TBP: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
LC: I live in Seattle, I’m married, I volunteer at the local zoo, and my professional background includes teaching conversational English in Japan, and several years working the graveyard shift on a mental health crisis line; I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology.
I’m an introvert, but not shy; which means I’m perfectly happy spending all day alone, but I’m also delighted to strike up a conversation with a stranger, should one sit down next to me on a plane or train. I’ve had a lot of fun, and some pretty memorable conversations, on trains and planes — ranging from a winemaker who wanted me to be his lover (he was married, which I discovered by snooping online — scumbag!), to a hysterical conversation with a couple guys headed to Cabo San Lucas for New Year’s Eve 2000, where they meant to parrrrrr-ty. I saw the same guys on the flight home, looking pale and weak; they’d both gotten sick and spent their whole vacation puking in their hotel room. Poor guys. They had been so looking forward to having fun.
When I was a teenager what I wanted more than anything was to travel when I grew up, and I’ve been working ever since to fulfill that wish: I’ve wandered the streets of Kathmandu and hiked the foothills of the Himalaya, I’ve explored caves in the jungles of Borneo, I’ve eaten dinner in the childhood home of Vlad the Impaler — a.k.a. Dracula — in Romania, and sailed the Caribbean as a working crew member of a research schooner. I’m hoping in the next year or two to go to Turkey, probably with my mother-in-law. She grew up in Alaska, but lives in Amsterdam now; we share the travel bug, which makes my husband very nervous. He worries we’ll get mugged or fall off a cliff or something.
TBP: Describe Wake Unto Me in nine words.
LC: Modern girl dreams of, loves, 16th century ghost boy.
TBP: You are the author of quite a few adult novels. What inspired you to write a book for YA?
LC: They aren’t joking when they say that variety is the spice of life! After more than ten years of writing adult romance novels, my enthusiasm and sense of creativity were beginning to wane. I needed to try something new, but I didn’t know what; it was my agent who suggested I try a YA. She said that I had a young writing voice, and she thought I’d be a good fit for the genre. And she was right! I went from feeling like I’d run out of ideas for books to being overwhelmed with ideas. There are so many YA books I want to write, I don’t know if I’ll ever have enough time to bring them all to life.
TBP: Are you currently working on or planning any other YA novels?
LC: I have several books in the proposal phase right now, ranging from a sequel to Wake Unto Me to a ghost-hunter series set in the 1810s, to a time-travel, to an adventure set in a jungle.
TBP: Your Bio on your website says that you enjoy gardening. What is one of your favorite plants to work with and why?
LC: I have a dozen grape vines growing along the outside of the fence that separates our yard from the sidewalk. They’re great conversation starters; people are fascinated by them, and ask me lots of questions when I’m out there tending them. And I often find fingerprints on my ripe grapes, and suspiciously bare stems, too! But that’s part of the fun; I don’t mind if people nibble on them. I consider them my gift to the neighborhood.
TBP: You spent a year teaching English in Japan. What were some of the most rewarding experiences you had during your time abroad? Most challenging?
LC: Loneliness was the most challenging part of my year there, which I solved by falling in love with one of my students. Oh, bad Lisa! But not so bad, really, as he was eight years older than me, and his English certainly improved while we were together, what with all the individual attention. Heh.
The most rewarding aspect of my time there was meeting so many friendly people and letting them introduce me to their culture and to the beauty of their country. It’s one thing to go to a country and see it as a tourist, but another thing altogether to live and work there, and to have it shown to you through the eyes of people for whom it is home.
TBP: Wake Unto Me is set in a haunted castle. There are places all over the world that are said to be haunted. Which would you most like to visit?
LC: I’ve been to lots of places that were supposed to be haunted, but the cursed ghosts never showed up. Very disappointing. So, I wouldn’t ever choose a destination based on its supposed haunted-ness, but if I were to choose a place to go based on sheer creepiness... I’d go to the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Sicily. Something like 8,000 mummies are in there, fully dressed, lying on shelves or propped in niches. There are some good photos here: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/palermo-capuchin-catacombs Spooky!
TBP: If you could shapeshift into any animal, which would it be and why?
LC: A crow. I could fly all over the place, and yet crows are so common that no one would pay any attention to me. I mean, you don’t want your shape-shifting ability to be turning into a wolf or bear or something, if you live in the city. You’ll end up on the 6 o’clock news, being chased by wildlife officers with dart guns.
TBP: If you could possess any paranormal power, which would it be and why?
LC: Ooo, tricky question!
First I thought, I could heal people! But then I thought, I’d never have any time off; how could I lie on the couch watching a movie if by doing so, it meant that someone was suffering instead of being healed? I’d go mad.
Okay then, precognition! I could tell the future! But I wouldn’t have wanted to know in advance about the very hard years when my parents got sick. I would have spent extra years worrying about what was coming.
Something safe, then: I would hear the thoughts of animals! But we already get a pretty good sense of what they’re feeling from their body language; what more are you going to get out of their thoughts? What if they don’t even have thoughts, the same way we do? All I might hear are echoes of emotion: “I’m hungry. Aaaa! Fear! Sleepy. Can I eat that?”
Reading human thoughts, then? But we all sense how horrible it would be to hear what others were really thinking about us...
So! I’m going to go with teleportation, with the assumption that the ability would prevent me from teleporting myself somewhere dangerous like, say, the bottom of the ocean. Now I just have to tell myself that missing out on the actual journey is not as big a pity as I think it is.
TBP: Anything else you'd like to add before you go?
LC: Just that I always love to hear from readers! Visit me on Facebook, or at lisacach.com. And I wish you all many good books in 2011.
Thanks Lisa for letting me interview you! Also, thanks to all of you readers who have taken the time to stop and read this post. Hope you enjoyed the interview.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Lisa's debut YA novel, Wake Unto Me, releasing March 31st!