LISA TAWN BERGREN is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 40 books, with more than 2.5 million copies sold. Her most recent works includes a YA series called River of Time (Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, Bourne & Tributary), God Gave Us Easter, a devotional called Upside-Down Prayers for Parents and the Grand Tour Series (Glamorous Illusions, Grave Consequences, and Glittering Promises). She’s currently at work on a new YA series called Remnants, coming out in 2014.
Lisa’s time is split between managing home base, writing, and working on ducks with her husband, Tim (RMrustic.com). Tim’s a worship leader, graphic designer and duck-sculptor. They have three kids–Olivia (18), Emma (15) and Jack (10).
The Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Visit her website!
Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?
Lisa: Thanks, Anne Elisabeth. I'm a wife and mother of three living Colorado Springs, CO. I've written and published about fifty books, in all kinds of genres, from children's picture books to adult spiritual suspense novels. I love to hike and dine with friends and watch movies. Oh, and coffee, every morning. But I love a good iced tea in the afternoon or a steaming cuppa Earl Gray with scones.
What led you in to the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? How did you get into publishing?
Lisa: I always adored reading and writing as a secondary love. In college, I interned for a publishing house and then after college, I got a job in marketing with a Christian publishing house--and on that same day, they offered me a contract on my novel! It was sort of a Christmas-in-October kind of day.
Tell us a little about your work! You have a long and versatile career. What was your debut story and how did it come about?
Lisa: I thought it'd be cool to be an author but it felt like a far-off dream. No "normal people" I knew set out to be a published author. Then a friend of a friend published a Harlequin romance and I thought, "I could do that!" the simple structure of a romance was all I needed to give it a whirl. Long-story-short, that turned into my first contemporary romance, and when I presented it to a publisher, it was scooped up, and did really well. At the time, there just weren't many contemporary romances out in the Christian market. That helped me seal a corner of the market and led to all sorts of publishing deals in the future. God is good! To date I've written contemporary romance, historical women's fiction, medieval spiritual suspense, genre fiction, and of late, YA, including time travel and dystopian.
Now I'd love to hear about the River of Time series.Waterfall is the first in this set of stories. How did the idea for this series come to you? Did it turn out as you originally expected, or did it grow into something more?
Lisa: River of Time is my time travel series, about two girls who time-travel back to medieval Italy. I really wrote it for my daughters--both reluctant readers--and tried to incorporate all the elements that ever drew them to the few books they'd read and loved--epic romance and lots of action.
Deluge is the newest book in this series. Did it present any interesting challenges compared to the other novels?
Lisa: I held off on writing it for a long time, because it takes place during the Black Plague, and I just wasn't ready to go there with my characters. It's pretty excruciating taking beloved charaacters through extremely hard circumstances, which happens in pretty much any good novel--but the Black Plague? A third of people in towns and cities died. I knew that to write it, I'd have to let some of my characters succumb to the disease. But I warned my readers to have Kleenex nearby as they read it, and they seem to be weathering it all right.
Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel?
Lisa:Evangelia really comes into her own in Deluge. It really became her story, in many ways, and Gabi--who'd hogged the spotlight in the first four books, because she's such a force of nature--took a step backward. I loved watching Lia grow and struggle and grow some more.
What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Lisa: Time and space outside. Listening to nonfiction audio books. The wheels then begin turning again .. .
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
Lisa: Favorite: Starting on page one! Everything's new! Possible!
Least favorite: Editing my fourth or fifth draft. By that time, I'm usually really, really sick of a book.
If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?
Lisa: I didn't miss the word "forced." It's really a tough question, since I read so widely. But I'd prboably have to go back to the classics and choose C.S. Lewis.
What are you actively writing right now?
Lisa: Well, I'm SUPPOSED to be writing the third book in my Remnants series. It's due in January. Better hop to it!
Would you share a short snippet from Deluge?
Lisa: Sure! Here you go . . .
“Marcello,” I said, under my breath.
“She’s here, somewhere,” my husband returned. “You must wait, Gabriella. The doge has something up his sleeve, as you say. We simply must wait for him to reveal it.”
“If he doesn’t do it soon, I believe I shall retrieve my sword and begin tearing through the Palazzo Ducale—and anyone who stands in my way—until I find her.”
“That,” he said, casting me a loving look, “would not go over well. And you want to meet these mysterious kin, do you not?”
“Then play his game.”
“How do we play a game when we are not aware of the rules?”
“We discern the rules as we play it.”
I stifled a sigh and forced a smile as a lady beside us curtsied and the man next to her bowed. We could hear the twittering as we passed, the crazy whispers of our prowess in battle, the rumors that I was with child, the thought that I was liable to give birth to a werewolf, half man-child, half-wolf. Some wondered over my beauty, seeming surprised that the rumors were true. Others thought I looked more like a man than a woman, given my great height.
It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before. I was used to it, in cities, in villages, where dramatic stories were the centerpiece of every evening’s public gathering and much of the gossip shared through the day. And I hadn’t exactly lived a quiet, casual life here in Italia, so this was the logical outcome. I had what I needed at Castello Forelli—all the people I loved best, who truly knew and loved me in return. But some of it still stung a little, as much as other portions made me smile.
People would talk; there was no controlling them. All I could control were my own actions. We came to a stop beside other nobles when we reached the base of the watch tower outside the Palazzo Ducale. Eventually, it would become the brick campanile, or bell tower, that was part of the famous Venetian skyline, but now it was a bit shorter, with a wooden spire on top, apparently used to keep tabs on the flow of traffic in the lagoon—sort of like a medieval aircraft control tower. But, you know, for boats.
I looked up with the others, and around to the front of San Marco, the old basilica, with her war-plundered bronze horses at the top center. What was the fuss all about? What were they expecting? Everyone was staring upward, toward the tower, as if anticipating something to emerge there. Was that where they were going to set off the fireworks?
Mom and Dad arrived behind us. “Where is she?” I whispered, knowing they’d be as anxious as we were.
Luca arrived then too, not part of the announced gentry, given that he had no land of his own. He ran a hand through his hair.
“The dogaressa has been announced. But I cannot find Lia. Where could she be?”
A trumpet sounded above us and the rest of the crowd looked upward. I didn’t like the idea of that trumpeter being so close to the fireworks, but just then I saw a figure in white climb to the railing. With wings. She had huge wings on her back. Two men behind her attached a belt around her to a rope above. My eyes narrowed as I focused on the swooping rope, coming down at a steep angle to where it was anchored at the very center of the piazza. Then I looked back up the figure, who was taking a bow in hand and nocking an arrow.
“What are they doing?” Dad murmured. “The Flight of the Angel?”
“But it’s not Carnivale,” Mom protested, referring to the city- wide festival hosted each year.
“It doesn’t take a feast for the doge to put on a spectacle,” Dad said.
The figure shifted and a man with a torch approached her, setting the tip of her arrow on fire, illuminating her face, the hint of golden hair.
“Oh, no, no, no,” I said under my breath.Because the figure above us—so terrifyingly high above us— was my sister.
Thanks for featuring today, Lisa! It was great to learn more about you and your work.
Readers, Lisa is offering a generous giveaway, so be certain to enter your names in the form below. And feel free to leave questions and comments for Lisa. Have you read any of her work? Which of her stories have you most enjoyed?