Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
Awakened in the prison of her adolescent body, she finds a new master in possession of the opal that binds her. But seventeen-year-old Jered is unlike any she’s seen. His kindness makes Leela yearn to trust again, to allow herself a glimmer of hope.
Could Jered be strong enough to free her from the curse of the Binding Stone?
Hi Lisa. Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
Thanks so much for having me! I’ve been writing since I was seven, but didn’t treat it like a “real” job until about four years ago. Since then I joined SCBWI, learned as much as humanly possible, reached out with social media, and staked a few vampires. Just seeing if you guys are really reading! LOL. I also have three kids, a parrot and a husband who is a rocket scientist.
2. Awesome that you’ve been writing since you were a kid. How did you come up with the idea for your story?
I was browsing the monstropedia site online because at that point I had a demon’s voice begging to be written and I knew they were overdone. I found the Djinn and saw that the original lore believed that they were similar (or could be) to mischievous demons and became intrigued. Pretty early in my research the story began taking shape in my head. It’s changed a lot since then, but Leela was always my MC.
3. I read that you drafted the first draft of this story in a few months but that it took years to revise it. That’s the same process for me with my first manuscript. What did you learn from the process?
What didn’t I learn? :D I get so much out of each new manuscript – and I have quite a few but won’t scare you with a number. I’d say this one has taught me several major lessons including a better understanding of world building, the benefits of killing your darlings, and the importance of many revisions. I feel like each one adds layers to the book. Even when you take things away, you are actually adding to the power of the words you leave behind.
4. Okay, I won’t embarrass you with the number of revisions my manuscript has gone through either. I so agree that you learn so much from each revision. Share about your main character Leela and your process of developing her as a character.
Leela is so much fun. I love being in her head. She’s dangerous, but at the same time vulnerable. She
Developing her character? I was an actress, so I use that and it’s probably why I gravitate toward first person. I become the character when I write, which is so much fun. So I basically climbed in her head – or she got in mine IDK which! I recall toward the end there’s this one part that took both of us by surprise. I cried and had to stop, considering whether to change it, but realized that was how it had to go. If it hadn’t taken her by surprise, it couldn’t have happened. How’s that for a teaser? I think the biggest challenge in revisions with Leela’s character was her thoughts on romance and love. Her physical feelings were getting mixed up with her emotions and I had to have that moment when she realizes that love is so much more than the physical. That was a big change for her character and very important to the story and the overarching series.
5. I wanted to cry for Leela on occasion while I read this. It must help with the character development that you were an actress. What was one of the challenges you faced in writing THE BINDING STONE and how did you overcome it?
My nemesis – world building. My initial drafts tend to be sparse and get filled in later. I really had to concentrate on how to intersperse interaction with the world around Leela into the story so that it would enhance what was happening. I love writing dialogue, but that isn’t enough! There has to be balance. I wish I could tell you there was a magical cure, but it was just a lot of going over and over the book.
6. Yes, world building and setting are the hardest things for me too and what I like the least about writing. I know THE BINDING STONE is part of a series. Did you outline out or have a general idea of where your story will go in future books as you wrote/revised this book? Do you have any tips on how aspiring authors should handle writing a series as they look at the first book being published?
Great question! I’m typically a pantser and yes, I wrote this one by the seat of my pants initially. But I do have a good idea where it’s going and what has to happen. I knew right away that each book would be the POV of a different Djinni. The next one is in Taj’s perspective, which is unbelievably fun to write. Here’s the thing – I personally dislike when authors use a book as only part of a story. No huge cliffhangers for me – especially in middle books. I believe firmly in one story arc per book. Yes there needs to be an overarching story, but it should be as invisible as possible at first. Think HP. Perfect series. Exactly as long as it had to be and each one had its own story with a satisfying ending, yet we still couldn’t wait for the next. Yeah, I know, I’m not comparing myself to JK!! Just showing why she’s the master.
7. I loved Taj! Awesome that he’ll be the main character in book 2. I’d like to move onto the business aspect of publishing. Your publisher is Fuzzbom Publishing. Share how they became your publisher and what you considered in deciding to go with a small, newer press. Do you have any advice for the rest of us considering signing with a small press?
