Archives for category: Interview About Writing

I was recently invited by a fascinating website, NFReads.com, to do an interview.
Here is the solicitation:
“I’m Tony Eames from NFReads.com, a general interest website with an emphasis on featuring interesting authors (of both fiction and nonfiction) – featured guests have included an early Cold War air defense system programmer who became a multi-award winning SF author, a two-time Cannes official selected film director with a best-selling memoir about his 500-mile hike across Spain, a best-selling Oprah Winfrey Network nutritionist and a Pennsylvania state representative who advocates for the mentally ill through legislation and science-fiction novels.
We constantly scour the web for interesting authors and inspiring stories, and we’d love to publish an interview about your book(s).”
I’m honored and pleased to post the link with my new interview with NFReads.com at https://www.nfreads.com/interview-with-author-lisa-mason/. Check it out! I mention my forthcoming works, a new speculative novel, CHROME, and ODDITIES, a second collection with previously published stories and new stories never seen before.
From the author of Summer of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. BACK IN PRINT! Find the beautiful trade paperback at https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Love-Travel-Lisa-Mason/dp/1548106119/ or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/summer-of-love-a-time-travel-lisa-mason/1104160569.
The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. BACK IN PRINT! Find the beautiful trade paperback at https://www.amazon.com/Gilded-Age-Time-Travel/dp/1975853172/ or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-gilded-age-a-time-travel-lisa-mason/1106038566.
The Garden of Abracadabra (“Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy . . . I want to read more!) On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. NOW IN PRINT! Find the beautiful trade paperback at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1978148291/ or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-garden-of-abracadabra-lisa-mason/1108093507
Arachne (a Locus Hardover Bestseller) is an ebook on US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle worldwide in France Kindle, Germany Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Spain Kindle, Mexico Kindle, Brazil Kindle, India Kindle, and Japan Kindle. Back in Print! Find the beautiful trade paperback at https://www.amazon.com/dp/198435602X or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arachne-lisa-mason/1000035633.
Cyberweb (sequel to Arachne) is on US Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also Kindle worldwide on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Brazil Kindle, France Kindle, Germany Kindle, India Kindle, Italy Kindle, Japan Kindle, Mexico Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, and Spain Kindle. Back in Print at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1984356941 or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cyberweb-lisa-mason/1001932064
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (“A must-read collection—The San Francisco Review of Books). On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle world wide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. NOW IN PRINT at https://www.amazon.com/Strange-Ladies-Stories-Lisa-Mason/dp/1981104380/ or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/strange-ladies-lisa-mason/1115861322.
One Day in the Life of Alexa (“Five stars! An appealing narrator and subtly powerful emotional rhythms”). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. Order the beautiful trade paperback NOW IN PRINT at https://www.amazon.com/One-Life-Alexa-Lisa-Mason/dp/1546783091 or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-day-in-the-life-of-alexa-lisa-mason/1126431598.
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition, A Lily Modjeska Mystery (Five stars) On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. SOON IN PRINT!
Shaken (in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
Hummers (in Fifth Annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror) On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.
Daughter of the Tao (in Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn) on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in AustraliaFrance, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
Every Mystery Unexplained (in David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.
Tomorrow’s Child (In Active Development at Universal Pictures) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria (in Full Spectrum 5) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.
U F uh-O (Five Stars!) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.
Tesla, A Screenplay on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Netherlands, and Mexico.
“Illyria, My Love” is on US Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Germany Kindle, France Kindle, Spain Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Japan Kindle, Brazil Kindle, Mexico Kindle, and India Kindle.
Please visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!
And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
If you would like to receive Lisa Mason’s quarterly newsletter, New Book News, please respond by email to lisasmason@aol.com, enter “Add Me” on the subject line, and it shall be done. You may unsubscribe at any time.
If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, WRITE A REVIEW on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.
Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!
PLEASE DISREGARD ANY ADS—THEY HAVE NOT BEEN PLACED HERE WITH MY PERMISSION

