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Interview and Guest Post with Lisa Tillinger Johansen

Saturday, December 15, 2012

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? I would go into the past (so long as that whole space-time continuum thing doesn’t get wacky). With the past you have an idea of what you are getting into and you could witness some truly amazing moments in history.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose? I would want to have Edgar Allen Poe, Jane Austen, Hunter S. Thompson, Oscar Wilde, and Cary Grant to dinner. Poe, because what’s a dinner party without at least one tortured genius. Austen because I enjoy her rapier wit. Thompson because all parties need one person who isn’t afraid to try anything. Wilde because he would say wildly inappropriate things and make me laugh. And Cary Grant…because I love him.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you? If I were being practical I would choose water, a working satellite phone, and a good knife…but no one likes practical people so I will choose rum, sunscreen, and a devastatingly attractive man with survival skills.

One food you would never eat? Tongue. Just the thought of it makes me cringe.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Mystery, romance, and a man so bad you’ll beg for more.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? I have several projects coming up. My next book, since the Guardian Trilogy is completed, will be the start of a new series (that is connected to the Guardian Trilogy—same world) called Easy Bake Coven. It should be released by the end of this month. It is a story about witches and elves—I assure you these elves have never worked for Santa.

What inspired you to want to become a writer? Honestly, it was my mother. I always enjoyed writing and storytelling, but I never thought that I could be a writer. My mom kept after me and pushing me to at least try it and finally I did. Now I don’t think I could stop.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. Talking to my readers has definitely been the most rewarding. I have had conversations about the themes and plot points, about religion and afterlife, and really anything you can think of. To know that people get that into what you have written is a wonderful feeling.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? The first draft is never the draft you publish. Worry less about find the perfect words and more about finishing the story. There is plenty of time to nitpick in the second and third and fourth drafts.

If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why? Athena. I have always really liked her. She was smart and just and courageous which are characteristics I like in people and ones I try to give the heroines in my novels.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I would love to live in England for a while and in Tuscany. I have visited both and absolutely adored them.

What is your favorite Quote? There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies. Hamlet, William Shakespeare

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? A supreme court judge

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had? I want to write a zombie book set in the 1920’s told from the zombie’s point of view.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? Never use a word that you have to look up the definition.

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? The Hobbit! I already have my tickets for the midnight show. #LotRnerd

What was your favorite children’s book? Where the Wild Things Are. It is such a sweet book. It was always my favorite growing up. I bought it for each of my nieces and nephews when they were born.

How do you react to a bad review? Everyone is entitled to their opinion and no story is for everyone—no matter what your mother thinks. I don’t mind if people don’t like my book. I appreciate that they gave it a chance.

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is…. Catch 22. One of my favorite books. It is hysterically funny and such an original idea. I love it so much.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with? Jim Butcher. I am a huge fan of Dresden Files.

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Genre – Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG13

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A Reader or a Writer, Which Would I Rather Be?

by Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD

A reader or writer, which would I rather be? What a question that is! I love both so much and to choose one or the other is difficult. It’s the perfect conundrum.

As it turns out, I’ve been reading and writing for most of my life, since I was a little girl. Both have been huge interests of mine. Both provide very similar experiences for me. Escape, gratification, learning, joy, happiness, all things these two wonderful occupations have bestowed on me. One is my right hand, the other my left.

There’s nothing better than reading a good book. Back in the day, and even now, the weight of the book in my hands; the feel and smell of the pages as I turn them; immersing myself in the words and the story, entering a funny, or a scary or a puzzling world is such a pleasure. Getting the scoop on the life of an historical figure or a take on a current issue or event can be eye-opening. I love being introduced to engaging characters and getting caught in the thickening plot in the fictional world. The nonfiction genre provides a different feeling. They can anger us, comfort us, surprise us and empower us. Gaining knowledge, inspiring passion, the gratification of a story well told, how can it get any better than that? A life without reading would be a very bleak one indeed.

But for me, a life without writing would be an incomplete one. A lot of the feelings I get and the things that I want to achieve come through me putting pen to paper and fingers to keys. When I write, I escape into the world in which I’m creating. It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling. And while I’m primarily a nonfiction writer dealing with facts and figures, it’s still a creative process. It’s a very personal endeavor with a specific goal.

To spend so much time thinking about a book, researching it, bringing it to reality and doing what it takes to get it out to readers is a great deal of hard work and effort. It can be a long journey, but definitely a worthwhile one. Seeing that shiny new book of mine at the end of the process fills me with pride. Even better is that, in my case, my books help people. There’s nothing better than that.

So, back to the question that prompted this blog. A reader or writer, which would I rather be? It’s a tough choice for sure. While I could live without one, I don’t want to. And because these words and this particular piece are my own creations, do I have to choose? I say no. For as long as I’m able, I’ll continue to be the avid reader that I’ve always been. And I’ll still write. And then I’ll read what I wrote! It’s a win-win.