Tuesday, March 1, 2011

with Lisa Lickel

Welcome to The Book Loft, Lisa! It's great to have you here at The Barn Door's sister site! =)
People talk about life before children—what was your life before writing?

Well, I actually made money and worked fewer hours. Sometimes my house was even clean. I had a lot of extra jobs while raising children, some of them fun. When my youngest was a senior I realized I'd probably need to fill the gap and, while working as a church secretary, took the Christian Writer's Guild course and thus began my literary career.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
MY obstacle is depression. I haven't had a contract in over a year, so it's really hard to keep writing on speculation, keep trying to market my older stuff, keep getting my name out there and networking without anything monetary to show for it. Hope without a sure payoff is exhausting. Why do I keep doing it? I love my new acquaintance, and I'm certain that this is what I'm supposed to be doing and where I'm supposed to be right now.

What book have you recently enjoyed reading?
I just today finished Elaine Cooper's The Road to Deer Run—a delightfully sweet Revolutionary War-era love story based on family history told in omniscient voice, which only added to the aura of the era. Very nice. I did a review for Irene Hannon's latest thriller which I enjoyed very much, and I read Naomi Musch's romance novella for Black Lyon: Heart Not Taken. Can you hear me loving my Kindle? I've turned to chapter one of Wounded Spirits, a book I've looked forward to reading ever since I met the author, April Gardner.

Which character in Healing Grace most interested you while you wrote?
Healing Grace has a lot of personality in the two main characters, although I almost fell for Ted's brother Randy a couple of times. Anyway, Grace Runyon is a character who is emotionally shut down. She's suffering from PTSD and doesn't realize it, as she just picked up and ran after her husband died. By the time she's able to mourn, she's so exhausted from hiding that she can hardly think straight. Like Grace, I let myself run till I drop way too much, not stopping to live in the moment often enough. The whole idea of this story is based around the concept of exploring what the gifts of the Holy Spirit might look like today. To able to be the core of making one of those miracles happen as a matter of course on a regular basis would not only be a source of wonder, but could also lead to pride and a host of other issues. That was intriguing for me to explore. How would I handle it if I had one of the more spectacular gifts?

If you were a dessert, what would you be?
I miss baking. With the empty nest, I just eat it, so it's a treat to make stuff. Although I like to experiment and cheesecakes are a real fav, one of the simplest bars I like to make just makes me drool. And you are really bad, Patty, making me think of it right now. It's the Eagle condensed milk brand Magic Cookie Bars. I know – not everyone likes coconut…but that just means more for me. I first learned this recipe in high school and it's still in my recipe scrap book as Tammy's Bars. For an 8x8 baking dish size, you crush up one sleeve of graham crackers and mix it with a quarter cup melted margarine. I do this without a bowl—start heating the oven to 350; put the marg in the dish while you're crushing the crackers. Mix them and press flat in the bottom. Pour half a 12 oz package milk choc chips and half a package butterscotch chips over that; then pour over a cup or more coconut and a cup of nuts, whatever you like, even mixed nuts (stop laughing). Then pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over that; bake about 25 minutes and cut while warm. You can add other stuff, like dried cranberries, if you want (Get the can of sweetened condensed milk nice and clean while you wait for them to come out of the oven with a spatula which you lick.). I'm inhaling right now.

If you were to find a purple polka-dotted monster in your kitchen one morning, how would you respond?
Offer it coffee and start the interview.

Ha! Thought you got me, eh? One of my favorite movie scenes is in Men in Black when Will Smith takes out little Susie during his interview. She's the only one out of place in a scene of monsters, carrying her physics book and walking in the dark alone at night. Okay, I'd probably blink. But I'm the mom who let my kids keep raccoon skins and all manners of strange creatures in the freezer, and I turned the opossum hide in the tanning solution over the weekend while the kid was gone to camp.

LoL! Such a good mom! =)
Tell us about one of your favorite memories or moments in your life.

On our honeymoon in early June, long ago, my hubby and I camped in the snow in the Big Horns. I loved it.

What's one of your dreaded things to do?
Empty the mousetraps.

Oh, I hear ya, Lisa! One of the joys of country life! (not)
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?