11.22.15.LISA.MASON.FANDSFNOV.DEC.2015

– Tell us a bit about “Tomorrow is a Lovely Day.”
Imagine a person from five hundred years ago observing how we live today. Indoor plumbing and air conditioning. Electricity and light bulbs. Radio and television. Cars and jets. Antibiotics and advanced surgery. Computers and home printers. Smart phones! The Internet!
I’m perhaps still best known for my two time travel novels, Summer of Love, a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist, and The Gilded Age, a New York Times Notable Book. In those books, I was determined to prove that in the far future, five hundred years from now, time travel and faster-than-light technology will be as feasible as the Internet.
The science of faster-than-light communication is speculative, true, but science nonetheless. For my two novels, I researched time travel and faster-than-light; a bit of that research has carried over into “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day.” I consulted Paul J. Nahin’s highly regarded Time Machines published by the American Institute of Physics, John W. Macvey’s Time Travel published by Scarborough House, and Martin Gardner’s Time Travel published by W. H. Freeman.
One of the many paradoxes of FTL communication is that a faster-than-light answer sent to the past from the future about the future arrives before the questioner in the past poses the question. L.S. Schulman published technical papers about this theoretical phenomenon—“Correlating Arrows of Time” and “Tachyon Paradoxes”—in the American Journal of Physics in the 1970s, which are reprised in Nahin’s book.
I thought there was enough dramatic potential in that one paradox alone for an intriguing story.

– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?
Not faster-than-light physics at all, at least not at first.
One night I heard a pundit on a radio talk show discussing the medieval metaphysician Nostradamus and how, by gazing into a mirror or (by some accounts) in a bowl of water, he received communications from the future. He then composed a book of quatrains that purported to be predictions.
Predictions about the far future, not the price of eggs five hundred years ago. The pundit claimed that Nostradamus predicted, among other things, World War I, the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany, World War II, the atomic bomb, and more. The quatrains he (the pundit) read on the radio sounded like implausible long shots to me but I wanted to read them for myself.
My husband, Tom Robinson, is a serious book collector going way back and has a supernatural ability to lay his hands on a specific book among the many thousands in our library. This must be what living with a water douser is like. I don’t even try to find the book. I just say, “Nostradamus,” and within moments Tom is pulling out The Predictions of Nostradamus from some stack.
I spent time with the book and had to conclude that the quatrains are, frankly, gibberish. I didn’t see how any of them accurately described anything in history, at least events that I could recognize.
Then ah-ha! There was the second theme of “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day.”
What are we to make of any kind of prediction? When you listen, you hear predictions about everything under the sun on a daily basis. What the weather will be—well, they’ve got sophisticated satellite pictures and all kinds of scientific analysis, but they still don’t always get reality right. What will the economy do, how will the election turn out. “Authorities” are constantly predicting what the future will be and reality, when it arrives in the Now, can be tricky.

– Was this story personal to you in any way? If so, how?
Oh, I think everyone has their eyes on the future the moment your parents shove you out the door at the age of five to go to school. I know I certainly did. And focusing on the future doesn’t stop once you graduate, oh no. Then you have to get the job, succeed at the job, save up to buy a home, find a suitable mate, maybe have a family, save for retirement. And boom! You’re 70 years old . . . and then you have to think about your future ill health and dying.
There was a movement in the 1960s to Be Here Now. People took up meditation to be mindful of the moment. People dropped out the “rat race” to “live for today.” And they did have a point. Only when you attend to the moment can you perceive what forces are entrapping you, enslaving you. Only then can you take the first steps to free yourself. But first, you have to “wake up.”
Mind you, I realize it’s really important to plan for your future. But it’s also important to savor the moments of life that pass by only too quickly.
But what if a moment, a day, is really crappy? Just about everyone has had a day like that, what seems like the worst day of your life. You get into a fender bender, the boss yells at you, three checks bounce at the bank because you forgot to transfer funds, you burn dinner, and your spouse is in a lousy mood and yells at you, too.
What if that day somehow never ended?
And what if that day included the big, big transitions in life? Being born, giving birth or waiting for a birth, and dying are the most transitional moments of anyone’s life. What if those transitional moments were never consummated?
In “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day,” Benjamin finds himself on that supremely crappy day. He’s understandably focused on his future, on what he hopes to achieve the next day. But he must focus on the moment, even though it’s a crappy moment. He must “wake up.” Only then can he perceive what is trapping him, enslaving him. And only then can he do what he does to free himself and, by the way, free all of space-time.

