Today, our star of honor is Lisa Kessler. It’s so nice to have you here and shining! I’m sure you’re ready to share with us your success and many fun endeavors. So, let’s get on with the party!
Lisa’s short stories have been featured in print anthologies, and her vampire story “Immortal Beloved” was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award. She was also a finalist in RT Book Review magazine’s “Writing with the Stars” contest.
Night Walker, book 1 in her Night Series, has been released from Entangled Publishing.
When she’s not writing, Lisa is also a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in southern California. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two teens.
Let’s get to know you a little better. Why don’t you step over here under the spotlight and shine a little.
First questions: (I’ll go easy on you.)
What made you decide to become a writer?
I’m an only child, so I spent most of my childhood making up tons of stories to keep myself occupied. Then when my kids were little I started writing every night just to decompress and escape for a while. I got addicted! LOL
Then during a trip to New Orleans, I visited a palm reader. Sitting across from her with my outstretched hand, I watched her study the lines and gave me a shockingly accurate reading.
She jotted down notes for me on a 3” X 5” card and started to walk me out. When I got to the door, I turned to thank her and she said, “Can I ask you something?”
“Are you a writer?”
“Not really.” My brow furrowed and I finally nodded with a shrug. “I do write every night, but it’s just for fun.”
She smiled and I swear her eyes sparkled. “You’re going to be a famous writer one day.”
I walked back to the hotel in a daze. I couldn’t process how I would ever write a book or get published, but she’d planted the seed that night. I wrote the plot idea for Night Walker on cocktail napkins at the airport! LOL
What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?
I wish I knew! LOL Sometimes I get the piece of an idea and start researching. Usually while I’m researching the rest of the pieces fall into place.
Do you beat your muse? I mean…Wait! Do you have a muse? Does he/she have a name?
You know I don’t have a muse, at least I don’t think I do! LOL I’m very goal-oriented, so if I set a goal to finish a book, then I plant my butt in the chair and pound the keys until it’s done… If I had to wait on a muse to inspire me I’d probably go nuts! LOL
Let’s talk about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantser? Are there any weird things that you do before you start to sit down to write? (Like stretch those fingers…? Scream at the computer…?)
I’m a pantser! And I usually have to start writing with a playlist that inspires me for the book I’m writing or editing. I make one for every book I write. And if I’m really pushing for more words, I chomp gum… Lots of gum…. Scary amounts of gum…
What is your call story?
When I got the call from Heather Howland at Entangled Publishing, my heart raced like crazy. I tried so hard to stay calm, but I’m pretty sure my nervous giggles gave me away. Her enthusiasm for my book made me giddy, and her favorite scene in the book turned out to be my favorite as well. How cool is that?
Have you always envisioned yourself a writer? What were you doing before you started writing? Has your earlier career influence your current one?
Until I met the palm reader, it had never occurred to me to try to get my work published. Once she gave me a nudge, I started publishing horror short stories, and my vampire story, Immortal Beloved, became a finalist for a Bram Stoker award! That definitely influenced me and gave me the confidence to keep facing rejections…
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now with your writing career?
I’ll be writing full time. Definitely. Hopefully I’ll have the Night Series completed and my Moon Series (werewolf and jaguar shifters) will be well underway!
What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your writing career so far?
Hard question! I think the most difficult thing for me has been that my books tend to not “fit” into the paranormal romance box. Night Walker took a long time to find a home because it blended contemporary paranormal with historical, so while editors liked the story, I got many rejections with “we’re not sure how to market it so we’re going to have to pass.”
Now let’s talk more about you. If you could pick to live the life of a movie star, who would it be and why? Does this person show up in your stories?
Hmmm… I think it would be a tough life to be a movie star with the paparazzi chasing you around! If I had to choose one, I’d probably have to say Catherine Zeta-Jones because she also gets to sing in Broadway shows… I would love to perform on Broadway!
Through research, what is the most silly thing you’ve ever done?
Okay, this was really dumb, but here it goes… I was researching the Mayans for my Night Series and went on a trip with my kids to Cancun so that I could tour Mayan ruins. We went to 4 different sites, and in Chichen Itza, I hiked the pyramid.
