Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Interview with Author Lisa A. Kramer

Today, we are fortunate to have Lisa A. Kramer stop by the blog to answer some questions about her newly-released book, P.O.W.E R


What would happen if women and girls joined their unique abilities to change the world? In a time where access to the written word is reserved to men, Andra BetScrivener's ability to read and write must remain a secret, or she could lose her hands, her eyes or her life. At 17 she discovers that her abilities extend beyond reading: She can write events to life. Despite her efforts to keep her powers hidden, she comes to the attention of both the government and a rebel group, who each desire to use Andra for their own goals. She learns that her words have the power to kill, threatening her father's life and her own freedom. Andra's fight empowers others to stop governmental oppression. But in a society ruled by lies, cruelty and inequality, her journey will not be easy or safe.

1. Welcome, Lisa! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I always find it difficult to answer a question about myself, despite my love of words. Why? Because my life has been a fascinating journey filled with so many different moments that I can’t really describe who I am. In a nutshell, I am a writer, a theatre artist, an educator, a wife and a mother. I’ve lived in 11 states and two countries (Japan and the US), although I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I have spent my life in both academic and creative pursuits. I hold an MFA in theatre directing and a Ph.D. in theatre for youth, which means I make much of my living teaching as adjunct faculty in various colleges and universities, as well as directing and teaching classes in the community. I am the co-founder of heArtful Theatre Company—a company dedicated to the power of theatre and the arts to bring communities together and provide opportunities for everyone to share the stories of their lives. So, in many ways, everything I do (and have done) is about finding and sharing the stories that connect us as human beings.

2. P.O.W.ER is all about empowering women to embrace their own talents and work together to make a difference in the world. Can you tell us what prompted you to write this particular story?
I’ve spent a lot of my life working with and mentoring young women—most of whom have incredible talents of all types, but are often disparaging of those talents, and more often of each other. I’ve witnessed and experienced women not supporting each other because they are so afraid of giving up the small piece of the pie that they have achieved. I understand it to some extent, because our society doesn’t make it easy for women to achieve in certain fields. But, I also believe that those who have succeeded should be examples and mentors. They should be helping other women achieve their dreams, rather than making it more difficult. Over recent years, I’ve been appalled as images of mean girls and women competing with each other take over the air waves. I watch in frustration as our government continues to try to devalue women by taking away our choice and our ability to support ourselves. I weep over stories about women not being given access to education and thus to opportunity. I look at my own daughter, and I say she needs to live in a better world—one where every individual (male/female/trans) has opportunities to learn and grow based on desire and ability. This story comes from all of this, as well as from a simple question I’ve asked myself over and over again: why are people in power so afraid of educated women?

3. What are you hoping to achieve by spreading this message? I’d love to see a world where people are truly equal, but I doubt my little novel will have much power over that. If I can encourage a few people to embrace whatever talents they have to offer, and to learn to support each other and make their voices heard, then I will feel successful.

4. Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special? Andra BetScrivener is the daughter of the Head Scrivener of New North. Although her father writes for a living, she has been raised in a world where women and girls are not allowed to learn to read or write. However, she has always had the ability to read, even without being taught. When she turns seventeen, she discovers that she also has the power to write some things into reality. While she could take this power and simply write the world different, she realizes the responsibility that comes with having power. She helps bring other women with abilities together, as well as men who support them, to make a difference in the world without abusing their powers.

5. Did you approach P.O.W.ER differently than anything else you've written? Everything I write is different, so my approach is different as well. I began P.O.W.ER. as part of a course through the Long Ridge Writers Group, which meant that I had specific assignments that I had to fulfill. It made me plot and outline a little more than I usually do. However, when it came to writing the whole novel, I let my characters take me where it needed to go.

6. How much research did you do? I didn’t do a lot of research for this one. Part of the inspiration came from reading a book called The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D., but I didn’t really look into the possibilities of brain functioning. This is partially a fantasy, where the powers of the female human brain have developed beyond expectations. I allowed myself to journey into that fantasy.

7. What else have you written? I have written non-fiction articles for children as well as for academic journals (mostly about theatre) I also have three short stories published in the Theme-Thology anthologies put out by HDWP books, and a few published poems.

8. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I work both ways. As I mentioned, I plotted a little more for P.O.W.ER. However, some feedback I got from an early reader made me change my format somewhat (I was originally writing only in 3rd person, however I shifted to a combination of 1st and 3rd) which affected my outline to some extent. So the plot was just a beginning map, the ideas and the characters took me where I needed to go.

9. What else are you working on at the moment? I am working on two other novels. One is a YA paranormal mystery of sorts, and the other is literary fiction around a storyteller character that has appeared in my blog.

10. Where can we buy P.O.W.ER?
Order the paperback through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Go independent, order the Kobo version.
Coming soon to iTunes and nook.
I am also hoping to get it into independent book stores and libraries. . . request it at your favorite and help me spread the word.

Thank you again, Lisa, and best of luck with P.O.W.ER!

Put this book on your list, dear readers! It is a captivating read with a powerful message, and will make a perfect gift for the readers in your life.

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