From the time I could read, I had a book in my hand. My nickname was "Bookworm" around the house because I read while walking. My earliest career aspiration was to write novels.
After reading my first Nancy Drew book, I was hooked on smart heroines, gothic settings, and menace. I was a sucker through middle school and high school for a novel with a heroine in danger and a Byronic Hero. If the names Manfred or Healthcliff went with my last name, I would have named my children after such dark anti-heroes, heroes to some--if I had boy children, that is, and if my husband wouldn't disown me. Instead, I name the heroes and scoundrels in my novels such names.
By college, I had evolved into a gothic romance/literature nut. I fused my love of the written word with my love of studying people in an English/Psychology double major. Later, I received my M.A. in 18th century British Literature from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and have been teaching, tutoring, and writing ever since. I am the owner of Gothicked Blog, a blog that reviews gothic novels, especially gothic romance novels. My biggest gothic role model is Barbara Michaels (Mertz), and I count among my prized possessions a post card she sent in response to a fan letter a couple years back.
The loves of my life and my greatest encouragements are my husband and my daughter. They cheer me on every day and give me ideas to include in my novels. If I'm not working or writing, I'm usually spending time with them and laughing over something one of us has said.
Q: Is there a great love story in your life (you've read or lived) you have or would like to incorporate into a piece?
A: There are so many. The ones I have read areWuthering Heights by Emily Bronte for complete, mad passion and Gothic setting and some of the other great Gothics like Dragonwyck by Anya Seton. I like the darker elements of obsession and love in these novels as well as the hints of the supernatural.
In real life, I love stories passed down through families. I have heard some of the greatest and most tragic love stories that way. A couple of them have woven themselves into my novels in progress. And of course, my own love stories and life experiences inform my writing.
Q: Alpha or beta heroes?
A: I like both. All men with complex histories are fair game as heroes in my novels.
Q: How has living in a variety of places informed the settings in your books?
A: I have lived in three cities in Alabama, as well as in three other states. I also lived in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) for two years. Most of my life has been spent in the South, and Alabama and Texas are major settings in Magnolian and in my gothic romance novels in progress. I feel like I know the South well enough to write about it and make it real. I think every experience I've had of living and travelling throughout the U.S. and Canada is fodder for novels, and I've used most settings that I've spent time in in my writing.
Q: Why does Magnolian have two men who compete for the heroine's heart? Isn't one great hero enough?
A: I grew up reading gothic romance novels, and many of these works by Barbara Michaels (Mertz), Victoria Holt, Phyllis A. Whitney, and others had two men that the heroine has to choose from. I find the complexity and possibilities fun as an author. One man from chapter one on and a predetermined ending is boring, I think. Also, I believe a choice between romantic partners often happens in real life. I have so many friends who have experienced it. My other works in progress also include two men fighting for the heroine's heart.
Q: Magnolian is a novel in which the characters grapple with issues of race and tradition. Why did you put this issue squarely in the novel? Do you have weighty issues like this in your other novels?
A: I hope the novel shows that love crosses boundaries like skin color. Love is stronger than hate or fear if we let it be. I like my works to have noble themes when I can work them in.
Q: Where can readers learn more about you and your books and appearances?
A:www.lisalgreer.com and Facebook: Lisa Greer
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