I LOVE FUZZBOM. What happened was this. The book was shopped with about 15 editors. It was complimented a lot, but ultimately not sold. I had/have other projects and even a revision request on this book from an amazing editor at a great house (from a conference I attended). In the meantime I participated in the Journeys of Wonder anthologies put out by Fuzzbom as their initial publishing exercise. Well, the stories I wrote for that were more successful (in my own estimation since that varies on your definition) than any of my traditionally published works. Meanwhile my editor there, Ian, who had actually been an initial beta reader on the book kept hinting that he’d love to help me publish it when I was ready. See, it’s their first novel too! So we are taking a chance on each other. But I have to tell you, they are so professional and really have a handle on the market. It’s incredible. The editing I received was exceptionally thorough and inspiring. The copy editing was first class. The cover was done by my favorite cover artist – shout out to Lisa Amowitz! And I had my hand in everything. It was like getting the best of both worlds. I loved the experience and look forward to some more work with them in the future. And yes, I’m hinting that there may be more than just this series.
8. So glad it’s worked out so well for you. What is Fuzzbom Publishing doing to help you market your book and how much of the marketing are you doing yourself?
Like pretty much all authors today I am doing a lot of marketing, but Fuzzbom is definitely doing their part too! They are helping me explore Indie stores for the print book, searching out all-important reviewers, and so much more. I really don’t think I could do it all myself. We’re a team.
9. Great you’re a team with them. What social media platforms are you planning to use to spread the word about your book? Are you planning to focus on any one or two platforms more than others and why?
Ooh… As you know I love my blog and Twitter!! So I will continue to use those, but I promise not to be one of those spammy type people that only says, “buy my book!” :D I also have a new author page on FB that could use some more likes. *bats eyes at readers* A Goodreads page for the book (and author pages for Goodreads and Amazon). Think I overdid it a bit? Oh and I should mention all the other blogs I’m on! The fabulous Scene13blog, the Enchanted Inkpot, and every month Martina Boone and I do the Firstfivepagesworkshop which is uber helpful (just ask the people that have signed with agents since participating).
10. Love The Enchanted Inkpot. (You can find the blog HERE and I recommend you all follow it if you like fantasy.) You just announced your publishing contract on January 1st and about 5 months later it’s being published. That’s a fast launch time. Is there anything that surprised you about the process of getting from signing your publishing contract to becoming a published author?
Well, that’s a little deceptive. It’s definitely faster than most of the traditional pubs, but we’ve been hashing it all out for a bit before the announcement. The thing that surprises me? How fast time seems to move when you have a deadline looming! Writing is a lot of waiting for stuff to happen and then getting caught in a whirlwind when it does. :D But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I work well under pressure.
11. What are you working on now?
Besides the sequel and promotion? I always have things going. My critique partners tease me all the time. I have some new things brewing, but the next thing you will likely see is WINGING IT, which is close to my heart. It’s about Zach, a teenage boy who finds out he’s basically – well – a fairy godmother (or in this case a Destiny Fulfillment Support Liaison). It’s super fast paced, full of humor and action, and also full of heart. I love the cast of characters, but I think I might be in love with Zach. Shh. Don’t tell my husband!
Ooh, WINGING IT sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing all your advice, Lisa. You can find Lisa at:
Lisa has generously offered an e-book of DJINN: THE BINDING STONE for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on May 31st. I’ll announce the winner on June 3rd.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.
Here’s what’s coming up:
Next Monday, I’m thrilled to have Kelley Armstrong here to discuss and give away an ARC of Loki’s Way that she co-wrote with Melissa Marr. It’s a fantastic upper middle grade fantasy story that fans of Percy Jackson will like. I really loved the mythology based on Norse gods and the characters. I can’t wait to read book 2 in the series. I met Kelley at a book signing in Ann Arbor a few years ago and she is the nicest person to her fans. I’m beyond thrilled to have her here.
Next Wednesday I’m doing a post on how I set up author interviews and promote books the way I do. I had a request from a follower to share about this. And I’ll be doing a review and giveaway of REQUIEM by Lauren Oliver and another book by her. I really enjoyed reading from both Lena’s and Hana’s point of view and seeing how the series ended.
The following Monday, I’m excited to interview debut author Natalie Whipple about her book, TRANSPARENT. It’s about Fiona, invisible to the world and herself, in a futurist world, desperately trying to carve out a normal life and escape her dad. I really enjoyed reading about her story and that of her friends who have unique powers too.
Wednesday that week, I’m interviewing debut author Dorine White about her book, THE EMERALD RING. I really enjoyed learning about the powers of the emerald ring with Sara, a smart middle grader, and her friends. And I found the mythology based on Cleopatra to be unique.
And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.
Hope to see you on Monday!