Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Novel Road Interview: Lisa Desrochers

Lisa's next book is here! Original Sin hit the shelves July 5, 2011
 The next, the next, the next... Who will it be?
Original Sin (A Personal Demons Novel)
Available July 5
   My guest today on The Novel Road has
earned every right (and then some)
to the title of:
       
      "The Next Big Paranormal
               Romance author."

   Her novel, "Personal Demons"climbed up
sales lists, garnering rave reviews along the way.

  Released in September of last year, the book is already being re-printed in 10 countries! What makes her book unique, besides crisp writing, great characters, and action seldom seen?

 "Personal Demons" had it all, and so does "Original Sin". First, a little about my guest...

    Lisa lives in central California with her husband and two very busy daughters. It was her oldest daughter's love of books that first inspired her to write for young adults. There is never a time that she can be found without a book in her hand, and she adores stories that take her to new places, and then take her by surprise.
   Growing up all over the country has inspired wanderlust and she loves travel, which works out well because she lectures internationally on a variety of health care topics. She has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and maintains a full-time practice in California
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Please to welcome, Lisa Desrochers
  


My Photo
Lisa Desrochers
Me: Your research ethereal for the most part. With the exception of locales and applicable science, where do you draw your event inspiration?

Lisa: My research for Personal Demons focused on angel and demon lore and hierarchies. The beauty of fiction is anything can happen, but I still wanted to ground my fictional heaven and hell in something that at least remotely resembled common belief systems. As far as the events that drive the plot, those all flowed organically from the characters.

Me: Paranormal Romance is a huge and expanding genre. Once the all but exclusive domain of vampires. Angels and demons are taking a large  piece of this market. Are there any other directions within this genre you’d like to go?
Lisa: I have a WIP that focuses on magic, which is also well explored in urban fantasy. But this manuscript has a little different take on it.

Me: Sara Barnett and Michael Nathanson are your audio book readers for “Personal Demons”. Talk about a debut novelist’s part in choosing the readers and what is was like to hear your work performed for the first time.
Lisa: One of the funnest (funnily enough, that’s not an actual word in the English language…but I digress) things about this whole publishing process was listening to audition tapes and choosing my readers for the Personal Demons audiobook.
   We got three audition tapes for each reader (Frannie and Luc) from Brilliance Audio. They came in on a Friday in July when we were leaving on a camping trip, so my whole family listened to them in the car and our choices for Sara and Michael were unanimous. I have to be honest and say that I laughed out loud several times while listening to the audiobook.
   The actors are just that…actors. It’s a dramatic interpretation of my work, with the emphasis on dramatic. My demon, Luc’s voice is very mellow in my head. He’s pretty cocky, being a Creature of Pride, so he really doesn’t stress too much. Michael’s Luc gets a little more worked up over things than mine does, but overall, I think they did a great job.

Me: Paranormal is a hot genre. It’s also highly competitive. How important is having a publisher like Tor Teen /Macmillan in your corner?
Lisa: I joke that my editor helped me make Personal Demons into the book I thought I wrote. It’s really important to have a solid editor behind your work. Professional eyes see things differently. Tor has been fantastic about getting Personal Demons onto shelves in all the major chains as well as several indies.

Me: You have three books, "Personal Demons", just released and two in progress Original Sin and Hellbent, all will be on the market by May 2012. You have mounting foreign rights deals, 8 or 9 countries at last count, for “Personal Demons”. Has it all hit you yet, or have you been too busy to watch your star rising?
Lisa: It’s been pretty busy, mostly because it’s happened so fast. I had my one-year anniversary with my fabulous agent, Suzie Townsend, after Personal Demons was on shelves. As a matter of fact, it’s been just a year since it sold. (Dec. 22nd) I wrote Original Sin in the two months we were on submission to agents with Personal Demons and have spent the summer in edits with that, and I’m in progress with Hellbent, as well being crazy with everything that goes into releasing a book. But…all that said, I have relished all the up moments, which include foreign sales. We released in Austrailia/New Zealand just after the U.S., and in Brazil last month. I have my German cover, and they re-titled it Angel Eyes. There are ten total foreign territories we’ve sold to.

