by Carole Brown
Thrilled to have Lisa visiting today, and especially envious of her home! Nevertheless, I welcome her, and hope you readers enjoy her visit. I had the privilege of reading her book, and loved it. Troubling, well-written, and a book that made me think, it was, an attention grabber!
Here’s a bit about her first:
Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a
Great Lakes ship captain. A multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and sometimes magazine editor. Visit http://www.LisaLickel.com.
Personal social links
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2bPxi2X
Now on to her interview:
Lisa, tell us a little bit of how you were called, or began writing. Happenstance? A clear call? A chosen career?
I didn’t begin considering writing as a career path until I was forty years old and gainfully employed. My youngest child was about to leave home, and I realized I needed something to do to fill in that time. I happened to see an article in a now defunct women’s Christian magazine for a now defunct writing program. It was an expensive online course, but like I said, I’d been gainfully employed. A lot of things changed pretty quickly and although I didn’t start making (any) replacement funds for over ten years, my husband very kindly didn’t remind me I told him I’d give this writing thing a year and a half, then find something else.
The wonder of a patient husband! What is the message(s) in the book you’re promoting today? Do you like a definite spiritual theme or do you keep it less obvious as you write? Can you give us a very brief scene (paragraph) as an example?
I was taught to start with a theme and grow the story from there. I began with a verse from Micah 6:8. There are several versions of it, of course, but basically it says the Lord requires us to practice mercy, be just, and walk humbly with Him. There are several messages in the book—how does God answer opposing prayers, for example—but the core is really mercy, and it really is a subtle thread woven throughout. Maybe too subtle, but I can’t give away one of the very last scenes in which the winding story finally comes to an end, so here’s a piece of the scene when the Alexian Brother, Able, who’s the narrator, realizes he can’t continue to stay silent, and his friend, Father Diego, is the one to start the mercy track rolling.
But, Father, I confessed.
Father Diego touched Able’s sleeve. “The Blessed Mother told me it was time to return.”
Able whispered, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.”
“Our sin is ever before Him, Able. Somehow I am convinced any absolution I can give you tonight will never be enough. You must also forgive yourself.”
Able still faced the altar. “My sin has a face, Diego. I spoke to the man in his grief over his wife. I know him. I prayed with and for him. I prayed with his wife, not knowing who she was. This time, I accept that what we are doing is wrong. I cannot allow the doctor to continue to use people, no matter the cost.”
“Admitting you have trouble is the first step, my friend. Come, let us reason together.”
Able followed Diego to his apartment.
I can just feel his passionate agony. Very good illustration. What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it? J
Ah, my favorite part and why you should read it don’t necessarily correspond, so I’ll settle for why I love it. I set out to explore how God answers prayers for everyone, even if they are in direct opposition. Someone has to win, and if he does, then someone has to lose, right? What if they both prayed to win, cause, really, who prays to lose? I wasn’t even sure how that works when I started writing the book, but the answer grew organically along with way. This story truly brought me closer to the Lord and helped me empathize with parents who are always out of step with their children, no matter what they try to do. It took me out of my comfort zone to research a different faith tradition and to think about boundaries in medical ethics.
Oh, my. That made me think too, almost as if I’d never considered it before: where two people (or more) may pray. Who should get their answer? Thankfully, God knows how to answer! Give us three items about yourself: hobbies, loves, fun or weird habits, food/snack kicks you like, what would you be if not a writer–that sort of thing.
- Three pieces of me:
My husband and I found an exclusive piece of Yellowstone National Park in which to camp, and I’m not telling anyone about it. We’ve stayed there twice now, and it’s one of my favorite places to visit.
- I have to walk around and make sure all the kitchen cabinets and drawers are shut tight before I go to bed. I share the 160-year-old house with too many mice when we first moved in and got tired of washing things constantly after they’d been visited.
- I would give up chocolate before I gave up eating bread. If I had to.
Oh, my. Those are interesting. I would beg to know your secret place, but fear you’d hold fast to keeping that secret! Lol. Lastly, share an incident when you’ve been very happy/excited or very disappointed/depressed during and because of your writing career? How were you able to get past the bad and move on to the good?
Here’s the importance of having friends, critique partners, and networking.
During the final critique phase with my buddy Gail Pallotta, I had to change computers, and…you guessed it, lost a lot of stuff, including the most recent version of Innocents Pray (I’ve been working at it for eight years). Nothing showed back up again after I reloaded my program, but…Gail to the rescue! She kept and sent back to me all the chapters we had worked on, so I was able to rebuild the book. But I wasn’t sure if that was another roadblock to getting this book out, or whether I should jump over it and keep going, in the dark, at breakneck speed, in unfamiliar territory.
You see, from my first agent years ago who told me intelligent women don’t buy serious issue books (I guess it was before Jodi Picoult, Francine Rivers, or Brandilyn Collins? Or maybe it was commercial fiction?) to the second agent who wouldn’t represent this manuscript, to the acquisitions editor who chased me across two publications we worked for, to the third agent who offered me a contract based on this manuscript but then took it back, to the fourth agent who finally got a contract which then fell apart after months of assurances, I have been wondering whether or not this story was worth it. But when I read the endorsements and reviews, I am blessed.
Ah, the pricelessness of excellent critique partners!
Justice, mercy, and humbleness collide when four people pray for different answers to the same situation. How will God answer all of them?
What is wrong with trying to cure cancer? Brother Able, hospice chaplain, asks himself that question every day. His boss, Dr. Rich Bernard, performs closet genetic experiments at Paradise House. He blackmails Abl
e into keeping his secret. When a grieving husband asks Able to pray for his dying wife, Able finally breaks his silence.
Libby Davis might be prepared to accept death, to sacrifice herself for Rich’s greater cause but fails to comprehend the love of a husband who cannot let her go and the son who’s a whisper from the edge of reason. Brother Able wades into battle for those innocents in her life. If he wins, it won’t be only Libby’s family he saves.
Thank you so much for joining us, Lisa! I’m happy to host you today!
Readers, be sure to comment and let Lisa know how much you enjoyed her interview!