1. In what ways do you relate to Caitlyn? Did you put parts of yourself or people you know into any of your characters?
I always felt like an outsider in high school, which is a feeling I drew on for Caitlyn. Actually, all my characters come from myself in one way or another; there’s a quote from Maya Angelou that has always struck me as describing this well:
"We are all human; therefore, nothing human can be alien to us."
From villains to heroes to minor secondary characters, their emotions are all emotions that I have felt at one time or another, even if only for a moment. You cannot imagine or understand something unless it has a basis – however tenuous - in your own experience of life.
That said, I do get sparks of character inspiration from people I meet. Strangely, it’s easier to build a character based on someone I met only briefly, than it is to use someone I know well.
2. "Wake Unto Me" is such a unique and intriguing title. How did you come up with it?
Oy, it took forever to find that title! I still have the sheets of paper covered with possible titles, scrounged from my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, from songs, from poems, from my imagination. My editor and I went back and forth for weeks before finding this one, that we could both agree on. It comes from the old-timey Stephen Foster song, Beautiful Dreamer. I always imagine Bugs Bunny singing it:
Wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops
Are waiting for thee.
3. Your YA debut is set in
I wanted to set it in
I’ve only been to
4. Considering you used to mainly focus on adult fiction, what made you decide to switch to YA?
The brutal truth is that I got burned out on writing sex scenes. I was writing a romantic erotica (“My Summer as a Sex Vixen,” which comes out February 2012), and every time I started writing a sex scene, I would hit a mental wall and abandon the book for months and months. I thought I was going to have to chuck my writing career out the window, move on, do something new. Maybe enroll in art school.
It was my agent who suggested I try writing a YA. She said I had a young writing voice, so why not give it a shot? Wake Unto Me was the result, and it has revitalized my enthusiasm for writing across the board. I even finished writing the romantic erotica — and I like the result! It’s naughty and funny, and I’m glad I wrote it.
I want to concentrate on YA for the foreseeable future. I feel a little freer to focus on the heroine’s search for identity in YA, and on the plot, than I do in an adult romance where the relationship with the guy is all-important.
5. What's next for you writing wise?
I have several YA story proposals making the rounds, including a sequel to Wake Unto Me. The sequel is almost a sure thing, but I hope I get to write one of the other ideas, too.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Lisa! Be sure to check out her website and to read my review of Wake Unto Me: coming soon!