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Claire Templeton thought she had escaped the horror of life on Butcher Harbor after graduation from high school. Now an upcoming fashion designer in New York City, Claire has to put her bright future on hold and return to Butcher Harbor when her mother atempts to take her own life. Thrust back into the world she grew up in, her past catches up with her quicker than she hoped. As she expected, the ghosts of Templeton House have been waiting for her return, refusing to let her escape their grasp. Claire reluctantly returns to the Harbor, setting off a series of events that throw the town into turmoil and could possibly cost Claire her life.
TR: Lisa! How are ya doing? It’s great to have you on today!
LM: Thanks Thomas…I’m happy to be here
TR: I’m sure everyone is anxious to hear all about you, so let’s get rolling. How old were you when you wrote your first piece?
LM: Actually my story telling started on the playground in elementary school. I started to tell a friend some of the dreams I had been having. The next day there were two more students there wanting to know what I had dreamed about the night before. Then there were more students the day after that.
TR: One of the oldest traditions in the writing world – storytelling. What did you write back then?
LM: Mostly what I wrote when I was younger were poems and short stories. These were very morbid stories and my mother hated them. I have to admit a few of them I never finished because they creeped me out.
TR: Hmm…you might want to revisit those. Might be a market for a couple of them. How did you come about writing them?
LM: I don’t know. I was just given a very active imagination. It had to come out somewhere.
TR: I see – makes sense. What have you written since then?
LM: My first public venture was poetry contests. I won all kinds of awards but soon learned that they gave out these awards so that you would buy their anthologies. I was not a rich kid so after buying a few of these monstrous books I learned to submit the poems, take the award, but not buy the books. After a while I tired of this and stopped submitting poems.
The next thing I tried was a screenplay for Project Greenlight. To enter I had to agree to read other scripts and judge them. I read a lot of crap and one gem. My screenplay received mostly bad reviews then one said THIS IS YOUR WINNER! She said she had read a lot of crap, but this one was a gem. Yay! I learned from this experience to take criticism and learn from it.
TR: I think you just gave us a microcosm of the submission process for authors everywhere So, what was the inspiration for “House on Butcher Harbor?
LM: The Genesis song ‘Home by the Sea’ was the inspiration for House on Butcher Harbor. I listened to this song a lot and thought it would make a great book. A few years ago I dreamed an entire novel based on that story. Unfortunately I did not write it all down so when I decided to write the novel I had bad notes at best. But it all worked out.
TR: That’s one heckuva dream. Okay, tell us a little about your book, and where it’s available.
LM: My protagonist Claire thinks her town is insane because they think her house is haunted and hate her family because of it. Then at age nine she starts to see the ghosts the townsfolk talked about. Terrified of the ghosts, Claire flees the house when she graduates high school. She moves to New York City with her best friend Grace and they become fashion designers. Unfortunately, her mother, who had chosen the ghosts over Claire finally cannot take any more of them and tries to take her own life to shut them up. They want her to listen to their stories, but she needs a break and they won’t give it to her. Claire has to return to the house and face the ghost she ran away from. She tries to clear the ghost from the house but learns that there is something sinister keeping them there. This something sinister wants to keep her there too.
The book can be found as an e-book on amazon.com or https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/28921 , and other places for kindle, nook, barnes and noble. Printed versions of the book can be found on amazon.com and on goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10724650-house-on-butcher-harbor to name a few.
TR: Sounds fascinating! Tell me, is there a particular place or setting where you get your writing ideas?
LM: A lot of what I write comes from dreams. I have vivid, colorful dreams that are like going to the movies in my sleep. I love the adventures. Some of them are worthy of writing down. But I also have a knack for making a story out of nothing at all. For example my family and I took a tour of a cavern that you rode through on a boat. By the end of the tour I had told my oldest son how we could make a book out of the discovery of the cave and the aftermath of horror that came about because of it.
TR: Doesn’t sound as though you have any shortage of book ideas. Now, you’re an indie writer. What made you choose independent publishing?
LM: When I completed my book I started looking for agents and publishers. During the process of finding a publisher my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This is the same cancer that took the life of Steve Jobs. My mother was not expected to live. I wanted her to read my book- a printed book in her hands, not just a file I sent on my computer so I researched self-publishing and decided to use createspace.com to publish my book myself. My mother got to read the book and miraculously survived the cancer and will hopefully be around to read my next book Pirates Cove as well!
TR: I’m glad to hear your mom’s okay. My prayers for her continued health. So, if you had to choose the most important element in an author’s platform, what would it be?
LM: Thanks Thomas, I appreciate that. Social media is the wave of right now. There is no telling where this will go in the future, but facebook, tumblr, google+ and many others are great platforms to interface with readers. Then there are blogs. Anyone can have a blog for any reason. There are also author pages and readers groups. But the one platform I think most writers skip is youtube. I think we might be seeing more authors on youtube in the future. Who knows, you might find me there soon.
TR: Indeed, I’ve also seen a trend for videos from authors, and I think you might be right. Okay, time for brass tacks. What mistakes have you made in regards to publishing and marketing your work, and what will you do differently in the future?
LM: My cover has been my biggest challenge. I paid a company to do my cover and they gave me a flat, one dimensional shot of an ordinary house in an ordinary yard. Nothing about this house screamed HORROR at you. It was more Disney. I rejected it and they got upset with me but I pushed for the cover I have now. But when I went on createspace.com to publish my book I had to settle for a different cover with a hideous blue border. I hated it. It made me ashamed to show it to people. Your cover is your brand. It has to be right. Recently I submitted a second edition of my book with the cover I originally wanted and I finally fixed all the bugs that kept it from being accepted. It took a lot of work but was worth it. Now I have a cover I am proud of. I plan on doing the next cover myself. I know I can do better than what I have paid for in the past.
And my biggest learning curve was formatting. I say get the template and stick to it. I have wasted more time trying to figure out what they already have done for you. Use it. Formatting and I do not get along. But I have promised myself to learn how to do this well in the future. I will overcome this.
TR: Lisa, those are some of the best pieces of advice I’ve had on here, to date. Bravo! Without asking, I know you have an idea for your next book, right?
LM: There are so many ideas floating around in my head for books. However, my fans have spoken and requested a second book so that comes first. But then I want to write something different. Probably still a ghost story, just different.
TR: Sounds like a plan to me. As long as they ask for it, keep on giving it, eh? Lisa, it’s been a true pleasure, and I enjoyed it very much. Best of luck with “House on Butcher Harbor”, and with all your writing. Take care.
LM: Thanks Thomas, and also for having me on. I had fun.
That’s a wrap, folks! “House on Butcher Harbor” sounds spooky and scary…and don’t you want exactly that? Go get one, today!
Tune in Tuesday, when I talk with my dear friend Shannon McRoberts…