Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Author Interview: Lisa Unger (and Giveaway!)

I am pleased to welcome Lisa Unger, who wrote Fragile to Always With a Book.  You can read my review of her book and enter a giveaway for the book here

About the author:  Lisa Unger is an award winning New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author. Her novels have been published in over 26 countries around the world.

She was born in New Haven, Connecticut (1970) but grew up in the Netherlands, England and New Jersey. A graduate of the New School for Social Research, Lisa spent many years living and working in New York City. She then left a career in publicity to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time author. She now lives in Florida with her husband and daughter.

Thanks to Lisa for answering a few questions.

What inspired you to write this book?
FRAGILE is very loosely based on an event from my own past.  In high school, a young girl I knew was abducted and murdered.  It was a horrifying and traumatic event in a small, quiet town.  Nothing like that had ever happened there before.   I remember quite vividly the frenzy of her disappearance, the dismay and horror when her body was discovered, the nightmare of her wake.  All of this changed the way I saw the world.

And in some sense, this book is heavily influenced by that experience.  The story has tried to tell itself in various other partials over the years, but has never emerged as a full-length novel.  Because I write without an outline and don’t really know day to day what is going to happen or how a book might end, I was about half way into FRAGILE when I realized what it was about … and that I had been trying to tell the story for many years.  It’s interesting that the characters who finally succeeded in telling the tale were older, more mature.  And that it took me the writing of eight novels to develop the skills to tell it well.

What gets you started on a new book? A character or story idea or ...?
It could be anything really a line from a poem, a new story, even a photograph that is the seed for a new novel.  And if that seed finds fertile ground in my subconscious, I start hearing voices. It’s always a character voice that pulls me into (and through) a novel.  Plot flows from the characters, who they are, what’s going on in their lives and how they’re dealing with it.  In the case of FRAGILE, it was Maggie Cooper’s voice that I heard first. 

As a child, did you ever dream that you would be a published author?
I don’t remember a time before I defined myself as a writer.  Making a living as a writer is the only thing I ever wanted to do with my life.  So I’m very grateful.  It’s a dream come true.

As a child did you like to read and write and if so, what were your favorite books?
I think most writers will tell you that their first love was reading.  And I have been an avid reader since I could read.  I inherited this love from my mother, who always had a pile of books and worked at a library for many years.  

I have been a literary omnivore, never discriminating across gender lines or genre.  As a kid, I remember loving the poems of Shel Silverstein, books by Judy Bloom and Beverly Cleary.  I loved Dickens, the Brontë sisters, Wilke Collins, Thomas Hardy. I count Truman Capote’s Other Voice, Other Rooms and In Cold Blood as some of my earliest influences, the books that first made me want to write. As I got older, I loved Sidney Sheldon, VC Andrews, and anything I could get by Stephen King. I think I went through a science fiction phase at one point. I could go on and on!

What's your writing routine? Do you write every day or just when the mood strikes?
My golden creative hours are from about 5 AM to noon.  Of course, I have a small daughter. She comes before everything else … and she also likes to get up between 5 and 6 AM.  Luckily, my husband is on board to help, but I always like to be with her first thing, make her breakfast and see her off to pre-school … so the early hours are hit or miss.  I have my uninterrupted writing time when she’s in school.  If I haven’t met my goals by the time she comes home, I work again after she goes to bed.  The writer/mother thing can be a difficult balance, and sometimes I need support in the afternoons. But mainly it works.  And I feel blessed to do what I love and still be present every day for my little girl … who’s getting bigger every minute.

What are you reading right now?
I am looking forward to reading Beautiful Lies by Rebecca James.   And I’m just getting started on an early read of Amanda Eyre Ward’s upcoming Close Your Eyes.

Are you currently working on another book?
I just turned in my tenth novel, which will publish in 2011.  And I have already started work on the novel that will publish in 2012. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
The best advice I can give aspiring writers is to write every day.  Writers don’t think about writing, they don’t talk about writing.  They don’t have a hundred excuse about why they didn’t write.  They just write.  Don’t follow trends, or think about publishing. Just sit down and try to be a better writer today than you were yesterday.  And read.  Read everything you can get your hands on.  It’s the only way to learn about writing, doing it and reading the people who are doing it best. 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for this amazing book!


  1. Great Q&A Kristin. It was nice to read a bit more about Lisa and to hear about how her latest book came about.


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