Lisa Walter is a short story author with stories published in Split Rock Review and GFT Press literary magazines. She is currently working on her first novel. She teaches language arts in the Front Range area of Colorado.
Longshot: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Walter: Nothing official, but I think there’s inspiration wherever you go. The idea for Disappointingly Ellen started on a street in Las Vegas. A new location awakens the senses and allows the mind to view from a fresh perspective. It helps me think more creatively. Sometimes.
Longshot: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Walter: Both. If I can just make it to my writing spot and get started, I’m usually okay and sometimes even end up energized by the process. But it’s exhausting to show up every day and stay true to that commitment. It makes me tired.
Longshot: What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Walter: For me? It’s trying to get it all perfect, spending an entire week on one paragraph and then realizing you have to scrap it anyway. I wish I could get past that.
Longshot: Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Walter: It depends on where you’re at in the creative process. Going from an idea to full story is a fragile and vulnerable journey not conducive to a big ego, but you’d certainly want to have a pretty solid opinion of yourself and feel confident in your ability by about the twentieth rejection letter.
Longshot: What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
Walter: I can’t name any specific authors, but I’ve developed an appreciation for books targeting a younger audience (ten years and up). I always thought they were kind of fluffy and unsubstantial, but there are some excellent books for young readers.
Longshot: What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Walter: I don’t know if it’s under-appreciated, but right now I like any novel that is historical fiction, particularly WWII. There’s a ton of stuff out there. Too many books, too little time.
Longshot: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Walter: I’ve always been fascinated with the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. But I also like clowns with big shoes and red noses.
Longshot: What does literary success mean to you?
Walter: Writing something you are proud of, that others enjoy. It also means stretching yourself creatively and trying different types of writing.
Longshot: How many hours a day do you write?
Walter: Two hours. But that’s every single day; weekends, holidays, birthdays, etc. It’s hard to sustain during the school year when I’m back to work full time.
Longshot: How do you select the names of your characters?
Walter: It’s random. But I usually know it when I hit the right name.
Longshot: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Walter: No, but that’s a cool idea!
Longshot: What was your hardest scene to write?
Walter: All scenes are hard to write initially! But some are easier than others. I love it when the words just appear on the page and revisions are painless, when you realize there might be a diamond there hidden in the rough. I sure wish that happened more.
Longshot: Do you Google yourself?
Walter: Absolutely. Doesn’t everybody?
Longshot: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Walter: I covet those that can sit down and write without interruption. I’d give up my ADHD tendencies and the feeling that I need to be up and moving and doing twelve other things while I’m trying to get through a scene.
Longshot: What is your favorite childhood book?
Walter: I loved Stephen King as a pre-teen and teenager. I don’t remember a favorite book or author before that. The Shining and Carrie and all his earlier stuff kept me busy and jumping at shadows for years. I always leaned a little towards the macabre/horror genre, and I’m generally pretty suspicious of someone who says they don’t like being scared.
Longshot: What is the most difficult part of the artistic process?
Walter: Moving from this fabulous idea to mapping out a cohesive story with just the right amount of tension and believable and complex characters. I guess that’s the entire creative process, isn’t it?