Today I’m glad to present Lisanne Harrington, whose book is called MOONSPELL, Book 1 of the Wolf Creek Mysteries. I’ve attached my review at the end of this feature.
Hello Lisanne, and welcome to my blog.
Thanks so much. Happy to be here.
Please tell my readers, how did you come to writing?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. But I got serious about it after I left the corporate world back in 2006, took every online class I could find and really sharpened my skills and expanded my writing toolbox.
How do you come up with your stories?
They just come to me. It’s sort of like watching a movie in my mind. The characters start talking to me, sometimes months before they’re ready to actually tell me their story. With Moonspell, James and Beth struggled to be heard over each other, always vying for my attention. Finally, they worked it out and started telling me the Wolf Creek story. All I did was transcribe what they said.
Is there a message in your novels you would like your readers to grasp?
It’s important to be true to yourself. You are worthy. You are not alone. We all go through the same things. No matter what anyone else thinks, don’t be afraid to just be who you are.
You have created great characters. Which one is your favorite?
James is pretty cool, but I’d have to say Beth is my favorite. (Just don’t tell HIM that! J )
How much of your books are realistic? Are the experiences based on someone you know or events in your life?
Except for the whole werewolf thing, I think MOONSPELL is very realistic. Unfortunately, there are predators out there who murder for sport. And I think many adults tend to forget that kids are people too, with their own thoughts and opinions that shouldn’t be discounted simply because of their age.
I had a Logic and Deductive Reasoning teacher in college who murdered his wife and her lover (how’s that for logic!), but I’ve been fortunate enough not to have known anyone who was murdered. I did have a best friend as a child who died, although from natural causes and not at the hands of a monster.
I have had teachers like Mrs. Sommes, so battle-weary and time-worn that they seem to be counting down the days to retirement. They are the teachers kids can’t bond with or respect, and as a result, rarely learn from.
I was discounted as a child by many adults who didn’t want to hear my opinions (of which I had many, I’m proud to say).
Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?
Ooh, that’s a good question. Let’s see… I actually had to do some research on this, but I think I’ve decided on Preston Bailey for James and Francesca Capaldi for Beth. Sheriff Brazelton could be played by Idris Elba, and Corin Nemec would make a great Riggs. Mark Wahlberg as Robbie Manarro and Lauren Graham as Annette Manarro. Laura San Giacomo would be a perfect Aunt Judy.
Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?
Beth is a lot like I was at her age: opinionated, confident, and a little too smart for her britches…
Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?
Just about everything beyond the basic plot changed as I wrote. Even the killer changed two or three times! The characters seemed to delight in telling me different versions of the events and it took some time to sort everything out.
What is your main reason for writing?
Might as well ask why I breathe.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
The best is creating a story that delights my readers. The worst is that so much of my time is spent locked away from my family and friends as I create those stories. The best and worst at the same time is that I suffer from a touch of social anxiety, so it’s really hard for me to get out there and meet people, have signings and readings and just generally mix it up with people. Once I’m there, though, I usually enjoy it. But being an introvert as well, I need time alone after these events to recharge.
Please share a little of your current work in progress or ideas for your next novel.
I just sent Moon Watch, the second Wolf Creek mystery, in to my publisher. It’s two years after Moonspell, and James is struggling with who he is, much like many sixteen-year-olds. Beth and her mom have moved away, and James is on his own until he meets Shaniqua and her friend Watts. They band together against the Beautiful People who target them throughout the school year. Then the Beautiful People begin to disappear, and James wonders if it could possibly be happening again…
How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?
Moonspell is my first published book, so I definitely have a lot to learn about this. So far, I take a few hours a day to market and have hired a publicist to help me, and spend the rest of my time working on Moon Shadows, the third and final book in the series.
What do you do when you don’t write?
I love to watch reruns of Gilmore Girls (can’t WAIT for the movies) and Eureka, horror movies like Sharknado and Fido, cooking/baking competition shows like Worst Cooks in America and Halloween Wars, and Investigation Discovery crime shows. I also spend a lot of time playing with my Miniature Pinscher and favorite clown, Fiona.
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
I’m a bit of a perfectionist and write and revise many drafts. Moonspell took thirteen drafts and Moon Watch six. Plus I have an ace beta reader who can find even the smallest error or inconsistency. And of course, Faith and Shannon, my editors, keep me on track as well.
What is your advice to new writers?
Never give up. **holds thumb and index finger up, about a half inch apart** I was this close to quitting when I found my publisher. Took me ten years, but it was important to me that I go with a smaller, boutique publisher with whom I could form a real, meaningful relationship.
I really wanted to be published and couldn’t really see myself doing anything else but writing. You have to be true to yourself, write what you want to write and go for it.
Also, don’t believe the old adage that tells you to “write what you know.” That’s what research is for! If we only wrote what we knew, how boring would that be? For us and our readers.
Who are your favorite authors and what is your favorite book?
I have several “favorite” authors: Alex Kava, Jodi Piccoult, Bentley Little, Stephen King, Joe Hill, Andrew Klavan, Lisa Scottoline. I could go on. My bookcases are jammed with different writers. As for my favorite book, I could never pick just one, but there are a few I read over and over: Needful Things by Stephen King, NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, and the whole Maggie O’Dell series by Alex Kava.
