Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Loving The Drama!

My guest is contemporary fiction author, Lisa Dale. She says about herself, "My fiancé and I are getting married this July 2 in New Jersey. Between the new books and the wedding, I’m insanely busy. And that’s just how I like it! Writing is a great excuse for me to follow my fascinations, so you’ll find lots of interesting little factoids scattered through my work. What I want... is to tell romantic stories that challenge, inspire, astonish, and enchant." 

Lisa's one of those New Jersey larger than life residents--in her books--but in life?

If you were to make a reality TV show out of this writer’s life, here’s what you’d see. 
  • Scene of me sitting in my pajamas, bleary-eyed but intensely writing.
  • Scene of me getting up for a glass of water.
  • Scene of me getting up to hug my fiancé when he comes home.
  • Scene of me knitting, talking with friends. 

Yep—exciting stuff! TV producers like to do shows about us New Jersey folks because they think we’re larger than life, over the top, good entertainment.

But in the opinion of this Jersey girl, drama is meant for novels. Not real life!

The other day, a reporter asked me if the characters in my new book, Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier, were based on real people or real-life situations. I told her: Thank God, no!

You see, even though I don’t believe that we’re put on this earth to make trouble for each other, I LOVE a book that puts it all on the line. I love when characters risk everything important to them for love. My characters have to work for their happy endings.

By the time a reader gets to the end of one of my books, I want her to be breathless with anticipation of an HEA—absolutely invested in the action. And for me, half-measures don’t cut it. I push my characters to their limits before they find a way to transcend their own tragic flaws, overcome deadlocked and impossible problems, and find their happily ever afters.

So you would think, in my real life, that I’m the kind of person who likes a little drama. That my characters, as the reporter implied, are born of real life events.

But in fact, I’m a very quiet person. I have a few close friends whom I love dearly. I have a wonderful family, a fiancé who warms my heart. I like knitting, reading, and evenings filled with laughter and intimate conversation. When the occasional bit of real-life drama happens, I try to let it roll off my back. Real life is precious, and I think we’re put here on earth to be peacemakers for each other.

But in my stories…look out! All bets are off. Drama reigns! As a writer, if you’re gonna do drama—you’ve got to make it as intense as can be, because that’s what makes for a big, emotional payoff in the end. It’s go big or go home!

In my new novel, Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier, the heroine is the owner of a Newport, RI, coffee shop (coffee is absolutely fascinating! And each chapter behind with a little interesting history about the seed/bean that is so easy to take for granted!).

There are actually two loves stories in one—two stories that run parallel with each other. The first story is about when the characters fell in love with each other for the first time in high school—a head-over-heels, wild kind of love.

But then, weaving in and out of that story, there’s the story of the present. The characters are no longer in love (something really bad happened between them, I won’t say what). In fact, the hero outright hates the heroine when the book opens.

But as echoes of that first love begin to resurface, his feelings change. Their loves story as adults parallels, contradicts, and overlaps with their love story from when they were teenagers. I wanted to explore the similarities and differences between adult love and young love—and I also wanted to give readers a LOT of bang for their buck. You don’t just get one love story here. You get two.

So far—it’s paid off. Slow Dancing is a TOP PICK for both Barnes & Noble and BookPage magazine. Can I even begin to tell you how cool it is to see my book on a page with some of the bestsellers that I’ve been admiring for years? Kinda surreal.

As for my own real-life romance, I’m getting married in July (the Saturday after RWA national!). My sweetheart and I have been together for a long time now. It’s been a lot of fun planning the wedding! We’ve got most of the big things done.

And luckily, my real-life wedding planning has been mostly drama-free.

  • Question: When real-life drama starts to get to you, what do you do? Take a long bath? Grab some chocolate? Or read a book?
  • Does this work? 


 Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier 

Thea Celik has devoted herself to running her Newport coffee shop, to parenting her daughter, and to being a meaningful part of her in-law’s loving family. Her life is mild but satisfying—she’s sure of her place in the community and in her family. But when her childhood friend and husband Jonathan uncharacteristically cheats on her, her certainty about her role in the world is shaken.

Now as Thea strives to rediscover herself and remain close with the only family she knows, Jonathan’s brother Garret vows to exile her from their lives once and for all. Garret has never forgotten his history with Thea, and he hopes Jonathan’s divorce from her will mean he can reconnect with his brother at last. But his increasingly frequent encounters with Thea—and his unresolved feelings for her—threaten his relationship with his family now more than ever before.

SLOW DANCING ON PRICE’S PIER is the story of one woman’s determination to rediscover a new life while trying to maintain the old. When the bonds of friendship, family, and love are tested, how long will they hold? Excerpt

A lifelong bookworm, Lisa Dale is a firm believer that there are few things in life better than curling up with a novel and a cup of tea. Lisa Dale grew up in rural Northwestern New Jersey before attending McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. She worked briefly in publishing before going back to school to get an MFA in fiction at Fairleigh Dickinson University. A nominee for Best New American Voices and the Pushcart Prize, her writing appears in many literary magazines, such as The Writer, Fourth Genre, Flyway, Fugue, Sou’wester, The Southeast Review, The MacGuffin, Many Mountains Moving, and more.