– Did you have in mind any other examples in the rich tradition of time travel stories while writing “Tomorrow is a Lovely Day,” or did the story come to you organically?
Tomorrow is A Lovely Day” isn’t directly inspired by any other story. It’s definitely “organic,” a product of my own inspiration, the splicing together two different themes, faster-than-light communication and Nostradamus’ medieval predictions.
I like the technique of splicing two disparate themes and finding a common ground. My Omni story, “Tomorrow’s Child,” which sold as the basis for a feature film to Universal Studios, weaves a succinct tale around burn wound healing technology and the purported crash of an alien spaceship at Rosswell, New Mexico.
That said, I’m always up for a good time travel story. A rich tradition, indeed! Or perhaps a broader, if less elegant, term would be “time manipulation” stories.
In the classic tradition of traveling in time in the same geophysical location, there’s of course H.G. Welles’ classic Victorian novel The Time Machine. Of more recent vintage is C. L. Moore’s wonderful novella, “The Vintage Season,” which in 1946 explored time travel as tourism, traveling to a different time and a different geophysical location. Robert Silverberg has often played with time travel tropes and published in 1989 a sequel to Moore’s novella, “In Another Country.” [A peripatetic world traveler, Silverberg often uses tourism or traveling as a trope in his fiction. “Sailing to Byzantium” (not a time manipulation) from 1986 springs to mind.]
Even more intriguing is moving in time within your own life and attempting to alter your own past. That happens in “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day.” My all-time favorite story in this subgenre (and maybe my all-time favorite SF story, period) is Robert Heinlein’s “All You Zombies—“. The story, so hilarious and fiendishly clever, could have been written yesterday. In fact, Heinlein published it in 1959. Silverberg weighs in with this subgenre, too, with “Needle in a Timestack.”
Finally, another fascinating subgenre within the time manipulation trope is traveling backwards in time within your own life. The classic tale in this subgenre is Fritz Leiber’s “The Man Who Never Grew Young,” published in 1947. F. Scott Fitzgerald tried his hand in “The Strange Case of Benjamin Buttons,” and Martin Amis in Time’s Arrow.
My major problem with these tales is that they’re all told from a man’s point-of-view. I think a woman protagonist would have quite a different take.
I’ve done just that in “Illyria, My Love,” in which a woman and man love each other, the woman a bit jealously so, against a horrific background of constant war on the planet they’ve immigrated to when life on Earth has become untenable. Only as they move backward in time does the reader discover the true nature of their relationship and, at the end, the shocking secret at its core. That story is still looking for a home.

Visit me at http://www.lisamason.com for all my books and stories, interviews and blogs, cute pet pictures, and forthcoming projects. Thank you for your readership!

Looking for something to read over the Thanksgiving holiday? Be intrigued, entertained, provoked, and amused? Try the November-December 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Single copy of the issue: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/toc1511.htm

Check out Kathe Koja’s interview with Jeff VanderMeer for Weird Fiction Review about The Cipher and writing weird fiction at http://weirdfictionreview.com/2012/05/interview-kathe-koja-and-the-weird/.

I won’t reprise the interview here. Please do visit the link to read the real deal.

VanderMeer had a New York Times bestseller last year, The Southern Reach Trilogy, in which his characters explore a mysterious forbidden realm, ostensibly a wildlands, that defies explanation and transforms all who venture into it.

Rather like the Funhole in The Cipher! If you enjoyed VanderMeer’s trilogy last year, you must read Koja’s classic in the Philip K. Dick Award Storybundle.

In the interview’s conclusion, Kathe touches on how growing up Catholic affected her childhood sense of wonder. That remark lead to the Q and A between her and Elizabeth Hand that follows.

