Q: Tell us about your new book? When's it coming out? Who's publishing it and all that jazz?
CRESCENDO, a psychological horror about fate and the lengths we will travel to avoid the inevitable, will be published by PublishAmerica and should be released in January 2004.
Q: How did you get interested in writing and becoming an author?
My honest answer to that question is that it's in my blood.
I have been writing since I was nine years old. My short story (to me back then it was a full scale novel!) was completed when I was ten years old. It is still locked away in a chest at my mother's house. I always said I'd read it again with an adult eye as soon as I sold my first "real" novel. I guess it's time to blow the dust off of JASMINE.
I never imaged that I wouldn't write. I've always done it and I love it. When I was a kid I loved getting a lined notebook because I couldn't wait to fill it with words. I still feel that way. A new Word screen is not empty for long if I'm around!
Q: Is horror your main literary interest?
Yes, but not in the traditional sense. I enjoy writing psychological horror more so than gore. The thought process is more rewarding to me, and the final product more fulfilling. This revelation has come by trial and error, though. I have written fiction and even tried my hand at comedy, but neither experience gave me the rush I feel when crafting a character and preparing him for impending doom.
Horror has always monopolized my reading interests. After I've read a mystery or drama I find that I need a horror fix!
Q: How did you become a part of HWA?
The Horror Writers Association is an excellent group that provides membership to people who are serious about their craft. I joined after a Halloween story of mine was e-published on Another Realm (OLE HALLOWS EVE). The organization had everything was looking for in terms of services and group mission. I met with their standard of membership. It has been a great fit.
Q: Do you get teased a lot about your name? Did guys in school ever say, "I don't know if that girl will, but I'm sure Lisa Wood"?
Wood is my married name. My maiden name bought me a good share of teasing, however. I won't tell you what it is, but here's the one jab I remember best, "Lisa's in the kitchen makin' bacon!"
Q: What other work do you have published or soon to be?
CRESCENDO is my first novel and my first piece that has seen the light of day in terms of traditional publishing. The short story OLE HALLOWS EVE can be found online at Another Realm. I am trying to place my next short story, THE DANCE, a modern day tale of the mortal death of an unsuspecting woman and her rebirth as an immortal, as well as my short story, DEAR MONIQUE, the story of a woman scorned. I am also working on my second novel, THE PROMISE KEEPER, a dark tale that blurs the line separating Heaven and Hell, the real and the surreal.
Q: Any influences you can talk about as writing is concerned?
In a name, Stephen King. My mother read his work when I was young so there was always a King novel lying around. I graduated from Judy Blume to Stephen King early, once my mother saw the slant to horror that my writing took (little did she know, I had already cracked open many a King novel by then!) Reading an author whose writing was so visual gave me confidence in the writing that I was already doing; writing that was different from what was being assigned in school.
Q: Who are some authors you admire or books you have enjoyed as of late?
Stephen King is the author that I admire most, and as I mentioned in the last question, has influenced my desire to write. He is prolific without being repetitious and he can spin a tale like no other. There are some other authors whose books have enthralled me recently: Quietus by Vivian Schilling, for one. My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due is excellent also. I just finished reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and enjoyed it immensely! And, I must admit, I can't wait for the next James Patterson book to come out (See? I'm not solely a horror fan, but mostly…) . I've got a stack of books that I pull from next to my bed. Next up: Thunderland by Brandon Massey after I finish Night Terrors by Drew Williams.
Q: Any horror films helped make an impact on your work?
As a horror movie fan I must make mention of classics like Halloween and The Omen. These are movies that I watch time and time again. But do they have an impact on my writing? No. They feed my love for horror and my love for the art of movie making (my major in college was Film Production), but they differ from my writing style. Movies that come close are the ones you need to think about, to truly pay attention to. Films like Angel Heart, Jacobs Ladder, The Others and Vanilla Sky. The answer to the question, the reason for the protagonist's actions, is not obvious. You'll need to invest some time into figuring those movies out, and even then, you'll have questions about the subplots.
Q: How long has it taken to get Crescendo to its present state?
I started writing CRESCENDO on July 2, 2002. I finished writing it on September 23, 2002. The final edit was completed on November 19, 2002. I received my contract offer on December 27, 2002. So, I guess I would say, all in all, not long.
Q: What are your long-term goals as a horror writer?
To keep writing. I have a genuine love for the art, so I want to keep doing it for as long as I can. I want readers to step into my world and see things through my eyes for a portion of their day. I want my work to have an impact in people's lives.
Q: How come you're living in Va.? I though all horror writers lived in Maine?
Weather, weather, weather. I like the heat. Virginia is too cold for me at times! The hotter the better, I say.
Q: Do you have a Website for your fans with updates on what you have going on?
Yes, I do. The website is in its beginning stages so please check back often. A splash page has been posted and a newsletter subscribe box is on the site now. I will be sending a newsletter every month so that I can keep everyone updated! The link is www.lmariewood.com.
Q: Where do you get most of your ideas? Is there a certain process you go through before you begin a piece?
Ideas just come to me. I could be having a conversation with someone and a word they may say, a simple hand gesture they may use could spawn a full-scale narrative in my mind. I write my ideas down at the very moment that I have them without regard for the circumstance. I've been known to pull over on the side of the road to write my idea down on a napkin lest I forget.
Adequate research is the most important preparation that any author can make, in my opinion. I relish it. Once an idea starts to form in my mind I begin researching the topics that would require detailed description in my piece. It's not something I only do before I begin to write - it is something I do while I am writing, during my first edit, and just before my final read. It is a part of the work that I truly enjoy.
I am lucky in that I can write while a movie is playing and enjoy both. I can write at 3: 00 a.m. as easily as I can write at 2: 00 p.m. If the idea is in my mind, it is more important than sleep and I have been known to stay up all night to round out a piece or tie up a loose end in my research. Process? I wouldn't call it that. It's more like natural instinct.
Q: Any final thoughts, information, or gripes about the publishing industry you care to share? Hype yourself now by all means.
I look forward to the release of CRESCENDO and getting the novel in the hands of readers who enjoy curling up on the sofa and digging into a good book. They won't be disappointed. If I may make two suggestions though: Don't read CRESCENDO at night when you're alone in the house and be sure to leave the lights on!
Thanks for the interview and be on the look out for CRESCENDO in January of 2004!