Posts Tagged 'Lisa Moreau'

Soul Mates and Butterflies Wishes

 

By: Lisa Moreau

 

butterfly-whispererI’m often asked where I get my story ideas. Sometimes they’re completely made up and other times they’re inspired by true events such as in my newest book, The Butterfly Whisperer.

A few years ago, I had two separate experiences that I tucked away in my mind, knowing that one day I’d incorporate them into a book. The first included encountering a soul mate from long ago, and the other was visiting a monarch butterfly grove. Love and butterflies…two of my favorite things. Hey, I’m a romance writer so what can you expect?

To me, a soul mate is someone you uniquely connect with mind, heart, and soul. In my life, I’ve been lucky enough to encounter several soul mates, which don’t necessarily have to be romantic in nature. Some come in the form of family or friends. I was inspired to write about reunited soul mates after unexpectedly bumping into my first love from eighteen years ago. It was a shock, to say the least, especially since we hadn’t seen each other in over ten years. We’d both moved on from our very special relationship, but it did inspire the idea to create two characters that reunite after ten years for a second chance at love.

Who doesn’t adore butterflies, right? They’re beautiful, extraordinary creatures who symbolize freedom, growth, and change. Monarchs in particular have amazing endurance since―like birds―they’re the only species to migrate thousands of miles. As incredible as that is, my affinity for monarchs really took root one unseasonably warm December day at a grove in Santa Barbara, CA. It’s the norm for monarchs to clump together in eucalyptus trees when it’s cool weather, but on this day I was astonished to see thousands of butterflies flying around, landing on my head, shoulders, and in the palm of my hand. It was like something out of a magical fairytale. That night, I Googled monarchs to learn more about them and in the search results I frequently encountered the Native American Butterfly Wish which states:monarch

 

If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper their wish. Since a butterfly can make no sound, it can’t reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit. In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the wish is always granted.

 

The two main characters in The Butterfly Whisperer, Jordan and Sophie, are reunited soul mates that must heal the past in order to rediscover their love. They’re also faced with overcoming differing desires and learn firsthand to be careful what you wish for when their respective Native American butterfly wishes come true.

The story takes place in the fictional town of Monarch, along the Central California Coast. It’s loosely based on many ocean side towns which house monarch groves. One thing not many people know about me is that even though I reside in a city of four million, I’m a small town gal at heart. Out of all the places I’ve written about, Monarch is by far my favorite and I’d live there if I could. It’s a quaint town filled with sometimes odd, always caring residents who love butterflies more than anything. Everything in the story and town revolve around monarchs. And in many ways, Sophie and Jordan’s romantic journey mirrors that of the twin caterpillars that they raise from birth, to cocoon, to winged adults.

Writing this story was a joy. Not only did it give me the opportunity to incorporate two meaningful real-life experiences, but I also had the chance to bring more awareness to monarchs and their conservation. In fact, I think Sophie and Jordan would agree that in addition to their romance the butterflies take center stage in the book.

BOLD STROKES BOOKS AUTHOR INTERVIEW with LISA MOREAU

by Connie Ward

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What made you decide to become a fiction writer?

If one can actually make a major life decision in the third grade, then that’s when I decided to become a writer. I was a terribly shy, quiet kid and discovered early on that it was so much easier to express my feelings and thoughts in the written word than verbally.

The first story I wrote that garnered attention―other than from my mom―was in the third grade. We’d just moved to a new town, and switching schools in the middle of the year was pretty scary. One of the first assignments in English class was to write a story, and I wrote one about the hardships of being a new fish in an aquarium. Even after all these years, I remember the story well. It was witty, suspenseful, and overly dramatic…and a bit morose, since it ended with the new fish coming eye-to-eye with a very hungry-looking tiger fish. Despite the gruesome ending, the teacher loved it. I don’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I do remember my third-grade teacher’s name. Thanks to Mrs. Foster, who encouraged me to write more, which I did, and haven’t stopped since―but I do have happier story endings these days.

What type of stories do you write? And why?

