I'm excited to bring you an interview with a teacher who inspires her students through words and stories. Lisa Litberg is a woman of many, many talents! Discover the woman behind the work in this author interview. This is one stop on Lisa's virtual tour, so visit her site to see the other stops on her blog tour.
Why do you write?
I have written for as long as I remember. I don't think of it as a choice. The words are there and seek release, so I release them.
What was the first thing you ever wrote, and when did you write it?
The first thing I remember writing was a poem when I was four or five. I still have it memorized. "The sun the sun, oh my oh my, it makes flowers grow as high as the sky. The rain the rain, oh my oh my, it helps the sun as it goes by."
What was your first sale of your writing, and what was it (article, story, poem, etc.)?
Aside from the articles I wrote for my college newspaper, which paid ten dollars for front page and five for everything else, my novel is my first paid gig!
What author do you most admire and why?
I have several, for different reasons.
- Harper Lee, for writing such an amazing piece of literature that had social impact.
- S.E. Hinton, for creating characters far different than anyone would expect from her.
- Stephen King, for his characterization and for being so prolific. I could go on and on.
So many people write stories that languish in a drawer or on a computer. What caused you to seek a publisher?
This is where I give a shout-out to my friend Kevin Sheehy. He found out I had written a book and convinced me to look for a publisher. If it wasn't for him, it would probably still be under my bed, and I'd still probably pull it out and edit it from time to time!
What were your biggest challenges around writing this book?
Finding the time to write is always hard. I'm a single mother, a high school teacher, a fitness instructor, and I have lots of hobbies and interests. It's impossible to find the time for all of this, so I have to pick and choose. While I wrote Free, I was also getting my Master's Degree. This is why it took me four years to write!
What's the most fun or interesting thing you've done to market your book?
I did a book expo at a local library recently. I was able to meet lots of other authors and hear a few seminars. It was a good time.
What is your favorite/ best writing environment?
On rare occasions when I have the house to myself and I can put on some quiet music and really get into it. Sometimes I do the same in my classroom after everyone has left.
What are your writing rituals?
Music. I almost always have music on when I write. Before I write I always scan and edit what I last wrote. This is my little OCD thing, and I can't stop, even though this is probably another reason it takes me so long to write a book!
What music did you listen to while writing Free?
Well I would be remiss if I didn't say The Grateful Dead, but I'm sure I listened to plenty of other stuff as well. Sometimes I'd create playlists of relaxing music, things that I could just groove to. That really helped the flow of writing.
What food did you crave or obsess over while writing Free?
Chocolate. All the time. Writing or not. My latest obsession is spicy chocolate--dark chocolate with a hint of chili peppers. Mmmmmm.
What's your favorite line of dialogue from the book?
It's not dialogue, but one of my favorite lines is "Still, to me it doesn't make sense to snatch up a jerk just because he isn't an axe murderer."
What do you do to stick to your writing goals or deadlines?
Itry to schedule as much as possible. When I don't feel like doing it, I reward myself with something once I reach my goal for the night. And I snatch up any opportunity I can to write!
What do you do for fun?
I have tons of interests! I dance, I play guitar and write songs, I garden, I read, I play with my cats.
Do you tend to build stories around a character, an idea, or some other inspiration? Please share how this works for you.
A lot of my stories are character-driven, and Free certainly was. But sometimes I write around an idea or thought and just see where it goes. This is especially true of poetry. I'll have a central issue or concern, and I'll weave words around it.
What has surprised you most about your author journey thus far?
I started out with a publisher, but then they unfortunately closed, citing personal reasons. I then republished my book under my own imprint, Scribomusings Press. Even though I loved working with the publishing company and never thought I would want to self-publish, but I am loving the control I have over monitoring sales, and even some of the marketing. And I definitely love the royalties. In the future I will continue to self-publish.
About Free, a Coming-of-Age Novel
Since leaving home at the age of 18, Free has traveled the country trying to find a place to call home. Her travels afford her a variety of experiences, from traveling with the Grateful Dead to waitressing in Chicago to selling jewelry in New Orleans' French Market, but nothing seems to quell her sense of unrest. All the while, her estranged brother Alfie is in her thoughts.
Once she finds him, perhaps she'll feel at home. But her world is filled with bad choices and temptations, and Free must rise above these in order to find her place.
The reader will feel as if they're traveling right alongside Free in this moving coming-of-age story.
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Lisa Litberg Bio
For as long as she can remember, Lisa Litberg has loved to write. Over the years she has amassed quite a collection of short stories and poetry, but Free is her first novel. A high school teacher for over 15 years, she tries to empower her urban students with the written word. When she isn't writing or teaching, Lisa might be dancing, singing with a cover band or performing her own songs with a guitar, but it's more likely she's hanging out in her Chicago apartment with her son Trevor watching The Walking Dead.
Connect with Lisa Litberg on the Web
Thanks, Lisa, and the best of luck with your book!
Follow your BLISS,
Ronda Del Boccio
best selling author, speaker and mentor
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