So there you have it, my friends. The Philip K Dick Award Storybundle includes Aestival Tide by Elizabeth Hand (PKD Finalist), Life by Gwyneth Jones (PKD Winner), The Cipher by Kathe Koja (PKD Finalist), Points of Departure by Pat Murphy (PKD Winner), Dark Seeker by K. W. Jeter (PKD Finalist), Summer of Love by Lisa Mason (PKD Finalist), Frontera by Lewis Shiner (PKD Finalist), Acts of Conscience by William Barton (PKD Special Citation), Maximum Ice by Kay Kenyon (PKD Finalist), Knight Moves by Walter Jon Williams (PKD Finalist), and Reclamation by Sarah Zettel (PKD Finalist).

The Philip K Dick Award Storybundle runs only until October 15. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Download yours today at http://storybundle.com/pkdaward and enjoy world-class, award-winning reading right now and into the holidays.

You Must Watch This!

Here is Kathe Koja’s comprehensive video interview with the Lovecraft Ezine panel. Kathe talks about The Cipher, attending the Clarion science fiction writing workshop and how that encouraged her and boosted her confidence, meeting Harlan Ellison and her thoughts about authors, their reputations that precede them, and their writing.

I cannot possibly reprise this excellent interview. You must watch it yourself at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07sXBJlvidc!

So there you have it, my friends. The Philip K Dick Award Storybundle includes Aestival Tide by Elizabeth Hand (PKD Finalist), Life by Gwyneth Jones (PKD Winner), The Cipher by Kathe Koja (PKD Finalist), Points of Departure by Pat Murphy (PKD Winner), Dark Seeker by K. W. Jeter (PKD Finalist), Summer of Love by Lisa Mason (PKD Finalist), Frontera by Lewis Shiner (PKD Finalist), Acts of Conscience by William Barton (PKD Special Citation), Maximum Ice by Kay Kenyon (PKD Finalist), Knight Moves by Walter Jon Williams (PKD Finalist), and Reclamation by Sarah Zettel (PKD Finalist).

The Philip K Dick Award Storybundle runs only until October 15. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Download yours today at http://storybundle.com/pkdaward and enjoy world-class, award-winning reading right now and into the holidays.

My follow-up interview with Author Ryan Schneider is up and running! Here’s the link: http://authorryanschneider.blogspot.com/2013/09/10-follow-up-questions-with-pkd-award.html

1. RS: This is a follow-up interview, but for people who are not already familiar with your work, tell us what kind of books you write and what readers should expect from your stories? What is your latest book about?

LM: I mostly write character-driven science fiction and contemporary or historical fantasy (as opposed to epic fantasy), but I’ve also written more mainstream works, romantic suspense, and a screenplay or two.

My latest release, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, is a collection of science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories published in top magazines and anthologies worldwide. I’m gratified to see the response so far has been awesome since I cherry-picked them from among my published (and as-yet-unpublished) short fiction.

2. RS: What was the duration of the writing process for Strange Ladies?

LM: Since this is a collection, the answer is difficult to summarize. Some stories are what I call “a gift from the gods,” landing almost full-blown on the page. They’re a gift because a story seldom happens that way.

But the core idea, the inspiration usually does, and then the hard work of making the story happen proceeds from there. I’ve taken three weeks to finish a story; I’ve taken six months and more.

As for these stories, some go back fifteen years. Yeah, I’ve been around for a long time, was building up my career. A few years ago, disgusted with New York Big Publishing and hit with a personal set-back, I dropped out of the business altogether and spent some years studying and writing screenplays. That was a mistake from which I’m only just recovering.

Now that I’m back, New York Big Publishing is even worse than before. Thank God for independent publishing. Viva la revolution! Not that taking your career into your own hands is ever easy.

I re-edited every story in Strange Ladies to the quality standards I hold today after fifteen years of studying fiction.

3. RS: To shift to a story of yours that’s already sold to the movies, when Tomorrow’s Child is adapted to film, and the producers ask for your dream cast, what will you say?

