C.S.: Who have you been most inspired by in your life? What encourages you on difficult days? Or do you never have discouraging moments? :0)
LISA: There are two people who inspire me the most: my mom and my husband, Tracy. Mom is a writer too (she’s LaRene Gaunt, Assistant Managing Editor at the Ensign magazine) and we are like two peas in a pod when it comes to loving the minutiae of a story. She really was the one who set me on the path of being a lifelong reader and lover of words. And she was the one who helped me achieve my dream of being an editor. Tracy is my number-one fan. He always seems to know just when to jump in with the perfect bit of encouragement, or when to stand back and let me find my own way. On difficult days, I know I can always turn to my family and they’ll pull me through.
C.S.: Who are your favorite authors?
LISA: A loaded question, to be sure. Currently, or of all-time? Fiction or non-fiction? Which genre—fantasy, romance, mystery, historical fiction? Since I’ve been reading since I was three years old, and since I’ll read just about anything I can get my hands on, I have a long list of favorite authors and books. I’m dying waiting for the new Patrick Rothfuss novel. And the new George R.R. Martin novel. I’ll read anything Tad Williams writes. Watchmen blew my mind. So did Neal Stephenson’s epic Anatham, which made me wish I’d paid more attention to both science and philosophy in college. I loved Neil Gaimen’s Newberry-winner The Graveyard Book. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is high on my list of all-time favorite books. Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is brilliant, as is Lisey’s Story and The Stand. I had the privilege of attending a reading of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake—I got chills listening to her talk about that book. But ask me again tomorrow and I’ll probably have an entirely different list . . . J
C.S.: What have you seen as some of the most damaging choices an author might make to his or her career ?
LISA: The author-editor relationship is so important and, speaking as an editor, it’s hard when an author fights you on every edit, every change, every suggestion. Having said that, though, there are times when an author needs to fight for their story and their voice. I think the ideal lies somewhere in between—where an author and an editor can build a professional and respectful relationship and understand that everything they do is in the service of the story and for the good of the reader. Editors are here to help—if you’ll let us.
The author-publisher relationship is equally important. Publishing is a business, so you have to have some business-savvy to survive, but still balance it with that creative spark and passion that made you want to write in the first place.
C.S.: Do you have other works in progress? If so, will your path to complete them follow a similar pattern as The Hourglass Door, or will you adjust how you write your next book?
LISA: Writing book two — working title, The Golden Spiral — is following the same path as The Hourglass Door, and I’m happy to report that things are going great. I’m excited by the story and I think some great things are emerging.
C.S.: What words of encouragement would you give other writers?
LISA: Tracy and I love to go to Disneyland on vacation, and one year when we were there, we passed a wall that had a collection of inspirational quotes from Walt Disney and some Imagineers. I fell in love with one them: “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. Don’t quit.” Don’t hurry your talent—cherish it, develop it. Don’t worry if you make a mistake—rewriting is not a sign of failure, it’s the mark of a great writer. Don’t quit—persistence, persistence, persistence.
C.S.: How do you maintain balance? You lead a busy life!
LISA: It’s about prioritizing and multi-tasking. It’s about making choices. I’m also a big fan of checklists—I love that rush of endorphins when I can check something off my list. Long ago I decided to not bring work home with me. I do what I can to complete my tasks at work, and then I go home. If that means building in more editing time for a project, or asking for help, or figuring out ways to work faster or smarter or harder, so be it. But that way, when I’m home, I’m home: I can spend time with my family, I can work on my stories, I can play on the weekends and not feel guilty about missing a deadline at work.
C.S.: What is your philosophy about life, writing, living?
LISA: My friend at work has a quote in her office that says, “Don’t place a period where God has placed a comma.” I think that holds true in life and in writing. You can’t ever stop reaching for your dream, developing your talent, becoming a better person, because you never know when what you think is a end is really the beginning of something new. I hope that I can always keep going and keep growing.
C.S.: And for those who love trivia, what is your favorite color, food, and music group?
LISA: Green. Chocolate. Rush.
C.S.: Any final words on how our readers can find you and your book signings when The Hourglass Door releases? Do you have a newsletter they can join to hear the latest on The Hourglass Door and future works?
LISA: I’m building my web site LisaMangum.com where I plan on hosting my blog and all the latest, greatest information about me and all my books—current and future. Shadow Mountain will also have www.LeosDungeon.com to market and advertise all three books about Abby and Dante. I’m excited to do some book signings and getting out there to tell people about my book.
I'd like to thank Lisa for the time she's taken with us today, especially in light of her busy schedule. And the best part? The wait is over. You now can find her book at Deseret Book stores and online here. The Hourglass Door is an excellent read when you need a little pick me up.