Monday, August 29, 2011

Interview with NYT Bestseller, Lisa McMann

Today we have a very special guest, author, Lisa McMann. Lisa is the New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy, Cryer's Cross, and her latest, the middle-grade dystopian fantasy series, The Unwanteds, which Kirkus called, “The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter”. Originally from Michigan, Lisa now lives with her family in the Phoenix area where she wrangles scorpions and poisonous toads. Read more about Lisa at Or better yet, be her friend on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

1. Hi Lisa! Thanks for being with us here at the Apocalypsie blog. As you know, we’re a group of debut authors, so we’re very interested in firsts. Can you please tell us a bit about your first book signing?

I was a nervous wreck. I spent the day visiting schools. I found that handing out something (anything - bookmarks, magnets, postcards, Sillybandz) at the beginning of my presentation helped my nerves - it gave me something to do while I muddle through introducing myself and telling the high school kids about WAKE. Then I had my first signing at night, and by then I felt like I was ready to say some stuff fairly coherently, but the bookstore just put me in a chair at a table and didn't want me to do any presentation at all. I was a bit glad, actually, because I was exhausted, but people had come to hear me talk and so I ended up telling my road to publication story fifty times to all my friends instead of just once. I still get nervous now and then, but it gets markedly easier after about four or five events.

Note: Lisa is absolutely awesome in person and if anyone wants pointers on how to engage an audience, you have to check her out on tour, which incidentally starts tomorrow with the launch of her latest book, The Unwanteds. For tour info:

2. You hit the NYT bestseller list with your debut, Wake; who was the first person you told that you hit the list?

It was such a weird moment. The NYT lists are announced to publishers on Wednesdays after five pm (they go up on the NYT website on the following Saturday). My editor and agent called me together, and I really couldn't believe it - I'd been home from tour for over a week and I figured my shot at the list was over. So, at first, once I hung up with Michael and Jen, I just wandered around the house with the information rolling around in my brain for about ten minutes. Then I called my husband Matt. He came flying home from work early and we took the kids out to eat and we told everybody, including the sommelier, who then spent fifteen minutes telling us about the book he wants to write.

3. If you could go back, what would you tell yourself as a debut author?

Calm down. And don't read the reviews. Don't go to Amazon or Goodreads 85 times a day to check your rank or your star rating. Just stay away from anything that has the potential to put you in a downer state of mind for more than 60 seconds.

4. What is in your tour suitcase that may surprise us?

Um, a bottle opener. Because after a 15-hour day, opening a $13 bottle of Amstel Light from the minibar using the hotel bathroom counter or door latch is just plain dangerous. And the person who stayed there before you stole the one that's supposed to be there. Also a baby doll arm. Don't ask. It was a gift. And there were a couple of giant potatoes in there for a while...but I got tired of TSA searching my bag every time I went through security because potatoes apparently look just like bombs, so I gave them away in Austin.

5. What is your favourite part of the writing process?

The first edit after the rough draft is done.

6. Wondertwin power?

Form of: a bottle opener.

7. You have ten days until the Apocalypse – what do you do?

Eat lots of bacon.

Thanks for taking time out of your very busy schedule to be with us, Lisa! We’re so looking forward to the release of The Unwanteds and wish you all the best with it!


  1. Thanks, Lisa!! You're a woman after my own heart ... I'll be shoveling down bacon before the Apocalypse, too!! Best of luck on The Unwanteds! It sounds fantastic!!

  2. Great interview! I'll go pack that bottle opener now. Just in case the Apocalypse happens *after* my book launches. *crosses fingers*

  3. As much as I understand it, TSA gets on my nerves sometimes. I'm one of the few that still has to read the Dreamcatcher series, but it on my TBR list :-)

    Congrats on the release of The Unwanteds tomorrow.

  4. BACON!!! Now I want bacon. (*Looks for bacon*) Too funny about the sommelier telling you about his stories. I'll bet you get that a lot now, huh? :P Can't wait for The Unwanteds. It sounds awesome. Good luck with it.

  5. Bacon is the answer to everything. Somebody in the crowd in your first signing asks a scary question, like "What's the theme and significance of the imagery in your book?" the answer is always bacon.

    (also, if someone asks you that, they are writing a book report for school)

  6. Looking forward to reading the UNWANTEDS! Thanks for chatting with us.

  7. Bacon. Who doesn't love bacon? Thanks so much for being with us, Lisa - now I know what to get you for Christmas!

  8. This was a great interview! Thank you for visiting the Apocalypsies, Lisa! Cannot WAIT to read THE UNWANTEDS.

  9. Thanks all! It was fun. Best luck to you as your books come out! Be proud. :)