Lisa Slater Interview Published on: 29, Jul 2020

How long have you been living in Coos County, Oregon?

I have lived in Coos County for the majority of my life with short stints out of state for schooling opportunities, and a short stretch out of the country, when my husband was in the military.

Who introduced you to the world of books?

Hot dog, who didn’t? Both my parents read to cool down from the day. My mother used to read devotions and stories to my sister and I while we sprawled on her bed like a couple of goof ball girls. My step Mother (then) also used to read children books before bed every evening, all summer long. I still recall the feeling in my tummy as the sound of her voice gave such life to each and every story. And of course, never discount teachers. There was one teacher, Mrs. Forrester, who read a section of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH to the entire class after recess every day.

I remember these moments vividly as they were my favorite.

What was the first story you ever wrote and did you ever publish it?

I wish you could see me giggling right now.

The first story, that I remember best, I wrote in third grade. You know, it wasn’t published, but I’ve severely wondered from time to time, as it was about an ant and his many difficulties with being small in a big world.

Alright, seriously, the first fictional novel that I wrote, I was twenty – and dreaming desperately about becoming a writer. The book was called A Home for Love. If you don’t count my mother so generously printing it out and binding it in a three-inch binder to proudly present to me for Christmas, it was never published. It likely never will be, although, I have thought about revisiting it from time to time.

In what ways do your best friends: your supportive husband and delightfully esteemed sons support you in your writing career?

The first thing they do is badger me and take turns trying to peek at my screen as I’m typing. (I have a strict rule that not a single word is read by anyone other than me before the book is done.) Their hassling is their way of letting me know that they’re interested, and care.

After the completion, my husband is always my first reader. We both sit down and he reads, making suggestions and spotting mistakes as he goes, as I address them on my own laptop. His opinions are irreplaceable as they are based on his gut-instinct alone, no official training. He’s not even a big reader, which in my opinion, makes his first perception as a reader all the purer.

Then, they support me in the biggest way they can; they go with me to the different venues where I sell, market, and sign books. They are, what I refer to as, my “comfort blankies”. If one, or all, of them are there, I am brave and can do anything. If they weren’t, I’d still be sitting at home, dreaming.

How did your friends and family react to your first (published) book?

In the beginning, my writing style was tragic, as I was too open to opinions and judgments of others. I wasn’t able to improve or succeed until I sent those obstructions hiking and just wrote for myself, the way I am, for better or worse. Needless to say, I was nervous how it would be received.

I was shocked, and thrilled. They loved it.

What inspired the story of your book, Chancing Hope?

The horse training aspect was inspired by my love and enduring study and practice of it. I once read that your writing will be more truthful and accurate when it is something you know well. The love story and tragedies of Kerwyn Bartel and Mable Conners was stirred by none other than, all of us. They are the model of consequences - good and bad – from choices made, and lest we not forget, communication, or the lack of it.

Who inspired the character of Jonny Sandgren in “HOLDER OF THE HORSES”?

Jonny Sandgren wasn’t so much inspired, as I hoped he would be the inspiration. Jonny’s character is a link between the way of life of the past and the way of life for practicing adults (teens) and young adults of present. His relationship with Grams and the ranch I hoped would inspire present-day generations – across the span of time - to realize that those ways are not only ways of the old and the dead. They are very much alive, and a way of life, still; and should continue to be. Ranching is real and is comprised of very real things and events. Jonny is that connection for us.

How did you come up with the story of unimaginable murder of eleven-year-old Samuella Rose?

I wanted to create this vortex of perplexity and misperception of both Samuella, and her twin sister, Sarina Rose. My end goal was to bring to light our own mistake of misinterpreting who we believe a person is, and what that person is capable of based on faulty reasoning and personal view. I also touched on the ever-growing hole in our society’s ability to address mental health disorders, and the toxicity and struggles of that failure. Despite this, a person still has a great capacity for longsuffering, and achievement, in the face of it all.

How was your experience at the 2020 Portland Book Festival?

I’m certain it would have been tremendously amazing, however, due to covid, the event was cancelled.

What had been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?

Testimonials of readers. I am honored by the amount of readers that have gone out of their way to tell me how deeply they appreciate a story, whether it be from pure entertainment, individual reflection, or a personal paralleling incident. There is no greater reward than touching a life.

Is there anything you would like your readers to know about you?

I am absolutely normal. I have no special sauce that makes me more capable of writing than anyone else. I have 24 hours in my day, like everyone else, to get everything done. Likely, if you met me, I’d have dirt under my nails from tending to my horses and I’d let you do the majority of the talking – unless you want to talk horses – because, let’s face it, you’re probably a lot more interesting than me.

In your opinion, what type of person should pursue writing as a career?

Any type, but I don’t think that’s what this question was proposing. I’ll tell you this, dialogue runs rampant in my head when I’m brushing my teeth and scenes from no story ever written ripple across my imagination when I’m waiting in the grocery store line. I don’t know why. As a child a was afraid to go to sleep since I’ve always had nightmares, but as an adult, I welcome them, like my own television channel of ideas. (Can’t say I’ve used any yet. Yet.) Saying all of this, if you find yourself relating to anything I’ve said, I’m guessing you’re ready to sit down and start writing. The only stipulation is: if writing doesn’t bring you joy, don’t waste your precious time. But as the question stated, that’s just my opinion.

Who is your target audience? What are some things you wish your readers would take away from your books?

I’m fairly certain that I break all the rules when it comes to target audience and genre, however, in the spirit of cooperation, I’d say my target audience must be those looking for stories where romantic relationships collide with shocking twists and turns.

When a reader finishes my book and sets it down, I hope they take a memory with them. It could be a lesson, a soulmate character, a sensation or emotion. It really doesn’t matter, so that the reader remembers why it was important to them in the moment they read it.

What are you currently working on? When can we expect the release of your next book?

(Laughing) Those that know me have stopped asking what I’m working on, because they know I’m not going to tell them. I have this peculiar rule that I don’t discuss my story (unless necessary for research – even then I remain vague in regards to the story line) with a single soul until the first draft is complete. The reason being, I don’t want to inadvertently be drawn away from how the story wants to flow by well-meaning recommendations. I’m not the boss anyway, the story is.

I can answer the second question however. I expect the release of my next book to be summer 2021, and greatly looking forward to it.

What was your first impression of AllAuthor? Have your thoughts changed much since?

I was impressed by AllAuthor’s overall professionalism and the obvious legitimacy that AllAuthor is striving to do exactly what they say they do - promote books for authors – from the very beginning. I have learned to appreciate AllAuthor even more as I continue learning about promotional avenues, such as my new favorite, specialized banners for my advertising use.

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