Welcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with Lisa Meyer who writes under Lisa Diaz Meyer, from Wantagh, Long Island, New York. As we are practically neighbors, I met Lisa at an author signing at a local library this past summer.
Thanks for joining me, Lisa. Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.
I understand you have a short story collection that was recently released that is the second of a similar collection you published recently which also contains a continuing saga. Can you give me some details about them and your publishing history?
I have been published with Outskirts Press since April of 2015, ALL ROADS HOME: A Collection of Short Stories and recently this year in September 2016, with the sequel ALL ROADS DESTINED: A Collection of Dark Fiction and Poems.
ALL ROADS HOME is a collection of what I’d written throughout my life, short stories, essays, poems and stage plays. I consider myself a dark fiction writer, which doesn’t particularly mean only horror, I just appreciate an unhappy ending or a twist. I also choose to write about awareness issues and depression situations. In both of my books there’s a post-apocalyptic saga, called the Outposts. I’d never done that genre and wanted to give it a try.
In ALL ROADS DESTINED, the Outposts continue and will slowly slide into the science fiction genre, because I’d never tried that before either. There are short stories and poems at the end as well, that are again different in nature.
Right now, I’m working on my third and fourth installments of my ALL ROADS books that will include more Outpost stories, my usual, weird short stories and poems. I will be adding another saga-esque storyline in that leans toward dystopian. I hope they are as likeable as the Outposts.
For someone who has read and very much enjoyed your first book and who is looking forward to the follow-up collection and the continuation of the Outpost stories, I can say that you truly have a unique writing voice, Lisa.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
My goals as a writer are to be part of the literary world, not so much as pop culture. (Though, I’ll take it should it happen!) Perhaps some short stories and poems could be in a curriculum for high schools or colleges. Ya’ know how kids just love a Nathaniel Hawthorne story! (Although I did) Sorry, a little lit humor there but it’s actually what I’d like to see happen for some of my work. Required reading, what was the author trying to say, that type of thing. And for other works, maybe some will be considered camp. Right now, I’m just trying to get myself out there and noticed and hope that people like my writing style.
Very nice. I think most authors would agree that building a fan base is the most important thing; everything else will follow. You certainly have a good start and some interesting ideas.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
People who like something different. People who need a change from the norm. I want people to think. Readers who enjoy dark fiction, a little macabre and aren’t afraid of unhappily ever after’s. Someone who wants to hear the voices of the victim, the hero and villain.
As a librarian as well as an author, I like to expose myself to a variety of genres and other authors’ styles of writing. I guess that’s why I found yours a nice change of pace. As part of my job, I also edit the monthly staff picks at my library and like to feature debut authors as well as those from the New York Times bestseller’s list. I find that readers are always looking for new and distinctive voices.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Not to be afraid of indie or self-publishing. We’re a huge community. If that’s just not for you then just keep trying. Start a blog, make a you-tube channel for discussions, create a following on Twitter. Believe it or not, pre-book I was told I needed a “following” first. Sounds ridiculous. How does one get followed BEFORE the book? Social media. Don’t fight it. It’s a window, climb on in. It’s also time consuming and a numbers game but a breakthrough opportunity writers didn’t have before.
That’s so true. I self-published my first book, Cloudy Rainbow, but then was lucky enough to find a small publisher for my following novels. I know many self-published and Indie authors who do quite well. I believe there are more opportunities for authors today due to the proliferance of print-on-demand technology and ebooks. However, whether you self-publish or publish through a traditional publisher, you, the author, are still responsible for marketing and promoting your books in as many venues and media outlets as possible both on-line and in person. An author who doesn’t have a website, blog, or pages on Facebook and Twitter is like a job seeker today who doesn’t have a college degree. Your options are severely limited.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
My life! Ha! Actually, being a short story writer, I didn’t have enough material at first. So I had to write more, taking me off my time frame. Also… fear but I decided to stop that. It’s counterproductive and takes up more energy than you’d think.
Yes, fear can be quite debilitating. Everyone goes through it, but some people are better able to cope. You certainly seem like you’ve developed a way of combating the different fears a writer faces — fear of rejection, fear of criticism, even fear of success.
Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.
I’ve gone to writing groups maybe twice in my life but always stopped going after the first meeting. Too shy.
We have a writing group at Hicksville. I actually started it. They found a very good teacher to run it, but there are people who are still reticent about sharing their writing. Most authors are sensitive because the words they pen are often quite personal. Writing groups aim to be non-judgmental and their members are advised to only offer constructive criticism.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
Writing is always number one but there are many others. The theater; just before the play starts and those lights begin to dim, I am home. I crotchet. I paint abstract art. Photography. Abandoned places. Antiques. Reading my favorite authors. History. Science. I love to research things. Gardening. I get ideas to make something and I make them. I love to design things and decorate my house with them. Pretty much ANYTHING creative. Or anything spooky. Certain video games and promoting other indie’s (music, movies, writers and artists).
Wow, Lisa. You have a variety of interesting interests – lol.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
Right now, I love everything about being an author. It’s the only thing I ever wanted to be. The toughest challenge is marketing and patience.
Marketing is most author’s achilles heel. I know it’s mine, although I actually enjoy some parts of it.
Blog: Blah Blah Blog …ldmeyer.blogspot.com
Thanks, Lisa. I hope my readers connect with you. It’s been a pleasure having you in my author spotlight, and I wish you the best of luck with your books. I can’t wait to read your latest.