I see him in my dreams, this mysterious boy.
He comes from
a different time,
a different place,
a different reality.
But there is something that connects us.
We are supposed to be together--bound by the heart of another.
But that's not possible... or is it?
Hello Lisa, great to chat with you on YA Fresh! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?
Lisa: After college at Mount Holyoke, where I got a B.A. in English Lit, I tried a graduate program in writing at the University of Southern California, but it didn't suit me and I moved back home. I tried and failed to get published, eventually gave up, and in a desperate bid to do something with my life I got a job teaching conversational English in Japan. Off I went, for a year that was often difficult but ultimately valuable, and I'm glad I did it.
I came home and got a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology, paid for with my earnings from Japan (lucky for me, the yen was high). After graduating, I worked for three years on the graveyard shift at a crisis line. I enjoyed it well enough, but wasn't satisfied. My heart was turning me back towards writing, and I decided to try again.
I wrote two more books, submitted them to publishers without an agent, and was working on a third book --and on the verge of giving up yet again, given all the rejection letters I was receiving-- when I finally heard that Chris Keeslar at Dorchester Publishing was interested in my time-travel romantic comedy, "The Changeling Bride." That moment was probably the happiest of my writing career, before or since. It had been nearly ten years from when I first started writing to when I sold that book.? I finally felt that my writing had been validated, and when well-meaning people asked me that painful question, "Are you published?" I could finally say, "Yes!? Yes!? Yes!"
“The Changeling Bride” was reissued by Dorchester in August of this year, 2010, eleven years after its initial release. In those eleven years, I’ve written over twenty novels and novellas.
Wow, that's a wonderful accomplishment, Lisa! Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.
Lisa: I’m one of those writers who provides a bad example to anyone who procrastinates and appears to lack discipline. I don’t write every day. I don’t even write every week. I mentally circle around a project, occasionally thinking about it but writing nothing, and then I’ll spend two or three days writing feverishly and spitting out fifty or sixty pages. Then I retreat again, to ponder and circle and do other things — gardening, cooking, taking walks, answering emails, going out to eat with friends. In other words: Life.
I’ve tried to make myself write every day at set hours, but it doesn’t work for me. On the third or fourth day I find that there are no words or ideas left in my head, and try as I might I can’t get anything good or new to come out of my brain. I’ve realized that I need those ‘off’ times where I do no writing. That is when my creativity, and my concentration, are replenished.
But I will add — I never just wait for inspiration to hit me, because I tell ya, inspiration has a lousy aim. No, it’s more that if I’m well-rested, I make myself sit down somewhere (anywhere, as long as it’s comfortable and quiet) with my AlphaSmart keyboard, and I sit there until I’ve at least managed to put down one new sentence. Once I get going, and overcome the inertia of not having written for a few days, I get intrigued by the story I’m writing and can keep going. I’ll write for an hour or so, then go get some tea, and maybe move from the living room recliner to the lounge chair on the deck. I’ll write for another hour or two, then go water plants. And so on.
And if I’m really having trouble getting into gear and staying there, I take out the big guns: double Irish breakfast tea, and a bag of peanut M&Ms. Caffeine and chocolate. What more do I need to say?
Your routine closely resembles mine! haha! Please tell us about your latest novel Wake Unto Me and what we can expect from your characters.
Lisa: Wake Unto Me, Speak (Penguin), March 31, 2011
Caitlyn Monahan knows she belongs somewhere else. It’s what her dead mother’s note suggested, and it’s what her recurring nightmares allude to. Desperate to flee these terrifying dreams—and her small town—she accepts a spot at a boarding school in France. Only, when she arrives, her nightmares get worse.
But then there are her amazing dreams, so vivid and so real, with visits from an alluring, mysterious, and gorgeous Italian boy from the 1500s. Caitlyn knows they are soul mates, but how can she be in love with someone who exists only in her dreams?
Then, as her reality and dream world collide, Caitlyn searches for the real reason why she was brought to this school. And what she discovers will change her life forever.
Sounds really great! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Lisa: I’m working on another YA book set at the same school as Wake Unto Me, with a different main character; its working title is Foxfire. It will be a stand-alone book, as opposed to a sequel that must be read in order. I always go half-mad when I find a book I want to read, then realize it’s Book 2 or Book 3 in a series, and I can’t find Book 1!
I’m also playing around with an idea for another group of YA books, set in 1810s England, with a ghost-hunting heroine.
In early 2011, I’ll have a vampire novella for adult readers out, in an anthology called Blood and Moonlight. In September 2011, I’ll also have an adult romance released, but it’s bawdy and naughty, and definitely not YA, so I’ll say no more about it here.
Best of luck with your latest novel, Lisa! Would you like to close with a writing tip?
Lisa: I’ll pass along a few pieces of advice that I’ve received from others:
It’s easier to fix a bad page than to fix a blank page.
Everyone needs an editor. Everyone’s writing needs help. We all need constructive criticism, and to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.
Don’t let the rejection letters get you down. 99.99% of writers face piles of them, and they hurt. They suck dry your motivation. They depress you. You’re going to feel bad about them, but you have to keep going anyway.
Don’t compare yourself to others, for good or ill. You’re on your own path.
Lisa Cach is the award-winning author of more than twenty romantic novels and novellas, ranging across sub-genres from Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary, and Chick Lit, to Young Adult. Her novel "Dating Without Novocaine" was named one of Waldenbooks' "Best Books of 2002," and she is a two-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America.
Lisa Cach was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, where she still lives today. Her professional background includes teaching conversational English in Japan, and several years working the graveyard shift on a mental health crisis line. She has traveled to the foothills of the Himalaya, the jungles of Borneo, the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, and the painted caves of the Perigord Noir, in France. She has sailed the Caribbean as a working crew member of a research schooner, and the Bering Sea as a guest on a small ship.
Her love of travel has lately given way to pursuits closer to home: cooking, gardening, drawing. And, of course, reading. Her favorite book has always been Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre", while the only book to ever give her nightmares was Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles".