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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bestselling author LISA JACKSON: the Conversations Exclusive Interview

Just months before she embarks on her tour, bestselling author Lisa Jackson takes time out of her hectic schedule to give CONVERSATIONS an in-depth look at the woman who has built a brand for herself as both a mystery and romance author. In this interview she talks about the thrill of debuting in hardback in 2006, her life as a reader and why she isn't afraid of technology stealing away readers...

With all the success you have enjoyed, does it ever just hit you some time that your gift for telling a good story has made you a national bestselling author? It is a great feeling and to be honest I am kind of surprised by it. I have always had a gift for writing, but I never intended or expected to have the find of success I have experienced. My only regret is that my father was not around to see it.

What is it like for you to go into a bookstore and entire sections of books that carried your name? I have to tell you that I have gone into some bookstores and they didn't carry my book. I have been at this game for a long time, so I have come to be thankful for everything that I experience. To see sections of my books in stores is very gratifying, though, I have to admit.

You say you have always had a gift for writing, but what about reading? When did your love for words and books begin?
I grew up in a small town, thankfully in a family that was full or readers. We lived in Oregon and we read everything from books to the daily newspaper. I would have to say that I began writing for the same reason: the joy it brings me. Books are a fabulous way for of taking you up and out of where you are.

Has it surprised you that you continue to pick up new readers and hold on to loyal ones with each release? That has indeed been a thrill. It seems with each new book I have expanded audience, and it crosses all different lines in regards to lifestyles, demographics and so on. To go into an establishment and see someone reading one of my books gives me a deep sense of satisfaction, and I'm grateful for that.

What pressures did you feel after the first book?
I grew up a big fan of suspense novels, however, many of my fans were introduced to me through my romance novels. If anything it was a gamble to move away from the romantic titles and settle into what I really love. I'm glad that for the past 20 years my passion for suspense has been accepted by my fans.

I'm glad that you mentioned about your writing both romance and suspense, because that leads me to my next question. One phase of your staying power seems to be that you are a versatile author, being able to write under different genres. How have you managed to keep the story lines going? I have been able to write all different type of books, however, since they are not sequential it's sometime proven to be a nightmare for me. I find myself asking questions like "Can this character do this now?" or "Is it possible for this to happen here?" Thank goodness now I use storyboards to chart each project.

Shiver was my first book to read by you. If you were asked by a reader what book they should read next, what would you tell them and why?
Shiver is part of my series that features Detective Reuben Montoya, so there is more to his story than is told in Shiver. To get the full development, it would be best to read them in this order: Hot Blooded, Cold Blooded, The Night Before, The Morning After and so on. With that being said, each book is designed to continue the story, but can stand on its own as well.

The reviews for Shiver seems to mirror your past releases: riveting, chilling. captivating, but from what I have read about this book in comparison to some of your previous releases there are some differences. Tell us about them. One thing I have noticed is that readers want more romance from me and less mystery. Some of my latest releases have been more violent, more gory. Not all of my books have been received by critics and fans with the same favorable response. I don't read reviews on Amazon or sites like that, but I take all reviews with a grain of salt. At the end of the day I am writing to please myself. That is why Montoya continues to appear.

Tell us about Montoya in Shiver. From what I have read about him in other reviews he has changed with each book. Shiver was an easy book to write, mainly because of Montoya, and yes, he has evolved. When I first introduced Montoya, he was quick on the trigger, very green and so young. The character has grown up and now has really taken on a life of his own. I just let them tell the story as they see live it, and all I have to do is write it. One thing I have learned is that every time Montoya is on the page, it is a fun scene to write.

I mentioned that Shiver was the first book of yours that I have read, however, you also experienced a first with it. Shiver was your first book to debut in Hardcover.Yes, it was planned and of course if a gamble. That is where the logistics of the business comes in. Alot of authors jump into hardback too quickly...it seems to be a prestige thing. For me it was making sure the time was right, and that I could live up to the expectations that come with it. For me it paid off in a big way, that's entirely to my fans.

This interview is part of my READ MY LIPS campaign that encourages literacy. With such a variety of authors and books on the market geared towards every type of individual, what do you think we could do to promote reading more among the youth?
That is always a difficult subject for me. I have to tell you that if I would have had tv like it is available today that I probably wouldn't have been so into reading. It happens on their own. In the case of my children, I always encourage them to read and made it available, but at the end of the day they had to choose when and if they were going to become fans of books. For some it happens early in life. For others it might be much later. When you look at the whole Harry Potter series and how it opened things up, to me that is a great testament to the fact that if you can capture the reader's attention then they will read. Another thing is that because of the internet the way people are reading has changed. As a society, we have to think outside of paper books.

Thanks again for your time, Lisa. What would you like to say to your readers? I just want to tell them thank you for being supportive and for writing to me. For those who may just be finding out about me, I invite them to please come and send me when I am in your area on tour of through my website. To aspiring writers I want to say continue to read and keep writing from the heart-- no matter what it might be.

Lisa Jackson will be touring beginning in April 2007 with her book ABSOLUTE FEAR. You can find out more about her by visiting her website

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