LM: At the beginning, there was talk at Universal Studios of Dennis Quaid as the father, Kirsten Dunst as the daughter. But really, as a full-time professional writer with forthcoming new books and the executive of a growing ebook empire, I don’t have time to follow all the new faces who might be right. (Though I do receive The Hollywood Reporter every week. Apparently I’ve been comp’d a free subscription for life. I have no idea how that happened.)

Anyway, producers never ask the opinion of print authors or screenwriters about anything.

4. RS: Stephen King often makes a cameo in films adapted from his work. Stan Lee is also enjoying doing that these days. What supporting role would you like to play in the film adaptation of Tomorrow’s Child?

LM: In the scene in which Jack Turner confronts his spoiled society wife at a fancy brunch, and she tells him she knows that their daughter Angela is now a freak and that Jack should have let her die, and Jack smacks her on the face, I would definitely make a cameo as one of the society ladies at the brunch table, dripping in gold and diamonds, and dining on a caviar omelet and champagne.

The big studios always serve the real thing during food scenes.

5. RS: For a writer, word of mouth is everything. What was the last book you read that you enjoyed so much that you wanted to share it with everyone you know?

LM: I’ve got a TBR List as long as my arms and legs laid end-to-end. (Ooh. That’s a creepy image.) Let me rephrase. I’ve got a TBR list a kilometer long. I’ll have to get back to you on this one.

6. RS: As of this writing, the trend in publishing is toward series novels as opposed to stand-alone books. Do you have a series going?

LM: Yes, The Garden of Abracadabra is Volume One of the Abracadabra Series, and The Labyrinth of Illusions, Volume 2, is presently in R&D. Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is a miniseries of four books, which are done, though potentially Lily could go on. And I’ve got a new Top Secret High Concept Science Fiction Series in the works.

As a reader, I like stand-alone books; I also like series. It depends on the book I’ve read.

Authors and publishers love series because once the author has created a complex, multi-dimensional world, living and breathing characters, and plot arcs extending beyond what should be a self-contained, complete story in the first book, what’s not to love about creating more? From a marketing standpoint, a successful series will keep the backlist in print and win new readers of the later books. Always a good thing.

7. RS: Saul Bellow said, “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” Where do ideas for books come from, and where are you and what are you typically doing when inspiration strikes?

LM: Hah! That’s a great Saul Bellow quote. And very often, but not entirely, true. Everything needs more work in the morning

That said, there’s no typical inspiration for me other than paying attention to life, people, what interests me intellectually and emotionally, searching constantly for information, and my own feelings, intuitions, experiences, and observations.

A fine and unusual example of how pure inspiration struck me instantly—after half a dozen years of preparation—is in my 30-day blog The Story Behind The Story That Sold To The Movies, included in the ebook of Tomorrow’s Child.

8. RS: Brett Easton Ellis once said, “Do not write a novel for praise. Write for yourself; work out between you and your pen the things that intrigue you.” Indie publishing phenom Amanda Hocking has said that it messed with her head a bit when she realized so many people were going to read the books she’s now writing. Now that Lisa Mason is rapidly gaining recognition in the publishing world, has an established fan base anticipating her next novel, and is being talked about in the highly-reverent third person, will reader expectations influence how and/or what she writes? Or will she hold to Ellis’ suggestion?

LM: Oh, Ellis has it absolutely right for any serious writer—and by serious I mean if you write because you must, because your talent drives you to, because you always have something to say.

Edith Wharton, for example, wrote about women exiled to the wilds of snowy Massachusetts, women in the thick richness of New York high society, and women in some pretty good ghost stories. But in all the variety of her writing, the story was always an Edith Wharton story, the writing was always her vigorous Edith Wharton style, and the underlying theme was always a woman in an unhappy marriage. Always.

My writerly obsession is with self-realization, how life and circumstances may try to thwart you from what must be your true destiny, how you must overcome all the odds to realize your true self and find your personal power. My new book, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, is a good example. The stories are wildly different but in each, the heroine empowers herself against the odds.