Lisa's: Website, Blog



~Sia McKye~ said...

Welcome to Over Coffee!

Lisa, first congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

Real life drama? Not fond of it at all. I generally retreat and soak in quiet and a book is always my escape. It's always helped me to unwind.

Tonya Kappes said...

Very cool about your story and upcoming wedding! I'm so excited about the BIG wedding on Friday!! Real life drama is so hard to escape. I always try NOT to stress out and just get done what I can do. Anything else is out of my control and I continually remind myself of this. If something I can't change is still nagging me, I generally take a walk or hook up with a good friend.

Judi Fennell said...

Hi Lisa!!!! Welcome to Sia's!

(Man, Sia, that hunk on the left sidebar gets me every time! I have to scroll back up and check him out. I vote you never change out that photo!)

Kat Sheridan said...

Hi, Lisa (OK, hold on just a second while I SECOND Judi's request--Sia, who is that guy on th left? And I vote he becomes the permanent resident hunk.And I don't even LIKE blonds!)

Ahem. Lisa, the book sounds wonderful! And while I try to live a drama-free life (hush, Sia. No laughing!), it doesn't always work out that way. My escape from drama usually involves a book in which I can immerse myself. I'm also notorious for shutting off cell phones (and forgetting to turn them back on). Best wishes for your book, anf for your OWN HEA!

Jo said...

Personally when life gets on top of me I like a drink. Usually a scotch and water.

Good luck with both book and wedding.

Helen Ginger said...

I would have to say that I handle real life drama by not sleeping. Which doesn't exactly help.

Becky said...

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding, Lisa. Also good luck with the book. The book sounds really good.

Real life drama gets to me I usually take a walk or read a book. Taking a walk normally helps me by calming me down and clearing my thoughts. When I am finish with my walk normally I have a more confident feeling on how I am going to handle the real life drama.
Reading allows me to escape it for a while.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Helen, that's not a good thing, no sleep? Yikes.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Becky, walks help me too. That goes for drama or getting away from my manuscript and clear my head. I hear you on the feeling of confidence that comes after a walk if you're stressed. The calmness you feel gives you a feeling you can handle whatever you have to without dismemberment or bodily damage, lol!

Thank you for stopping by!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Lisa will be stopping by a bit later. She had to work today but she wanted me to let you know she'll be here!

Lisa Dale said...

Hi all! I'm back from work! I wanted to stop in prior to work, but I'm actually pretty sick today (a spring cold) and it was touch and go as to whether I'd get there. Feeling a bit better now!

Thanks for having me on the blog, Sia. What a fun crowd!

Tonya, Yeah--those royals really know how to show a girl up! If only I wasn't competing with Will and Kate, I'm sure the talk of the nation would be my little!

Hi Judi! Great to see you here! Hope everything's going well!

Kat, thanks for your sweet wishes! I too like turning my cell off--though I rarely do it. :-)

Jo, Whatever works! I like a cold beer, myself, from time to time.! I like sleeping--it's a great escape!

Becky, I like walking too. Actually, any time I can get someone to talk with me--anywhere--off we go. Or I walk alone. It's so relaxing! When the weather is nice I walk to the library--a two for one!

Thanks to all for chatting!

VA said...

My techniques are similar to others: a stiff drink, sleeping, and when all else fails--a run. A long run, until you hit the wall, your lungs are screaming for you to stop and then transcendence. The bliss of a runners high is a fine diversion. Of course, the knee doesn't appreciate it.

Off to read the excerpt. Best wishes for a magical day, Lisa.

Lisa Dale said...

VA, I've heard about that mythical "runner's high" and I do run a bit...for a little while there I could do 5.5 miles at a go (which is a lot for me!). But that runner's high? It's been elusive! What's the secret? :-)

Hope you like the excerpt!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Lisa, I don't about VA, but I loved to run as a kid up to my 30's when the knee couldn't handle it any longer. It was the wind in my face, the feeling of leaving behind all my cares, pushing myself just that little bit further both your body and lungs are protesting and *click* your body makes the adjustment and you feel like you can run miles more.

I always called it my second wind. But I always loved that *click* when it happened. Always felt better afterward. I don't get as strong a *click* when I walk but I do get one when I hit my stride. I walk fast, lolol! But I do come home feeling happy and at peace with my world.

Gotta love those endorphins!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Don't worry Lisa, my reality show would be just as boring. No knitting though.

Houston A.W. Knight said...


I've got an old friend of yours over at my place...Gary...drop by and visit!

I was never a runner...women's bodies are made so that too much falls down with that kind of bouncing, but I was a work out girl...I got addicted to that schedule then was an hour and a half to two hours hard work out seven days a week...that included get that same runner's high...

Great post sweetie!