Wednesday, February 17, 2010

INTERVIEW: International Bestseller and Award-Winning Author: Lisa Unger


Welcome to “Up Close and Personal.” For every interview I will be introducing a literary personality discussing their views and insights, as well as upcoming literary events around the world.

Today’s interview is with International bestseller and award winning author of contemporary fiction, Lisa Unger. She has written and published eight award winning novels.

Ms Unger, has also written works under her maiden name, Miscione. Lisa Miscione's "Lydia Strong" series includes: Angel Fire (2002), The Darkness Gathers2003, Twice 2004, Smoke 2005

Her writing has been hailed as "masterful" by St. Petersburg Times, "sensational" by Publishers Weekly and "sophisticated" by New York Daily News with "gripping narrative and evocative, muscular prose" says the Associated Press.

E.I. Would you share some early insight into who you were as a teenager?

LISA UNGER: I was a bit of a rebel, I suppose, with gothic leanings. Lots of New Orders and The Cure. But at heart I was a good girl, studying hard and making good grades. I was always a writer. I don’t remember a time before I defined myself that way. So I was writing lots of terrible short stories and maudlin poetry. I remember having a lot of teen angst, feeling crushed by a suburban environment and just dying to get to New York City. I have eventually wound up at New York University, later transferring to and graduating from The New School.

E.I. What is it about the art form of writing that enchants you the most?

LISA UNGER: That’s a hard question for me to answer. It’s like asking what I like best about breathing. I just am this, always have been. When I’m writing, I am in the place where I am most natural, most truly myself.

E.I. How do you imagine audience as you are writing? Do you try to do character development, chapter outlines, various novel-related brainstorming? Do you have sheets of newsprint covered in a story boards all over your walls?

LISA UNGER: I don’t imagine my audience when I write, nor do I outline. In fact, I know next to nothing about my novels when I start writing. The germ could be anything … a line of poetry, a song, a news story, really anything, sometimes just a voice in my head. And if it takes root, then it becomes a novel.

Day to day, I don’t really know what’s going to happen, who’s going to show up, what they’re going to do. I write for the same reason that I read … because I want to know what’s going to happen.

E.I. What was your biggest challenge in developing the character, Isabel Connelly and Marcus Raine in” Die For You”?

LISA UNGER: I often feel as if my characters arrive fully formed in my head. It’s more as if I’m meeting them than creating them. They speak to me and I try to get to know them, to understand them. It feels more that way to me, as if I have very little to do with it.

That said, I think the key to developing character is much the same as the key to developing any kind of relationship: empathy. If you get to know your characters, accept them without judgment, love them even with all their flaws and shortcomings, then your characters will live and breathe for your readers.

E.I. Give us three "Good to Know" facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.

LISA UNGER: I have a terrible fear of chainsaws and amusement parks … for many of the same reasons, the noise, the potential for disaster, possibly unqualified people handling dangerous machinery.

I was the worst waitress … ever.

I am an extroverted introvert. This means that I'm happiest in my hobbit hole writing stories, or staying home with my family. But you probably wouldn't know it if you ran into me at a conference or a party. I can put on my shoes and dance. But I'd rather be in my pajamas with a good book.

E.I. And, finally, if you could say "thank you" to someone for helping you become a successful writer, who would it be?

LISA UNGER: There are plenty of people I could thank. My parents for being great readers and giving me the gift of loving to read. I have had tremendous support from teachers throughout my education. My agent Elaine Markson signed me on with my first novel and has helped me navigate the waters of my career over the last ten years with unflagging enthusiasm. But my husband, more than anyone, is the rock solid foundation of my life. He believed in me from the day he met me. He has supported me in every way a person can support another person. He is my partner in every sense of the word, and I can honestly say that I would not be where I am right now without him. He knows all the million reasons why this is true! I am very blessed to have had so many wonderful people in my corner. So, yes, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Photo of Lisa Unger by Mr.Jeff Unger.

To learn more about Lisa Unger please visit her website at http://www.lisaunger.com/

To purchase her books please visit http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_0_7?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lisa+unger&sprefix=lisa+un

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