Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A talk with Lisa Norato about her new book! (Interview & Giveaway)

Posted by Katie Garvin at 5:00 AM
As I promise yesterday, I will announce the winner of the Contentment Reading Challenge giveaway! She (wonderful, quick responder that she is) has already gotten back to me with the book she's selected. Who is she? Well, the winner is...

Charity Lyman

Congratulations, Charity!! As I said, she's already selected which book she would like to receive, and that book is....Honor Redeemed by Loree Lough!! Be haunting your mailbox next week, Charity! ;-)

Katie: Lisa, welcome to Legacy of a Writer! To start off this interview, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Lisa: First, I’d like to thank you, Katie, for inviting me. Your blog seems to embrace and celebrate the joy of reading and writing, and that’s s something I really relate to. I hail from a line of close-knit Italians who love God, good food and lots of it. Honestly, I’m a bit of a homebody; I’ve lived in Rhode Island my entire life, close to its beautiful coast and surrounded by the area’s rich history.

Katie: That sounds like me -- a homebody! Ain't no place like home! ;-) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Who or what inspired you?

Lisa: It wasn’t until I was “forced” to try my hand at creative writing while in college that I discovered the joy of it. Still, the concept of writing an entire novel seemed too terrifying and awesome a task, and it wasn’t until many years later that I felt a nudging from the Lord to give it a try. That was the beginning of Prize of My Heart, which has gone through years of evolving and rewriting to become the book it is today. In between, I wrote 3.5 manuscripts—two of which were published after sighing with my agent, Mary Sue Seymour, who I met at a writer’s conference.

Katie: That's great! So you mentioned two previous published books...how many books have you published total? What are their names, and who are they published by?

Lisa: Prize of My Heart is my inspirational debut, but I’ve also written two previous novels published by Five Star Publishing—I Only Want to Be with You, a contemporary romantic comedy in which a NY magazine editor falls for an English vicar and Where Eagles Fly, a western time-travel.

Katie: And how do you get the inspiration for your book, Prize of My Heart?

Lisa: I’m influenced by my love of seafaring novels and having always lived just a short drive from the sea with all its mystique and folklore. The character of Captain Brogan Talvis came to me as a man searching for his precious, lost son—a man who valued family above all else, because he’d never belonged to one of his own. I was reminded of the Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac and started to think, what if Brogan were forced to choose between his greatest love and obeying God?

Katie: Oh, I hadn't realized the connection between Abraham and when he offered Isaac for a sacrifice--but I see it now. Very neat! Looking back over the book, what scene would you say was your favorite?

Lisa: That’s a really hard question, because I can think of several, all for different reasons, but the first that comes to mind is the scene where young Drew is introduced. Brogan is very serious in his mission and what he’s come to Duxboro to do, but when I stepped into Drew’s character suddenly the tone turned comedic. And when Drew did what he did…well, it shocked me as much as I hope it does readers.

Katie: Ah, yes, that was quite a surprise for me, too! What was the hardest scene/part to write?

Lisa: By far, the sailing scenes were the hardest to write. Nineteenth-century navigation was very complex—at least it was to me—with so many things to keep in mind at once—the sails and rigging, winds and direction, plus all the seafaring terminology. The research made my head swim, and I wondered how I would ever make sense of it all. It impressed me with an even deeper respect for sea captains of that era.

Emmy Rossum as Lorena
Katie: I agree with you there--whenever I read a book that has the seafaring terminology...I get so lost! :-P What do you hope your readers will get out of the story? Is there a message to this book?

Lisa: I hope readers receive a positive, inspiring message that even though we might not see a way for our troubles to work out, God has a way and a plan for our futures. He can take what others might have meant for our harm and turn it around for good.

Katie: That is so very true! If Prize of My Heart was turned into a movie, which actors do you think would best portray what you imagined for your main characters, Brogan and Lorena? Can you describe a few main physical features that they have?

Lisa: I love this question! Lorena has an innocence and grace to her that shines through her physical person. She’s tall, slender with big brown eyes and a long, sweeping cloud of gingery brown curls. I see Lorena as Emmy Rossum as she appeared in Phantom of the Opera (one of my favorite movies, btw) and especially in the way her character was portrayed having deep compassion and a devotion to her father.

