A YA author, Lisa Ard, was kind enough to contact me and ask if I would take some time and interview her; it has been my pleasure, Lisa has been fun to work with resulting in this great interview. Lisa was also kind enough to send me a copy of her YA book, for my son and I to enjoy, it’s on both of our TBR lists, once we both finish her novel, BOTH of our book reviews will be up around the time my eldest starts school in August.
*Please tell me about your first novel. What or who inspired you to write it?
My debut children’s book ‘Fright Flight, Dream Seekers Book One’ was a project I started in a writing class. I knew I wanted to write for children and that it should be fantastical and adventurous. The premise of my Dream Seeker Adventures series is a family of dream seekers – people who experience dreams as reality. They can do what no one else can do. My protagonist, Patrick, is 12 years old and facing the challenges that come with growing up. Those challenges, i.e. showing some self-control, facing adversity, play into his dreams.
*Who are some of your favorite authors and books? Did they influence or inspire your writing style and give you ideas?
For the Dream Seeker Adventure series I modeled my books after Magic Tree House, Secrets of Droon and Geronimo Stilton in terms of length, vocabulary, structure. My books are short, easy middle grade books that offer a lot of adventure with strong friends and family relationships.
I love Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling. I’m hawking a new manuscript now that I describe as Matilda meets the Munsters – a biting characterization of bad parents aka Dahl and magical elements.
*What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest complement? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
I suppose the toughest criticism I experience is in critique group, when I’ve just started working on something I love, but it’s not polished. My group is great to point those rough areas out and help me tell a better story.
The biggest compliments I get are from kids who read ‘Fright Flight’. One little girl blurted out “IT’S AWESOME WHEN’S THE NEXT ONE?!” and I don’t think she took a breath. Other kids have e-mailed me how much they like it or why they like it. Readers are the best.
That said, I am working in more of the dad in a future book based on a reader request.
*This or That – Chocolate or Vanilla?? Coffee or Tea?? TV or Movies??
Vanilla, Coffee, good TV series off Netflix (For example Masterpiece Mystery’s Sherlock).
*When you sit down to write, are you at a computer or do you do it, the ‘old fashioned’ way with pen and paper? Do you prefer one way or another?
Definitely a computer – it helps me spell and check grammatical errors; I use an online thesaurus constantly; I cut and paste to reorder the story…
*What do you do in your down time? Do you pick up something from your ‘to be read’ stack?
I read a lot – for enjoyment, for book review swaps, to find comparable books to my latest manuscript, to keep up with what kids like…
*If your protagonist was a real person, what would they think about you? Would they want to hang out with you?
Absolutely. Although my protagonist doesn’t look like my son (other than the swirly hair pattern I gave him), he’s modeled off him in temperament. My son still wants to hang out with me (he’s almost 12) and I keep wondering when that will change. Hopefully never.
*What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
Good language, interesting cover, a good start and even better if it offers a new idea.
*When you go to Starbucks or Jamba Juice, what do you order? Do they know you by name or drink?
Starbucks – venti latte
*What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?
Two favorite things: meeting new people (authors, illustrators, publishers, kids during school visits, librarians) and the support I’ve been given by friends and family (amazing!)
Least favorite: Hmmm, perhaps that I don’t write as often as I should and that bothers me because I’ve always been a person on task.
*When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?
Usually the staff picks
*Did you get to quit your ‘day job’ and become an author, or do you have a ‘day job’ and writing is something you do for fun?
Writing is definitely something I do for fun. I’d like to say I make a living at it, but I can’t say that yet. I quit a corporate job 5 years ago to stay home with my kids. Writing emerged as an engaging hobby, allowing me to take care of my family and challenge myself.
*What has been the strangest thing a reader has asked you?
Are you famous? (during a school visit). I don’t know that it’s strange, but it took me off guard. I thought, I better come up with a better answer than “no” in case I get asked again. I’ve been asked again. My answer is “not yet, but you can help by reading and reviewing ‘Fright Flight’.
*What is your favorite junk food vice?
*Is their any movie you have seen that was based on a novel, which you think lived up to the novel?? What made it live up to the novel?
I just watched ‘Water for Elephants’ and I thought it stayed true to the book for several reasons. First, it had a beautiful look to it that captured the era. Secondly, it hit all the main action points of the book. Third it kept the narrator as a framework for the story.
*If you could step into the shoes of your protagonist for one day, would you? What would you like to experience or see during that day?
Since my protagonist experiences his dreams as reality, I have to say yes! But what would I dream? That’s a great question. I think I would dream of the future, which would be fun to see, but also a little scary. That’s a common trait of my Dream Seeker books (the second due out in 2012 and I’m almost finished with #3),that dreams can go either way – they can be a sweet dream or a living nightmare.
*Did you have any teacher(s) in high school or college that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice?
Not that I can remember. I was a good all-around student, but probably excelled more at math and languages than English.
W*hat type of ice cream could I find you eating on a hot summer day?
Pink Lemonade Sorbet
We all have our little ‘things’ when it comes to reading or writing; is their anything that bugs you when you read a novel?
Indiscriminate changes in point of view
*Is their anything else you would like to share or say to those who will read this?
I invite kids and parents to check out my website www.dreamseekeradventures.com where they can find contests, games, puzzles related to the books; find the latest books in the series; and find reviews and information about my FREE author visits and writing workshops.
I also very much appreciate reviews placed on Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari and other book sites. You can find links to ‘Fright Flight’ on those sites and others at www.dreamseekeradventures.com.