Lisa Cach is the award-winning author of more than twenty romantic novels and novellas, ranging across sub-genres from Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary, and Chick Lit, to Young Adult. Her novel “Dating Without Novocaine” was named one of Waldenbooks’ “Best Books of 2002,” and she is a two-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America.
Lisa Cach was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, where she still lives today. Her professional background includes teaching conversational English in Japan, and several years working the graveyard shift on a mental health crisis line. She has traveled to the foothills of the Himalaya, the jungles of Borneo, the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, and the painted caves of the Perigord Noir, in France. She has sailed the Caribbean as a working crew member of a research schooner, and the Bering Sea as a guest on a small ship.
In December 2011 she’ll be teaching a writing workshop aboard the MV Explorer, the ship used for the college program Semester at Sea. Her voyage, a short 3-week trip, is for learners of all ages, and she’ll be spending New Year’s on the Amazon River.
Questions about Wake Unto Me
Ashlyn Rae: Wake Unto Me was so unique and different, I haven’t read anything like it before! What was your inspiration towards the book?
Lisa Cach: There were so many pieces to my inspiration, I don’t entirely know where to start. Writing books is always like this: something catches my interest — a snippet of history, a strange anecdote, an intriguing person — and I begin to build upon it, adding bits and pieces of information that have been floating around my head for years. In the case ofWake Unto Me, there was a short story I read in my French class back in high school, that had stuck in my mind. The ‘punch line’ of the story has stuck with me, and it was the seed that grew into the book. I can’t tell you what that punch line was, though, because that would spoil the surprise of the story.
Other things that inspired the novel were a painting I saw in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, of a woman named Lucrezia Panciatichi. She looked both cold and knowing, and has stuck in my head for over fifteen years. She was the inspiration for the historical character Bianca de’ Medici.
Much of the rest of the inspiration came from a trip I took to the Perigord Noir region of France to visit fortresses and hike the countryside, and from my own memories of being both in high school and at a women’s college, Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. The character of Naomi, for instance, was inspired by a roommate of mine who really was an Ashanti princess.
Ashlyn: How was it writing your first YA book? How is is different from your adult books?
Lisa: The biggest difference was that a YA book is much cleaner than an adult romance. In an adult romance, most readers are expecting lots of naughty bits. In the YA, that wasn’t okay, and that was a relief to me. I felt more free to focus on the heroine as she tried to solve the mystery of what was happening to her, and tried to figure out what her abilities were, and who she was. Her romance with Raphael was a romance of souls more than a romance of bodies.
Ashlyn: Tell us about the ghost in Fortune School, the Woman in Black!
Lisa: I wouldn’t want to reveal her secrets, but I’ll say that she was inspired by a story a friend told me, about working late at night in an old building and hearing a noise coming down the hall towards her, shhhush, shhhush, shhhush, like the sound of rustling silk skirts on a woman long since dead.
Ashlyn: Everyone seems to love reading about Raphael. How did you come up with such a swoon-worthy character? x)
Lisa: I wanted him to be a worthy young man, who cared about people, and struggled to fulfill the responsibilities placed upon him. I also wanted him to be a good match for Caitlyn: someone with similar interests and experiences, who could understand where she was coming from. Someone who got her.
Ashlyn: Are there any future plans for a sequel to Wake Unto Me?
Lisa: I’m working now on a sequel, tentatively titled “Foxfire.” It’s about a new student a the Fortune School, a girl from Nova Scotia (Canada), who has a psychic bond with animals. Caitlyn will still be in the story, of course; if my hopes come true, this will turn into a five or six book series, with Caitlyn playing an increasingly important role in events at the Fortune School.
Questions about the amazing Lisa Cach!
Ashlyn: Have you always loved writing?
Lisa: I’ve always lovedreading. English was always my best subject, but writing fiction is hard work for me; it doesn’t flow easily out of my fingertips, and because it’s so hard I end up procrastinating way too much. But, writing fiction is the only work that has ever given me a true feeling of satisfaction. ‘Joy’ is the wrong word for it. But ‘satisfaction’… There’s work that you enjoy on a surface level, and then there’s work that makes you feel whole. I may fight against the discipline of it, but writing makes me feel whole.
Ashlyn: If you could be anything else besides an author, what would it be?
Lisa: An artist. I’d paint portraits of people, and giant murals of animals or nature scenes. I’d love to be able to paint a mural like Kaii Higashiyama; his paintings are so peaceful.
Ashlyn: What do you usually base your stories on?
Lisa: I’m a voracious consumer of esoteric information, and it’s from odd corners of knowledge that I usually draw my inspiration. The more I read about, or experience about, the world, the more ideas I have. I took a trip to Caye Caulker in Belize last year, for example, and even though it’s a tiny island where nothing much happens, I ended up with ideas for at least two different books, based solely on four days wandering around, observing, and listening to people talk. Like, a few years ago there was an earthquake that caused a tunnel to open up underneath the island, underwater, going from one side of the island to the other. Some scuba divers went down there to explore and never returned… What writer couldn’t be inspired by that?
Ashlyn: Are you working on any other YA books right now? (If so, what is it about?)
Lisa: I have an idea for a romantic adventure mainly set in the jungles of Guatemala, but I have to write ‘Foxfire’ first. Writers usually do have way more ideas than they have time to write, so it cracks me up when people tell me they have an idea for a book, and wouldn’t I like to hear it, and maybe use it? Ideas, for me, are the fun part. Actually writing the book is where the work and sporadic discipline come in.
Ashlyn: You’re secretly one of the lost daughters, aren’t you?
Lisa: I wish! But I do read tarot cards. ❖
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