Lisa Vaughn, a self-proclaimed 'hippie-chick' and freelance artist, has taken her creative voice to a whole new medium, with her memoir, The Gifted Ones. A true story of resilience that sends a strong message of acceptance and the power of love - told in a raw, honest format, much like talking to an old friend.
Everyone has a story...this just happens to be hers.
Lisa currently resides in Florida along with her loving husband and four cats, where she continues to create her visions of self-expression.
What genre do you write?
Tell us about your book.
Conservatively raised Catholic, Lisa ,at age thirteen, would suddenly find herself on a totally different path. Through an unlikely chance meeting of a fellow classmate, she would soon find herself innocently taking their relationship to a foreign level neither saw coming...finding out what they are made of as they face the consequences and struggles that come along with going against the grain.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
It is wholly the result of dealing with my mother's death - hashing out unfinished business - a sort of therapy if you will. Even I was surprised at my pent up anger over this particular phase of my upbringing, which happened over 30 years ago!
What can readers expect when they open your book? Give us something that isn’t on the book blurb.
They can expect a very raw, very real account of what it's like to ostracized by your family, peers, and society in general, for fulfilling one basic human need - to love and be loved. I tell it like it was, holding nothing back, even if it put me or my family in a bad light.
How old were you when you started writing?
Ha...45? I'm actually an artist, so self expression is nothing new to me, but writing is! But when I had this need to deal and vent my 'mommy issues', writing became a very natural medium for me. I treated this project as if it were just another one of my art creations of self-expression, which is what writing is really all about when you think about it.
Do you stick with one genre, or have you branched out to others? Which ones?
This is my debut, but if I were to write another, I would probably stick to non-fiction, as it is my genre of choice for reading myself. I've always been more interested in true stories - real life situations from real-life people. I find that much more interesting than fiction.
Do you think you would ever branch out into another genre? If so which one(s).
You know, at this point I don't think I would. They say to write about what you know - and the thing I know best is myself! So I think I'll stick with that.
Where do you get your ideas?
I always say memoirs (or non-fiction) have got to be easier to write than fiction, as the story is already written for you, taking care of the 'idea' part. The tricky part is figuring out how to lay out the story line - putting your readers in exactly the same mindset you were in at the time, in order to feel what you felt as you lived that very story.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
It's funny because I don't really have one person, per se, that I can physically name or point to - it's more of a compilation of people/experiences I've come across over my lifetime. I'm a big believer in 'you meet everyone in your life for a reason' - each has taught me what I needed to learn at the time I needed it, whether I knew it (or used it) at that time.
What are you reading right now?
My favorite reads are memoirs - from both famous and unknown authors. At this time I am enjoying discovering new indie authors from my networking experiences on facebook and twitter! I've ran across some awesome 'unknowns' that way.
Who are your favorite authors?
Definitely 'unknown' indie authors - but too many to mention here, I'm afraid to mention just a few, as I wouldn't want to leave anyone out! (Hint: check my goodreads account!)
What is your current project?
I currently have nothing in the hopper or on paper - BUT my creative mind works 24/7, so I never say never! Who knows when I'll feel the need to 'express' myself next...could be never, could be next week! That's an artist for ya!
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
That I actually set out to write a book and I DID it! Having never written anything in my life, I feel proud that I saw this project through from start to finish, learning every aspect along the way, literally.
Have you experienced any setbacks for your writing along the way? If so, will you share with us.
Oh did I! Self doubt of my work being the main culprit. Again, I've never written anything professionally, so of course I had doubts about everything! My ability, my knowledge (or lack-of I should say) my subject matter - would people accept this sensitive topic? Would people accept ME? Would anyone relate to my story? Will I have to live the rest of my life under a rock after publishing?
How did you overcome these setbacks?
This project literally knawed at me for some reason (which is still unclear to me) I felt it my duty, my purpose in life almost, to get my story out there. To spread my message of acceptance, as if it were my 'calling' of sorts. So after I dug it out of the drawer for the last time, I treated it like any other art project - I threw myself into it, following no rules - just my instincts, and I just said what needed to be said...in my own words, in my own voice. Very indie, very me.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Oh definitely! Just like my art-work, if I'm not in that 'zone' forget about it, it ain't happening! I used to joke that depression was my fuel for great artwork, which might not be too far from the truth. I have to feel the passion/pleasure/pain in a piece before I can let it speak through my work - same with writing I think.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Same as life - just be yourself. Don't try to be a copy of your favorite author or do something 'just because' that's the way it's done. Be creative, hone to a certain extent, but never lose your voice just to fit inside a box.
What is the best advice you have for other writers?
See above! Plus: think outside the box, be different. If you truly believe in your project, never give up - take it to the end. Sure you might not appeal to everyone, but remember (and this is very important, especially after you get a bad review) Not EVERY book is written for everyBODY! In the end your passion will shine through to your readers, and the ones that 'get it' will be your loyal audience.
Preferred POV to write.
As a memoirist, first person of course.
Preferred POV to read.
Definitely first person.
*Tell us 5 random things about you the person not the author.
1) My mantra is: Live and Let Live
2) I'm a Leo, have four cats, and plan on coming back as a feline in my next life
3) Laughing is my favorite activity - my son and I make a great comedy team...in our minds at least!
4) If I dig you, you have a loyal friend for life
5) I've been a vegetarian for the last 15 years
What format does your book come in?
Print & Kindle on Amazon - All ebook version on Smashwords
Where can people buy your book?