Brogan handsomeness is derived from his sharp, rugged features, the strength of his jaw and the confidence in his eyes. His sandy hair is longer than was considered fashionable at the time (for reasons to be discovered when reading the story). My perfect Brogan would be the actor Philip Winchester, especially in the way he portrayed Crusoe, with his strength and optimism and bravery in the short-lived (unfortunately!) television series.

Katie: Perfect! Yes, I can definitely see Emmy Rossum playing Lorena. I loved her in Phantom of the Opera!! What are you writing right now? Any upcoming releases we should keep our eye out for?

Lisa: I’m currently working on another federal-era, Duxbury, Massachusetts, romance between a retired, sea-captain’s daughter and a lighthouse keeper. This one is a touch gothic, set within a large seaside mansion whose inhabitants continue to be affected (in Rebecca fashion) by the lingering influence of its deceased mistress.

Philip Winchester as Brogan
Katie: Gothic, eh?? Sounds neat!! Here’s a fun question I wanted to throw in: If you could pick any historical figure from history to chat with, whom would it be and why? (Besides Jesus! ;-)

Lisa: I would love sit down to tea and talk writing with Jane Austen. Or if she wasn’t available, with Daphne DuMaurier. And if not, then maybe the Bronte sisters. . . .

Katie: Jane Austen is a good pick! Do you like to read as much as you like to write? Who is your favorite author?

Lisa: Absolutely! Reading was my first love way before writing came along. My favorites were horse stories as a child. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I enjoy reading a variety of fiction, non-fiction and classics, though I’m always waiting for the next Mary Higgins Clark release. Currently, I’m reading a non-fiction book called Angels Are for Real by Judith MacNutt, but some of my most recent reads have been The Road to Deer Run by Elaine Marie Cooper, Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings, and Before the Scarlet Dawn by Rita Gerlach. Next up is a nonfictional 1817 narrative of American merchant and captain, Amasa Delano. My TBR pile is ever-growing.

Katie: A great selection of books! Awesome! Aside from writing, what takes up most of your time?

Lisa: I work full-time as legal assistant at a firm where I’ve been employed for nearly 22 years.

Katie: Really? Wow, that sounds neat! Anything else about writing, yourself, or your books you’d like to add? Where can readers find out more about your books?

Lisa: Thank you, Katie! I’ve really enjoyed this interview and, in closing, would like to invite readers to visit my website at www.lisanorato.com or connect with me on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you!

Also, more information about Prize of My Heart can be found at the Bethany House website at www.bakerbooks.com.

Katie: Thank you, Lisa, for stopping by my blog and doing this fun interview. AND for doing a giveaway!! *grin* Yep, that's right readers, see below how you can enter for a chance to win Prize of My Heart.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Patty said...

Katie, thanks for the great interview! I love to learn a little more about the authors behing the stories.


Patty said...

I left the comment before I saw the question! I guess I don't read YA fiction, so I can't really answer that...

Barbara Shelton said...

Hello, I enjoyed your interview with Lisa and think her perception about Abraham and Isaac is very keen. Great thoughts and I'm looking forward to reading Lisa's writing, as I've not seen it before. Thanks for this giveaway and the chance to win a great read.

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

misskallie2000 said...

1. What do you think is lacking in the world of YA fiction today?
2. What do we need to write more of?
3. What kind of book do you wish were popular?

1. I think we need more positive, inspiring message's in YA fiction.

2. I think more books about family and friends with positive messages are needed.

3. More clean wholesome books without sex scenes and cursing. And why sex is not the answer to teen problems.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Carl said...

I don't think there are a lot of areas being under-represented in YA fiction. Personally I prefer more contemporary stuff and less paranormal but all-in-all the genre seems pretty well-rounded to me.

Lisa Norato said...

Patti and Barbara, thanks for stopping by with your comments!

Unfortunately, I don't read YA either, so I don't feel qualified to answer those questions. I will have to defer to Carl...

Vera said...

Having already raised my family of 5 (who have mostly raised their kids), I don't read much YF. However, what I see on the shelves - even in Christian book stores - scares me. We certainly need less of the fantasy. Less of the science fiction - absolute scary unrealistic stuff. We need more that involves tantalizing the mind with problem solving, moral compass stories, realistic hero characters.

Would like to win this book and think it might be a good addition to our Christian school's library.

godleyv at yahoo dot com

Dawn said...

