Friday, February 18, 2011

LRC Featured Author interview with Lisa Desrochers (author of Personal Demons)

Thank you Lisa for agreeing to participate.
If you review Personal Demons or Original Sin this month, you will get extra entries for the giveaway. Make sure you are signed up! Loving the Reviews Challenge and Huge Giveaway!

Q&A with Lisa:

Readers of Personal Demons say you’ll be laughing one moment and shrieking the next. Where did you get the idea for the book?
I was listening to Saving Abel (one of my favorite bands) and reading a bio where they said they got their name from a biblical quote: “there was no saving Abel.” That got me thinking about the story of Cain and Abel, and I was mulling over ideas for a book when a name popped into my head. I thought to myself, Lucifer Cain, what a fun name for a demon. I sat down and started writing from that demon’s perspective, and the rest is history.

You used to hate reading?! Why would you write a book then?

I’ve read a lot of author blogs about their road to publication. Many of them talk about their lifelong aspiration to write – how they knew they were destined to be a writer at age 5 when they started scribbling captions in their coloring books or writing plays for their friends and family.
That was SOOOO not me.
As a kid, I did hate reading books. Even as an adult, reading wasn’t my first choice of leisure activities. Blasphemy, I know! But, my daughter is an insane reader (read each Twilight book in a day). I don’t really understand how it happened—a brain aneurysm maybe—but I got the crazy notion to write her a book for her birthday. And I did. Without telling a soul, I wrote her a 100K word romantic thriller. She loved it and I caught the bug.

Your hot debut young adult novel Personal Demons is full of sexual tension. What’s your number one rule for creating that kind of chemistry on page?

I didn’t really know what I was doing when I wrote Personal Demons, so to break it out into “rules” is hard. I guess chemistry needs to be organic to feel genuine. In other words, it needs to flow from the characters. They have conversations in my head and I take dictation. It’s when I try to manipulate those conversations that I get into trouble and lose the chemistry.

How are you like your main character, Frannie, and how are you different?

Frannie has her insecurities, but she puts up a tough front. She doesn’t want anyone to know when she doubts herself. I’m also like that, especially in the writing and publication process. I’ve had huge moments of self-doubt, but I just smile and pretend that I couldn’t be more confident. We’re different in a lot of ways. For one, I don’t have a drop-dead gorgeous angel to protect me, or a totally hot (both literally and figuratively) demon after my soul. Seriously, Frannie is a much more emotional creature than I am. Because of that, she doesn’t let go of things very easily. But she’s passionate about the things she believes in—something I could learn from her.

What is the hardest emotion for you to convey in writing?

Frustration and annoyance. How to you explain that look? You know, the one where the eyes kind of...and the mouth sort of does that...thingy with know.
People are itching for the next two books in your trilogy. Can you tell us anything about them?
Original Sin and Hellbent are more of Frannie’s story, so (spoiler alert) you can probably guess that she doesn’t die in Personal Demons. In Original Sin, when secrets and histories come to light, Frannie realizes that nobody is who she thought they were. Hell won’t give up and Heaven won’t give in. Some are willing to hurt anyone close to Frannie in order to get what they want. It will take everything she has and then some to stay out of Hell’s grasp. And not everyone will get out of it alive.
You're a bit of a world traveler and Personal Demons will be translated into other languages for publication. Where is your favorite place to visit?
We have sold Personal Demons in nine territories so far, and I want to visit it in all of them. It’s fun to think there will be something out there in the world that I wrote but can’t read.

There are a lot of places I’ve really loved visiting. I will definitely be visiting Personal Demons in Italy. I’ve never been anywhere in Italy that I didn’t fall in love with. Australia and New Zealand are beautiful and I haven’t seen nearly enough of them, so I really want to go back and visit my books there. But there are a TON of places I’ve never been that I really want to see. I’d love to visit my Russian, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and Brazilian books too!

What has been your most surprising moment since you landed your book deal?

The most surprising part was definitely when one of my very favorite authors, Melissa Marr, recommended Personal Demons. It never occurred to me that an author that was one of my primary roll models would ever read my book. The fact that she read it and didn’t hate it did wonders for my confidence.

If you could go back and give your unpublished-self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?
If you're truly writing the story you were meant to tell, it shouldn't feel hard. I'm not saying writing isn't hard work—it is. I just mean that the story itself should flow easily for the most part. Don't try to imitate others. Keep it real and keep it yours. There were a few scenes in Personal Demons where I had forced things a little trying to introduce more conflict because I thought that's what I was supposed to do. I shouldn't have been surprised when those were the scenes both my agent and editor asked me to change.
I guess the theme of all of that is, write for the love of writing. Not for agents or editors. The road to publication can be rough, but it's rougher if you're not loving what you're doing. I wrote for my daughter and myself. That was it.
A few other things:
·         Find a writing group/partner that you trust and who will be brutally honest with you in a positive way. When I've doubted myself, my awesome critique partner (Andrea Cremer, Nightshade, Oct. 2010) has always encouraged me and told me what I need to hear to get back on track.
·         Research agents well before you query. It's more than just going to their agency profile. Find out what they already rep and/or have sold. Be sure they're a good fit for you.

--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?

This is just about the hardest question you could ask me. There are so many books I love. The two that I’m so over the top about that I wish I’d written them are If I Stay by Gayle Forman and Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Other books I’ve recently read and loved are Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. At the moment audiobooks are my best friend, as the only time I get to “read” is in the car.

--If a fairy godmother told you your life could be like a favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
That’s tough, because in most of my favorite books all kinds of havoc is being wreaked and I don’t think I’d want to be in the middle of all that. Maybe Wicked Lovely. If havoc is going to be wreaked, you may as well enjoy the view. Seth, Keenan, Naill, Irial…you catch my meaning.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on "Personal Demons playlist-" songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?
I always include the two or three songs that were most integral to my creative process in the acknowledgements of each book. For Personal Demons, it was Nickelback’s Savin’ Me that really embodies Luc, The Fray’s You Found Me for Frannie, and Ryan Star’s Breathe for Gabe. The entire Personal Demons playlist is posted here:
Sneak peek: For Original Sin the three primary songs are: for Frannie, The Fray’s How to Save a Life; for Luc, World So Cold by Three Days Grace, and for Gabe, Anthem of the Angels by Breaking Benjamin. I’ll post the entire Original Sin playlist closer to release.

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
See the future…no! Flying! Wait…time travel! No! Wait…um…


  1. Woot! Amazing interview. I'm ordering Personal Demons today from Chapters.

  2. Loved this interview, you can see so much of her personality in her answers! I always like when that shines through, then you feel like you've gotten to know the author just a little bit:) Love her answer to trying to describe frustration or annoyance, I know it's written all over my face when I experience it, but I don't know that I could describe my look in universal terms that everyone would understand. Can't wait for Original Sin!

  3. Totally a big fan of Lisa-- she has her own Mafia, and I've been told that Luc would love it if I liked him.

  4. Great interview! I need to read Personal Demons now! Just popped over from Sniffly Kitty's blog :)

  5. Wow, seriously awesome interview! I had no clue that Lisa wrote PD originally for her daughter. That makes me want to read it all the more now. Great writing advice as well. This entire interview is made of win :-)


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