I had the opportunity to interview another indie author this week, Lisa Dawn. Her book, A Tale of Two Witches, just came out on Amazon this summer. Lisa was kind enough to answer some questions about her book, her writing process, and her plans for the future.
1. Your book, A Tale of Two Witches, has been described on Amazon as fun, exciting, and having characters with “just the right mix of evil and sass.” What drew you to working in an upbeat, sassy tone, even while dealing with issues of violence and death? Do you ever have trouble maintaining such a tone, even when the story takes a dark turn?
I have always leaned towards the “dark side” and I love anything that is horror and twisted but when it came time to write that way I just couldn’t do it. I am an upbeat and sassy kind of gal and that really reflects in my writing. There was a point when I was writing A Tale of Two Witches that the darkness appeared and a few chapters needed to be rewritten. I got so involved with the story that I kept thinking “What would Stephen King do?” then I remembered the type of audience I was writing for–my daughter and her friends. So yes I do sometimes have a hard time maintaining the upbeat sassy tone but then I look at my daughter and continue to write what she would love to read.
2. What has been the most difficult part of working on this book? The most rewarding?
Between work and life I do not really have a whole lot of time available to write. The most difficult part of writing A Tale of Two Witches was where I was when I wrote–in the school car pick up line waiting to pick up my daughter. The ideas were flowing and I needed to write quickly within the fifteen minutes I had available to me. I am working on my time management issues, lol. I have wonderful ideas and know how I would like the story to go but the time to write is my nemesis.
I loved the look on my daughter’s face when I finally finished the book and published it. She beamed at me proudly and brags about me at school. That is the most rewarding feeling.
3. Do you plan to release other books and turn this into a series? If so, what can you tell us about the things you have planned in the future?
Yes this is going to be a series. A Tale of Two Witches is book 1 of the Lexi Reed Series and I am currently working on book 2, By the Light of the Moon. I am not sure yet how many books will be in this series but I will have a book dedicated to Leticia, how she became to be what she is as well as about Tessa and Drake who are the keepers of the underworld. I have too many ideas about By the Light of the Moon that I keep changing it but I will have it ready soon. I am also working on a series that deals with high school drama the paranormal way.
4. Every author puts a certain amount of themselves into their characters. What parts of your own life or experiences have you put into Lexi, and how did that influence your writing?
Wow, this one is tough. Lexi is a big part of me. She is strong willed, determined, spunky, and scared all at the same time. A lot of the emotions and issues I faced growing up play a big part in developing Lexi’s character. I became very close with Lexi (I know that sounds weird) and want nothing but the best for her. Her struggles were similar to some struggles that I had and that influenced me writing her tremendously. Sometimes certain things that Lexi was going through or doing I wrote how I wish they ended for me. I feel I grew stronger as a person the more that I wrote Lexi to be a stronger character. I want my daughter to know that it is okay to have self doubt but if you power through and believe in yourself and believe that you can achieve anything, you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome and feel empowered.
5. When dealing with any supernatural setting, whether it be a superhero series like the X-Men, a wizarding world like Harry Potter, or a paranormal story dealing with vampires and werewolves, the author needs to make certain decisions about the rules for magic and how they work in that world. What can you tell us about the way magic works in your world? How did you decide on the rules, such as what is or isn’t possible to do with magic?
With magic the rules can always change except for one. Magic always comes with a price. I read a lot and watch supernatural TV shows and movies and wrote my favorite from each and incorporated it into my story. In the mortal world, Lexi’s world, you need to be careful with your magic. If you don’t learn to control it things can go haywire. For instance in the beginning of A Tale of Two Witches, Lexi is a hormonal, emotional teenage witch and whenever she was feeling angry she would create thunderstorms. She needed to learn to control her emotions as well as her magic. But, all magic comes with a price right? So the stronger her magic became Leticia could feel it and she fed off of it leading to chaos, Kevin in danger, and people being angry with her. There is so much going on in Lexi’s world that it is hard to really describe how it works and it’s best if you read the book. I will mention one thing I think is the coolest part of my book. I read a book where a witch turned into an animal and I fell in love with idea. So not only is Lexi becoming one of the most powerful casters, she has the ability to transform into a beautiful fiery Phoenix.
6. Your book is described as having witches, vampires, and a vampire witch. What is it that made you decide to blend those separate types of paranormal characters together? Were you influenced by any particular novels or movies?
Everything that I read and watch has influenced me in some way. It’s fun to write about witches and vampires. I had a lot of fun developing Leticia’s character. I thought how cool would it be to have a vampire witch. I can’t remember where I read this, but I read when I was younger that some witches that were tortured, burned at the stake or whatever spiteful thing that was done to them, came back from the dead as vampires and avenge their death. I thought that would be a great back story for Leticia and developed her hateful character.
7. While some people categorize paranormal books differently from more “literary” works, many authors are able to blend literary elements and deeper meaning into a book while still having fun with vampires and witches. A classic example is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which dealt with complex issues of sexuality, sexual orientation, personal identity, and family illness. What kind of deeper issues or meanings would you say are conveyed by your book, and what made you decide to include them?
I see some of the struggles my daughter as well as other kids her age and older are going through now. Some are similar to when I was growing up and some are different. I want to write about certain issues that are going on but in a fun way. Like it is okay to be different and love who you are. Ignore the bullies or people that treat you differently, it’s a reflection of themselves because they are not happy with who they are. Be strong, independent, unafraid and stand up for yourself and what you believe in.
8. What is the most important part of your writing, and what would you say makes the writing process the most worthwhile?
The most important part of my writing is what I have to say. I want to write books that people would read and know exactly what my characters are going through or think “wow that’s a great way to handle that” or something along those lines. I write for fun and it is a great way for me to express myself. I am becoming a role model not just for my daughter (who I have inspired to write and she is great at it) but her entire class. Her teacher has asked me to come in and talk to her class about my book, the writing process, and writing in general. I hope to inspire more to be creative in some way, we all have it in us. Every part of the writing process makes it all worthwhile if it means my daughter will look at me proudly. That really is the best feeling.
Lisa Dawn lives somewhere in Texas with her wonderful husband, amazing daughter, two cats and three dogs. For as long as she can remember she has loved to put a pen to paper. You can find her books on Amazon
I just published my first YA book, A tale of two witches and I am working on two others books that will be ready to publish by the end of the year.
I would love to hear from my readers so please feel free to contact me either by email, facebook, or twitter.