Monday, July 2, 2012

Welcome, Lisa Lickel

1: Thank you so much for being here, Lisa.
First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

Hi, Roseanne. Thanks for having me here. I’m not one of those child protégé writers. I didn’t get professional about it until I was forty.

2: What inspired you to write?

The inspiration was two-fold: I saw an ad in a magazine that intrigued me for a trust-worthy writing course, which I took as I was gainfully employed at the time. Secondly, a special friend encouraged me after she saw my reports in the local newspaper.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

What I like the most about writing is filling up that blank page with type. The least part is being the marketing manager and asking readers to please buy a book.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

I enjoy travel. I’m a local historian and love to work on preservation of records, photos, genealogy and that sort of thing. I’m also a huge reader.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

I really enjoy fantasy, the late Anne McCaffrey was a favorite. Ray Bradbury. Tamera Alexander historicals, pretty much anything by CS Lewis and Robert Ludlum.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

I know the end of the story.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

Thank you for asking! My latest release is The Map Quilt. It’s currently an eBook, but I hope to release the print version soon. The Map Quilt is book two in my cozy (light-hearted) mystery series, and features the Underground Railroad, modern technology, murder, and of course, buried gold. It’s available on Amazon
publisher’s bookstore: MuseItUp Publishing

Here's a links from my website 

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

I have oodles of tips for aspiring writers. The first one is, learn to play nice with other writers and develop a thick skin to critique. Find a good mentor and learn how to accept advice. Practice your craft and have an open attitude to learning something new every day. Write a lot. Read a lot.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?
My characters are usually recombinant bits and parts of people I’ve seen or known. I might take one person’s hairstyle and put it on someone else who has a particular prominent feature or quirk. Someone’s accent I heard in the grocery store might go on another person from the other department in work who wears funky ties.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

I get most of my ideas for my books from the news, oddly enough. I am intrigued by a certain event and start thinking, “what if…” and go from there. For the Map Quilt, my “what ifs” came from my love of quilting and the farm we own near a real community of free black farmers who settled the area generations ago. The inspiration for the book came from the success of the first book in the series.

11: What are you currently working on?

I’m working on several Christmas novellas; three historical and one contemporary. I have a manuscript about a woman who owns a business that helps people settle their estates, and a wounded missionary home on leave. When they meet and marry, they have to learn to live with one another.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I enjoy helping other authors and am a freelance editor. I also edit the literary magazine of Wisconsin Writers Association and love to visit book clubs, either virtually or in person if close enough.
Thanks again for letting me visit today.
Please enjoy this excerpt from The Map Quilt.

