by Regina Richards
Lisa Fenley writes Paranormal/Urban Fantasy under the very cool pen name, Fenley Grant. Sheís been a member of RWA for five years and a NTRWA member for two and a half years. A life-long writer, Lisa has been married for 18 years. She has a seventeen year old son, a fourteen year old daughter, and two greyhounds, Luca and Lilly. Lisa is currently serving as NTís Secretary (Thanks Lisa!).
Lisa, we canít wait to learn more about you, so letís get straight to it.
Please share a little about where you are now in your writing journey.
Thirteen works in progress (a goal is to actually finish the DA#* book.)
I want to traditionally publish. I donít have the confidence, energy or skill set to self-publish, plus, hello, Iím an EXTREME INTROVERT!
My goal is to make PRO or PAN by the next RWA conference. Iíd like to attend their specialized sessions. Iíve been to the last five RWA conferences and I feel a pang of jealousy when I see the boards for their workshops.
Contests: Won the GDRWA Between the Sheets contest for Breeders, placed third in Yosemite RWAís The Smooch contest for Breeders, placed third for paranormal for our Great Expectations contest for Recurve, received honorable mention for Alaska RWAís break-up contest for Recurve, and finaled in the Put Your Heart in a Book contest for Recurve (donít know if I placed or not yet).
How has being a writer changed the way you experience the world?
My husband would tell you that I people watch WAY too much. Iím always looking for interesting characters.
When you arenít writing, what is your favorite way to relax and recharge?
I read (of course), garden, sew (I quilt, but havenít done it in a while), walk, listen to music and swim.
Stories usually have multiple tipping points. Have there been any memorable tipping points in your life or writing journey that you care to share?
My dad was in the army until I was ten years old. I learned to stick close to family, because while everything else around you changed, your family didnít. I am an extreme introvert and I think this experience growing up explains part of that trait.
I was short and small until about the age of seventeen. (I started high school at four feet, 11 inches, and 77 pounds) I think the late-bloomer experience gave me an empathy for those who feel ďless thanĒ. I still feel that way at times.
I waited to write until I felt I had the time to do it. I have a child with high-functioning autism who needed my help on a constant basis. Five years ago I decided my sanity was equally important, so I began to write in earnest.
I am a Girl Scout leader and was a Cub Scout leader. All of my scout leader friends find it hysterical that I write paranormal romance.
What is your go-to solution for writerís block?
Reading favorite authors who do particular things well. I dissect how they do what they do. (Example: Ilona Andrewsí world builds exceptionally well, JR Ward writes great Alpha males, etc.)
Plotter or Pantser?
Total pantser. I tried outlining and bored myself with my own work. I know how my book starts and how it ends and I know the key events that happen in the middle (thank you, Heather Long), but thatís as close as I get to an outline. I write the dreaded synopsis when Iím done. This is also why I have thirteen books in partially complete stages.
If you could go on vacation with one of your characters, who would you choose?
Rhiannon Lewis from Gossamer. She travels to Scotland and visits the Isle of Skye. My maiden name is Lewis and we are part of the MacLeod clan. The clan seat is Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye. Iíve been to other parts of Scotland, but not Skye.
Is there a favorite mantra or quote that inspires you?
My kids would tell you that my favorite quote is ďIt is what it isĒ because I hate belly-aching about things you canít change (in their cases, homework).
My former boss would say itís ďIs this a hill worth dying for?Ē
What would the other members of NT be surprised to know about your past or present life?
My uncle gave me a copy of Pride and Prejudice for my tenth birthday. Itís the book that started my love of romance. Jane Austen rocks.
I was a squad leader on my high school drill team. We were national champions.
I was a district HR director for AT&T Wireless before I had kids.
I presented at the national AQP (Association for Quality and Productivity) conference two years in a row.
I was President of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Society for Training and Development.
I attended kindergarten in Okinawa, Japan.
Iíve lived in Florida, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Okinawa, Texas (3 separate times: El Paso, San Antonio, and Southlake), Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, Kansas, and Virginia.
Any writing eccentricities you care to share?
I donít think I do anything odd. Well, odd for a writer.
I do have an unusual attachment to semi-colons and the word Ďasí, however. Robin Nelson, my critique partner, will attest to my fondness for these.
Oh, I also have a book map on an excel spreadsheet for each book. It lists, by chapter, the time frame, setting, purpose for the chapter, characters in the chapter, emotions I want to convey, and the playlist song affiliated with that chapter.
If we popped in on you during your writing time, where would you be and what would we see?
I purchased a desk years ago that I intended to use as my writing spotómy son took it over for homework purposes, so I write in my family room or my dining room.
I use my laptop to write, but edit longhand.
My writing uniform is yoga pants (I own four pairs of black yoga pants) and a t-shirt.
My dogs follow me into whichever room I choose that day to write, which is good because they force me to get up on occasion and stretch.
I have a playlist for each book, with about one song per chapter that exemplifies the mood Iím trying to achieve. My musical taste is an odd mish-mash, but mostly classic rock, heavy metal and alternative. No country and no Rap. Ever.
I am the Queen of Files. I have a file box per book, where I keep all drafts / edits / research related to that book. I also have a Pinterest page per book.
I drink a lot of coffee (two with caffeine, and then I have to switch to decaf. Boo.)
Robin Nelson is my critique partner and we try to meet every Thursday and get a study room at the Grapevine Library. It helps to get out of the home routine sometimes.
If you could invite two writers (living or dead) to share a retreat, who would you invite?
Jane Austen, because she was before her time. Iíd want to meet her family and see her environs to better understand her as a person.
Ilona Andrews (and this is a cheat, because Ilona Andrews is a pen name for a husband and wife team) because Iíve seen interviews with them and they are hysterical (especially her.) I would want to go to a Con with them to see them interact with the other attendees and see what makes them tick. If I could siphon off their talent, I would.
If you could travel in time (and be back in time for dinner), who and what would you want to see?
Iíd like to travel to 1400 Scotland to see what life in the Highlands was really like, because little research exists on daily life and I need details for my book Breeders. I am a stickler for historical accuracy.
If weíre talking a person Iíd like to meet, it would be Eleanor of Aquitaine. Definitely a powerhouse and a woman with whom one did not mess. Iíd love to watch her in action. Sheís a side character in one of my many unfinished books.
Anything else youíd like to tell us about yourself?
Iíve already said too much!
Lisa, thanks so much for agreeing to be the NTRWA Spotlight for OCTOBER 2014!
Sharing about yourself and your writing journey gives all the members of NTRWA a chance to get to know you better and deepens our sense of community. We truly appreciate your willingness to step into the Spotlight!