Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Author Interview with Lisa Mangum

Lisa Mangum, author of The Hourglass Door series, kindly took the time to answer some questions about the series and writing.

1. Where did the idea for The Hourglass Door series come from?
    I was actually working on an epic fantasy story when I got the idea for Hourglass Door. I was driving to a writing conference for Young Adult authors and I thought, “What would I write about—if I was going to write a YA novel?” I knew I would want it to be a love story, so I started thinking about one of my favorite love stories in literature: Dante and Beatrice from Dante’s Divine Comedy. And then that turned my thoughts to Italy, and since I love fantasy stories, I thought about how I might be able to work in a touch of fantasy into the story. And then I asked the question, “What if Leonardo da Vinci built a time machine? And it worked?”
At that point, it was like Abby and Dante jumped in my car and said, “Oh, that’s our story!” It was like the story just downloaded in one big chunk, and by the time I reached the conference, I had mentally plotted out the series, sketched out the main characters, and started developing the plot. I knew where book 1 would end, where book 2 would end, and where book 3 would start. I scribbled down all my notes on the back of some scraps of paper I had in my car, and eight months later, I was done with my first draft of the book.

2. Did you base any of your characters on real people?
    Not directly. Parts of some of my characters are drawn from real people, but never a whole person. For example, the conversation at the beginning of Hourglass Door when Abby and Valerie are discussing nail polish colors was based on a conversation I had with one of my friends when we were discussing names for new crayon colors. I think Abby is a little like me, though she is braver and more self-confident than I ever was in high school.

3. Have you always wanted to become an author?
    Yes and no. Growing up, yes, all I wanted was to be a writer, but somewhere along the line I let that little voice in the back of my head convince me that being a writer was something “other people” did—not me. So I put that dream on the shelf and pursued other dreams instead. But in my heart, I still wanted to work with books, and if I couldn’t be a writer (or so I thought) then I could be an editor. I’d been working professionally as an editor for a publishing company for about ten years before I was finally brave enough to go back to my long-ago dream of being a writer, take it off the shelf, and open up that dream again. I kind of wish I’d done that sooner!

4. What is a typical writing day for you like and what inspires you while you are writing?
    Well, I still have a full-time job as an editor, so Monday through Friday, nine to five, I am in my office working on other people’s books. In the evenings (and on the weekends), I am able to work on my own books. I also write quite a bit during my commute to my “day job.” I take public transportation to my office so I have 23 minutes every morning and every afternoon where I can write uninterrupted on my laptop. I’ve been amazed at how much I can get done in a 23-minute session.

5. What is your one favorite book that you can read over and over again?
    I can pick only one? Hmm, in that case, it might be The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams. As far as classic epic fantasy goes, I find I pull that one off my shelf every couple of years to read and reread. (Of course, if you ask me this same question tomorrow, I might have a different answer. J)

6. What is the best advice you were ever given?
    “You can’t change it if you don’t have it.” My husband constantly reminds of this when I’m writing and get stuck. It gives me permission to write something—anything (even if it is stupid or silly)—because the truth is, I can’t change the story into something better if I don’t have it written down first.

7. What are you currently reading?
    I’m currently reading The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss—and loving it, I might add.

8. Are you working on any other upcoming projects?
    Yes, I am. Now that the story of Abby and Dante is finished, I’m working on another YA novel, but this time staring a pair of sisters. And after that, I have another fantasy story I want to do with faeries. Plus, I still have that epic fantasy novel that I set down to write Hourglass Door; I should probably get back to that . . .

Thank you so much Lisa Mangum for taking the time to answer some questions. To learn more about The Hourglass Door Series check out leosdungeon.com and watch the book trailer below. You can purchase the books at Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I loved the Hourglass Door! she seems so down to earth and cool. I loved Abbie & Dante's story.


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