Interview - Lisa Mangum & THD Winner!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

As many of you know, I had the awesome fortune of attending a book signing a few weeks ago with Lisa Mangum, author of The Hourglass Door. Well, I was also lucky enough to interview Lisa, and she is just the nicest person ever! Check out the interview below...and after that you can scroll down to see who won the signed copy of The Hourglass Door.

1. How did you come up with the idea for The Hourglass Door?

When I decided to write a YA novel, I knew I wanted to write a love story—and one of the best love stories I knew was the story of Dante and Beatrice from Dante’s Divine Comedy. I had read the epic poem in college and loved it. So I drew a lot of inspiration from that source. And I also knew I wanted a little flavor of fantasy to the story, so I asked myself, “What if Leonardo da Vinci built a time machine—and it worked?” And I was off and running—or rather, writing. Eight months later, I was done.

2. There’s a lot of Italian in the book. Do you speak Italian?

I wish! I love the language, but I don’t speak it at all. But I knew since Dante was Italian that I’d want some of it in the book. I asked a friend of mine who does speak Italian to help me with the translations.

3. Describe The Hourglass Door in three words (just because I’m cruel).

How’s this: engaging time-travel romance.

4. Did you base your characters on real-life people or friends?

Yes and no. I think most authors draw inspiration on the people around them, and I certainly did. There are parts of Abby that have their roots in my own past. And some of Valerie’s lines and personality come from a dear friend of mine. But in the end, Abby and Valerie, Dante and Zo are their own people. And sometimes when I’m writing, they are very vocal with their demands for dialogue and scenes. And if I don’t get it right the first time, they’ll let me know.

5. Did you always want to be an author?

Yes. My mom is an author too, so I grew up loving books and writing. I started with short stories and some very bad poetry and eventually made my way up to writing entire books. Of course, that makes it sound easy, and my road to being an author wasn’t always smooth and even. There were plenty of moments when I doubted my ability to write a good story or finish a book. But about five or six years ago, my friends and I started a writing group and that really inspired me to take a dream I’d only dabbled with and turn it into a reality.

6. Who is your favourite character in The Hourglass Door and why?

I’d say it would be Abby. I think she’s strong and sassy and inquisitive. I like that she’s brave and daring. I really like writing her scenes. (Though to be perfectly honest, I also really like writing Zo’s scenes, too.)

7. What or who inspires you to write?

I draw a lot of inspiration from my family. My husband, Tracy, is a wonderful source of inspiration and encouragement. I love a good sunset, a relaxing afternoon on the beach, and seeing an awesome movie with a big bucket of popcorn. I also love it when a scene I’m working on unfolds effortlessly—times like that make it all worth it.

8. Name five things you need to write the perfect novel.

1. A good idea that I’m passionate about.
2. A deadline.
3. A fast laptop.
4. An iPod full of good music.
5. A fluffy cat willing to sleep on my lap.

9. You have the chance to travel anywhere in time and space...where do you go, and why?

Maybe it sounds like a cliché, but I would love to visit Italy. I’ve never been and I would love to go. I think the food would be amazing and the scenery . . . oh, it’d be breathtaking.

10. Is there anything else you want to tell your fans?

One of my favorite places to visit is Disneyland, and one year when I was there I discovered this great quote from one of the Imagineers: “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. Don’t stop.” I’ve always loved that. Don’t hurry an idea—let it develop, get to know your characters, learn your craft. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, or if other people don’t like it. Just don’t stop—don’t stop trying to improve, don’t stop reaching for what makes you happy, don’t stop dreaming.


Alright, I tallied up all your entries (nice and simple with just one entry per person, might I add), and we have a winner! Drum-roll please...the trusty has chosen its winner, so the winner of the signed paperback copy of The Hourglass Door and bookmarks is...

Steph from StephTheBookworm!

Congratulations, Steph! I'm sending you an email now. In the even I don't hear from Steph in 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen. Thank you all so much for entering! Also, a big thank-you to Lisa Mangum for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions.


  1. Nice interview! Good job snaring it :)
    I just replied to your comment on ebook publishing with this -

    @Melissa - You are so right! I wish logic applied to this industry :)

  2. Great interview! i like the imagineer quote :)

  3. Aww a fluffy cat, well that would be lovely to have while writing.

  4. Nice interview.

    Just hopped by from the blog hop

    First-time visitor.

    Stop by my blog if you get a chance for reviews on I'd Know you Anywhere by Laura Lippman, Saving Cee Cee Honeycut by Beth Hoffman, and many others.

    Happy Hopping, Everyone....hop on over to my blog to see who my favorite blogs are.

  5. Great interview! I want to read her book now. Thanks!

  6. awesome interview!! I seen this book at Wal*Mart, didn't have the cash to get it but it still looked awesome. ha ha.

  7. Once again your interview questions are amazing. I love reading the author's response. My favorite was her response to about her inspiration. Makes me want to read Dante's Inferno.

  8. Great interview, Melissa! I especially love numbers 3 & her answers for 7 :)

  9. Fantastic interview Melissa! I'm excited to read this one, I wasn't familiar with it prior to your contest and now after the interview I want to read it even more. I'll definitely be picking this one up! Congrats to Steph!

  10. Really great interview Melissa...It made me feel like I know the author now :)

  11. Fast laptop needed for sure
    Great interview

  12. I really enjoyed this interview Melissa! So glad you got to meet Lisa...she sounds very neat!

  13. I've got to read this book! I've checked it out of the libary twice but have always been in the middle of another book and it's always on hold for someone so I have to return it before I have time to read it.

  14. Awesome interview. Her husband sounds way cool. Great post.


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