Lickel’s novels include The Gold Standard, Healing Grace, and Meander Scar.
She enjoys membership in local book clubs and writing groups, as well as American Christian Fiction Writers, and Wisconsin Regional Writers where she is editor-in-chief of Creative Wisconsin Magazine. She lives in a hundred and fifty-year old house and is active in local historical societies. Married to a high school biology teacher, she enjoys travel, books and collecting dragons.
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Lisa, please share some information about your latest book, Meander Scar.
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its ardor unyielding at the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” Song of Songs 8:6-7
You can go home again. But facing the consequences may leave a forever scar.
Ann Ballard’s husband, Gene, has to be dead. After seven years of no word, no clues, she is more than ready to get her stagnant life flowing again in a positive direction. When former neighbor Mark Roth, now a respected attorney, shows up and wants to help with the legal aspects, she wonders if she can accept his attractive offer.
Mark has loved Ann forever. She was the only one who supported him when his own family was unavailable. Through gentle wooing, Mark convinces Ann that his dream of happiness for them can come true. Together they face disapproving family members and the legal maneuverings of Gene’s elite family. In a bizarre twist of fate, Ann learns what happened to her husband. How can she tell the truth when it may ruin more lives--hers included?
Just when Ann and Mark overcome the last hurdle, their lives hit the hardest rock of all. Now it's Mark's turn to be truthful to Ann, himself, and the faith he professes.
Available to order at any bookseller. Available on line at Amazon and Amazon Kindle, Borders, Borders eReader format, Barnes and Noble and other outlets.
Amazon print: http://www.amazon.com/Meander-Scar-Lisa-J-Lickel/dp/1934912239/ref=sr_1_1_oe_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267452628&sr=1-1
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Meander-Scar-ebook/dp/B0037Z6YM8/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2
Meander on BN: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Meander-Scar/Lisa-J-Lickel/e/9781934912232/?itm=1&USRI=Lisa+Lickel
Meander at Borders: http://www.borders.com/online/store/TitleDetail?sku=1410431940
What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
For a short story that was published at the end of 2010 in Harpstring Magazine, I drew upon an article I once read about how gemstones can be fashioned from cremated remains. Instead of finding the process ghoulish, I was fascinated and built a story around a family who kept and added to a bracelet of such gems for generations.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
In order to create credible characters an author must incorporate some recognizable features, quirks and expressions – even in fantasy or science fiction – otherwise readers can't relate to them. That doesn't mean I take someone I know verbatim, but I might pick up on a little quirk, the way someone smiles, the way someone wears her or his hair, dresses, eats, the way they walk, or the manner of speech. One of my favorite people-watching places in Wal-mart.
Where do you go to do your research?
For serious research, I usually rely on at least three sources, one of them verbal. Of course, the depth of fact-finding depends on how much time I put into making something realistic, or just making it up. For one of my manuscripts, I made up a middle-eastern country with its own language. I based the language on an Indian dialect, so I looked up words and costumes and made subtle adjustments. For issues with criminal components I go to my friend a local police chief. For medical issues I have family who help, and for legal aspects, I have friends who are lawyers. I just finished a short mystery set in Alabama. My mother called and I asked her about the current state of the beaches and Mobile Bay, and she answered by looking out her window. Now, that's up-to-the-minute research.
Are you currently working on any new book projects?
I am constantly working on something, whether it's updating older manuscripts to re-submit, or writing new pieces. Currently I'm working on a romantic anthology with another author. I've always wanted to write with someone else, and this is intriguing to me. Four novellas revolve around one situation. We have to carefully build the characters and the community so everything meshes, just like a puzzle. I love it.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?
I'm glad you put those two questions in one place, Joanne, because they are directly related. I wrote fifteen books before I had to stop in order to realize that writing and selling go hand in hand, and that to be effective, you should really start building your fan base before you sell your first book. Really. It's not crazy, it's just one of those catch-22 things that has no real beginning or end.
How do you write a book? I teach Telling Your Story workshops, and the hardest thing to learn is that every story has a beginning. It's finding that perfect beginning that's hard. You might write pages of background information about your story and your characters before you write chapter one. The most successful authors know to find a mentor, learn that no word is so precious that it can't be edited, and realize that no one can learn everything at any given point.
Promotion must begin before the book is finished, before the book is submitted, accepted and released. You do this by creating name recognition in your community through social activities, writing for local newspapers or magazines; in your church and on line by social networking. Being known as a go-to person for your subject also creates a niche for yourself.
What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why? Do you have a favorite literary author?
I am eclectic reader, and unfortunately, writer. But my favorite writer is Ray Bradbury, and I'm not alone in considering Dandelion Wine one of the very best pieces of twentieth-century fiction. The book is not science fiction, but close to autobiographical. Any author who can make me feel like an adolescent boy on the verge of discovering LIFE and let me love it has my vote as a fantastic author.
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
Ah, schedule. I should be more deliberate about that, but I tend toward the mania side when I'm putting words on paper. I work at this full time, so I write nearly all the time, whether it's thinking or researching or even networking – that all counts as writing. I am currently working on a project, though, so I must discipline myself to write seriously in the mornings and relegate the rest of my life to the afternoons.
Lisa, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing about your books and offering some great advice to new authors.