I think that YA fiction needs to be targeted to what kids are actually dealing with, but there's no need for a bunch of sex. I think that kids need to know that not every book needs to have romance(sex) but that adventure and soul searching are ok too.

Beth said...

Personally, I think that young adult fiction needs less of the romantic love triangle fad that seems to be going on. It's overdone. I don't necessarily think there is a lack of this, but it always makes me happy when I read a young adult novel that deals with the main character growing in some way that doesn't have to entirely depend on a love interest storyline, if that makes any sense! :)

Casey said...

Oooh, great character/actors! That hero is one of my favorite historical movie actors. ;-)

Have to enter to win this one, it looks great!

Faye said...

Awesome interview! This book looks so cool. Thank you, ladies :)
For YA fiction, I think it's important that it be clean,with plenty of action, and a theme. A compelling relatable main character that the reader can see themself in, is always a HUGE plus!

Thank you! I'll have to beg my library to get this book!

Faye said...

Oh, I didn't see the second question till now...oops!
I wish that westerns for guys were more in vogue. My dad and brothers love Westerns, about guys who are like Roy Rogers. I think that there need to be more westerns for men :)

Abbi Hart (gatorade635) said...

Not sure what else YA writers could be doing, there are a decent amount of good ones out there already. Thanks for the giveaway!

Merry said...

I love seafaring novels and Pirate of My Heart sounds like a perfect blend of the sea, adventure and romance.

Merry said...

Answer to question... opps! I think YA fiction needs to be mature in the sense of something that will help a YA to stretch and grow.

Hayden said...

I'm not a huge reader of YA fiction- mainly because I don't like much of the stuff out there! Less paranormal would be nice. Even in Christian YA I just don't find a lot of characters who have the same values that I do, so if there were books with heroes/heroines that believed what i do...

oh, that would be awesome :)

Sarah H said...

I always love learning about new books and authors.

Marie Burton said...

Great interview! I lovvveee the cover of this book, would love to read it!

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

I am a huge reader of YA, and I think a market that is seriously undervalued, or underexplored, is GOOD Christian YA. There's a decent amount of clean secular YA, but there's not much in the Christian market. And what is tends to be put-offish, in that it's overtly preachy...So I definitely think this is an area that has a lot of growth-potential :o)

Sandi Coughlin said...

I would love to win this book

Kim F said...

I don't know alot about YA fiction, but I would think all youth need more stories that have a strong Christian base with good morals for them to emulate

karenk said...

i enjoy YA fiction...the message of the novel is important to me.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Rachelle Rea said...

Katie, your interviews are always such fun!

What a beautiful cover on this one...with an even more beautiful cover between the pages. :)

Thanks for the opportunity to enter this giveaway! (biblioprincess15 (at) yahoo (dot) com)

Rachelle Rea said...

Ohhhh, I just clicked through on the Rafflecopter and found the question! Okay...

I think that I've just recently discovered how much I enjoy YA books. I've stuck with historical romances for a while now and am newly falling in love with these "younger" books that seem to hold so much substance, to my surprise and delight! So I think that I don't have a good answer to what there needs to be more of, because I feel like I've just stumbled into a treasure trove I didn't know existed! :)

Watson (Rosie) said...

As a young adult reader and writer, I would love to see more suspense/thriller/romance books out there that are appropriate for young Christian readers. I don't want to see romance as the "plot" of the novel. I'd rather see it as a side plot woven into the main plot.
Hope this helps!
Rosie from FL

Rina said...

Thanks for sharing the interview and hosting the giveaway. I love the cover and this is definitely on my TBR list.
I wish YA lit would focus more on positive, upbeat ideas, more on the world and less on the self-centeredness (is that word?) of teens. Adults aren't all bad and high school romance doesn't (usually) last. So why bother and go through the heartbreak later?

Sierra said...

Great giveaway! It sounds like an interesting book and I just love the cover! I don't think that there is to much missing from YA, today. I would like to see more Christian themes and maybe a little less vampire...but I'm really enjoying all the Dystopian books there are out there :) Sierra
Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Cause You Are!)

Heather Murphy said...

Great interview! This book looks good :)

Heather Murphy said...

I miss the wholesome lifelesson books of young adult fiction like Judy Blume :)

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