Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Lisa Dale is like da Vinci's Mona Lisa: she has an amazing smile and an enthusiasm that is bursting even before she says a word to you. I took Bits & Pieces on the road to Hoboken to meet up with her; it was a damp day preceding the nameless hurricane that just hit the tri state area, and she still was enthusiastic about the new novel she is working on and the rights that she discovered Norway requested for one of her novels.

We sat in Karma Kafe where she asked me if I minded the walk there? Not a chance. Along the way she pointed out Carlos Bakery of Cake Boss fame, which we decided that we would go to after dinner if it was still open but not before the bookstore that was across the street. Books and cake even before we sat down!

It was hard to eat our amazing saffron korma because Lisa kept saying things that I wanted to capture. Smart, positive and warm, it was not hard at all to have a heart to heart with her and enter her world. She will not be tied down in any genre, she combines all of her interests in her romances. When she spoke at a chapter meeting (and she will be speaking again in September so mark your calendars!), she was so genuine, such the real deal. Lisa manages enthusiasm about the hard writng regimen that she is under to get her writing done--it is part of the process which she savors. If are on Twitter or Facebook you wild know that she was experiencing technical difficulty on her website, and she emerged victorious on Twitter today. You can visit her at

When we were heading home, the bakery was closed so no Cake Boss cake--though there were books I did not need! But spending the evening with a genuinely sweet person like Lisa made me not even miss cake so much--even though I will have to return to Hoboken! Read her inspiring bits:

"I am doing a lecture at NJRW this weekend. It's called, The Power of Positive Thinking for Writers. I was not always such a positive thinker. I write short prose and poetry.  In the beginning, I was sending it out and getting nothing but rejections. I let it get me down, then realized I needed to change my attitude. Started to look a rejection as a sign of my heading in the right direction. It was like with each rejection, I thought somebody somewhere was reading my work. Once I changed my attitude I started getting fewer rejections: it happened almost instantly.

"I would like to be able to write about food, digging into the sensuality of food and the human history behind a single cup of coffee.

"When you put a book out there, people can interpret it any way they want to.

"What other hobbies? Other than writing, I do not know what you mean?! No, I'm into knitting. I am an insatiable knitter. I knitted the scarf I am wearing. I found the pattern on My fiancé bought the yarn for me as a gift: it's high end silk and mohair.

"When I am writing I am not doing anything else. No Facebook, no Twitter, no music--just the words.

"I never have my iPod on shuffle (in public). I have bluegrass, classical, rock, top forty, and experimental stuff that my brother sends. I'm the same way about books--reading all over the map. The last book I read was THE INVENTION OF EVERYTHING ELSE about the inventor Nikola Tesla. It was fantastic!

"I do not think that anyone should judge what anyone else is listening to or reading. We all have guilty pleasures. Mine? 80's music. 'True Blood' is another guilty pleasure.

"I have two more books coming out with Berkeley. In my new book, a woman owns a coffee shop in Newport--one of the most architecturally diverse (and romantic) cities in the country. Old American aristocracy imitating English aristocracy. My protagonist is a woman re-falling in love with her high school crush under unusual circumstances.

"Most of what I write is just an excuse to research stuff I am really interested in: coffee, lobbyists, etc. Whatever my fascination du jour is, that is what is in the book. I think it is important for writers to follow their fascinations. If we are not fascinated with what we write, why should anyone else be?

"I thank God I am in my 30s and I do not have to be in my 20s anymore. I feel like I worked really hard in my twenties, and I still work hard, but every day gets me a little closer to the life I want. I enjoy the journey but I do not want to go backward.

"I love beers;  I am always trying new beers.

"My mom always has a big party at her house for St Patrick's Day -- corned beef and cabbage, green beer.
"My neighbor gave me my first romance novel when I was 15. I hid it under under my bed and read it a page at a time at night. I felt like I was going to get caught. It was very euphemistic (you know, suns and moons bursting into flames, etc).

"I really love yoga. There are two ways of approaching positive thinking: from the secular aspect or the spiritual aspect. I come at it from both perspectives. Positive thinking is very useful especially when you are a writer. In the beginning, if you do not look at it in a positvie way, it can really get you down.

"I am giving a lot of writing seminars.  I am doing one in September for RWANYC and one in Montclair on Thursday about strategies for getting an agent.

"In seminars, I guess that I convey what I would have wanted people to tell me. I try to be as candid as I can. I try not to gloss things.

"I know I am done revising when I hate the book, then I know I am done! It is a great story, but once it is finished I never want to see it again!"


  1. Great interview, ladies! Lisa, you sound like someone I would really get along with - we have a lot in common...the beer thing, for example ;)

    It was great getting to know you!

  2. Hi Lisa. One 'bit' that struck me was your comment on how you put your book out there, and others will interpret as they see fit. That is a hard lesson to learn. You have your vision and the reader may have another. So are you a success when the reader interprets the book the same as you, or are you a success when they see something more?

    Yikes. That's too hard to contemplate. I'm going back to writing.

  3. A wonderful post, Lisa and Fidencia. I think that our "fascinations" are what make us all different as writers and thus enable us to each provide something unique to our readers.

  4. Lisa, I look at rejections the same way though a rejection still stings I try to learn something new or if a form letter, I regroup and try again.

  5. Wonderful post, Lisa and Fidencia.

    Lisa, congratulations on all your accomplishments, and I look forward to your next presentation in September.

  6. Great interview and post Lisa and Fidencia.
    Lisa, your comment about writing about whatever fascinates you is great advice and would make the writing and research more fun. Looking forward to your presentation for us in September.

  7. You guys are so much fun--Fidencia, I had a great time hanging out!

    @AvonLadyJerrica, Awesome about the beer thing. I love a good brew!

    @Maria Ferrer, Great question. I feel like I *should* says, whatever anyone thinks is ok, no matter how distant from what I meant. But honestly, I like it when my readers and I are on the same page.

    @Lise, Agreed!

    @Mageela Troche, A perfect plan. Sometimes the best you can do is keep on going...

    @Hope Tarr, Looking forward to having you on my blog on March 28!

    @Carolyn Gibbs, This is a lot of fun! I'm looking forward to September too!

  8. Thank you for the inspiring bits, Lisa. I too have interests that are all over the map. Is this good or bad for my writing? Stay tuned . . . .

    Maria Ferrer: Your question brings to mind a famous anecdote about a ham actor. He was so dreadful he had trouble finding work.

    But eventually he was cast in a stage production of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire". He played the ambulance driver who, in the final scene, arrives to transport Blanche Dubois to the funny farm. It's a tiny role, one the audience would hardly notice.

    When this actor was bragging that he had a new gig, someone asked him, "What's the play about?" He replied, "It's about an ambulance driver who carries away a crazy woman."

    In brief, readers, viewers, and listeners will always, repeat always, get out of an artist's creation what's meaningful for them. What the artist puts into it and what he hopes they get out of it don't matter in this regard. Most if not all members of the audience don't even know what that might be. And even then, they'll respond in their own ways.

    There's nothing the artist can do about it. Many try; but art is no place for control freaks.

    If a book gets published and a reader has an off-the-wall take on it, that's fine. The author can always ignore him and focus on reactions that person feels comfortable with. But even there, some will most likely come as surprises.

    Keep up the good work!