Today on my blog I have author Lisa Poston Murphy. She recently released her debut novel Lighthouse Point.
First, a huge thank you to Susan for hosting me on her blog!
You are welcome. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello, my name is Lisa. I live happily in my world with a gorgeous husband and two amazing children. I should also mention a dog, bunny, and two empty fish tanks (some don’t have a green thumb; we apparently don’t have scales on ours.)
How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
I think we all write about what we know, and then exaggerate to the nth degree. My first book has a lot of my own personality and voice, but the rest do not. I try to get in the mind of my character, giving her/him quirks, personality traits, and a voice. It’s fun to pretend you’re someone else, and you can do that when writing.
Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes—sort of. During the day, while my husband is at work and children are in school, I write. I’m also editing and critiquing other writers’ works, trying to maintain a blog, and an author page. Housekeeping has never been my gift. However since I’ve been writing, it’s really taken a backseat.
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
A passion that cannot be easily quenched has erupted in me. My second project, TORN, is in the critiquing stage, while books three and four are being written. I awake in the middle of the night scribbling notes for the last two works in progress. It’s maddening, but wonderful to have the words flowing.
TORN is about a woman who grew up in foster care, forced into human trafficking, rescued and restored, and falls in love. Memories of her past come flooding back, threatening to destroy all she’s worked for. When she retells the details of her past to her fiancé, he lets her go. Healing in the arms of a mysterious stranger, her fiancé tries to win her back. Now she is torn between facing the past with her fiancé, or moving on and leaving the secrets safely buried.
What fuels you as an author to continue to write?
I’m fueled by the journey. As a writer I’m able to travel to faraway places, do things I’ve never dreamed, say things I wouldn’t normally say . . . all while sitting at my desk with a cup of Earl Grey.
How do you conceive your plot ideas?
Good question—and one I recently struggled with. After the second book, Torn, was finished, I had nothing. There wasn’t anything exciting going on in my life or around me. I feared I wouldn’t have anything to write about and this path had ended all too quickly.
I sat down, and began to type. It was terrible nonsense. Then I began typing some what-ifs. What if my husband decided to leave me for a younger woman . . . what if we were faced with a tragedy?
It proved to be a good exercise, and once my fingers got used to clicking away at the keys again, my imagination followed.
I also use my notes app on the iPhone to record ideas. In the airport I saw a man with features worthy of writing about. He wasn’t necessarily attractive, but he was memorable. I noted the features and will use them in a story. These are the kinds of things I enjoy about writing. Everyone has a story, everyone has an alter ego waiting to be unleashed.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I type up a quick outline to fall back on if needed. However, I let the story lead. If it strays from the outline, I let it.
Please tell us about your current release.
Twenty-four-year-old Emma Peroni has never been a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl, traveling fourteen hours away from her neatly organized life to an island that promises sanctuary and a fresh start . . . until today.
With the weight of the world on her shoulders, and no family to catch her when she crumbles, Emma finds solace on Sanibel Island.
Falling into the arms of Sheldon Barringer, a handsome local real estate investor, was not part of the plan. Emma manages to resist his charms for a time and focus on the reason she came here—to be alone and escape the night terrors. However Sheldon’s intoxicating sense of humor and easy personality eventually captivate Emma, sweeping her into the delightful experience of falling in love for the first time.
As Emma and Sheldon begin to plan a future together, trouble lurks in the shadows, waiting and watching
What inspired you to write this book?
While vacationing on Sanibel Island one summer, I looked for a romance novel to read on the beach. Not able to find what I was looking for, I decided to write what I wanted to read. It was meant to be just for me—no one would ever see it. Almost one hundred thousand words later, I gave it to an editor who is a friend of mine. She thought I had something special, so we tightened it up, deleted around fifteen thousand words, and voila!
How did you come up with the title?
Lighthouse Point has been my favorite spot on the island since I was a child. The main characters meet here.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Like I said, I’ve been vacationing on the island since infancy. However, I did have to do a lot of research—honestly I enjoyed this most. I interviewed two detectives for details on a crime scene.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Yes, Nana is really my Nana and one of the characters Grace, is based after my Aunt Gerri.
Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?
Emma is my favorite. She’s independent, confident, and strong—mentally and physically. She can do handstand pushups, something I’d love to master!
What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?
It was difficult to write the depressing scenes. Since I dive in completely, I take on the personality of my characters. When Emma was sad, so was I. Ending the book was also difficult. I missed the characters desperately.
If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
Emma. As I’ve said above—she can do handstand pushups!
If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?
Wow, this question will stick with me and I’ll most likely change my mind a hundred times. My first reaction is Kate McGregor from Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon. She was strong-willed, strong-minded, and made all of her dreams come true. Of course, she made mistakes, so maybe I should say Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. But I like hot showers and flip-flops.
My final answer is Emma. I’ll take her place and sit in the sand at Lighthouse Point—watching the waves roll in over my toes as the sun caresses my shoulders.
Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?
I always have a hot-turned cold cup of Earl Grey beside me. If I brew 5 cups, I’ve sipped the equivalent to one. I’m very distracted when writing and often lose track of time.
Do you have an all time favorite book?
Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon. It was the first adult novel I read and blew my mind. I’ve read it several times and if Mr. Sheldon were still alive, he would be the only person that could cause me to be star-struck in his presence.
What book are you reading right now?
Long Time Coming by Edie Clare. I’m having trouble getting into it, probably because of the timing—a lot going on right now. Also, the last book, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, is hard to follow.
If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?
I mentioned above, Sidney Sheldon, but since he has passed, I’ll pick two more.
Stephen King: he has a brilliant mind. I’d love to know where his ideas come from, and how many nightmares wake him in the middle of the night.
Gillian Flynn: Again, I’d like to get inside her head. We all have twisted thoughts. I’d like to know how they present them on paper in such an organized, mind-blowing fashion.
Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
I have won many Skeet shooting events. My uncle was world champion twelve years in a row and it rubbed off. In high school I was the girl with the oversized bow tied around a carefully curled and heavily hair sprayed ponytail, with a shotgun.