Sandra Hutchison interviews an author who crosses two very different genres
Lisa, first you wrote a couple of YA science fiction novels, “Quake” and “Aftershock,” as Lisa Arrington. Then you began a series in African-American paranormal erotic romance, using the author name Lisa Ann. I’m going to guess there are good reasons to keep an erotica author’s name separate from a Young Adult author name, but I’m curious how workable you’ve found that. Does it ever get awkward?
I wanted to keep some separation between my YA identity and my new erotica identity. I would hate for a young reader to think that I released a new book for their age group, and I would hate even more receiving an angry letter from a parent! Thankfully it’s been easy so far, but it’s only been a year, so “Lisa Ann” is still a newborn if you think about it.
As I googled “Lisa Ann” in preparation for this interview, I discovered that’s also the name of a porn actress! Did you know that going in? Has that created any special challenges for you, or does it help?
Oh God! No, I did not know that, I honestly used my first and middle name. With such a common name (as my mother so nicely put it the other day), I’m sure this isn’t a new thing. And who knows, maybe it will help us both out.
You helped me out recently by reading the manuscript of my next novel, which has a number of African-American characters in it. What do you think are some pitfalls white authors who attempt to write black characters can fall into?
I think that if the author doesn’t have black friends or do research they fall back on stereotypes a lot. Or not write them in at all.
I notice that your erotica gets marketed as African-American but your YA titles do not. I know that’s hardly an apples-to-apples comparison, but do you sense that it changes the equation to label your niche African-American?
To be honest, I categorized my paranormal-romance African-American because after reading several books that revolved around Motorcycle Clubs, I hadn’t found one that had any African-American characters or, if it did, they were depicted as stereotypical thugs. I wanted to write a book that had strong African-American characters that could overcome the same problems and fall in love the same way, and I wanted to give relatable characters to African-American readers. It really had nothing to do with my YA book or sales.
I know you read a lot — probably more than I do! Which authors out there have inspired you the most in your personal writing journey?
I wish I was reading as much as I used to. I read everything from “Pride and Prejudice” to “Twilight.” I would say that Linda Howard, Lisa Jackson and Janet Evanovich made me a bigger fan of reading than I already was. And friends like Stacey Lynn and Lee Gjertsen-Malone inspired me to even try to find my own voice.
What has been the most challenging thing about your indie publishing career? What about the most rewarding?
The most challenging, hands down, is doing it on my own as an Indie author. Luckily, I have learned from my mistakes and now have a small team of people I trust to help me through the process. The most rewarding is always hitting that “publish now” button.
I know from our online friendship that you’ve faced personal challenges with a physical disability. How does that impact your writing?
I battle fibromyalgia and it makes it hard to be “on” when I need to be. Like right now, I’ve had a scene going through my head for the past couple of days but just thinking about picking up my laptop was too exhausting. Or I have “fibro fog” days, days when I can’t remember my address, let alone what my characters are up to.
What are your future writing and publishing plans, and what would be the fulfillment of all your dreams as an author?
In my Microsoft OneNote I have twelve notebooks for future stories/series and am constantly adding to it. I plan to keep writing as long as I am physically able and as long as people want to hear from me, which I hope is a very long time. What would be the fulfillment of all my dreams? I don’t know. My dream of becoming an author already came true.
More about Lisa Ann
Lisa is a stay-at-home mom by day and as a writer by night. She attended a local technical college and received an associate’s degree in computers, which she put right to use. Lisa lives in Southern Arizona with her two sons and, when not writing, can be found curled up on her favorite chair with Kindle in hand, reviewing books for her blog, chauffeuring the boys around town for basketball games, or playing Game of War on her phone.
She loves the color blue, can’t get enough Arrow or Castle, loves Junior Mints, can’t live without coffee, and will forever be in a power struggle over the big screen TV with her youngest.
Lisa reports that Riders of Sins Eternal has been a bestseller in African-American Romance and is available exclusively on Amazon.com.
Learn more about Lisa at:
Her blog: http://lisaawritesreads.com/
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org