Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Interview with Lisa Nowak

Today we're talking with author Lisa Nowak about her novel DRIVEN.

Welcome, Lisa! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a retired amateur stock car racer, an accomplished cat whisperer, and a professional smartass. I write coming-of-age books about kids in hard luck situations who learn to appreciate their own value after finding mentors who love them for who they are.

How long have you been writing?

I wrote a little poetry when I was in grade school, and I started writing fiction at the age of thirteen.

Tell us about DRIVEN. What’s the story about?

Driven is the story of 16-year-old Jess DeLand, a tough, tenacious girl who loves cars. Her mom’s an alcoholic and her dad’s long gone, so she’s had to fend for herself since the age of eight. She tries to keep her home life a secret so she won’t wind up in foster care, but when she’s offered her dream job working on a race car, and the speedway community takes her in, that becomes increasingly difficult. Especially since teen racer Cody Everett is determined to win her heart.

Without giving too much away, what's your favorite aspect of the book?

That Jess is a fighter, and that she’s so non-traditional. In addition to loving cars, she’s a weather geek and excels in math and science. She’s not ashamed to be her own person and she doesn’t feel sorry for herself, even though life has dealt her a lousy hand.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

Definitely a planner, in all aspects of life. Ask me about anything I do, and I probably have an Excel spreadsheet to assist me with it. :)

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Finding the words. The older I get, the harder it is to access that dictionary in my head. Even when I have a scene planned out, I can stare at the page for hours wondering just how to express what I want to say.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Wee Cat, my feline muse. He’s the most gorgeous, good-natured, brown tabby in the world. He likes to lay on my lap or across my legs when I’m writing.  But he has cancer, so he won’t be with me long. :(

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Instant bliss. I’d point my finger at someone, and they’d be overcome with a sense of well-being. Not a high that would debilitate them, just a feeling that all was right with the world.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

I’m supposed to remember that? Wow. Hard to say. Today I googled how to kill wood hyacinths. Didn’t come up with a single hit, either. If anyone knows, please get in touch. The damn things are taking over my garden.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: garden gnome, astrology, and demeaning

Many garden gnomes rely on astrology to plan the course of their day, but Garamond found such nonsense demeaning.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Wow. This could take some time. I’ve had, like, fifty-bajillion beta readers while writing my series. First I’d have to thank the members of my critique groups, Chrysalis and Wow, particularly Alice Lynn and Laura Marshall. Then I’d have give kudos to the other writing/promotional groups I belong to, the Indelibles and Pacific NW YA Authors. Then I’d have to tip my hat to the Myers and Jermann families, racers who’ve taken me in and made me feel like one of their own. And I can’t forget members of the Classic Car Club, Oregon Region, who have read my books and offered constant support. There are others as well, my neighbors, landscaping customers, etc. who’ve cheered me on the whole way, but it would take an entire page to list them all. Last but not least, I have to express my gratitude to my husband Bob, who never wavers in his belief in me and treats my characters like real people.

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?

Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Lisa. Good luck with DRIVEN and all your writing endeavors!


Lisa said...

Thanks for featuring me, Dorothy. :)

Unknown said...

Great post! Lisa you're amazing. Great interview.

Sarra Cannon said...

Great interview! And such a sweet picture of Wee Cat. Lisa, I completely relate on having a hard time finding the right words. It's easy to imagine a scene in my head, but getting it down on paper the way I see it is the hardest part!!

Laura Pauling said...

Terrific interview and I love that Jess stands out and is her own person!

Unknown said...

These books are on my TBR pile!

Paula Seibert Manley said...

Great questions, Dorothy. I enjoyed the interview. I love Lisa's books!

Rose L said...

I have watched Lisa grow as a writer and she just amazes me with how easy she makes it look! Her books are all great reading.

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. It was great having Lisa on the blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Lisa's stories are well written and fast moving. Driven, with Jess as a heroine, is particularly good because it sends a positive message to girls about their abilities to succeed. I highly recommend these books. Helen

Jessie Harrell said...

Great interview! I admire Lisa's ability to use a spreadsheet since I am an Excel failure. And Wee Cat is just too cute!

roxie said...

Lisa rocks! She is the hardest-working writer I know and it really pays off. She writes the BEST books!

mplanck said...

A great interview. I'm a major fan and still found myself learning something new. Like what super power she'd use if she could; I like that. And find the quick writing test delightful! (Garamond, the garden gnome, sounds as though he could be the subject for a kids book!) Thanks for sharing a very attractive interview and format design.

Angela Carlie said...

Awesome interview! Can't wait to get some time to read Driven. I really enjoyed Running Wide Open, so I'm sure I'll love Getting Sideways and Driven, too.