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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Author Interview: Lisa Pietsch

The Long and the Short of It is pleased to welcome Lisa Pietsch, author of Freedom's Promise, the third book in the Task Force 125 series, which is being released this month.

Lisa started her first action/adventure novel when she was eleven years old, but admits she never finished that manuscript. She began writing seriously five years ago when she started dreaming about the characters in current series.

She's currently working on the fourth installment, which began with The Path to Freedom in September 2008. Lisa admits this is her favorite of the series, because not only was it the birth of her characters but also represents her own birth as an author.

Lisa has planned for at least seven stories for the characters, who came straight out of Lisa's dreams. She thought she might exorcise them if she wrote the stories down, but instead she opened a floodgate.

"They are fully formed complete with background, career, family, and attitude," Lisa said. "They tell me what the plot should be for their stories. I take all the information they give me, sort it out and create the story."

She doesn't suffer much from writer's block, but more from "Writer's Tidal Wave."

"I’ll get a rush of story or dialogue and don’t have the time to add it to my manuscript. When I can finally sit down to write, I’ll have scraps of story and dialogue on napkins, shopping receipts, my PDA, my hand…it gets pretty crazy."

Lisa actually does a lot of her writing on her phone.

"My 2-year-old loves 'typing' and my laptop can't handle the abuse," she explained. "I have a Palm Smartphone with a lockable keyboard and 'Documents to Go' so I use that for my writing."

Lisa's favorite author is Ian Fleming.

"He shows such attention to detail in creating and describing characters and has an amazing vocabulary. He isn’t whitewashed - he’s colorful and far from politically correct."

He's also one of the authors who have most influenced her own writing. The others are John LeCarre and Cindy Gerard.

"Ian Fleming wrote characters who made no excuses for who they were," she explained. "John LeCarre's characters go inside their heads and are very complicated and Cindy Gerard writes women who dig deep and find the heroine within."

Pacing and tension, working together, are the most important elements of good writing, in Lisa's opinion.

"The pace has to be enough to keep the reader interested and the tension must be enough to keep the reader engaged. You can have a great story but if you can't keep it moving and keep the reader engaged then you're just writing on the wind," she told me.

Lisa is a work-at-home mother with a five-year-old and a two-year-old and two dogs, which she told me is like having a perpetual three-year old, so she told me that she doesn't have the luxury of a schedule. And, when she's not writing, she told me she likes to sleep.

"I just don't get enough," she confessed.

One reason is that midnight of the night before the interview she was spending the night in the spare bed of her son's room. "He's convinced I am magic and capable of warding off bad dreams," she explained. "He's right."

Even with the chaos that is her life, however, she wouldn't trade it.

"Do you hate how you look in pictures?" I asked her.

"Absolutely," she said. "I keep looking more and more like my mother and that isn't necessarily bad - it just reminds me that I seem to be aging regardless of that painting in my attic."

On a personal note, Lisa told me her strangest habit is that she can't stand having open cupboard doors.

"When you're done in there you close it. End of story. I've informed my husband that if I die before he does he'll know I'm haunting him when he hears cupboard doors closing."

Lisa admitted that a saying she uses a lot is the "F" word, and when I asked her if she had ever eaten a crayon she told me, "No, I think my mouth is already colorful enough."

She shared with me that her favorite animal and the strangest thing she's ever eaten are the same—squirrel.

And her heritage?

"I am proudly Franco-American. No joke. I'm not talking about Chef Boyardee. My family came over from France in the 1600s. We were some of the original 'Habitants' in Quebec."

She admitted she cried like a blubbering idiot during the 3rd Star Wars movie. She also cried during War and Peace and Australia.

"The Passion of the Christ made me cry too but not for the obvious reasons," she told me. "I cried for Mary. Her son was a grown man and living his destiny but she still saw the child. I'd just had my first child so I was a hormonal mess anyway."

A few other random questions from me and answers from Lisa's witty mind.

"Have you ever made a crank phone call?"

Can I take the 5th Amendment on that one?

"What is one thing scientists should invent?"

Viagra for women.

"What stereotype would you label yourself as?"

A bitch.

"Can you unwrap a Starburst with your tongue?"

Will it get me laid?

"Can you multitask?"

Are you kidding me? I'm giving the baby a bottle, making a pizza, writing a novel and tweeting while I do this interview.

"Do you sleep with the light on?"

I have no idea. If the light is on when my head hits the pillow, then yes.

And, finally, I asked, "If you could wish for anything, what would it be?"

"Mrs. Beasley has been asking me the same thing since I was 4 years old," she said. "My answer is still 32 million dollars."

You can keep up with Lisa on her blog,

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