Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Thank you for having me visit your site, Lena. I’ve been a distant admirer of yours since I came to ACFW and I’m deeply honored to be this close. How much of myself is in my characters? I know we’re supposed to “write what you know” so, maybe it’s safer to say I write what I’d like to be in my current works in progress. I come from a long line of teachers, and while I chose not to be a teacher like Judy, the main character in my book, maybe on a subconscious level Judy is my alter ego. I suppose I identify more with Ardyth, though: Judy’s older friend who came home, wears plaids and tells it pretty much like it is.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
All right – the latest weird thing I did was convince my anesthesiologist and surgeon to let me have a hysterectomy with a spinal. Most of my later works have medical issues/themes and I thought I’d like to experience major surgery after having some earlier minor little things done under a block. I got to be aware during some of it, but they wouldn’t let me be awake during the time they were doing the real work. Later my surgeon told me honestly whatever I wanted to know. I’m not so sure I’ll have surgery again – just kidding, although it’s kind of like being really glad you don’t know what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurant. But my surgeon has a Kindle and knows how to use it, so that makes up for a lot.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’m not one of those lovely people who’ve been writing since they were three. I think I first realized it when one of my historical society buddies told me “You should be a writer” after reading one of my society articles in the local newspaper. I took the Christian Writers Guild course and started selling articles before I finished. Being a hobby writer and being a professional are different and respectable gifts.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m an eclectic reader, although I prefer fiction to non-fiction. Participating in several book clubs has been good for me, making me read things I wouldn’t normally pick up. If I get a chance to read for fun, I’ll pick up sci/fi fantasy – Anne McCaffrey is my favorite there, and Ray Bradbury, and my new fav, Jill Williamson. Although I’m an historian, it’s hard for me to read historicals because I always want to double check the research. I love a good thriller, next. I just read Robert Ludlum’s Bourne books. Too much of a similar genre in a row makes me cranky, so I like to mix it up.
I write historicals, but I'm a real stickler for authentic details. You might want to check out my latest Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, or my next one Family Secrets, which will release in October next year. What other books have you written, whether published or not?
Since I started writing seriously in 2003, I’ve written nineteen books, so I won’t list them all. I spent two years researching and writing a series of six children’s historical books based on ethnic settlers to my community, and honestly, that was harder than the full-length novels and not a genre I’ll pursue. My first book, part of a series I’d like to finish some day, finished in the top ten of the first Operation First Novel contest of the Christian Writers Guild. It’s the story of several families in a congregation and how they influence each other during the course of a year. The Gold Standard was the first of my books to be published. I signed the contract in 2006 and it was published in 2009. There are four books in the series, the second of which is done and the third was interrupted by the aforementioned surgery. I have another mystery and a romance completed. Healing Grace, my second novel to be published, was written while I waited for the results of the Operation First Novel contest, and was published also in 2009. Since those releases, I’ve turned to edgier and more outside-the-box story-telling with Meander Scar (2010), and I have some gen-fiction stories in publisher panels.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Oh, I don’t cuz the well would run dry. But when I have to try, I make a list. I take a long bath or just veg out to a Brewers baseball game.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Sticking with the writing world, the accomplishment that tickles me the most is when someone buys a colleague’s book because of something I’ve said or written. It’s all part of marketing which makes my blood cold, but is essential to play the reading game.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d be Edna. This is what we have to learn from Edna, a garter snake who once took up residence in our front bushes. She was very pregnant, a good predator who discouraged mice from racing into our 150-year-old brick farmhouse when the front door was open. Edna disappeared eventually and we assumed she went to find a safe place to give birth. She did – our attic. Did I mention we live in a two-story house? Made of smooth, old brick? I cannot even begin to imagine the tenacity of an extremely pregnant Edna figuring out how to crawl up into our attic, but that’s the tenacity we have to show as writers trying to get our work into print and read.
What is your favorite food?
Mmm-Garden Jack cheese from Beechwood Cheese Factory.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
This still is a huge problem for me, but I’m learning some tricks. I can’t proofread my own stuff; I constantly miss words in my rush to type and my brain fills them in when I go back to edit. Same with some typos. But I learned to read out loud, slowly, and I just started doing some editing and proofing for Port Yonder Press, so that’s helping me be more principled.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Take time to learn the ropes and tricks. Find a good mentor who’s already been published. Don’t give up – understand there are highs and lows no matter who are. Don’t be in a rush to publish: build your readership well, because our ultimate goal as writers is not to be in print, but to be read.
Tell us about the featured book.
The Gold Standard, by Lisa J Lickel
c. 2009 Lisa J Lickel
Barbour Publishing, Inc.
available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Judy Winters is pretty sure her environmentally-conscious great aunt didn't die of natural causes, no matter what the tox screens say. When she discovers she can inherent the family farm if she'll live there for a year, can she give up her teaching job and move to the country? Next door to the obnoxious young, unfortunately handsome, farmer with ties to her aunt? And what about a possible killer on the loose. Join Judy, Hart, Ardyth and know-it-all cat Carranza, for an all-Wisconsin adventure.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Judy Winters made divots in the lawn with her church shoes, the ones with the high heels she saved to wear once a week. She stopped her frenetic crisscross pacing under the clothesline to look at her trail. She could dethatch the entire yard if she kept walking in aimless circles. She needed a few minutes away from the houseful of strangers, come to offer their condolences for her loss. Judy needed a few minutes alone to think. To think about poison.
Hand at her brow to shield the sun’s harsh light, Judy surveyed her late aunt’s farm. The half acre surrounding the house sure could use work. What had Aunt Louise done these past two years to allow her once-lovely yard to decline into crabgrass and thistles? Birds might enjoy the seeds, but she’d let the place go. Only a recent lawn-mowing kept the dandelions from taking over. Judy brushed a tear off her cheek, wondering inanely who had mowed since Louise’s death.
Aunt Louise had reported feeling not up to par a week ago, and Judy offered to come for a visit.
“Nothing to worry about,” Aunt Louise had assured. “Better that I rest, and I don’t want you catching whatever bug I’ve come down with, Judy dear.”
And then the shocking phone call came from her aunt’s solicitor, Gene Reynolds. “Sorry to inform you, Miss Winters, that your aunt Louise Jamison has died.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is http://lisalickel.com/
I blog at http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com/, http://wisconsinauthorreview.blogspot.com/
I’m on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lisalickel and Shoutlife: http://www.shoutlife.com/lisalicke l, as well as a few other places like Author’s Den, SheWrites, Goodreads, Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers, and I have Amazon and BN author’s pages.
Thank you, Lisa, for the interesting interview and intriguing mystery book.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.