Sunday, June 21, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Lisa Jackson

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with Lisa Jackson discussing her book, MALICE, and her writing.

Please welcome this week’s author for the Book-A-Week Challenge, Lisa Jackson.

What motivated you to write this book, MALICE? Where did the story idea come from?

I always wanted to write a book where someone was haunted by his/her past lover and I also wanted to get to know Jennifer Bentz, a woman I had written about for years but had never really met. I also wanted to explore Rick Bentz's marriage, see how strong it was, if it had any cracks. I loved the whole haunted aspect of the book. Is Rick Bentz crazy? Is Jennifer really alive? If so, who's buried in her coffin.

What makes your stories unique? The “Lisa” aspect.

My stories are definitely a fine line between romance and suspense. I try to write the books so that the suspense and romance feed off each other and heighten the other emotion. I also really try hard to get into all of my characters' heads, including the villian, so that they're believable and I feel what they're feeling . . . if that isn't too weird.

I saw you in a recent interview and you said that you liked the book trailers. Would you like to see any of your books made into movies? Which ones?

Are you kidding? I'd like to see ALL of my books in movies. MALICE, COLD BLOODED, SHIVER, FATAL BURN and LEFT TO DIE/CHOSEN TO DIE come to mind. They are all very visual books. Oh, well, ALMOST DEAD, IF SHE ONLY KNEW and ABSOLUTE FEAR would work, too, but then, I'm prejudiced!

You have been writing for more than twenty years, how do you keep coming up with compelling stories that capture your readers’ attention?

As for my stories, they always say truth is stranger than fiction and they (whoever "they" are) are right! I get the germ of my ideas from things I see or read in the news, mostly. Sometimes I get an idea just on my own, but usually something catches my attention in the news and I run with it, twisting my own story and characters to whatever news item it was that caught my attention. Usually my story turns out to have very little with the original news bite. It's just the catalyst.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?

I love the freedom that being an author gives me. Yes, I have deadlines and time management issues, but I get to run at my own pace most of the time and be my own boss. I am able to work my job around my family and I LOVE that.

Why do you write about serial killers?

I write about serial killers because of the public's fascination with them, though some of my books are about a murder and other people get in the way of the killer's objective. Other times the killer is really out to kill a lot of people.

When are you at your most creative?

I'm most creative before the sun comes up, when it's dark outside, but I'm energized from a night's sleep and dreams.

I absolutely love your ability to keep adding and ratcheting up the tension/suspense in your stories. What is your secret to writing that “edge-of-your-seat” suspense/thriller story?
Oh, thanks. I try to wring as much emotion out of the books as possible whatever that emotion might be. So if it scares me, then I know it'll scare my readers, so that's what I try to do. Sometimes I scare myself to the point that I just have to stop and take a break. THEN I know I've done my job!

When you are not working on your next story, what are you doing?

When I'm not working I'm usually with my family, friends and dogs. I love to do crossword puzzles, play cards, walk, go to the beach, read, watch great television (LOST!), and hang out. My sister is author Nancy Bush and we spend tons of time together, even write together (WICKED GAME) and I've been learning to drive a boat . . . a very slow boat.

Okay, last question. When you curl up with a book to read, what kind of book is it or which author do you rush to the bookstore to buy?

I usually read books that have been on the bestseller lists for a long while, I don't buy by author, BUT, I do love Harlan Coben, all of his books and one of my favorites by William Lasher is FATAL FLAW, I believe and SHUTTER ISLAND by Dennis Lehane.


Denise June 21, 2009 at 7:10 AM  

I'll ask the first question.

How did you come up with the name Rick Bentz? Was this someone you knew or did you just pull it out of thin air?


Dunbarton June 21, 2009 at 5:20 PM  

Thanks, Lisa and Denise. I enjoyed getting into your head, Lisa, about your writing. Denise, great questions. Now I just need to catch up on my reading and buy the book.

Patricia Sargeant June 21, 2009 at 9:18 PM  

Great interview, Denise and Lisa. Thank you.

Lisa, I enjoyed your Murder by the Numbers episode on TruTV - as I'm sure millions of other views did as well. LOL!

I was glad to read that sometimes the book you write doesn't resemble the news item that sparked the idea. That happens to me as well.

Before you start to write, have you already identified the story's turning points and character stakes?

Thanks again for the great interview.

Best wishes for continued writing success!


Lisa Jackson June 22, 2009 at 5:22 PM  

I write from a synopsis, so most of the turning points are already in place when I write the book. Sometimes though a new idea pops into my head and I put it in!

Lisa Jackson June 22, 2009 at 5:24 PM  

I never intended for Rick Bentz to be the hero of the next book when I wrote HOT BLOODED, but there he was, big as life, when I started COLD BLOODED and he seemed the perfect hero! The name came to me as something easy to remember and not too common (you know, like Jackson!). Hence, a hero was born!

Esther Pemberton June 23, 2009 at 8:10 AM  

Denise, I enjoyed reading the interview with Lisa. I'm not a big romantic suspense fan, but my interest was definitely peaked. Good luck to you and Lisa on all your future endeavors.


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Loretta October 5, 2009 at 11:34 AM  

Lisa and Denise,

Great interview! Loved the comment about ideas popping into your head. I think that's part of the fun of writing, finding those things that are hidden in your mind. It keeps the euphoria going as you write:)..(of course chocolate or coffee help too!)

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