I like to write about spiritual themes as a natural course of events; the ones that end up in the novels happen about the time the novel is plotted. I write a lot of redemption and forgiveness stories. Healing Grace is about pride on a lot of levels: Grace was overly proud of the gift she had been given; Ted proud of his intellect and not needing faith; his nephew just general teenage proud of going against the flow and showing off; his brother proud of running a fruit grower's co-op and the recognition, but not love, it brought him.

What is the Lord teaching you, or recently taught you?
It's been a while since I've had to be bopped over the head with Jeremiah (I know the plans I have for you…), so I think that lesson is sinking in. Lately I'm working out the
"I want" biz and leaning on God for the next moves.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Goodness gracious, I just turned down an offer. Am I nuts? you ask. Right back attacha: wanna gimme $19 plus shipping for a cutesy little mystery that follows my first one that you can buy for less than five bucks on Amazon? There was no other price concession with this particular company that was interested in publishing the sequel. Even if you adored Gold Standard and are desperate to read the next one, I don't think it's worth that kind of dough and would be absolutely mortified to ask you for it. Anyway, I do have two hopefuls that I'm working hard to get produced in the next two or three years. One is jumping into the Amazon self-pub fray with a series of children's historicals. I've known for a while that this is the only option I have, so I've been patiently waiting and praying for the right illustrator, whom I think I've found. Stay tuned! I'm excited about this project that's been in the making since 2005, and took more time to write than my novels. First Children of Farmington is a series of stories about the ethnic settler children in my Wisconsin community. The series is wide-ranging, however, with themes of learning to get along, how to adapt when your world flips, getting used to blended families and learning to obey—life really hasn't changed much.

The other is about a woman who chooses not to fight her cancer when it returns, but ends up in an unethical stem cell research project. I hope the potential publisher sets a date pretty quick, because the medical community has already begun human experiments.

I've also written a series of family novellas with a new writing partner (yeah, Shellie) which has breathed real fresh life into my heart. If Barbour doesn't pick it up, we plan to shop the book around, maybe even combine the novellas. It's a contemporary farm family dilemma story based in the gorgeous kettle moraine area of Wisconsin.

You can purchase Healing Grace from Amazon.

Lisa is giving away a copy of Healing Grace. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Linda said...

Love to read your take on PTSD. Please enter me.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

cjajsmommy said...

I enjoyed reading this interview. The author seems to have a real sense of fun in her life and yet writes about a difficult issue. Please enter me for this book.

Marianne said...

Sounds like it might be a heartbreaking read! but love the interview, and thanks for the chance to win this book. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com

Jo said...

Thanks for the great interview. Please enter me in the giveaway.


Anonymous said...

Great interview. I'd really like to
win this book!

Maureen said...

I dislike Mice also...I've been know to throw away the mouse trap with the mouse! Please include me!


lgm52 said...

Love the cover of this book..would love to read it!

Elaine Cooper said...

You are one of the most creative (and fun!) writers I know! I hope I win your book! :-)

PriviesAndPrims said...

I love to win and I love to read!



Rose McCauley said...

I'd love to win a copy of Healing Grace, and I'd love for our book proposal we're working on to sell, too, Lisa! crmcc at setel dot com

Lisa Lickel said...

Hey, everybody! Y'all beat me here...again! Thanks for the encouragement. My spirits are lifted. My publisher might even pay me if I sell a few of these. And, yes, since Patty and I spoke a few more fun things have happened. Rose asked me to join her and Joy for a story, which I will get to; Brenda and I are talking about our children's books more seriously and I'm finishing up the first novella project.
And I've finished Deer Run, Elaine Cooper whose launch is next week Tues, and April's and Naomi's, who was the first to showcase my children's books in her homeschool mom's ezine.
Privies and Prims? LOL Gotta check that out!
And again...first host of a book club that books me (virtually or in person within a few hours of my WI home) with twelve or more members who purchase the book wins a Petoskey Stone.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Charity said...

Please enter me.


Joanne Sher said...

What a fun interview - enter me :)

Meredith said...

Great interview!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Loved your interview Lisa. I love humor and the way you look at life.
Would love to win your book.
Thanks for the chance to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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