Lisa's first two suspense novels, Finding Claire Fletcher and Kill For You were published in 2012 and 2013. And she has gone on to have many bestsellers since, her latest Vanishing Girls is published in January 2018.
Tell us a little about you and your writing.
I am a mother, wife and full-time paralegal living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the states. I have been writing fiction since I was eleven years old. I write every spare second I can get. I write crime thrillers, and they tend to be very gritty and dark.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Being able to create and just make things up. I love getting onto the page and the exhilarating feeling of freedom that comes with making up a new story or new set of characters or even a new plot twist. I get to use my imagination on a daily basis. It’s great fun.
And the worst?
I think any writer would say not being able to please all readers all the time. That’s a completely unreasonable expectation, of course, because everyone is different and people have different tastes. Writers know this intellectually, but I don’t think it stops them from wanting to knock it out of the park every time they sit down to write. The writing business is so subjective. But you always hope that readers will respond favourably to your work so if they don’t, it’s tough.
Why do you write? And why did you choose this genre?
I have always written to make sense of my world. I’ve been a bit obsessed with why people do bad things and how other people survive those bad things my entire life so all of my books are a sort of exploration of those themes. You’ll see in some of my books, I explore the bad guys as well as the good guys because I’m trying to figure out what makes them tick. I chose this genre because I’ve always been a huge mystery/suspense fan. I grew up on Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. As a reader, I love trying to figure things out and put the puzzle pieces together. I find it just as fun as a writer.
Do you have a special writing place?
No, not really. I wouldn’t have time to sit in it even if I did. I write whenever and wherever I can. Sometimes it’s the car. Sometimes it’s waiting in line at the post office. The best place to get writing done is any doctor’s waiting room. You always have to wait forever, and it’s nice and quiet.
So many! My all-time favourite is Karin Slaughter because I love her blend of gritty realism and deep, fleshed-out characters. I also love Dennis Lehane—again for the grit but also because he has such a unique and irreverent voice. I love Angela Marsons as well. Her books are so well-plotted with really original premises, and I think her Kim Stone lead character is so unique. I can’t get enough! Other authors I love: Jennifer Hillier, Nancy S. Thompson, Carrie Butler, Katie Mettner, Dana Mason, Michael Infinito, Jr. All of them are amazing and talented, and I can never put their books down.
If you could choose a different genre to write in for just one book – what would it be?
Oddly enough, probably fantasy. I’d love to try and create my own worlds. I’m thinking of fictional worlds like Game of Thrones and even Wizard of Oz as fantasy worlds I’ve loved. It seems like the possibilities for creating a fantasy novel would be limitless! You could go in so many different directions.
What was your inspiration behind your new release, Vanishing Girls?
I’ve been obsessed with missing persons’ cases and fictional accounts of missing persons since I was a child. I was reading about a woman who had been abducted in the U.S. and then, thankfully, she was found alive. The fiction writer in me said, “What if that wasn’t the end of the story? What if being found was just the beginning of the story?” and I kind of went from there. So you’ll see that Josie comes into contact with two young women who vanished and were later found alive, and that is just the beginning of Josie’s journey in this book.
What three tips would you offer up-and-coming authors?
Write, write, write. Write every day if you can. Just get it all out and worry about fixing it or making it good later. The best way to hone your craft is by doing it constantly!
Read. Read as much as you can. You’ll learn so very much from other authors’ work. Also, make sure to read as much as you can in the genre you hope to write in so you have a feel for what’s out there.
Don’t be afraid to destroy what you’ve written. You have to be prepared to cut scenes, cut characters, change your plot, and make all kinds of adjustments to your work if you really want to get better. I know it hurts but sometimes that scene you wrote that is the most perfect piece of prose ever to flow from your pen just doesn’t belong in the book. You must be flexible and open to change.
What are your future writing plans?
Right now I’m working on the final edits for the second Josie Quinn book, The Girl With No Name, which comes out this April and I’m at work writing the first draft of the third Josie Quinn book, The Bad Mother which is due out in August 2018.
Find our more about Lisa here....