Me: Talk about your editor and your experience in this crucial part of publishing. Did you mesh right away, or did it take time to get on the same page?
Lisa: Personal Demons sold at auction, and the primary reason we went with my seriously cool editor at Tor was because she was totally on my page with the manuscript. Every one of her revision requests made the book better. Both my revision letters for Personal Demons and Original Sin were pretty tame, and I love that she wasn’t afraid of Original Sin, which is much darker and edgier than Personal Demons.

Me: Give me a two sentence “hook”, describing “Personal Demons”.
Lisa: Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a wicked streak and a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation. She finds herself in the middle of a battle for her soul between Lucifer Cain, who works in Acquisitions for Hell, and Gabriel, the angel sent to protect her, and it isn’t long before Luc and Gabe find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.

View ImageMe: Tell us about your agent and why you two are a perfect match.
Lisa: Suzie totally rocks. Being a newbie, it was important to me to find a hands-on agent who had time to walk me through the process. At the time I signed with Suzie, she had just started agenting (now she’s kicking publishing butt and taking names) and she was very responsive when I had a question. She also has an amazing editorial eye and went through a round of revisions with me before we went on submission. But mostly, I chose Suzie above the other agents who offered on PD for no other reason than she loved my manuscript.

Me: Publishing is going through an evolution at the moment. How has this or will this affect you?
Lisa: If you mean e-publishing, I think it’s great. Readers of physical books will either keep reading physical books or switch to e-books, but they won’t stop reading. And, a few people who weren’t readers might actually start reading because there’s cool technology now. So anything that puts books in hands in a good thing.
   There are a lot of options for e-readers—self published and traditionally published books. I also think that’s great. As long as a reader knows the source, and therefore has realistic expectations, I don’t have a problem with them having choices.

View Image
Demon head
18th Century
Me: Life experience in the writing process. What advice can you give writers on its importance?
Lisa: I’ve heard writers joke that they had too happy a childhood, because they have nothing to write about. Honestly, other than shaping you as a person, and therefore influencing your writing indirectly, your own big life experiences don’t play much of a role.
     It’s the little experiences I draw on more often—something funny my daughter said; a backed up toilet; watching different reactions to being caught in the rain. Silly things.

Me: You get to have lunch with any author you which, from throughout history or today, and why?
Lisa: Ooo! There are so many I’d choose. JRR Tolkein, Pasternak, Steinbeck. If you’re going to make me choose one, I’d have to say Emily Bronte, because Heathcliff so deliciously warped, and I’d love to know her inspiration.

 
 Me: My recent interview with David Brown, of Atria Books, talked about the importance of having a social network to help promote your work. Talk about your personal efforts to “get the word out”
Lisa: If your book is one of the chosen few to get the “big push” from your house, it’s less important, but for most of us, I’m convinced it makes or breaks you.
    I started a blog before I was even agented. As soon as my book sold, I started promoting it on my blog. Even thought I knew I wouldn’t have ARCs until spring, I started a monthly Debut Contest, where the winner had a choice of one YA debut off a list of four that I provided or a signed ARC of Personal Demons.
    I’m shameless, I admit it. I would choose the four biggest buzz YA debuts I could find each month as the alternate choices to mine to draw their readers to my blog, and then I Tweet the heck out of it. Usually those authors, also being debut authors and wanting free PR, would re-tweet my tweets. I started out in my first contest in January with about 40 entries. That winner chose a book other than mine. From that point on, the contest grew every month until I was getting over 150 entries, and everyone from the Feb winner on chose Personal Demons. Anytime I’m near another author, I have them sign one of their books for me then I give it away with a signed copy of Personal Demons.
   I’ve given away 20 signed books (only half of which were mine) in the last three months. My blog has grown to almost 900 followers and I have almost 1600 Twitter followers who look forward to my contests. I just ran my first ever Original Sin ARC contest in conjunction with releasing the cover. I recruited nine awesome bloggers who have supported me and Personal Demons for months. I let them release the cover and ran a contest on my blog. They all got between 50 and 100 comments on their post and I had almost 300 entries. People love free stuff.
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      I'd like to thank Lisa for taking the time out of her busy schedule and wish her all the luck in the world... Wait a minute, she doesn't need luck. Her star is rising, and it couldn't happen to a nicer person. All the Best, from The Novel Road

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