Chapter One

Judy Wingate awoke with a start. Shaking her head, she realized she had been dreaming.
Foggy images rolled through her mind of pioneer women doing…something. Hmm, teaching that Wisconsin history unit to her elementary school students, combined with her pregnancy, made for the most colorful nocturnal dramas. She eased the covers back, groaning with the discomfort of a full bladder. An internal kick made her grimace and rub her huge belly.
“Ugh! Two forty-five in the morning. I can’t believe I gotta get up again.” She set her feet on the floorboards, trying to rise delicately so as not to rouse her husband, Hart.
Judy headed downstairs with her eyes half-closed, holding onto the rail with both hands. The stealthy pet housecat, Pancho Villa, stopped her up short. “Pancho—outta the way—coming through,” Judy muttered as she danced around him. “We have got to get that second floor bathroom done.”
Yawning, Judy blinked and hoped she could fall asleep again easily. She could not afford to be groggy in front of her fifth grade students, who were already squirrelly this close to the end of the school year. She rubbed her arms and went to run a glass of water from the tap while she looked out the window. Something did not feel right. She frowned and rubbed at the kicks from Hart’s little soccer player practicing on her ribs. She went through the mud room to the outside door and breathed deeply while she watched the waning moon near the horizon. The sky looked hazy to the south. Judy squinted, clutching her glass, her mind roiling with the turmoil of the evening. Hart and his partner, Bryce’s, latest invention for InventivAg, their parent company in St. Louis, Missouri, had been attacked for no reason—and by one of their own team members!—at what was supposed to have been a nice celebratory dinner right here at the house.
Judy shook with fury, just thinking about it.
She poked at the baby’s foot again. If that John Harding thought he was such a good agricultural engineer, he should figure out an easier way to grow a baby. Why, the man had gone ballistic at the most innocent of questions from Hart’s elderly partner-and-mentor’s wife, Ardyth.
Judy looked toward the place in the darkened dining room where the florid-faced Harding had sat, pounding his fist in response to Ardyth’s innocent question about when they could see the batteries for sale.
But Judy couldn’t figure out why Ardyth had cared that much about the battery. She hadn’t fussed about any of their other projects over the past four years. Worse, Hart and Bryce’s boss, Tim Crawford, had waffled, stating perhaps there might be a design flaw, after all.
She closed her eyes and put the cool glass against her forehead.
Not sleepy yet, Judy wandered around the moonlit kitchen. The drying towel was still a little damp under her fingers. The moaning cadence of a fire engine grew louder. The haze outside wove a blanket around the moon. That fire truck was coming their way. She waddled as fast as she could back up the stairs.
“Hart. Hart, wake up.” Judy shook his shoulder.
Hart turned his face on his pillow.
“Hart. Wake up! I hear fire engines.”
That got his attention. He opened his eyes and blinked a few times, turned to the luminous face of the bedside clock, and moaned.
“Yeah, Judy. Fire engines.”
Judy leaned over the bed, hand on his warm shoulder. “Hart.”
“I’m sure it’s nothing. The fire…” He swallowed the last of his sentence in a huge yawn. “…department’ll take carevit. Go back—”
“There’s smoke. You can see it in the air. The fire must be a big one. Close by.”
She watched while Hart rubbed his face. “Okay.” He pushed himself upright, twisting his neck back and forth. “I’m getting up.” The phone gave a sputtery jingle and he made a grab, dropping the instrument before answering. “Yes?”
Judy sat down next to him, worried now. She rubbed again at her stomach. The baby must be doing summersaults, although how he or she managed to turn in such a tight space was a mystery.
“Barry, hi,” Hart said.
Barry? Judy mouthed “Chief of Police?” at her husband in the dim light. She pouted when he frowned and turned away.
“At the office?”
Please, God, oh please, oh, please, keep everyone safe. Judy reached for some clothes, stopping when Hart touched her forearm, shaking his head, still listening to the other end.
“I’m going over there right now—my prototype’s—I know, Barry, but I have to get there.”
Hart pushed the off button and tossed the phone on the bed. “What do you think you’re doing?” he asked as he rushed to pull on his own clothes.
“That was Barry Hutchinson, wasn’t it? The office is on fire. I’m coming, too.”
Judy swallowed her panic as she heard him grunt through the shirt he rammed over his head.
“Oh, no, you’re not,” he said. “Look, you and Pancho stay here. Guard the house, okay? I can’t be worrying about you right now.”
She clutched her maternity jeans to her chest, feeling her heart jump with tension. “But I want to be with you!”
“I know, sweetheart.” Hart stopped and rubbed her shoulders, breathing hard. “I’ll be as quick as I can. Barry already called Bryce. I suspect Ardyth will be here soon. You can keep each other company.” He headed for the door, clawing a hand through his tousled brown curls.
“Just go to work like usual if I’m not back.” Then he was gone.
Hart’s solar powered battery designs were all he’d talked about for the past two years. It was the most important project he and his engineering partner had for their fledgling satellite firm.
What would he do if they were lost? Oh, Lord, you can’t let anything happen to him. Not now.


Gail Roughton said...

My number one piece of advice too, Lisa. If you're fortunate enough to strike up a friendship with a seasoned writer(s) -- LISTEN TO 'EM! I've learned so much it's mind-boggling.

Lisa Lickel said...

Hi, Gail, Thanks for visiting, and I agree! But we're so busy sometimes it's hard to find someone. Be persistent.

Penny's Tales said...

Lisa....what a great interview and the excerpt was great! It is on my TBR list. Wishing you tons of success!

Lisa Lickel said...

Thanks, Penny - that's kind of you. It's still on sale at Amazon, too. And Prude, dear--The Gold Standard is currently re-edited and will be re-releasing in Sept as The Last Bequest. Book number three and four in the works.

Mary F. Allen said...

I enjoyed learning a bit more about you Lisa and reading the Chapter 1 excerpt again surprised me with what I remembered.