The Pacific Northwest has been the home of many famous authors, Frank Herbert, Ken Kesey, Ursula K. Le Guin, and J. A. Jance among them. There is something about the dark and the damp that encourages creativity. We have a huge community of authors, with critique groups and strong support for each other.
Recently one of my friends from Bellingham, Washington, author of historical fiction J. L. Oakley, introduced me to another friend of her’s, fantasy author Lisa M. Peppan. Lisa’s book, SomeWhen Over The Rain Clouds is an intriguing book I am currently reading on my vacation–I can’t put it down!
Here is the BLURB:
Lisa has consented to answer a few questions about her writing process and where her book fits into the genre of fantasy.
CJJ: Tell us a little of your early life and how you began writing:
LMP: Once I got the hang of it, I became a voracious reader. My favorite still is L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. It’s his fault, me writing. I tried my hand at a few short stories but it wasn’t until after reading a poorly written fantasy that I was inspired to write a better story.
CJJ: What are you currently working on?
LMP: While my cover-artist works on a cover for the sequel to “SomeWhen Over the Rain Clouds”, I’m working on a third book. Might be a fourth, possibly a fifth. Maybe more. Same alternate universes and most of the same characters, all bundled together as The Geaehn Chronicles. The Geaehn Chronicles has a Facebook page.
CJJ: Do you have a specific ‘Creative Process’ that you follow, such as outlining or do you ‘wing it’?
LMP: SomeWhen started life as 98 handwritten pages. With a rough idea of the kind of people I wanted my characters to be, I ran astrological birth charts for them and compatibility charts for every possible combination of the four. While mulling over potential plot complications, I wrote detailed biographies for my main characters, drafted maps, and re-read a selection of mythologies, and, well, once I knew my characters and the world I was sending them to, I wound them up and let them go. So far, this has worked for two and half books.
CJJ: How does your work differ from others of its genre? Why do you write what you do?
LMP: In all the fantasy I’ve read, cab drivers were things that moved protagonists from Point A to Point B. Three of my four main characters are Seattle cab drivers who recognize that they’ve become involved in a fantasy-novel-type situation; the fourth knows it’s so much more than that. I drove a taxi cab for 11 years, did a little dispatching, and knew cab drivers were so much more than things (most of them), and wrote the kind of book I’d enjoy reading.
CJJ: I know why I chose the indie route for my work, but I’m curious as to why you’ve chosen this path.
LMP: In the Spring of 1984, on a particularly slow day as a taxi cab driver, SomeWhen Over the Rain Clouds was born. Over the years, I got many really nice rejection slips. Then along came a first novel contest on Amazon. Though I shot myself in the foot for the contest (ask me why and how bad), I was among the 100 best entrants that year. It also made me aware of that most marvelous purveyor of POD novels, CreateSpace. When a long-published author friend went Indie, because it appeared to be the direction publishing was going, I took the plunge.
CJJ: What advice would you offer an author trying to decide whether to go indie or take the traditional path?
LMP: Most traditional brick-and-mortar publishers want to see smartly written synopses. I tried but my best effort (to date) is 23 pages, and Indie doesn’t require one*. Indie or traditional…? If you write fantasy that you’ve given a truly fresh spin and you keep getting really nice rejection slips with handwritten notes saying things like, “Great premise” and “Best wishes finding a home for it!!”, go Indie.
*You won’t need the synopsis but you will want a snappy blurb for the back of the book
CJJ: Your experiences with traditional publishing rather closely mirror mine, Lisa! Thank you for agreeing to be virtually here today, and for the insight into how your creative process works.
Here is a short excerpt of this wonderful book:
Intrigued? Lisa’s book is SomeWhen Over The Rain Clouds and can be found at these fine stores — just click on the links:
Born in Seattle as the eldest of three, Lisa was a curious and adventuresome child who delighted in taking things apart to see just exactly how they worked. It is a Testament to the Bravery of her parents that they went on to have two more children.
In 1981, after having held a number of jobs in a variety of fields, it was no real surprise to her parents or brothers when Lisa went to work as a cab driver for North End Taxi, a small mom-and-pop cab company in north Seattle. During the summer of 1984, as a cab driver, after reading what she felt was a poorly written fantasy novel, she said, to no one in particular, “I can do better than that.”
Unplanned early retirement in 1992 gave Lisa time to learn about computers and html coding. Armed with these new tools, she resumed her family research. This led to a new hobby–19th century Living History–and from there she caught a glimpse of the scope and diversity of her Aboriginal heritage that spanned North America, north and south of the border. What her father and his parents worked so very hard to hide, she works diligently to recover so the next generation will know who they are and where they came from; the time for hiding has passed.
When she isn’t reading, writing, researching, or playing in the past, Lisa enjoys quiet moments in the mountains, ferryboat rides on Puget Sound in November, windy days on any beach, hairy chests on men, rare steaks, and purple roses.
Lisa can be contacted at lisapeppan at gmail dot com