Recently, I posted a Call to Writers, asking my fellow author bloggers to allow me to interview them for guest-spots on my blog. (If you are interested in participating, please contact me.) I asked everyone thirty-five questions — some were basic, and others were multi-part inquiries — and I asked them to answer only what they wanted to or what was applicable. My friend and fellow-blogger, Lisa Montanino, had some very captivating responses which I’m sure will enchant you, as well. After you read her interview, please be sure to hop on over to her blog and follow her for a regular dose of her charm and wit. And now, I turn the microphone over to Lisa…
1. Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:
My name is Lisa Montanino, I’m the author of the fiction novel, Feedback. I’m from Long Island, NY and have been writing for the last ten years. And I’m really good at miniature golf.
2. Please provide the link to your blog (and website, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc.):
twitter @ldmontanino https://twitter.com/LDMontanino
3. How many books have you written?
One… currently in process of writing second.
4. Has any of your work been published yet? If so, please share the link(s) to purchase it:
Yes, Feedback is published! You can buy it here:
5. If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing? Why? If you have not been published yet, what are your plans for the future?
I chose to self-publish on Createspace and Kindle to have full rights of my writing project. Also to better learn the publishing process. What a long strange trip it’s been so far. My plans for the future are to finish the sequel to Feedback and have that published by next year. So far all the readers can’t wait to know what happens next… they have asked me to hurry up and release the follow up novel asap… I’m so grateful to that response!
6. How old were you when you started writing? When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I started writing when I was 30 and probably by the time the first two chapters morphed, I knew I wanted to finish it… make it a novel and become an author.
7. What would you say motivates you to keep writing?
I love writing… couldn’t fathom not doing it really. Luckily I motivate myself and since having a book out… the readers reviews… their feedback have become another impetus for me as well.
8. Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)?
It’s a long list but my top five notables are: John Irving, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Klosterman, Nick Hornby, and Agatha Christie.
9. What is your preferred reading method? (i.e., Kindle, Nook, paperback, hardback, etc.) Why?
Physical book because it’s more of a visual treat and I just love the feel of it. kindle is great though… I use it when I travel and don’t want to lug all my books with me. Best of both worlds.
10. Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?
Always first person… third person doesn’t feel natural to me. First person definitely does.
11. Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books?
I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t read jack when I was writing mine… maybe one or two in the year during that time and that was painful. But now that I’m more experienced as a writer… I’m able to multitask better as I’m writing my second one. I usually don’t take breaks.
12. How many books would you say you read in a year? How many at any one time?
Probably about ten in a year… depending on size and matter. With the exception of when I was writing one… about two a year.
ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK:
13. What is the title of your current work in progress of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?
Feedback – completed novel and the new one isn’t title yet… Nameless for now.
14. What is your novel’s genre? Would you say there is a sub-genre? What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?
Mine’s literary fiction… sub genres would be comedic, contemporary, romantic, philosophical… possibly chick literature… though it’s really geared towards readers of both sexes. I think my book is different because there’s nothing out there like it. It’s a year in the life of a radio dj… you go on this journey with her as she ponders her life.. decisions, mistakes, and the daily grind. I feel it’s very relatable to anyone in the work force. From what I’ve been told, especially by male readers, is that the male characters are strong and they feel I captured an accurate portrayal of what goes on in their minds. Also, the same applies for the female characters. Most of the characters were inspired by real people… I think that’s what helped in regards to writing realistic dialogue between the characters. Readers have said they laughed… couldn’t put it down, and were touched by the somber moments that appear at times.
15. What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?
People I meet or know… life events… sometimes how the sun shined that day. As of late… I’ve been pondering how fragile people can be, especially if they have an illness. I’ve always been empathetic to that in my volunteer endeavors even more so these days.
16. What is your target audience’s age, gender, etc.?
Probably the span from 20’s to 40’s primarily because of the characters but I think it will be appealing to younger and older generations as well. Though I do warn, no one under 18 should read it… they may enjoy it, but they won’t be able to fully absorb it.
17. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?
Basically it’s a story about a female disc jockey that’s going through a very conflicting and chaotic time in her life. She’s trying her best to get through the heartbreak and turmoil of ending her relationship with her fiance. She finds help through co-workers and a therapist on her journey to get back to the simple life she once had… with laughs, tears, and tribulations along the way.
ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE:
18. How often do you write?
Everyday… on breaks at my day job and when I get home from work. Sometimes early morning before work too.
19. Approximately how many words do you write at each sitting?
Varies… usually 1000 to 2000 words or more.
20. Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?
I had my book professionally edited (you have to!) and will have my next one edited. I edit my blog posts.
21. What is your method of writing? (i.e., Do you write the entire manuscript, then go back and make changes? Do you plan chapters as you go along or write the story then go back and add chapters? Do you re-read as you go along or after you are done with the first draft?)
Great question. Usually I free flow write and work chapter by chapter in sequence… though I sometimes will leave a chapter unfinished to write an idea or storyboard for another chapter. After they’re all compiled… I go back to the beginning and start pruning!
22. Do you have a muse? If so, please elaborate. If not, what inspires you?
As blasé as it sounds… life is my muse. I don’t have one in particular though there are people in my life that constantly inspire me. I tend to steer away from my personal life in my writings. I’m living it… I have no ambition to write about it i.e. an autobiography. In my opinion, it’s a lot more fun… rewarding to create something as opposed to repeat it.
23. How long does it take you to write a full manuscript?
My first one took me five years… sadly. I had a full-time day job and volunteer efforts to contend with. My current manuscript should be done within a year.
24. Do you give yourself a word limit for each day or a time limit to finish your novel? If so, please
No… though I probably should. The only rule I have is to write at least a sentence each day for my project.
25. How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?
The names just come to me. Geography… at least in my last novel was inspired by my living out in California and traveling to UK… one of my favorite cities.
26. How long (or how detailed) are the notes you take before you start writing?
Pretty extensive when I’m researching a subject. I usually write out notes… print out articles and then story board them to create a cohesive writing piece.
27. Do you have any “must haves” to help you write? (i.e., a full cup of coffee, a view of the ocean, etc.)
My must haves are a comfortable setting… usually lying down with laptop. Hot beverage(s) are usually consumed. Sometimes I like to listen to music too… helps the writing flow.
28. Do you only write during a certain time of day or in a certain location? If so, do you make yourself stop after a certain time?
Not really… it’s whenever time permits. Either in my living room or when I’m traveling… especially on long plane rides.
29. Does your real life ever neglected because of your writing? If so, how do you feel about that?
Yes it does. Not so much in the beginning phases of the book but once you get to the final stages of editing and what have you, that’s when it becomes trying. I didn’t go on a vacation last year because of it. And I couldn’t go to half of the events my friends invited me to. The book becomes a priority.
30. What is the quirkiest thing you do or have ever done when writing?
I sometimes talk to myself and my plants in the house or garden when no one’s around… I don’t know why (laughs). Can’t think of anything quirky I’ve done when I write.
ABOUT YOUR WORK:
31. If you have written more than one novel, which is your favorite and why?
So far it’s just one. Feedback.
32. If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?
Probably the character Shane… He’s a fun one to write. I’d love to know what it feels like to have that much self-confidence, courage, and charisma.
33. If one of your books became a movie, who would you choose for the “perfect cast” of main characters?
The perfect cast would mostly be comprised of seasoned actors that are too old for their parts. Ideally it would be young versions of Michelle Pfeiffer (circa The Fabulous Baker Boys days) for Claire. A thin vibrant version of Alec Baldwin for Shane. Steve Zhan for Jared – yes. Kate Winslet or Michelle Williams for Sandra. Chris Hemsworth for Ethan… hands down. Ryan Reynolds or John F. Kennedy, Jr. with an English accent for Griffin. David Duchovny for John (therapist). And we’d have to have Kevin Spacey in there for good measure… probably as Warren Woods… actually I’d stipulate that! (laughs) Oh and Lana… I see present day Sandra Bullock, definitely.
34. What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?
I don’t know if it constitutes odd but when I researched what goes on in the minds of men in their early twenty’s… wow. I love how it doesn’t change as they get older 😉
35. What is the most difficult thing you have ever researched for one your books and why?
Probably cognitive therapy… it taps into so much, endless really. It’s difficult to peace-meal it at times.
Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me Rachel! You’re a wonderful spirit and writer.
Cheers – Lisa.
Thank you, Lisa, for allowing me to interview you. I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have.