Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Gal's 62 Days of Horror Day 62: AMONG THE STACKS: Lisa Vasquez

Due to a couple of authors getting lost in the Christmas hubbub, I decided to stick an interview of the pretty awesome Lisa Vasquez in as my Christmas Takeover #30 (I mean, it is my blog so I can do what I want, right? hahaha).  She's got a couple of books under her belt that look really awesome (can't wait to read them) and, well, who doesn't want to learn a little bit more about these fabulous authors that we hold so dear to our hearts?  Enjoy...




The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Welcome to The Gal, Lisa.  It's a pleasure to have you here today.  Let's start with something "easy" - tell us a little bit about yourself.

Lisa Vasquez:
I'm actually pretty boring.  I like to stay home most of the time and write.  I write from home and have a full house.  My family is very close so we all live together right now.  I have a new grandson who I take care of and he keeps me pretty busy.  Outside of that, I have an awesome collection of Living Dead dolls, Nightmare Before Christmas toys, Godzilla toys, and horror posters/novelties.  I was a personal trainer for 18 years and loved it, but got tired of trying to find something "normal" to wear and only seeing spandex in my closet.  I worked for Estee Lauder as a business manager (another job that was awesome!) for a few years before I got very sick.
            Currently I'm the CEO of Stitched Smile Publications, which is a dream come true, a Crisis Text Line counselor, book cover designer, and of course... an author.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Lisa Vasquez:
a) I've never met David Gahan (Depeche Mode) even though I've been a die-hard fan since I was 15 and have tried for years.  It's a bucket list thing, now.

b) I love all of the old John Hughes movies and know them word for word.

c) I still listen to Information Society.

d) I also listen to classical or opera on the stereo.

e) I went to a mosh pit with my son for his 16th birthday.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Lisa Vasquez:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Lisa Vasquez:
Several submissions to SSP, but I re-read books I love: The Hannibal series, Fight Club, the Rot & Ruin series, Bird Box.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn't expect you to have liked?

Lisa Vasquez:
Wuthering Heights, or the Estee Lauder Biography.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Lisa Vasquez:
I decided to write professionally about 8 years ago.  I kept trying to finish a book I started and people kept telling me to do it.  It's hard to do that when you have little to no time to think.  I'm sort of the "eye of the storm" in my house.  I'm in the middle, sorting through everything like an octopus.  That leaves little time to collect my thoughts, but once I did it... it was the most amazing feeling in the world.  I accomplished something not many people have.  It wasn't Mount Everest, but it was almost as grueling mentally!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Lisa Vasquez:
I wish I had a special place to write.  I write whenever and wherever I can.  I'm an opportunist.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Lisa Vasquez:
If I listen to music that has words, I'll type the words.  So I listen to Chopin or soundtracks, like The Matrix or Batman.  I love Christopher Young (Exorcism of Emily Rose), too.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Lisa Vasquez:
Probably the timeline "thing."  I write from page one to "the end" and sometimes, because I have the attention span of a squirrel on crack, I skip a scene and have to go back and fix it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the most satisfying thing you've written so far?

Lisa Vasquez:
The Unsaintly, my first novella.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Lisa Vasquez:
Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire, for sure.  Stephen King's Salem's Lot and Thomas Harris' Hannibal series.
            Authors who inspire me are Anne Rice and Jeff Brown (A.J. Brown) because they tell actual stories; they aren't writing just to write words or put out books.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Lisa Vasquez:
To tell a story, you have to engage the reader and build suspense.  The reader has to relate to the characters and feel something for them: hate, love, pity, etc.  If you're bored, your reader is bored.  To really build a story, there has to be a backstory.  The author should be able to go into detail about the character, their past, their idiosyncrasies, their ego, and their id.  Otherwise, the character is two dimensional and flat.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character? 

Lisa Vasquez:
The characters that I've always fallen in love with are the ones that are what most people consider evil, but digging deeper, you find out that something made them that way and there might be a piece of vulnerability or humanity within them.
            Lestat was created and abandoned, Louis lost his wife and was suicidal, Claudia lost her mother in the Plague.  All of them flocked to one another because of the pain and loss they had experienced.
            Hannibal was a happy child until the war killed his parents and the deserters killed and ate his sister (which they fed to him).

