Thursday, October 25, 2007

Over the last few years, I've discovered some great books by an author who was new to me, Lisa Samson. And over the last few months, I've seen my life getting radically shaken up due in part to Lisa's book, QUAKER SUMMER. I've also had the blessing to get to know Lisa as a person, not just a name, and am looking forward to sharing many adventures with her in Swaziland this January as we travel with Children's HopeChest and other authors including Tom Davis and Claudia Mair Burney. What a deal! I not only get to love on little children for Jesus, but I get to do it in the company of Jesus-freak writers! I definitely feel like I've hit the holy-roller, book lovers' jackpot!
Recently, Lisa's first young adult book has been published, HOLLYWOOD NOBODY. The book centers around Scotty, the daughter of a Hollywood food stylist who spends her life RV'ing from movie set to movie while all she really wants, besides a lot of cheese, is a "normal" life. My teenager daughter A and I both have read it this week and loved it! Now y'all know that when I love a book, I just can't stay quiet about it. But I'll be honest, I'm not always that great at writing book reviews and I was afraid that my mediocre talents wouldn't do HN justice. So dear Miss Lisa agreed to do an internet interview for me as I know she'll give you a lot better insight into HN than I ever could.
So here goes folks....
1. First, can you give us a quick thumbnail sketch of who Lisa Samson is?

A hands-on person who likes hot drinks!

2. Okay, now can you give us a thumbnail sketch of the REAL, unplugged Lisa Samson? ;)

Totally ADD who wonders all the time where the time went.

3. How long have you been writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer and when were you first published?

Since 1992. I was published in 1994 and no, I didn't always want to be a writer. I wasn't a child writer at all. But I've always loved to read.

4. Do you remember what you did to celebrate the first time you sold a book?

No. Can you believe that? I was living on campus as a Resident Director, [my oldest child] Ty was four. I think we were pretty busy!

5. What's the best advice you have for wanna-be authors...including teenagers who dream of one day seeing their name on a book cover?

I think it's important to differentiate between wanting to write and wanting to be published. If all you want is to be published, you'll compromise your art and your dreams to see your name on the cover. If you want to write, and it's good enough to be published, that's a much more fulfilling scenario. The fact is, writing is hard, it takes many hours and a lot of humility. Listen to people who know what they're talking about. When I first started writing I thought I knew it all. I didn't. I've been blessed with some really great people along the way who have helped me grow.

6. This is your first YA book, what motivated you to write in this genre and where did you get the idea for HOLLYWOOD NOBODY?

Nav Press approached me at a conference and asked if I'd consider writing YA for them. I went out to my car that day and the idea just popped out! I wrote it up, emailed it to them that evening, and there you have it. The least grueling proposal process of my career. Scotty jumped into my head fully formed, so that was a big plus.

7. This book is a good bit "edgier" than the YA fiction of yesteryear. What made you decide to use some of the "colorful" language you did and how is this being rec'd in the publishing world?

I haven't had any pushback yet. I actually took a lot of it out. I suppose I wasn't comparing HN to books in the inspirational market but to those in the general market. Sheesh. Using the [words I used] is nothing compared to Gossip Girls and such. But I kept it to a minimum. Bottom line, Nav told me this book was for an older teen audience so I tried to make it something they'd like while not making it too edgy for, let's face it, the actual readership--girls in their early teens.

8. You say in one of the foreword sections that your daughter Ty gave the voice for Scotty. Can you tell us a little bit about the process of writing dialogue that's believable for characters that are not from your culture, age group, etc.

I just got myself into my daughter's head, used her voice in my mind, her expressions, the way she thinks. I had a real advantage that way, I guess, over other writers of YA who aren't living with the age group! Writing dialogue that realistic is actually writing dialogue that's not realistic at all! We use incomplete sentences, stutter, repeat ourselves. The key is to have your characters say only what's absolutely necessary and nothing more. How they say those things is what gives it characterization.

9. My teenage daughter wonders if you have a picture of what you think Seth Haas looks like or did you base him after a celebrity? ;)

I had a picture in my mind, and Ty showed me Adam Brody and I said, "Close." She pictures him that way. I picture him more like Josh Hartnett. Ty would pick Eric Bana to play his part.

10. I personally LOVE cheese so I've just gotta ask...where did you get the idea for this aspect of the book? The afore mentioned daughter says that if Scotty visits the south again, she's GOT to eat cheese grits! My daughter hates them, but....

That just popped into my head when I was writing up the proposal. I thought it would be funny to give Scotty a rebellion that most people wouldn't think was anything wrong at all. So, I could show her longing to make her own decisions, but not glorify anything I wouldn't want my own teenagers doing.

11. Said daughter also wants to know where you got the inspiration for Scotty?

Like I said, she just popped into my head due to Ty, I suppose, her attitudes, interests, basic personality.

12. In closing, what can Scotty's legion of new fans expect to see from her in the future?

Book two, Finding Hollywood Nobody, is coming out soon. We'll find out who Biker Guy really is, Seth returns, and Karissa is still on hand to shake things up a bit. The book takes place in Marshall, Texas and it's there that Scotty makes her first friendship with a teen girl her own age.

Thanks so much, Lisa. My daughter A and I both loved reading your answers.
BTW, A thinks it would be SO cool for Scotty to have a real blog or Myspace on the internet. I'm just sayin'.
Love to you and keep on writing!
Elysa Mac
Wanna know more about Lisa, her writings, and what's going on in her corner of the world? Visit her blog:
Want to order HN? Check out or .

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