As a writer, you can only hope readers will share your obsessions. But if you chase after popularity and you’re not true to yourself, the readers will sense this, too. So what’s the point?

9. RS: The world of indie authors is the new slush pile. What are you going to say/do when a traditional New York publisher and/or agent contacts you and asks for a meeting?

LM: Well, I’m not quite an indie author, Ryan, I’ve been published by Bantam, Random House, Avon, William Morrow, Eos, Omni, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and more.

I actually presently have an email from yet another Big Deal New York Agent (I’ve hired and fired several over fifteen years). The printout has been sitting on my desk for two months. I haven’t responded to it yet.

I’ve got three blogs starting in February, 2013 on www.lisamasontheauthor.com titled “Crunching the Publishing Numbers,” which will provide you with a summary of the sorry state of Big Publishing.

10. RS: Someone once said, and it may have been my dad, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Where do you want your writing career to be in five years’ time?

LM: The Abracadabra Series is a happening thing; I can definitely see two or three more books in the next five years, and more books in the years to come. My new Top Secret High Concept Science Fiction Series will definitely go on for at least five years. I have a dystopian fantasy concept on the drawing board. Plus short stories set in all those worlds.

I have two additional huge backlist books, my early Avon cyberpunks, The Quester Trilogy, and my later Bantam science fiction epic, Pangaea, both of which will take time to develop as ebooks.

Print books of all the Bast Books ebook titles are definitely in the works, but take time and a capital investment to do it right. I’m hoping that will happen within the next five years.

I may return to New York Big Publishing; I really don’t know. No one knows what Big Publishing will look like in five years. I’d sure like to see Tomorrow’s Child as a movie but, knowing Universal, their product will bear almost no resemblance to my very personal story and might make me look bad. So I don’t know if I want that as much as anyone might think.

Finally, I sincerely hope we do not find ourselves in World War Three in the next five years.

And there you have it, Ryan my friend! Thank you for this follow-up interview!

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

SHAKEN on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords; and

Tomorrow’s Child on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add a bunch of stars, write a review on the site where you acquired it, blog it, Tweet it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

I tackled the List of Five on the beautiful Write Castles in the Sky blog hosted by Jaye Viner. Here’s the interview and the link: http://www.writecastlesinthesky.blogspot.com/2013/09/list-of-five-with-lisa-mason.html#more

Five Views of the Writing Life

1. Cultivate the habit of reading and writing every day.

People used to keep diaries and write letters to each other by hand. For a writer, this provided a way to tap into the flow of words without the pressure of writing for publication, to let loose the emotions in an informal way, and was, I think, a useful exercise.

These days we don’t write diaries and letters anymore, so it’s imperative to constantly keep in touch with your flow of words, ideas, and emotions in other ways. Keep a notepad and pencil on the night table beside your bed, always carry these items with you (you don’t need an electronic device) even to the grocery store, maintain a blog, post on Facebook.

If you’re working on a story or book, naturally you’ll want to write that every day, but don’t worry overmuch if the flow isn’t happening today. Do keep taking notes, though, and reviewing your progress.

Read published fiction every day. Keep a book beside you always—at the office, when traveling, at your bedside. Maintaining interest in a novel can be a huge commitment, which is why I love short stories. In a day or two, you can whip through a story, watch a character arc unfold and resolve, witness a plot begin and end.

Ten million and one things compete for your attention these days. I believe it’s essential that you make daily reading and writing your obsession. Which leads us to—

2. Embrace your obsession.

I mean your writerly obsession, the essential core that drives you to write and underpins everything you write, no matter how different the material may be on the surface. Every writer writes only about one thing—his or her obsession.

Edith Wharton, for example, wrote about women exiled to the wilds of snowy Massachusetts, women in the thick richness of New York high society, and women in some pretty good ghost stories. But in all the variety of her writing, the story was always an Edith Wharton story, the writing was always her vigorous Edith Wharton style, and the underlying theme was always a woman in an unhappy marriage. Always.

