She was born in New Haven, Connecticut (1970) but grew up in the Netherlands, England and New Jersey. A graduate of the New School for Social Research, Lisa spent many years living and working in New York City. She then left a career in publicity to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time author. She now lives in Florida with her husband and daughter.
Her writing has been hailed as “masterful” (St. Petersburg Times), “sensational” (Publishers Weekly) and “sophisticated” (New York Daily News) with “gripping narrative and evocative, muscular prose” (Associated Press).
Lisa’s incredible latest novel is Fragile, an un-put-downable literary mystery about the secrets that bind a small town. Check at the end of the interview for info on our contest – we’re giving away a copy of Fragile!
Lisa Unger Takes the Deb Interview!
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
I have loved every word written by Truman Capote. His book In Cold Blood is the first work of its kind — a true crime book that reads like fiction. It is a searing and disturbing account of a terrible murder and the twisted men who carried it out. It’s an absolutely engrossing, gorgeously written book, combining the unflinching account of the brutal murder of a Kansas family with a psychological profile of their killers.
I have always been attracted to the darkness, the shadow – not in a voyeuristic way, but with an ardent desire to understand what lives there and why. In Cold Blood explores the ugliness and horror of human nature. And Capote managed to do this without passing judgment and without any sensational quality at all. Writers write for the same reason that readers read — to explore, to understand, to know something they didn’t know before. Truman Capote examined his subject with a ruthless curiosity; I could almost feel his fever. In the strangest way, this book gave me permission to follow my ache to understand, to explore the things that fascinate me. It gave me permission to write about the kind of things I wanted to write about.
What is your favorite time of day?
I love the early, early morning, the hours before the sun comes up. It’s when the world seems its most quiet, most full of possibilities. Those hours are sacred, a golden time for writers especially. Because here we are so close to our dreams, where our minds are at their most honest and free. The rest of the world — with all it’s demands, distractions, restrictions– is still deep in slumber. Only those of us with something important on our minds, with goals to accomplish, and words to put on the page, are awake and alive.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Write every day. Real writers don’t talk about writing; they don’t think about writing; They don’t make excuses for why they didn’t write. They write.
Read everything you can get your hands on. They only way to get better is to expose yourself to the people who are doing it well. You’ll learn more from reading and writing every day than you will from any class or writers group.
Never give up. If you’re a real writer, you write because you can’t NOT write. Publishing your work should be incidental to sitting down and becoming a better writer than you were yesterday. So get your work out there, but keep writing — no matter what.
Do you have any phobias?
I have a terrible fear of chainsaws and amusement parks. During Halloween in Florida, these fears can dovetail horribly. You can’t imagine my dismay.
Where do you love to be?
I love to be home with my husband and daughter. We travel so much, are constantly on the go around the country and around the world. So being home, and enjoying our life in Florida or at our place in New York City is something I really cherish. At heart, I’m kind of a homebody. I can go out, travel , party and dance with the best of them. But there’s part of me that would always be happier at home — writing, reading, cooking, playing board games with my daughter or watching movies with my husband.
Thanks for stopping by the Ball, Lisa! If you have comments or questions for Lisa, please join us in the comments below!
Everybody knows everybody in The Hollows, a quaint, charming town outside of New York City. It’s a place where neighbors keep an eye on each other’s kids, where people say hello in the grocery store, and where high school cliques and antics are never quite forgotten. As a kid, Maggie found the microscope of small town life stifling. But as a wife and mother, she’s happily returned to The Hollows’ insular embrace. As a psychologist, her knowledge of family histories provides powerful insights into her patients’ lives. So when the girlfriend of her teenage son Rick disappears, Maggie’s intuitive gift proves useful to the case – and also dangerous.
Eerie parallels soon emerge between Charlene’s disappearance and the abduction of another local girl that shook the community when Maggie was a teenager. The investigation has her husband, Jones, the lead detective on the case, acting strangely. Rick, already a brooding teenager, becomes even more withdrawn. In a town where the past is always present, nobody is above suspicion, not even a son in the eyes of his father.
“I know how a moment can spiral out of control,” Jones says to a shocked Maggie, as he searches Rick’s room for incriminating evidence. “How the consequences of one careless action can cost you everything.”
As she tries to reassure him that Rick embodies his father in all of the important ways, Maggie realizes this might be exactly what Jones fears most. Determined to uncover the truth, Maggie pursues her own leads into Charlene’s disappearance and exposes a long-buried town secret – one that could destroy everything she holds dear. This thrilling novel about one community’s intricate, yet fragile bonds will leave readers asking, “How well do I know the people I love?” and “How far would I go to protect them?”
Want to win a copy? Leave a comment on this post (don’t forget to include your e-mail address!) – one lucky commenter will receive a copy of Fragile – winner will be announced in our October 24th News Flash!