Monday, February 3, 2014

Interview with women's fiction author Lisa Maliga

Author Lisa Maliga is in the hot seat today to tell us a little bit about her newest novel, Notes from Nadir.

Lisa will be awarding a PDF copy of Notes From Nadir plus winner’s choice of one of the following ebooks: Sweet Dreams, Diary of a Hollywood Nobody, The Wilkes House Haunting, North of Sunset, South of Sunset or Out of the Blue to one randomly drawn commenter at each stop during the tour. Also, a Grand Prize of a print copy (US ONLY) of Notes From Nadir will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour.

To be entered for a chance to win, leave a comment below and to increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and leave comments there, too.

Lisa Maliga has been writing ever since she learned how to put crayon to paper back in kindergarten. Since then, she has learned to type and uses a laptop, citing it as way more convenient.

A fan of taking digital photos, you will find some of them on her website and in her nonfiction books. The masthead on her website is a shot of the Pacific Ocean taken at sundown. Variations of this photo are seen on the covers of North of Sunset and her short story collection, "South of Sunset."

Welcome, Lisa. Please tell us about your current release, Notes from Nadir.
It’s 2009. Lisa Hansen is impacted by the great recession and can’t focus on her writing career. She has to make the tough decision to stay in Los Angeles or return to her former Midwestern home. Not having seen her mother in over a decade, she moves back in with her in a suburban semi-retirement community. Confronted with long forgotten memories, Lisa finds it difficult to adjust to life in Nadir. She works a couple of dead end jobs, and meets Gordon, a sexy British bakery owner. An opportunity to freelance for him and work as a writer/photographer at The Factory ensures a better income. But how long will she be confined in a lifestyle that she has long outgrown? “Notes from Nadir” is an alternatively poignant and amusing story of life’s unforeseen journeys, sorrows, and rewards.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write a realistic sort of novel. I chose to write it in increments and created the Notes from Nadir blog. It was an episodic look at the story, and I even included a few photos to make it seem more like a travelogue. I told the story as far as I wanted to go and was going to continue the rest of it in a second [now obsolete] blog. Last summer, I finally decided to sit down and finish the book and came up with the complete story and it's told in one book, not in two. While I think there is a time and place for serialized novels, I feel that Notes from Nadir is a standalone story.

From Chapter 12 ~ Drippy Driveway

Early one morning I went into my car and found the entire 16.9-ounce contents of my water bottle frozen solid. It reminded me of the saying that the rich got their ice in the summer but the poor got theirs in the winter. The reason I was outside way early in the morning was due to Mom discovering a major problem. As I walked into the breakfast nook she greeted me with: "There're oil spots all over my driveway." As this was Mom's day off she had lots of time to mull over the latest catastrophe.

I drove over to the nearby Car Fix shop and got the Mustang's oil changed. When I got back to Mom's place I had to park on the street. We spent the morning online looking for articles on how to clean up a greasy driveway. Then I was sent to the supermarket to pick up a few prescriptions at the pharmacy for Mom and a small bag of cat litter for the drippy driveway. It was one of the things that was supposed to clean up the stained surface and I had to be generous in adding it, according to the experts who had gone through similar situations. She had a nice spot-free concrete driveway and wanted it kept in that condition.

Spending all afternoon applying for jobs, I returned to see my scowling Mom standing in the center stage portion of her driveway. "You don't drive an old crate…" she pointed out more oil marks with an old plastic laundry scoop full of cat litter.

Again, I took the car over to the Car Fix place and a thorough inspection by the manager turned up a transmission leak along with a strong recommendation to take it to a Ford dealership. It was almost closing time and the tired employees had convened in the front area near the cash registers. One of them had a receding hairline made more prominent by his bulging forehead bisected by a scar. I wondered if he'd been hit in the head with a wrench or if one fell on him. He nodded at my car as it was being lowered to ground level and commented, "Nice car, always liked Mustangs."

The silent dark haired fellow hunched over on the stool and looked down at the floor. When the newest arrival, a young man of early drinking age years with a mop of blonde curls addressed him, the dark haired man looked up and said "howdy." I noticed that the dark haired man was cross-eyed. Had he been examining my car? Did he see double? Or did being cross-eyed make everything single focus?

My contaminated Mustang had been ostracized to the level of street parking. I acquired a note from the United States Postal Service indicating I was parked too close to the mailbox. I also got a large note on the windshield about NO OVERNIGHT STREET PARKING!!!  The missive was unsigned but Mom knew the culprit was "that dorky Bobby Ray." This personage was the esteemed president of the Hampton Lake Homeowners Association. According to Mom, and later other neighbors I was to meet, he spent much of his time during the warmer months chasing geese and ducks away from the "lake."

What exciting story are you working on next?
More than one. However, I don't discuss works in progress because as soon as I do the magic can disappear.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was about eight. I was a voracious reader and I wanted to write a book of my own.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Writing is about doing so every day of the week. For me, I took three days off during Christmas and felt guilty about it. It's a matter of organizing my time and I bought a little dry erase board and colored markers and wrote down a schedule. That worked for a while, but I moved it into a closet and forgot about it. Now I go by how I feel and sometimes even write by hand in a spiral-bound notebook.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t complete the last sentence when I'm about to quit writing for the night. The next time I return to the document I have a place to begin—by completing that unfinished sentence.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Actress, singer, baton twirler, gymnast, ice skater, and geologist. I can't act or sing and have very basic baton skills. On the bright side, I never did break any windows when throwing it. I know the three major groups of rocks but that's about it. I guess that's another reason why I write: I have an active imagination.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Admitting that I wanted to sing, I should clarify that I was in third grade, is making me think that I might have shared a little too much!

Here are some ways to find me online:

Thanks, Lisa! Readers, don't forget to leave a comment if you want a chance at one of the book giveaways. A winner at EVERY STOP!


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

notesfromnadir said...

Thanks so much, Lisa!

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Interesting inspiration

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