Okay fans and followers. We have a treat for you today. Lisa Vasquez has agreed to stop by and share a bit about herself with us. You may be asking yourself, ‘who?’ and rightly so! She’s a new talent on the scene and like any new talent, she’s trying to get the word out. The difference is, I’m predicting this girl is gonna go places. Hey, I may be wrong. I’ve been wrong before. That whole Rubik’s Cube thing? Yeah. But for a little while, there were a lot of really frustrated kids out there ready to kick old Rubik’s…anyway.
No sense in making people wait. Let’s kick this party off.
Me: Welcome Lisa! You and I already know each other, but for those fine folks who aren’t in the know, tell us a little about yourself so that they can at least pretend that they know you too.
Lisa: My name is Lisa Vasquez and I was born in Chicago on the south side. My father was a Vietnam veteran and my mother is a retired City of Chicago employee. My step-father was an entertainer and owned his own business. In 1996 I moved to Houston where I’ve been ever since.
I went to college to study pre-med but decided to change my career path to my passion which is writing. I have four boys, and this awesome dude that puts up with all my shit in exchange for me not smothering him in his sleep. His demons play well with mine.. Sometimes they even dance a little.
I collect Clive Barker action figures, living dead dolls, Nightmare Before Christmas anything, horror anything.. I think I have a problem.. And I have an unnatural obsession with Hannibal Lecter.
Me: Eesh. And here I thought you were just another pretty face. Looks like there is a much darker side that I wasn’t aware of. Okay…moving on. Let’s get to some of the standard questions. What is your writing style? Are you a plotter or a seat of the pantser?
Lisa: I’m a little of both. Sometimes pants just aren’t warranted. It gets hot.. You know? I live in Texas and it gets 100+ degrees here. Other times when I’m writing my ideas come in the form of little mini movies in my head. Sometimes they are dreams. Being a lucid dreamer makes it interesting because I will stop and pause things, rewind them, work them out. Sometimes, I even have conversations with the characters.
Me: Wow. That’s a talent I wish I had. Seriously. Rewind a dream? I could think of a lot of…um. Nevermind. So, when did you first decide to start writing? What influenced you to go the indie/small press route?
Lisa: I started really writing stories on paper in the fourth grade. I had this fantastic teacher that read to us and then she would break us into groups, give us a sentence or scenario and have us build a story from it. It was the most fun I’d ever had in school. My step-father was also an entertainer and he’d do little skits or pretend with us. He was also really into special FX and horror movies so we’d always watch Tales from the Crypt and The Twilight Zone together. When we were older we got to watch Dracula, The Mummy, and the classics. I spent a lot of Saturdays with him at the matinee watching Godzilla marathons.
What made me go the indie route was that I had put so much of my own time and work into my book…the story, extensive social media, the marketing, the book cover.. It was ask exactly how I wanted it. I don’t think I could have handled someone else changing it or having that much control over it.
Me: That makes a lot more sense than you’d think. I get a lot of generic answers to that question that usually deal more with the problems dealing with Big 6 publishers. Anyway, where are you from (what do you consider home) and did it influence your writing?
Lisa: I’m from Chicago. Born and raised. I spent my life on the south side and in some pretty bad neighborhoods. People think it’s all gangs and violence. There was a lot of that, but mostly it was hard working families trying to make a living. I met my best friends there and I’m still friends with them to this day. One of them runs an Internet radio show that specializes in the preservation of exploitation movies. Another is an actress in New York, another runs his own dance studio in California. So, really I was surrounded by creative, genius minds all the time.
Me: That’s cool. I guess you fit right in, then, huh? So tell us a little about your book. What is the title of your latest release?
Lisa: The Unsaintly
Me: Okay. Can you give us a spoiler-free quick description of it?
Lisa: The main character is Isabel who is the daughter of Blanche of Castile and Louis VIII. She’s dedicated her life to her faith and even talks the Pope into allowing her out of an engagement to pursue her life as a nun. In the background watching is God and his eternal rival, Lucifer, who even though he is cast away from God, still shows him respect as a father. In their long-lived war, they’ve used humans as pawns to gain leverage to their favor and Isabel becomes their next target. Only this time something goes awry. And you’ll have to read more to find out what happens!
Me: That’s a hook if I’ve ever heard one. So, what (if anything) makes this story unique?
Lisa: I think what makes my story unique is that the story goes deeper into the father /son relationship between God and Lucifer and I create a unique race that isn’t your usual fantasy creature. They aren’t vampire, demon, angel etc.
Me: That’s interesting. Tell us about your hero/heroine? Is this a masked or blanketed characterization of yourself?
Lisa: That’s a fantastic question. I think she is for sure. But I think all of the characters touch on every side of me that has struggled with my faith and reconciling that with what my religion was.
Me: Would you say that there is a lot of symbolism in your story? How did you pull historical fact and apply it to your fictional story?
Lisa: There is a tremendous amount of symbolism in the book. The hardest part about my book was the historical aspect. I actually knew an ex nun who helped me with the daily life and mindset of what Isabel and the other nuns might think or feel. I wanted it to feel authentic and then build the fantasy fun there. I also wanted to show respect to the Catholic religion and their rituals. So I needed to do a lot of reading. Some of it isn’t easy to find, like stigmata and exorcisms.
Me: Yeah, I can see where those things would be something they wouldn’t want to advertise. Not the real cases, anyway. So, do you see this being the first in a series or is this a stand-alone novel? If it’s part of a series, do you have a set number of volumes in mind?
Lisa: This is definitely the first in a series. I’m not sure how many I’ll write. I’ll leave it up to my characters!
Me: Classic ‘seat of the pantser’ answer! Okay, how about you give us a list of authors who most heavily influenced your work.
Lisa: Anne Rice influenced my writing the most for several reasons. She’s so smart, she’s unafraid, bold, cultured and she’s a woman. It’s tough for any writer, but for women I think it gets harder if you don’t write romance, or “light hearted” content. We have some really stiff competition in the horror/fantasy genre.
Me: Ain’t that the truth. Okay, let’s switch gears and get personal. How do you balance your ‘writing time’ with ‘family time’? Do you find your family encouraging you more now that you have been published?
Lisa: My family is very supportive. If it weren’t for them I might not have finished my book. Balancing family, work, and social life is hard, though. I think you just have to have a good schedule and lots of things to keep everyone else busy.. It gets tough writing in the bathroom but since I got the wireless keyboard it’s a little easier.
Me: Hahaha, I hadn’t thought of hiding in the bathroom to write. What a genius idea!
Okay, for those folks who want to way to catch you online, give me a list of ways to reach you. Whatever you feel comfortable sharing.
Lisa: Here ya go.
@unsaintly – Twitter
Me: Awesome! Thank you Lisa for dropping by and gracing us with your presence.
Remember folks, the name of the book is Unsaintly and once you’ve read it, go by Amazon and leave a review. It’s important for all authors, but especially so for those just starting out.
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