Monday, 3 March 2014

Author Interview : Lisa Temple

Today I am featuring Author Lisa Temple as a part of a virtual tour of her new book 'Illuminating Gracie'
She is Here with us and we will be having a lot of chit-chat but first let me introduce you to her

Lisa Temple

Lisa C. Temple is a lifetime resident of Montgomery, Alabama where she lives with her husband Dana, with whom she has a 21-year-old son, Temp. She is a graduate of Huntingdon College and Jones School of Law. Illuminating Gracie is her debut novel.


Sanchit Bhandari

  • Welcome to my blog and first of all please let me congratulate you for the grand success of your book. How does it feel like being such a successful Author and getting so many positive reviews

  • Thank you so much for having me – I am delighted to be here. I guess there are so many more successful authors out in the world, that its hard to feel like a grand success in terms of blockbuster sales. However, I do feel like a success in that so many readers have connected with “Illuminating Gracie,” and particularly with its main character – Gracie Bennett. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t get an email or note from someone saying that something about Gracie touched them – or reminded them of some part of their own life. That is success to me and I feel incredibly blessed.
  • Were you expecting this success while you were writing this book? or Did it came as a surprise

  • Absolutely not. I had no intention of releasing “Illuminating Gracie,” into the world. I wrote the book for my father and mother. Only after I let a few people – including my brother – read it, did I change my mind. They kept telling me that I just had to publish it. Finally I gave in.
  • In Your very first novel You have combined spiritual, paranormal, fantasy and young adult genre to craft such a beautiful novel. How did You make this impossible task possible with such florid clarity?

  • Wow – thank you so much for such a wonderful compliment. I wish I had an answer for you, but I really don’t. I know what I believe. I believe the Lord was with me every step of the way and with every word I wrote. There’ve been times I’ve read parts of the book and thought, “I don’t remember writing this,” lol – I can tell you this, I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life, as I was that I was suppose to write “Illuminating Gracie.”
  • You mentioned in Your summary “If you liked ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Hunger Games’, you will love the story of Gracie” how were You so confident about the success of this book?

  • I think that was just a piece of “wishful thinking,” lol To be honest, I’ve regretted that statement many times – mainly because everyone’s taste is different. I do believe that Gracie is a loveable and unique heroine and that she brings something different to young adult novels – complete honesty. I loved Twilight – absolutely loved it. But, if I’m being honest I would have to say that Bella’s character was not my favorite because I didn’t think she was all that believable. One thing I can say about Gracie is she is 100% honest because she came from my own memories and she was born from my own youthful insecurities. Every time I got stuck with her, I would just ask myself – how would I have felt at that age, and that’s what I wrote. Now people may not always like her – they might find her too insecure – and that’s fine. They can’t find her dishonest though – no way.
  • You have named each chapter of the book with an appropriate song title. Tell us something about it.

  • The song titles were a nod to my husband – as was Gracie’s love of Black Sabbath. He is a 50 year old metal head – and, well . . . its not my favorite type of music. He was so patient during the writing of the book I decided to throw the Black Sabbath in for him – and then the song titles for chapters just kind of flowed from there.
  • Are You a plotter or a Pantser? How did it affect the course of the story?

  • I am most definitely – let me repeat . . . most definitely a pantser. I never knew what was going to happen to Gracie until it came out on the end of my pencil – which by the way is the way I wrote the book. I wrote it long hand on legal pads first and then typed it. I would do a couple of chapters, stop and type it and then go back to writing. I’m so happy I did, too, because about 30,000 words in, my computer crashed and I lost everything. I’m not very organized, so I hand to dig to find them, but I finally came up with the handwritten version! Now I do two things: I back up everything obsessively and I keep my handwritten notes in a special place.
  • The book has Grace fighting against a demon in the world and her inner demons. Which is tougher of the two fights and more gruesome?

  • Great question! For me, I’d have to say the inner demons are the toughest. I’ve fought some real battles in my life – battles I’d not want to face again. I think it depends on the person, but for Gracie and for me – our inner demons are tougher and they fight dirtier!
  • Describe the characters 5 words each.

  • Gracie/Mrs. B.: clever, damaged, funny, sarcastic, hurt Merc/Willem: yummy!, deep, conflicted, loyal, brave Locke: shifting (but not shifty), insecure, beautiful, proud, impetuous Lochedus: of course he is Locke – but, in “Illuminating Gracie,” Lochedus is going through some profound emotions not typical for an angel. These doubts and fears change the angel and in a sense “create” Locke – the human. As a fully-vested angel, Lochedus would be brave, strong, glorious, loyal, Godly Gracie/Mrs.B. and Merc/Willem – they are one in the same with their alter ego, but where they are in their life decides which characteristics are dominant.
  • In the book we see the old lady getting another opportunity “to do it all again..” if You got the same chance what are the changes that You would like to make?

  • The motivation for writing the book was the desire to go back in time and appreciate my parents more. I put my parents through a great deal of pain in my young years. My father was a recovering alcoholic (he quit drinking at 35), and he warned me time and time again not to mess with alcohol. I chose to ignore his advice and as a result battled alcohol addiction through much of my 20’s. Thankfully I was able to put that problem behind me, but not the personality that caused me to have addiction issues of other kinds, as well. It took many years and a lot of pain to come to grips with the personality defect in me that caused me to gravitate toward things that were bad for me. Everything I went through was gone through by my parents as well – particularly my father. When I had to face the fact that I was going to lose him, I was wracked with guilt over the years I had caused him pain and I wished for a do-over so that I could learn from his mistakes rather than insisting on making my own.
    In reality, I believe the Lord put “Illuminating Gracie,” on my heart as a way to deal with losing my father. I took care of him throughout his last illness (Lou Gehrig’s Disease – ALS) and it was a difficult, difficult time. Writing became my safe harbor. He died in January of 2013. “Illuminating Gracie” was published a few months afterward. I couldn’t just go to bed with depression and that was a gift. If I hadn’t had the book, I probably would have fallen completely apart when he died. I believe in this way, “Illuminating Gracie” was my father’s final gift to me.
  • This story is about the growing up of Grace. How much of it has resemblance of You growing up?

  • While some of the details are different between Gracie and me, the heart and soul is the same. I was not a military “brat,” nor was I shy. I had a wonderful, almost idyllic childhood – so in that way I am different than Gracie. But, the way Gracie thinks – her insecurities – even her sarcastic personality is 100% me. Friends that have read the book recognize it immediately. Gracie’s issues with her weight are taken straight from my own problems as a teenage. I was never more than 5 or 10 pounds overweight, but I felt like it was 100 pounds. I look back at pictures now and they confuse me. I was so embarrassed and insecure about my looks and there was no reason to be. That is a very important message I want to pass on to young women through the book. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Society has created such unreasonable expectations for young women through magazines, television and the movies. Girls think if they aren’t a size 2 then something is wrong with them. Self-assuredness is attractive – confidence is attractive. Some of the prettiest women I’ve ever known were not that physically perfect by today’s standards. They all had one thing in common: they thought they were beautiful and they had a light shining from within them. I want so badly to pass on this message to young women: Let your light shine! Find that light within you and burn it bright!
  • Could you describe to us the journey of writing this book? The parts you enjoyed the most, as well as the parts that were difficult?

  • The journey of writing “Illuminating Gracie,” was a time of discovery for me and a time a pain. From the first words of the book, I realized I had finally found what I’d been searching for my whole life. I’ve never written anything – except for school, for a test or something. It seems impossible to say that at 50 years old I had never written any fiction before but its true. So, writing I.G. was about discovering the great love of my life. I love vocabulary, I love phrasing and playing with words and using alliteration, metaphors, similies – all the things I learned in 12th grade English and never used again. I found these things all over again. And then, of course, a great deal of the book was written while caring for my father, so it was a time of pain, as well. And after publishing, the journey has continued with meeting people from all over and that has been incredibly rewarding and exciting!
  • Thank You for being with us today

  • Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate this opportunity so much and I ask that you and your readers feel free to contact me and let me know how you like the book. I love talking to fellow readers and I like getting to know people from all over the world!

Illuminating Gracie

As an old woman's lifeless body lies on a cold stone floor, her soul stands before an angel who offers her a miraculous opportunity: the chance to do it all again. But that is easier said than done. In order to change the path her life has taken, she must put aside years of self-loathing and pain, so she can help the young girl she once was become the woman she should have been.
At 17 years old, Grace Bennett is a bitter young woman. Though blessed with a loving family, looks and brains to spare, she hides her light under a bushel, spending most of her time in the darkness of her mind with little more than sarcasm and self-pity to keep her company.

But things are about to change for Grace. While delivering food for her family's bed and breakfast, she turns onto a desolate dirt road and drives straight into her destiny.

It's on this isolated country lane that the damaged girl meets a strangely familiar old couple and two mysterious young men. Together the group fights the demons that surround Grace, and they teach her what it means to let her light shine.

"Illuminating Gracie" is, at once, a metaphorical tale of the fight between good and evil and a spiritual saga of one girl's journey from darkness into the light. If you liked "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games," you will love the story of Gracie.

Praise For Illuminating Gracie

Illuminating Gracie is a good young adult fantasy. It grabbed my interest from the beginning and flowed well. Lisa C. Temple’s writing is easy to read and I enjoy her sense of humor.
Dawn(Goodreads review)

This is a can't put it down novel that is packed full of supernatural adventure and action, written in a down to earth style that will leave you anxiously awaiting this authors next book. I certainly hope there is one, and soon!
James Lorraine (Amazon Review)

I could not put the book down. Every page brought a new twist and you couldn't wait to see what happened next. The book was recommended to me by a friend and I'm so glad she did. I have now passed it down to my daughter who can't seem to stop reading it. Amazing writing, amazing characters and an amazing story! I do hope there will be another one not to far behind!
D.Knowles (Amazon Review)

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