Interview With Author Lisa Story
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
As a public relations professional, I’ve written thousands of articles and newsletters. I have started half a dozen books over my lifetime and finally published the first one. I have another manuscript I’ve been working on for a decade and now plan to revise it and publish it in the next year.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“Pardon Me, Father” is the mostly-true story of my uncle Walt Reca’s diamond mining adventures in Sierra Leone in the 1980s. He smuggled the diamonds out of Africa dressed as a priest. His life-long friend, Carl Laurin, wrote the first draft and Carl’s wife gave me permission to finalize it and publish the book. I wanted Walt’s adventures to be known. He was an amazing individual.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
My desk faces the window and I write in natural light with candles and wax burners. I just need a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere to disappear into the story. I also need snacks. Lots of water with citrus, Diet cola and pretzels and Swedish Fish.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have been moved by the words, plots and/or characters of Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Chalaine Harris and Karin Slaughter.
What are you working on now?
“Better Dead Than Poor: Stories and Letters From D.B. Cooper” is my memoir about my relationship with my uncle, who told me he was the infamous hijacker and a paid mercenary. Before he died, he directed me to a secret compartment in his desk to pull out some documents that included a KGB ID (he spoke fluent Russian and Polish and worked for a paramilitary organization in the Eastern Bloc and Middle East in the 70’s and 80s). I’m hoping that I can hone my story so it doesn’t matter whether or not you believe he was the infamous hijacker, our relationship and my journey in this story is interesting and hilarious.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m just beginning to promote my book, so I don’t currently know what works well. I’m trying several outlets that are not that expensive and doing a lot of online research into the effectiveness of the more pricey options. The Podcast “Fully Booked” has featured guests with helpful information.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Just keep working. Don’t give in to self-doubt. I only have a few hours every weekend to write and because I set a schedule and keep to it as much as possible, I have completed two books (though one needs an overhaul, and I’m doing that now). Also, find a copy editor you can afford because you cannot effectively proofread your own work. It’s impossible. The challenge is finding someone who is good and won’t use your entire savings account.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Never, ever, ever give up. As Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Believe in yourself and never give in.”
What are you reading now?
I’m re-reading “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I’m also re-reading many of Karin Slaughter’s “Will Trent” series now that it’s a television show. I just downloaded some new authors’ books, but I haven’t started them yet.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I absolutely have to finish “Better Dead Than Poor” but after that I am considering either a blue-collar “James Bond” storyline loosely based on my uncle’s adventures OR a romance/mystery based out at the old Nevada Test Site. Both my husband and I worked out at the nuclear test site and there is a history that could be woven into a novel or two.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee; “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett; “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” anthology; and “Pieces of Her” by Karin Slaughter
Author Websites and Profiles
Lisa Story’s Social Media Links