WM ~ Hi, Lisa.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. Coffee? Tea? Cupcake? Um, would you kindly tell the fairy—I can’t tell which one it is, they kind of look alike to me—that if he leaves footprints all over the cupcakes, he has to eat them. Oh my. *pulls out another tray*
At least I have more. Who’d have thought fairies had such appetites?
You’ve joined an elite list. I read EYES LIKE STARS in one day. The last book to have that honor involved a wizard. ; ) Your book has already caused quite a stir. Tamora Pierce, one of my favorite writers, even praised EYES LIKE STARS. Did you anticipate how well your book would do or has it taken you by surprise?
LM ~ A lot of it has been a surprise… I had hopes it would do well, and I’ve spent a lot of time online, sprinkling glitter and cupcake sprinkles on people in the months leading up to the launch. I’m glad, mostly, to see how many readers are enjoying it!
WM ~ I love cupcake sprinkles! What inspired you to write EYES LIKE STARS?
LM ~ I started with the name Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, and it was such a mouthful that Bertie’s personality really had to live up to her name. It started out as a 5,000 word short story, and when I decided to tackle a novel project, I knew I wanted to expand on it.
WM ~ Is Bertie anything like you?
LM ~ The theater-loving, coffee-drinking, sass-mouthed bits. *G* But I didn’t start dying my hair until I hit college. One of my greatest supporters is my mom, though, so I’ve never had to live through the sort of loneliness and uncertainty that Bertie has about her lack of proper family.
WM ~ What struck me the most about your book were the characters. You brought them so much to life; they jumped off the page and became real. What was the creative process for coming up with them?
LM ~ Quite a lot of them tromped in as-is. One of my favorite parts of playwriting class (in college) was filling out character sheets: gender, age, political and religious affiliations, education and family background. For ELS, though, I closed my eyes and summoned a sort of mental snapshot… like a costume design, really, and once I had it fixed in my head what they looked like, what clothes/costume they wore, a lot of the personalities followed.
I am a firm believer in costuming!
WM ~ We all know the clothes make the woman, or man, so you’ve got something there.
My favorites are the fairies. *watches the fairies throw pink frosting at each other* I loved their dialog, their individual personalities… They were just as I’d expect fairies to be. Which character was the most fun to write?
LM ~ Definitely the fairies… they say everything I’m always thinking, and they have no filters on their mouths whatsoever.
WM ~ LOL. That’s exactly what I loved about them. Okay a deep question: Are you a panster or a plotter?
LM ~ Both. I tend to write an outline and then write by the seat of my pants, letting the outline fall by the wayside when it needs to. My greatest joy is discovering the fun side-journeys a novel will take, the unexpected scenes I hadn’t realized I was going to write. The all-important (and fun) Tango Scene was one of those unexpected ones.
WM ~ And what an interesting scene that was. *fans self*
Do fairies really taste like chicken? That one got a reaction from them, didn’t it?
LM ~ I’ve never eaten a fairy, though I’ve threatened to shish kebab them plenty of times…
WM ~ This is your debut novel. Can you share its journey to publication?
LM ~ I wrote the first draft from July to September of 2006, editing until the end of the year when I submitted it to my agent in December. I signed with him in March of 2007, the novel went out on submission (and sold) in June, then we were in contract negotiations until December. All of 2008 was spent editing, copy-editing, and going through galley proofs. ARCs came out in January of this year, and the book was released on July 7th!
WM ~ I’d also like to mention that EYES LIKE STARS has already gone back for its second printing.
*****UPDATE, AS OF THIS MORNING, EYES LIKE STARS JUST WENT IN TO ITS THIRD PRINTING!!!!******
There is a bit of a love triangle here and I honestly felt my loyalty shift over to Ariel, even against my better judgment. He must have been working his magic on me. You constructed the perfect sexy, bad boy with just a touch of mystery. But something tells me Nate, our loveable and good hearted pirate, isn’t gone for good. Do you have a preference between the two?
LM ~ I like them both, for completely different reasons. Ariel is actually the more difficult of the two to write… when I’ve been away from him for a while, his voice is trickier to rediscover, just because he’s somewhat ethereal and mysterious. Nate is far more transparent a character, as far as motivations go, and his accent makes it easy to slip on his clompy pirate boots.
WM ~ Oh you know I want to ask if Bertie finds her father but I’ll restrain myself, barely. Do you know how the trilogy ends or have the characters taken the bit by the teeth?
LM ~ I just turned in Perchance To Dream, which is the second book, and I have a List Of Issues To Be Resolved in book 3. As soon as Perchance goes to copyediting, I’ll start writing that third book, but some fairly big decisions are still up in the air.
WM ~ Reading your book is terrible for a diet you know? *ducks to avoid a glob of pink frosting* Tell the truth: Did you bake a lot as you wrote or are you made of stronger stuff?
LM ~ I. Love. Dessert. *L* And hot buttered toast is one of my favorite things in the world. What’s actually terrible is that I’m a nibbler… I like having little bowls of small crunchy things to nom while I work, which is awful for the waistline.
WM ~ Hot buttered toast is one of my weaknesses too so I can identify. Give us a glimpse of a day in your life. What’s changed since EYES LIKE STARS’ release?
LM ~ I spend most days working on writing projects, PR and marketing for the book, plus taking care of my little one and our herd of dogs–which means not much has changed at all since the book came out, except for the awesomeness of the readers’ feedback, which is very shiny indeed.
WM ~ Congratulations again on the reprint. That is truly a significant stepping stone. I wish you all the success in the world; you deserve it.