The one book that holds special meaning for me is Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. When I was a little kid, I had to bring big brown paper shopping bags on Troll Book Day because I always ordered more books than I could carry. Finally, my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Carmona, got tired of watching me lug a dozen or so books home every month, gave me her copy of Robinson Crusoe and told me to expand my horizons. It was the first “adult” book I read, and I never looked back! Thank you, Mrs. Carmona.
What books or authors have influenced you the most? Is there a writer that you consider a mentor? Do you have a favorite?
I think Stephen King has influenced me a lot with how he portrays his characters. They seem like they could be your neighbors and friends. I hope my characters feel as realistic. I learned a lot from his book On Writing, and refer to it often.
As for a mentor, that would be the fabulous Bonnie Hearn Hill. She was one of my first writing teachers as an adult, and her teaching has been invaluable to me. Her students call her tough-but-fair critiques “getting filleted.” She truly wants her students to succeed and takes pride in them when they do. She has encouraged me and cheered each of my accomplishments since the beginning. I owe her a lot.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
I don’t read many eBooks. Having worn glasses since I was seven coupled with the fact that I spend so much time writing on the computer that when I read, I like to give my eyes a break from the screen. Besides, there’s nothing quite like the feel and smell of a real book, is there? What am I reading? Well, I’m just finishing up with Library of Lost Souls by Ransom Riggs. Re-reading the series in anticipation of the movie of the first book in the series, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Next up will be either The Fireman by Joe Hill (hardback), or Picture Perfect by Jodi Piccoult (paperback), depending on my mood.
What makes you laugh?
I laugh at Fiona, my little Miniature Pinscher, every day. Frankly, I don’t know what I’d do without her.
What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?
That’s easy. Fiona, a case of lined paper and pens, unlimited Diet Dr. Pepper, and my library. Oh, and sunscreen. My Irish skin burns just thinking about the sun…
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
The Stephen King family, Kathrine Hepburn, and Idris Elba.
What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?
I’m very loyal to those I care about, and hopefully, they’d say that was my best quality (!). As for my oddest, like I mentioned earlier, I have a bit of social anxiety and depression, and I’m also an introvert, and I think that’s hard for a lot of people to understand.
Tell us about your other books?
There are two more books in the Wolf Creek Mystery series, but I also have a stand-alone adult mystery coming out soon called Murder in the Family. When Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Dana S. Sinclair’s mother is murdered twenty years after her father’s murder, she can’t just sit back and let others investigate, even if it means losing her beloved job. When a packet of photographs of Dana as a child shows up on her doorstep, her whole world is thrown into chaos, and she begins to question her very existence. Has her dead father returned from the grave to murder her mother and drive Dana crazy?
Murder in the Family explores the way our familial relationships color our lives, how far we will go to uncover the truth and what happens when we find out that our entire life has been based on a lie.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
I hope with grace, dignity, and a little humor!
Moonspell: Book 1 of the Wolf Creek Mysteries
First a blub from the author:
“The nightmare of Wolf Creek starts the night of the last full moon in the summer of 2013, and the close-knit little community will never be the same again. Someone—or something—is murdering the townspeople during each month’s full moon. Incredibly, no one connects the murders to the cycle of the moon. At least, not until fourteen-year-old James Manarro is confronted by his eleven-year-old cousin Beth Ann with her suspicions about the identity of the killer. A werewolf. At first, James just laughs it off, but with each vicious murder, he’s forced to admit that Beth may be right…and one, or both, of them might be its next victims.”
I was given an ‘advanced review copy’ to read, and so I can only comment on this copy. “Moonspell” was published under a small (indie) press and I hope they edited the errors in spelling, grammar, and format before publishing.
Harrington has written a great YA/Horror book, she has woven the story tight, and the flow is smooth and easy. I can easily see young adults and lovers of horror stories loving this narrative of murder, mystery, and more. That said, I truly think this book should only be read by those age 18 and older (I’m not a prude – but some scenes and use of cussing/swear words necessitates my feelings and thoughts in this regard. Descriptions of rotting fetuses, etc. are a huge turnoff).
Harrington easily describes her characters and the overall feel and flow makes for a steady to fast read. Her descriptions of characters and surroundings are so good that they almost garner a five star review. In so many ways this book truly should be in the Horror category. Harrington’s imagination clearly comes out in the narrative. I give a four star rating for this book. If Harrington can provide me with an updated fully revised and edited eBook, I will revise my rating as appropriate.
After sixteen years as a paralegal, I staged a coup and left the straight-laced corporate world behind forever. Now I pander to my muse, a sarcastic little so-and-so who delights in getting the voices in my head to either all speak at once in a cacophony of noise or to remain completely silent. Only copious amounts of Diet Cherry Dr. Peppers and hamburgers will ensure their complicity in filling my head with stories of serial killers, werewolves, and the things that live under your bed.
I like scary clowns, coffee with flavored creamer, and French fries. Lots and lots of French fries.
I live in SoCal, in the small town fashioned after Moonspell’s Wolf Creek, with my Beloved husband, oldest daughter and persistently rowdy, always-has-to-have-the-last-word Miniature Pinscher, Fiona.
Links to Social Media
Website (in process)
All Book titles and links: Moonspell