Friday, June 4, 2010

Interview with Lisa Mangum author of The Golden Spiral

Years ago I met Lisa Mangum. I was in a writers group with her mother, LaRene Gaunt, and every once in a while we would meet at LaRene's home. So I met Lisa before she became a famous author. But as I said, that was years ago.

We ran into each other at the LDStorymakers Conference, and I asked if she'd like to be interviewed for my blog. I hope you enjoy this little peek into her life.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, I have. My mom is a writer so I grew up surrounded by books and words. I even remember being in high school and setting a goal to be a published writer before I graduated. While that didn’t happen, writing and stories have always been a focus for my life. During college, my focus shifted a little more to the editing side than the writing side. And about five years ago, my friends and I started a writing group and that really helped motivate me to write more seriously and set deadlines for my work.

Tell us a little about your new book.
The Golden Spiral is my new book; it’s book two in a trilogy. The first book in the series is The Hourglass Door. The story follows the relationship between Abby and Dante. Abby is a senior in high school and her life is going according to plan: good friends, good future. And then foreign-exchange student Dante appears in her life; he is handsome and mysterious and guarding a centuries-old secret. As Abby learns more about Dante and his secret, she finds herself confronted by danger at every turn. Dante has come through a time machine built by Leonardo da Vinci, and he is not the only one who has experienced the journey. Zo, Tony, and V have come to the present day as well, and they are looking for a way home. Whatever it takes.

In book two, The Golden Spiral, it is up to Abby to find a way to rebuild the time machine and save Dante from certain destruction. At the same time, Zo has found a way to rewrite history and change elements and events in Abby’s life. Will she be able to accomplish her goal and be reunited with Dante? Or will Zo unravel her life first?

 Tell us about your other books.
My only other published book is The Hourglass Door, but I have some new ideas for other YA titles as well: a contemporary YA novel and a fantasy story about fairies. I’m really excited to work on them and tell some new stories.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
I really love it when a story takes hold of me and won’t let go. I enjoy seeing the story take shape in my head and knowing I’m the one who can bring it life.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
I have a long list of authors I admire. I love Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Tad Williams, Neil Gaiman, Jennifer Roberson, Scott Westerfeld, Jane Yolen . . . the list goes on and on. I also love finding new authors I’ve never heard of and reading something new.

I don’t have a “writing mentor,” but I do have a writing group I meet with every couple of weeks. I really like having a group of people to help me with my writing, give me honest feedback, and make suggestions on story and character. And being able to give the other people in my group feedback and suggestions has helped me look at my own writing more objectively and critically.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now. City? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?
I was born in Indiana, but I grew up in Sandy, Utah. It was a great place to grow up—a suburban neighborhood with lots of friends nearby. I lived within walking distance of my junior high and a couple miles away from my high school. In fact, my husband, Tracy, grew up about five miles away from me.

If I could live anywhere, where would that be? I like living where there are the different seasons, though winter is my least-favorite season. (I’m not a big fan of the cold.) In Golden Spiral, Dante tells Abby, “Home is wherever you are.” That’s how I feel when I’m with Tracy—when we’re together, we’re home.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lightning, handwriting?
My favorite place to write is on the couch in my family room, with my MacBook Pro laptop plugged in, my iPod on shuffle, and my cat asleep on my legs. I really like working with music on in the background; sometimes it helps me set the scene or mood of the story if I have a particular song playing in my head. And working on a laptop is helpful because I often take my computer out and about when I’m writing. While writing Golden Spiral I wrote on the Trax train during my commute to work as well as at local libraries. I’ve also written by hand on occasion when I didn’t have my computer handy and the story had to be written.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I love movies! My tastes vary wildly—from Disney/Pixar animated movies to documentaries to foreign films. Action, comedies, dramas. Some of my favorite TV shows include Lost, The Big Bang Theory, and Chuck; I’m also a big fan of the Food Network. There is something about watching people cook beautiful food that is oddly soothing.

How has being published changed your life?
I’m a lot busier than I’d thought I’d be!  I’ve been surprised at how much I have enjoyed going out to bookstores and schools to talk to people and tell them about my book. Growing up, I was painfully shy, so being able to stand up in front of a crowd of a couple hundred people and talking for 45 minutes is a big deal for me. It’s also been a joy to get e-mails from people who have contacted me or found me on Facebook to tell me how much they have enjoyed my stories.

Do you have any books signings, tours, or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
I do have several book signings lined up for  June; all the dates are posted on my Web site: I haven’t been as diligent a blogger as I probably ought to be, but you can follow my meager attempts at I also have an incredible opportunity starting May 18: Wal-Mart will be carrying the paperback edition of The Hourglass Door and the hardback edition of The Golden Spiral in 2,300 of their stores across the country. I’m thrilled to know that my books will be featured in so many stores; it’s quite a vote of confidence for my books.


  1. Great interview. Lisa is such a nice person and I'm so excited that her book won an award! Go Lisa! =)

  2. And it just wasn't any old award, but the National Book Award!!!

    I just learned about it this morning. Couldn't happen to a nicer person.

    Thanks for stopping by, Carolyn!

  3. Will you be doing any signings at Wal-Marts? That sounds like a great opportunity.

    Straight From Hel

  4. I'm sure if Lisa can schedule it, she will. She loves meeting her fans.

    Thanks for stopping by, Helen!

  5. Her book sounds intriguing and winning the National Book Award is a big deal. Very cool!

  6. Great interview, Kathi!! LOVE hearing the success stories of other writers. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Sherrie:
    It does sound intriguing. I'm so happy for her winning that award!!!

  8. Zoe,
    I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. This books sounds totally intriguing. Any book that includes Da Vinci is cool by me!

  10. what a fabulous interview! thanks so much to you both for the excellent questions and answers!

  11. Stephanie,
    I know what you mean. I love books that tie into history, and Da Vinci on top of that...totally intriguing!

  12. Thanks, Tahrerh!

    Lisa's made the interview easy. :0)

  13. Thanks for the interview!

    Thank you for visiting my blog and joining. It was great to find your blog too :)

  14. Tabitha,
    You're welcome on both counts. :0)
    Thanks for stopping by and becoming a follower of my blog as well.

  15. Great interview. Thanks, ladies! I remember hearing about her upcoming books from Chris Shoebinger a few years back. I'll have to go and check them out! Thanks again. :o)



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