on April 10, 2014

We have a special treat from Lisa Mangum. Today we interview, the author. Tomorrow, you will hear from the editor.

We welcome Lisa to the WIFYR faculty. She is the author of four award-winning books: THE HOURGLASS DOOR trilogy and AFTER HELLO. Lisa is teaching Full novel class in the morning workshops. She will also teach two afternoon workshops, Pitch Perfect and Killer Openings.

But for now, here is Lisa Mangum the author.

Q. Do you have a writing ritual—a particular location, a certain time of day, etc.?

A: Because I have a full-time job as an editor as well as being an author, I have to be really careful with my time. I don’t write at work, and I don’t bring work home. That means I do all my writing in the evenings and on the weekends. When it’s time to write, I like to settle onto the couch with my laptop and write. My cat often falls asleep on my legs, which is actually a great help to me. I’ll finish a chapter and think, “Oh, but I can’t disturb Allie. I’ll just write a little longer—until she wakes up.” As any cat owner will tell you, cats can sleep for a long time, but that just means my word count goes up and up.

Q:. What were some of your favorite books as a child?

A: My earliest book memory is of my mom reading The Secret Garden to me. I also remember discovering Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen when I was young. That was my gateway book into epic fantasy, which I devoured whole for years and years. Some of my other favorite books were Peppermints in the Parlor, The Phantom Tollbooth, and anything by Roald Dahl.

Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

A: Writing is hard—period. But sometimes it’s the getting started that is the hardest for me. I’ll get an idea, develop it, love it, and then I sit down to write it and I feel some paralysis as I stare at the blank screen on the computer. I have to get past the feeling that my first line has to be the best line ever, but once I do, I can pick up speed and get into the flow. But that first line sometimes makes me crazy!

Q: What writing advice do you have for emerging writers?

A: I’m a big believer in attending writing conferences. I think they are excellent places to learn, practice, and network. Writing can be so solitary, and it’s nice to get out into the world once in a while and hang out with other writers who understand the journey. I also love learning new techniques from other writers and hearing about their struggles and successes.

Q: What makes you laugh?

A: Playing board games with my friends. An unexpected surprise. My cat playing with a string. Mystery Science Theater 3000 movies. Song parodies. The TV show Community. Playing LEGO video games with my husband.

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