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Lisa Vasquez:
Probably a cross between Fay and Isabel.  The story of Fay hasn't released yet, so that will probably remain a mystery to people for a bit.  Isabel is the main character in The Unsaintly Chronicles.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Lisa Vasquez:
Haha, absolutely.  I'd rather a plain cover with just a color background and title than a horribly designed cover.
            I'm involved with every book cover... I design my own.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

Lisa Vasquez:
a) Take your time.  When you think you're done, sit on it another week.  If you rush it, you'll always miss something.

b) Do not edit your own work without letting someone else final proof it.  An editor is more important than the cover sometimes.

c) Did I mention not rushing?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Lisa Vasquez:
I don't think there's been a scene that was hard to write psychologically or mentally.  I've had a few times when the scene wouldn't come out the way I wanted it to.  That's when I walk away for awhile, maybe a day, to mull it over.  The mind has this fantastic way of working things out while you focus on something else.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Lisa Vasquez:
I think what stands out with my books is that I write in an "omniscient" point of view.  I hate first person.  I also add an element of fantasy to my horror because I love both genres so much.  People always tell me they can tell it's my work or writing, so I must have a "signature."

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Lisa Vasquez:
For awhile, and you can tell by several of my books... I had a thing for Un-names.  Since the late 1990s, I've an un-name for social media.  On AOL, I had unsaintly and unholier.  I made it my brand. I snagged every social media I could and used unsaintly.  Then a college started using my name for one of their teams.  At first, yeah I was pissed - but it's great publicity for me when they look up UnSaintly and find me everywhere!
            I think the title, for me, is always the easiest, to be honest.  There's only one book I can't pin down a title for.  Interestingly, it's for my multiple personality character!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Lisa Vasquez:
First, I want readers to love my stories.  I want to reach into their dreams, their thoughts when they're otherwise occupied, and their lunchtime conversations.  I want the characters to be "real" to them.  My target audience are readers who love their stories challenged and who love to think.  If they could take one thing away from my stories, I'd love it to be that it left them breathless.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Lisa Vasquez:
I deleted one scene because it showed up, near verbatim, in a movie that had the same content was very popular.  I joke that they stole it.  
            (No, really... I think they did sometimes :( )

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your "trunk"?

Lisa Vasquez:
I have The Unhowling - Viking Werewolves (swoon), Unrequited - a female assassin with a few extra horrific habits (Fay), The Unsaintly Chronicles 3, a few anthologies, and crossing fingers... my gothic Betty Crocker Cookbook!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Lisa Vasquez:
I'm committed to writing and publishing more of my work.  Now that I run a publishing house, I have to show my staff an authors that I can walk the walk and I have some credibility.  I have to lead by example.  So I will do anything I ask them to do and more.  Plus, I love to write and it helps me keep a promise to myself.  Hopefully, I will have more cover work and elevate my status there, too!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (You know, STaLKeR links.)

Lisa Vasquez:
Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat (rarely used, but I'm there): @unsaintly.  Wordpress and my Official Website.  If you want samples of my works in progress, visit me on WattPad.  The rest are in my bio.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks, again, for stopping by, Lisa.  It was an honor to have you join us here.
            One more thing before you go: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

Lisa Vasquez:
I'd love for them to know how important reviews are for indie authors.  You, the reader, give us a voice that matters.  Whether the review is bad or good, or just a star rating... please, please, take just a moment to give us that gift.  Big time corporations like Amazon and the brick and mortar stores, think we're a joke and they look down on us.  You, the consumer, have the power to choose what to read and what gets shown to you.  Places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million are coming around, but we still need your support.  Word of mouth is worth all the heartache and funding we put into producing the stories you love.  Thank you so much for giving me a few moments of your precious time!


About the author:
By design, Lisa Vasquez creates horror with vivid, dark, and twisted words and images that not only drags the reader in between the pages, but onto the covers that house them, as well.  When she releases her grasp, readers are left alone to sort through the aftermath those images leave behind; each one becoming a seed that roots itself within the soft confines of their psyche.  She takes this passion for writing horror and uses it to mentor other authors and volunteers as the Publisher's Liaison for the Horror Writers Association.  In January 2016, Lisa took her commitment to the next level and opened an independent publishing house, Stitched Smile Productions.
            Her work can be found in several anthologies, and her upcoming, full-length novels will be released in 2016.  For more information and updates on Lisa's work, you can find her at: her website or on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

About the book:
The Unsaintly is the journey of Isabel, the daughter of Louis VII and Blanche of Castile, who devoted her entire life to the servitude of God.  When Isabel begins to suffer from stigmata, she learns that it is just the beginning of her role in the fight between Heaven and Hell.  Her sacrifice is not enough when the abuse inflected by the stigmata she suffers leaves, and is replaced by the real horrors inflicted by God's rival, Lucifer.
            All that she's learned up to this point will be tested along with her faith, in the horrific story of good, evil, and everything in between.



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