Michael Chabon has said he’s obsessed with relationships between men. Louise Edrich with Native Americans and their uneasy relationship with Caucasian society. Jonathan Franzen with dysfunctional families. J.R.R. Tolkien with world war.

My writerly obsession is with self-realization, how life and circumstances may try to thwart you from what must be your true destiny, how you must overcome all the odds to realize your true self and find your personal power. My new book, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, is a good example. The stories are wildly different but in each, the heroine empowers herself against the odds.

Your obsession is the underlying driving force, but the surface can and, I believe, should vary. Authors, even bestselling authors, may become pigeonholed—you know, those authors who only write about a particular nationality of immigrants—may become stale and fade away as readers grow bored with the same old thing.

You always want to search for new spins on your obsession, new surfaces to explore. Which brings us to—

3. Write what you don’t know.

The truism and cliché is “write what you know,” but if you embrace your obsession, you’ll always be writing what you know. The key to keeping fresh as a writer and creating stories that feel authentic, that feel truer than true, is to inform the work with research. To use just the right detail proving you know your subject better than just about anyone and that’s why the reader should invest his or her time in your work.

As a true believer in the power of research, I give a tip of my fedora to the excellent previous post, “Five Traps to Avoid as an Author,” Trap Two being “The Rabbit Hole of Internet Research.” Research is indeed a siren’s song. You’ll always find one more fascinating thing (or a million more fascinating things) to research. The trick is to recognize when you’ve found the telling detail that will enrich your story and make it special. At that point of the research, you’ve got to give it up. Which slams us headlong into—

4. Never give up.

I recently heard a radio interview with Ann Rice, who sold millions of vampire novels decades before vampire novels were trendy. She perfunctorily answered the usual questions, but when the interviewer asked her what advice she’d give to an author struggling to break into the business, her voice became animated and she said with great passion, “Never give up! No matter how many people say no, never give up!”

Big Publishing has always been tough, though in the 1970s through the early 1990s, the business was much more open and willing to support authors building an audience. All that’s changed (for reasons too complex to set out here), and these days Big Publishing is brutal.

Independent publishing is giving Big Publishing a serious run for the money. The business is changing almost daily. You must read the free portions of Publisher’s Weekly website, and Publisher’s Lunch free newsletter to keep tabs on developments. Independent publishing is a gigantic opportunity that literally didn’t exist before.

Make no mistake, though, independent publishing is tough. You bear the burden of producing a professional-quality product. But as a traditionally published author, I’m here to tell you Big Publishing is tough, too, and has shifted the burden of marketing and promoting a book squarely on the author’s shoulders.

That’s a huge burden to bear, so—

5. Take care of yourself.

Authors and artists notoriously abuse mood-altering substances. By definition, such substances induce a different consciousness, loosen up the subconscious mind, free inhibitions. At the beginning of a career, an author may pull a brilliant story out of his or her mind while smashed on a mood-altering substance.

Don’t make this a life-style habit. I remember how shocked I was reading about Stephen King in the throes of his cocaine and hard booze addiction, bleeding from his nose all over his keyboard and thinking, “This has got to stop.” He was one of the lucky ones. Mike McQuay dropped dead at age 48 from his cocaine habit.

Many authors today are also notoriously overweight or obese. Yes, we sit a lot. So do lawyers and accountants and corporate executives. Those folks, though, get out of the house, commute to an office. Authors tend to be house-bound.

Don’t go there. You can’t write well if you’re in poor health. You really can’t write if you’re dead. Eat right to write! Don’t do drugs, easy on the coffee and wine, rest, de-stress, and, most importantly, move your butt. Turn off the TV and go for a jog. Keep a stepper, treadmill, or exercise bike in your writing area. If you get stuck on a scene, pedal for fifteen minutes. Trust me, after fifteen minutes on the bike, you’ll be rarin’ to go on that scene.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

SHAKEN on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Tomorrow’s Child on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords,  and

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add a bunch of stars, write a review, blog it, post it, Tweet it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters!

Thank you for your readership!