Introducing … the one and only … Lisa Mauro!
This one will touch the heartstrings, folks.
Which writers inspire you?
I’m a big fan of Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates and Margaret Atwood. I take a lot of inspiration from their strong, female-driven stories. I think Plath’s voice, in particular, is exceptional. I also get inspiration from memoirs and non-fiction. Writers like Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle), Azadeh Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad) and Nancy Venable Raine (After Silence: Rape & My Journey Back) have been influential in my life in both a general way but also as I’ve developed my own writing style.
You truly have developed your own writing style, Lisa. You have a strong voice, which is rare in a brand-new author! 🙂
Tell us about your writing – what are you writing, what is your process like?
Writing is my part-time job but my full-time passion. I have a day job in the pharmaceutical industry and I end up having to fit my writing in around the priorities that come up there. I’m an early bird, so I try to get in at least an hour of writing before I have to get ready for work. On weekends, I sit at my dining room table with cups of coffee and write until the rest of the house wakes up. I need as much silence as possible when I write or else I’m distracted so I find those are the best times to get it done.
Definitely the opposite to me, folks! LOL … I’m a night owl. If you come near me in a morning, you’d better be armed with caffeine!
I’ve just completed my first full-length novel, The Place We Went to Yesterday. It’s a story about the transformation of my main character – Ella Santia – from abused teenager to a girl that’s on her way to success.
Guys, I have to say it, this is one AUTHOR on her way to success too! This is one book you really do want to read 🙂
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Ella is just a badass! She starts out as a very quiet and introverted girl that doesn’t really push back on the people around her. She has been manipulated and harassed for so long that she just stopped fighting it. All the while, she realizes that her only way out of this cycle is to get an education, but it isn’t until she learns to stand up for herself that she actually begins to accomplish her dreams.
Mouse turned Lion … we LIKE that!
Where did you come up with Ella? Was she drawn from any real-life inspiration?
I think that no matter how hard we try to create interesting characters, they always end up having some of the traits of the people around us. We find inspiration throughout our lives. Yes, Ella is partially based on the life of a very dear friend of mine who spent several years in a group home. Her character’s arc is similar to the way I’ve watched this friend evolve over the thirteen years of our friendship. I don’t think that anyone that knows her will open the book and immediately realize it’s her because I’ve changed a lot of the scenarios and created an entirely different family for her.
This is so true, Lisa! A writer is always writing, even when they’re just observing. We notice everything, folks! So, if you better watch yourselves around us … you might just end up in one of our books! BE NICE … he he he 🙂
When I sat down last Thanksgiving holiday and started writing this novel, I had no plans for it at all. I just wanted to get it all out on paper (or screen as the case may be). I intentionally left some loose ends hanging because I felt like if it were a standalone book, then fans had more opportunity to let their imaginations run wild with their vision of her future. I also thought that ending it in the way I did does leave the door open for another book, if that’s a direction I’m later pulled towards.
You got the balance just right. I love the way it ends. Of course, you wrote Ella so well, that I did want to know more of what happened to her. So … sequel please!!
I had the pleasure of seeing several iterations of your book cover. Tell us about the cover, it’s significance, who designed it and how you finally settled on one.
The cover was something I definitely struggled with. As a photographer (and a total Type A personality), I wanted to design it myself. The story takes place in New York City and I wanted the cover to reflect the urban nature of the novel. A central plot point are the walks that Ella and her friend Lara take along The High Line in Manhattan, so ultimately I wanted to use a photo from the park itself. Since I no longer live in New York, a friend of mine – the talented Zsuzsanna Tauber – headed there and took some shots for me. I was fortunate enough to have so many excellent options that I designed several covers and asked fans for feedback on which one they liked best. I also did a book giveaway for those that left feedback.
I LOVE the cover you finally settled on! I must ask though … WHEN do I get my copy!?!?!? -___________- LOL
How are you publishing this book and why?
This was another area in which I struggled as a new author. Initially, I wanted to go the traditional publishing route. The more I read about the industry and the more frustrated I grew with the onslaught of rejection letters from agents, the more I realized that self-publishing was my best option. In seeing what even traditionally published authors go through to promote their own work, I ultimately decided that it would be best for me to publish through my own press. It’s given me more control over the look and feel of the book and you can’t beat the royalty options. In the end, I decided I couldn’t give away the bulk of my potential royalties if I were still doing so much of the work to promote it.
This is sadly true for so many writers. The odds of getting an agent (note, this is just an agent, not a publishing contract) are ONE in a THOUSAND … I know … WOW, right? And yes, the publisher and agent take a good sized chunk of any earnings your book makes. And all but the biggest authors have to self-promote, still. For me, going indie was a no brainer. I never even considered the trad pub route. Having said that, I am always thrilled when an author I’ve worked with comes back and tells me they’ve landed a contract! All kudos to them 🙂 My motto is: whatever works best for YOU.
So where and when will it be available?
Pre-orders for the Kindle are available now via Amazon. The book is scheduled for release on my birthday – December 3rd.
What a great birthday present! Seeing your book in print! 🙂
Five for Fun:
What keeps you energized or motivated? Red Bull. I’m really a brat without it.
What is your favorite movie? Vanilla Sky.
What is your favorite pizza? Extra cheese, but it has to be a Brooklyn pizza. Anything else is just an imitation.
What pet would you like to have some day? A hedgehog.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Book Links: http://www.amazon.com/Place-We-Went-Yesterday-ebook/dp/B00P55K7U8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415189293&sr=1-1
Ella Santia is a mid-teen girl who has lived her whole life in poverty and hardship. The underdog of the family. One day, the abuse reaches crisis point and Ella finds herself … eventually … in a Group Home. Her passive-aggressive response to life is no longer enough. She has to grow and develop if she is to survive, and she has to toughen up. Ella desperately wants to get an education, so she can better her social circumstances, but life seems determined to thwart her.
This is an excellent debut novel from author Lisa Mauro. Indeed, with such a strong voice and ability to portray her characters, you would easily believe you were reading an established writer. The world building, plot, pacing, and character development are all there, and the writing is nice and tight.
Because of the age of the main character, it would be easy to pigeon-hole this book into the YA category, but it is so much more than that. This is a must-read for lovers of both YA and Women’s Fiction. If you like a strong female character, you will love this book.