Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Author Interview: Lisa McMann

Hey, people! I'm excited to announce Lisa McMann as a guest here on the blog. As you probably already know know, she's the debut writer of New York Times bestselling Wake. Lisa's interview has been for a long time coming (my fault, not hers) so I'm happy to FINALLY get to air this. Enjoy!

About the Author: Lisa McMann was born and raised in Michigan and has been a blueberry picker, bindery worker, bookseller, and Realtor. In 2004, Lisa and her family moved to the Phoenix area and now she writes from a green chair overlooking the Superstition Mountains.

Sometimes she wears a cowboy hat.
She’s not really a cowboy.
She just likes hats.

Many of Lisa’s short stories are published online and in print, like the one about homelessness. It won a cool Templeton award.

Now why not go friend Lisa over at MySpace or at Facebook?

Lisa's second novel, Fade, hits shelves in February 2009.

Could you describe your road to publication for us?

WAKE was the third manuscript I wrote. It was the novel that got me my awesome agent, Michael Bourret, within a week of starting to query it (fall 2006). After sixty-eight rejections on an earlier novel, it was really a wondrous event. A few months later, I had two offers from publishers for a 2-book deal, and I had to choose between publishers. That was really difficult, but in the end I went with Simon & Schuster (Pulse). WAKE came out in March 2008, and I’m very happy with how things have turned out. I love my editor. And I’m so excited for FADE (Feb 2009) and also for GONE (spring 2010).

I hear you did a lot of online promotion before Wake was release! Could you outline what you did, and the results you had? (Aside, you know, from becoming a bestseller. :P)

I was a bookseller and a Realtor in previous lives, so I know a little bit about sales and marketing and books. So as soon as I got the book deal, my focus was on getting the word out. I love to be online and talking about books, so MySpace, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter...all of these are fun venues to me. Gradually I built friendships with some very cool people. I did contests once I had bling and arcs for WAKE, and my publisher was very supportive of my efforts.

And my awesome invisible friends, many of whom are your readers, really came through for me. They bought the book or got it from the library. They posted countdown clocks and told their friends and classmates and teachers and librarians about it and bought it as gifts. They rock, and I hope they know it, because I know it. Every author knows that ultimately it’s YOU GUYS, the readers, not anybody else, who let the world know what books are going to make it.

Things have grown from there. I value the online friends I’ve made along the way—a few of them may be surprised to see their names in the acknowledgments for FADE. But yes, it started simply as a little grassroots movement for a book about a 17-year-old girl who gets sucked into dreams. I can only thank all these online friends for what they did to help spread the word through their blogs and reviews.

In fact, I’ll soon be doing a contest on my website, http://lisamcmann.com, as a way of thanking readers for their efforts, so I hope folks will come check it out. Keep an eye out for it – not sure when I’ll post it but it’ll be soonish.

Your debut, Wake, reached the coveted New York Times Bestseller status within weeks of its release! What was that like? How did you react when you found out?

I pretty much freaked out. My editor hooked up my agent and me on a conference call to let us know the great news. I said “shut up!” about fifty times and not much else except for some screaming. And then I wandered around the house aimlessly and in shock all alone for a few minutes, savoring it, before I called my husband Matt to let him know. Later I went out for dinner with Matt and the kids to celebrate. It was the best day of my life.

Would it be safe to say the idea for Wake came to you through a dream? If not, how did it?

Yes, that’s exactly how it came to me. I dreamed that I was in my husband’s dream, watching what he was dreaming about.

Are you a vivid dreamer? Do you believe dreams have any significant meaning?

I’d say yes, my dreams are vivid. And after doing dream research for the series, I tried some of the techniques that Janie uses for lucid dreaming. I’ve had fun with it – it’s how I work out plot problems now. I think dreams are an important means to working out daily stresses. I’m not so sure any of my dreams have had hugely significant meaning, but I wouldn’t scorn someone who thought their dreams did.

PG-13 question—tweenies, avert thy eyes!

Say you were Janie and you hadn’t yet gained the ability of exiting dreams by will. Now, suppose you got trapped in a particularly...err...lustful dream sequence. What would you do?

Janie doesn’t particularly enjoy the lustful stuff – she’s really tired of it. I mean, it’s one thing to see something nice and sexy in a movie between people you don’t know personally. But it’s entirely another thing to see the guy with the stinky feet who threw up barfaritos on the bus in fifth grade trying to be all sexy in a dream with the girl you hate because she told everybody that you got your period so the whole school knows your menstrual cycle...yanno?

If I were Janie, I’d do everything possible to get out of range of that dream. Crawl away, close a door. Or wake the person up by whatever means necessary and explain later. Because ew, ew, ew.

[Steph: Ditto.]

Is there anything - anything you can tell us at all - about Fade that we didn’t know already?


[Steph: Boo.]

Okay, okay, fine.

[Steph: THERE we go.]

In FADE, we find out a little bit more about how Cabel is programmed and how he handles stress. And we also find out some horrible junk about Janie’s ability. And some sexy things happen. There – that’s more than anybody else in the world knows.

FADE comes out Feb 10, 2009.

What other projects do you have up your sleeve? Anything you can share?

After FADE comes GONE (spring 2010), the third book in the series, and that’s probably it for Janie and the WAKE series. I have a bunch of other things in mind, and a few manuscripts in the works that I’d like to see published someday. The process is slow and steady. I can’t really say more at this point, but as long as there are readers enjoying my work, I hope to be around with a new book once a year or so for quite a while.

Now, for some creativity: Make yourself a question and answer it.

A: Okay...how many fingers am I holding up?


And for our grande finale: Does writing YA rock or what?

It’s unbef*ckinglievably awesome. A dream come true.

[Steph: That, my friends, is how you express enthusiasm for YA. !]

Okay, TELL me that didn't rock.

Photo Credit(s):
Author picture: From
author bio.
Book covers:
Simon & Schuster [Wake; Fade.]
Dream catcher:
DigitizersWorld [Google fetch link.]


Lenore Appelhans said...

Blueberry picker! Now there's a job!

A.S. King said...

Lisa McMann rocks so hard, it's pretty much impossible to rock harder than she does. She is awesome, and I cant wait for FADE. Go Lisa!

Anonymous said...


haha, I'm just kidding.

I loved reading this! It was a great interview. :) Lisa totally rocks, and is awesome.

Joanne Levy said...

I can't wait for FADE! I'm so jazzed to learn more about Cabel (oh, and Janie, too)!

Lisa is the coolest. Yeah, she does rock hard.

Amee said...

Great interview! I can't wait for Fade. I'm even more excited for it now. :D

Anna Claire said...

Fab interview. I want to go find these books now!

Anonymous said...

wow. she. is. so. amazing.
what an awesome review! and such a great author!

Chelsea said...

Awesome interview! So excited to read Fade. :)

WannabeWriter said...

Awesome! I can't wait for Fade, and the sexy things that come along with Fade. :]

Gabbi said...

It didn't rock.

Um, you told me too! I love Wake! It's so awesome and even though it's becoming the new Twilight in the sense that a whole lotta copycats have come out (namely Sleepless, although supposedly this is superb?). I can't wait for Fade to be realeased.

I have a signed copy of Wake. Yay!

Anonymous said...

Great interview! and the Superstition Mountains? Awesome name.

Nurin said...

Oohh great interview
and it rocked all right ;)

Can't wait to read Fade!

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Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph