Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lisa Mangum Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview 

Lisa Mangum has loved and worked with books ever since elementary school, when she volumteered at the school library during recess. Her first paying job was shelving books at the Sandy Library. She worked for five years at Waldenbooks while she attended the University of Utah, graduating with honors with a degree in English. An avid reader of all genres, she has worked in the publishing department for Deseret Books since 1997.

Besides books, Lisa loves movies, sunsets, spending time with her family, trips to Disneyland, and vanilla ice cream topped with fresh raspberries. She lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy. She is the author of The Hourglass Door (which was named the 2009 YA Book of the Year by ForeWord Reviews) and the Golden Spiral.

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How would you describe yourself in three words?

Organized. Patience. Happy.

When did you first realized you wanted to be writer?

I think I always wanted to be a writer. My mom’s a writer, so I grew up with words and books and creativity. After high school, I took a little detour, though, and pursued a career in editing (which is still my current day job). In 2007-ish, my friends and I started a writing group and decided that we were done being “someday writers”—we were going to make a serious go of it and see what happened. For me, the Hourglass Door trilogy happened, and I haven’t looked back since.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written four full manuscripts and I like them all for different reasons. Hourglass Door has a special place in my heart because it was the first book I wrote and finished and had published. Golden Spiral has some of my favorite bits with Valerie and Zo. Forgotten Locket was a challenge to write and I felt such a great victory when I finished it and was so proud of how it turned out. I loved writing my new book because it was nice to have a new story to think about, a new world to play in, and it taught me a lot about dialogue and character development.

What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?

Thinking back, one of the first YA books I remember loving is Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen. I loved it so much I wrote to the author to tell her so—and she wrote me back! (I still have the letter.) Growing up, I read anything I could get my hands on, and I moved pretty quickly from early readers to adult fiction. I especially loved the fantasy genre (David Eddings, Robert Jordan, Tad Williams). I think it was combining those two loves—YA romance and fantasy—that gave Hourglass Door a unique twist.

Where do you get your information or ideas for The Hourglass Door Trilogy?

The main inspiration for the Hourglass Door trilogy was Dante’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy. I’d studied the poem in college and loved the story of Dante and Beatrice and when I decided to write a YA love story, I knew I wanted to draw my inspiration from there. Thinking about Dante’s poem got me thinking about Italy, and that got me thinking about da Vinci, and then I asked myself, “What if da Vinci built a time machine? And what if it worked?” After that, I was off to the races. The outline for the whole trilogy poured out of me in about a half an hour—names, relationships, snatches of dialogue—the whole thing came to me in one big clump of information. Then I spent the next several years writing it all down.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your characters?

I was surprised at how bossy some of them could be. Valerie especially. I had different plans for her character but she resisted me early on, demanding different scenes, better dialogue, more detailed relationships. But in a way, that was a lot of fun too, as she pushed me to be more creative in order to make her happy. And, as it turned out, she became a vital part of the entire trilogy. I’m so glad I didn’t follow my original plan and kill her off in book one.

Did you learn anything from writing The Hourglass Door Trilogy and what was it?

Yes! I learned so much from writing the trilogy. Hourglass Door taught me to follow my muse. It used to be that I’d write chronologically and when I ran into a rough spot, I’d stop, thinking that I couldn’t move forward until I’d figured out that one bad spot, but Hourglass showed me that it was okay to write the scenes that were in my heart, even if they weren’t in the right order. Golden Spiral taught me the importance of keeping the action moving. Middle books are tricky to write. They have to be their own story, but they don’t have a real beginning or ending. Keeping the action moving helped keep the story moving without it feeling like it was just a placeholder for book 3. Forgotten Locket was the hardest book of the three to write. And writing that book taught me humility and persistence. I wrote 40,000 words, then chucked most of them, and then wrote 40,000 more words. Best of all, though, I learned that I could do it. I could face down a difficult story, tie up all the loose ends, and come through on the other side with a story I could be proud of.

How did you come up with the title and cover design?

The title for Hourglass Door was actually the last thing I did. I brainstormed two whole pages of title ideas (some of them were really bad) and then had my friends, family, and alpha readers vote on their favorites. When I realized there was almost no consensus, I just picked the one I liked the best—The Hourglass Door. For the cover, my publisher designed several different options and I was able to weigh in and vote on my favorite. There were lots I liked, but when I saw the one that ended up being the final cover, I knew that was the one.

What's one thing that reader would be surprised to find out about The Hourglass Door Trilogy?

I never got a rejection letter for The Hourglass Door. I had queried Shadow Mountain before I had written asingle word of the manuscript and they had expressed interest in the idea. So when I finished the manuscript, I sent it to them (and only them) and they said yes. Roughly a year later, the finished book was on the shelf.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?

I remember writing lots of chapters but the one I remember best is writing the Prologue for Hourglass Door. It wasn’t the first chapter I wrote for the book. I’d actually written the first three chapters and most of the ending, plus the scenes where Dante tells Abby the truth about his past and the chapter detailing Abby’s first kiss. I always knew that I wanted the Prologue to be the story of when Dante comes through the door, but early on in the writing process, I couldn’t see what that story would look like. And then, one day, I was heading home from work and the first line of the Prologue dropped in my head. I knew right away that this is what I had been waiting for. I hopped on the Trax train and pulled out my notebook. I handwrote the entire Prologue in 23 minutes (the time it takes for the train to go from my work to my home) and when I was finished, I knew I had something special. And the Prologue that appears in the finished book is almost 95% exactly what I had scribbled down by hand on the train that day.

When asked, what's the one question you always answer with a lie?

This one.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 words or less what would you say?

The working title for my latest book is Hello, Good-bye. Here’s my 30-word pitch for it: When Sam and Sara meet in New York, they know they only have one day together, but what they don’t know is how that day will change them both forever.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

I’ve had a lot of happy moments since being published. I remember my first book signing; I was so nervous and so excited at the same time. I loved the feeling of holding that first finished book, fresh from the box, and showing it off to everyone. I was honored to win Book of the Year two years in a row (2009 for Hourglass Door; 2010 for Golden Spiral). But maybe my most rewarding experience has been hearing from all the readers who tell me that my books have helped inspire them to tell their own stories or pursue their own dreams. I think there is a story in each of us that only we can tell, and I am honored to know that I have helped someone else be able to tell their own story.

Favorite places to travel?

Probably my favorite place to travel is Disneyland. Maybe it’s cliché, but it really is the Happiest Place on Earth. My husband and I have gone to Disneyland more than 15 times since we’ve been married. I just love the magic and the memories that are there. The rides are fun, the food is delicious, and the weather is always perfect.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I’m still a big reader. There are not many things I like more than stretching out on the couch with a big fat book and reading all day. I also like going to the movies with my husband, going to the theater with my friend, and going to my parents’ house for Sunday dinners.

What book are you reading now?

A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?

Nothing wild and crazy, I’m afraid. I do have some cookie dough that’s waiting to be baked into cookies. And I’ve got a jar of Knott’s Berry Farm boysenberry jam (so good!). Oh, and a bottle of sparkling cider that’s waiting for a special occasion.

The future is uncertain. The battle to control the past has begun. The final book in the riveting Hourglass Door trilogy begins when Abby steps through the black door, and she doesn't dare look back. Though it means leaving Dante-wounded, bleeding, and possibly blind-she knows it is the only way to save her family and stop Zo from manipulating the river of time and throwing the future into chaos. In the end, Abby must face a final confrontation that will take her to the very origins of the hourglass door.

The Forgotten Locket is the final installment of Lisan Mangum's Hourglass Trilogy. In this stunning world of time travel and romance are the main characters Abby and Dante, along with their many memorable friends who find themselves through the door of time. The adventures they face are skillfully told by Mangum in golden descriptions that maintain your interest from start to finish.

Mangum's graceful style of depicting things fit well into the story. The story is very fast pace as so much things are going on. The details that went into the time travelling are quite impressive and they are an important part of the story. Time travelling is a tough subject to include into any story, but Mangum made sure her readers would not easily get lost in the shuffle from the adventures of bending the timeline. Her writing style was a constant flow and it was redundant throughout the book.

Lisa Mangum is very talented and her books are very satisfying. Her great descriptions throughout the story were so real that it feels like you are there. The Forgotten Locket was a remarkable continuation to the first two books. A must read.

You can purchase The Forgotten Locket at these following websites and retailers

The Hour Glass Door Series

And now, The Giveaway.
One winner will receive a copy of the first book of the series, The Hourglass Door.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. im reading a dance with dragons by george martin and loving it :)
    thank you for the giveaway.
    i love the sound of these books :)

  2. I am currently working on Book 8 in the Daughter Of The Moon series and seriously loving it! I will be working on the entire Soul Savers series again next!!! :)

    Thanks for another AMAZING giveaway! :D

  3. I am reading CP....Slow reading but reading!! AMAZING giveaway and interview as always!!!


  4. I'm reading The Alchemyst by Michael Scott.
    Thanks for this amazing interview and giveaway

  5. I'm currently reading Divergent and I'm LOVING it!! <3 Four <3

  6. Excellent interview. Lisa Mangum is awesome! People who love books like her make excellent authors.

  7. I just finished reading Fire with Fire by Penelope King. The second book in the Demonblood series. Thinking of reading Bloodlines by Richelle Mead next :)

    As always, thanks for the giveaway, Jean!

  8. I am reading Angel Burn by L A Weatherly.
    Thanks for giveaway!

  9. Thank you for the giveaway! I'am currently reading The Dark Divine.

  10. Right Now I'm Reading Forbidden By Tabitha Suzuma.

  11. Thanks for this giveaway! I need to read the Forgotten Locket. It's definitely on my to-read list and after reading this interview, I'll need to move it up to the number 1 spot!

  12. I am reading One for the Money by Janet Evanovich and The Game by Ken Dryden.

  13. I'm reading Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Mortal Kiss by Alice Moss and Tiger's Voyage by Colleen Houck!!

    Thanks for the giveaway!!

  14. I am reading The Iron Daughter, The Hunger Games, Marked, The Priest and The Peaches, and Strange Neighbors. LOL Yea I know, LOTS of books on the go! haha


  15. Thanks again, Jean. And thank you, Lisa. I love these covers and the story's premise.
    Right now, I'm finishing Blood Will Tell, Foreshadowed and My Soul to Take. ;)

  16. I am currently reading Exiled by Rashelle Workman. Thank you so much for the giveaway!! The book sounds good:)

  17. I am currently reading "Switched by Amanda Hocking".

    Thanks for the giveaway!!(hope it's international)

    Have a great day :)

    GFC name - sweety