Describe your book in five words or less.
Romantic. Exhilarating. Compelling. Satisfying.
How did the ideas for your books come to you?
I hadn’t planned on writing a YA novel. Before I got the idea for The Hourglass Door (the first book in the trilogy), I was working on an epic fantasy novel. But one summer day I was driving to a writer’s conference for YA authors and thought, What kind of story would I write—if I were to write YA? And just like that, I knew it would be a love story. I knew it would have a little fantasy twist to it, and that it would be inspired by Dante’s famous epic poem The Divine Comedy. By the time I had reached the conference, I knew some of the major elements of the story, the characters involved—even some of the scenes and dialogue for the story. It was like Abby and Dante jumped in the car with me and told me the whole thing, start to finish. I’ve never had a story come to me like that before—or since. It was amazing.
What is the hardest part of writing for you? What’s the easiest?
The hardest part for me is making sure I keep the pacing fast and tight. Sure, I outline the story, but there are usually sections or places where I feel like the action is dragging a little, so I work hard to make sure I keep the characters moving. I want to make sure I deliver a book to my readers that they “can’t put down.”
One of the easiest things for me, I think, is doing description. I love playing with words and seeing how they fit together. I love it when I can describe something in unconventional language or make people see something familiar in a new light.
What’s next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?
I’m never short of ideas. Next up is a contemporary YA novel that I have tentatively entitled Just June. It’s about two sisters who make very different choices in their lives and about following the repercussions of those actions. After that, I have a fantasy story about fairies I want to do. And just this week, I got a new idea for a YA novel that I can’t stop thinking about. And at some point, I probably ought to get back to that epic fantasy novel I set aside to tell the story of Abby and Dante. (I did have 400 pages done for that story, after all . . . )
Why did you choose to write for specific genre?
I think YA is an exciting genre to write in. Especially now. There are so many good books—compelling, life-changing, challenging books—that are being written for the YA market by some of the best writers out there. I think one of the draws of the genre is that the emotions and challenges are so intense; they are often all-consuming for a character. Plus, it’s often a time of firsts—first date, first kiss, first betrayal, first time you figure out who you are and who you want to be. There is a lot of interesting material that can grow out of those kinds of situations.
What’s it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book’s release date?
It’s at once exciting and terrifying. I love knowing that there are people who have fallen in love with Abby and Dante just as I have, but I’m always nervous right before a book comes out—will people like it? And, I must admit, there is a little part of me that smiles, knowing I know something very few others know—how the story ends. Ultimately, though, I can’t wait to have the book make its way into the hands of readers everywhere so they can share in the story with me.
What is one question that you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Q: What’s your favorite ride at Disneyland? A: Big Thunder Mountain.
What was your road to publications like?
Surprisingly smooth. For my day job, I work as an editor for a publishing company, so naturally, when I wrote my book, I took it to my publisher to see if, perhaps, they wanted to look at it. They did, and so I submitted it in just like any other author. They took my name off the submission when the manuscript made the review rounds in order to avoid other people knowing it was me and making judgments (good or bad) based on that. I was really grateful for that, because then, when the answer came back Yes, I knew it was because they really wanted the book, and not just because I wrote it.
I sometimes hesitate to tell people this, but from the day I got the idea for the series to the day book 1 was available for sale at the bookstore was almost exactly two years. And after more than a decade in the publishing business, I can tell you, that is fast.
Lisa Mangum knew she was destined to work with books when she opted to skip recess in elementary school to help out at the school library instead. A voracious reader her entire life, her first paying job was at the Sandy Library as a page, where she shelved books all day. She worked at Waldenbooks for the four years while she attended the University of Utah, earning a degree in English. An avid reader of all genres, Lisa has worked in numerous editorial roles in the publishing industry. She lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy.
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