I should probably mention now that I’m terrified of heights. The steps were so steep that I crawled up them with my kids. It didn’t seem like we were that high until we got to the top. I could see over the jungle for miles.
I glanced down and started to hyperventilate, mention needing a helicopter, and my eyes brimmed with panicky tears. The steep stone steps were also narrow and there was no railing. I could almost see my broken bloody body lying in a heap at the bottom! LOL
Thankfully my son, Reno, grabbed my hand and said, “Mama sit on the steps and we’ll scoot down.”
My sweet boy talked about his favorite Dexter’s Lab cartoons the entire way while we scooted down one step at a time on our butts… I swear I almost kissed the ground when we got down! LOL So yikes!!! I have to be more careful while researching! J
What genres do you read? Do you read what you write?
I love Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. I also enjoy horror! Have you read Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box? Such a fun, scary ghost story! I loved it!
What’s the last book you’ve read for fun? Did you read it on an e-Reader or are you still a paperback-kind-of-person?
I read everything on my Kindle now. Right now I’m reading Kelley Armstrong newest YA, The Calling. Love it! So much action and intrigue mixed in with the paranormal.
What did you wish you had known back then when you began writing?
I’m glad I didn’t know how much rejection I would face! LOL I guess I wish I knew about RWA sooner. I have a great local chapter in San Diego and I spent way too many years writing all alone.
Is there anything else you’d want your readers and friends to know about you? I’m also a classically trained singer, so music often finds its way into my books. I also grew up on a horse ranch. My stepdad trained Morgan Horses, so you guessed it, lots of horses show up in my books too! LOL
And lastly, where can we find you?
I’m all over online and I love meeting readers and other writers, so please visit and say Hello! J
Other: Goodreads – http://goodreads.com/LisaKessler
Thank you so much for being a star!
Thanks for saving a spot for me in the “spotlight”! I’ve got a signed paperback copy of Night Walker up for grabs to a lucky commenter…
He gave up his soul for a second chance to love her…
Two and a half centuries ago, Calisto Terana lost everything when a zealous priest murdered the woman he loved. Now, desperate for another chance to love her, he wants redemption for the mistake that cost her life.
She’s haunted by dreams of her own death…
After catching her fiance with another woman, Kate Bradley returns to San Diego to clear her head. The last thing she needs is romance, but after meeting Calisto she’s drawn to him in ways she doesn’t understand.
They’ve waited in the shadows for centuries…
Calisto has no doubt Kate is the reincarnation of his lost love, but the Fraternidad Del Fuego Santo has a new watcher with dark ambitions of his own. As old enemies reemerge and a new threat arises, the betrayal that enslaved Calisto to the night might destroy the only woman he’s ever loved again.
“Santa Maria!” Father Tomas gasped and jammed a knife into Calisto’s abdomen, stabbing up underneath his ribcage.
Calisto’s eyes widened as pain seared through his chest. Blood spilled from the gaping wound, but his body tingled, healing from the inside out. He let go of the monk with one hand and plucked the knife from his torso, wrenching it free from the fanatic’s clutched hand.
Father Tomas struggled like a wild animal in the presence of a predator. Calisto dropped the knife to the floor of the car and clutched the monk with both hands. He drew Father Tomas closer. His fangs grazed the monk’s skin just below his ear. The priest fought to break away, but Calisto’s grip was inescapable. The more the monk struggled, the stronger his pulse became. The scent of blood combined with fear intoxicated Calisto. His thirst clawed to the surface, threatening to seize control.
“Let me go! In the name of God, let me go!”
Calisto’s voice was no more than a cold whisper. “I have no God. Not anymore.”
He sank his fangs into the monk’s neck and drank. The man’s life flashed through his mind, visions of Spain and the monastery where he trained centuries ago. He lost himself in the images, so modern and yet still the home he remembered.
His lips pulled at the monk’s throat, drawing more blood. But then one of the visions made his heart stutter, an image he never expected, and one that changed everything. Calisto jerked back, but the monk’s eyes were vacant.
It was too late. Father Tomas was dead.
Calisto released him, growling in disgust at his lack of control. He was left with more questions than answers.
Kate’s face loomed in Father Tomas’ mind. The Fraternidad knew she lived again.
And they watched her, too.