I write romance, which to my friends is hysterical considering my dating history. Let’s just say I’ve been unlucky in love. All right, to be completely honest, it’s been disastrous. I’m an ultimate romantic who has yet to have a happy ending, which is exactly why I love writing romance. Oftentimes, I take experiences from past relationships and rewrite the story so that my characters live happily ever after. It’s a cathartic, healing experience, and in a way it’s like rewriting my history.

What do your family/friends think about your writing?

My friends are ecstatic and can’t wait to read my first novel, Love on the Red Rocks. Both my parents are deceased, and I really have no idea what they’d think about having a daughter who is a lesbian romance author, especially my dad, since the book is dedicated to him. I come from a strict Roman Catholic family, so I was pleasantly surprised when so many aunts, uncles, and cousins were excited and proud about the upcoming publication. My sister and niece are my biggest supporters, both of my sexual orientation and writing. Some family members, though, are judgmental, but I ignore them. That’s the beauty of the “unfollow” feature on Facebook.

Where do you get your ideas?

I get a lot of my story ideas from my own life, my experiences, fears, insecurities, challenges. Most times an inspiration starts with the location, which acts as a character in my stories. With Love On The Red Rocks, I wanted it set in Sedona, Arizona, which is one of my favorite places and the perfect backdrop for the book. The idea for the manuscript I’m writing now also started with the location.

For me, it’s best not to force anything but instead rely on instinct. Most brainstorms pop into my mind from the ethers or in dreams. If I purposefully look for story ideas, I usually come up empty-handed. With that said, I do remain consciously open throughout the day. An idea might spring from an overheard conversation in the supermarket, a news story, or something said by a friend.

How do you write; do you plan everything out or just write?

My personality is a balance of creative and analytical, so I do both. If I didn’t outline first, I’d feel lost and the story would become disjointed very quickly, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily stick to the outline once I start writing. Before I ever begin the book, I spend quite a bit of time getting to know the characters and plotting. I devise the traditional three-act outline in which I brainstorm scenes and main events for each act. Once I feel like I know the characters well enough and the direction of the story, I start writing…and that’s where the fun begins.


 

love-on-the-red-rocksWhat makes Love On The Red Rocks special to you?

Love On The Red Rocks is a symbol that dreams come true if you have the courage to try, not give up, and release your attachment to the outcome.

I’d always wanted to write a novel but kept putting it off. It seemed like such a huge task, so I always stuck to shorter pieces. When my dad died unexpectedly, I was reminded of how short life can be. I began writing the book one month after his death. When I started, I wasn’t even thinking publication. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could actually write an entire book. Once I began, though, I thought, “Hey, this is really good. I should submit it for publication.” If I could make one of my dreams come true by writing a book, maybe I could achieve an even greater dream by having it published.

After submitting the manuscript, I literally forgot about it. The woman I was dating at the time would ask every few weeks if I’d heard anything. If it weren’t for her, I don’t think I’d have thought about it. Don’t take my nonchalant attitude to mean it wasn’t important to me. It’s just that I trusted the universe to deliver what was meant to be. So, imagine my surprise and excitement when it was actually accepted. And, of course, the dedication belonged entirely to my father. He was the catalyst as well as the inspiration. An interesting bit of trivia not many people know: the date of his death is used in the book as the date of the main character’s father’s death. It was just another way of acknowledging his presence and importance in my first published novel.

How much of yourself and the people you know are in your characters?

Quite a bit, but I do write fiction and have a pretty wild imagination, so some of my characters are totally from my head. The two main characters, though, in Love On The Red Rocks are a pretty good combination of who I am. Malley for her fears and insecurities, and Jessie for her new-age and romantic side.

Which gay/lesbian authors inspired you the most? Do you have a favorite of this author(s)?

I’ve always been a huge Radclyffe fan. In fact, she’s the reason I submitted my manuscript to Bold Strokes Books. Not only do I love her writing, but she’s also an excellent role model of a strong, successful businesswoman. Some of my other favorite authors, in no particular order, are Melissa Brayden, Gerri Hill, Lynn Ames, Georgia Beers, and Lynn Galli.

Do you have any suggestions for new writers?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. When reading, don’t just do so for pleasure. Pay attention to the mechanics and technique, such as hooks, plot, theme, characters, conflict, enticing incidents, beginnings, endings, etc. Pick out a novel you love and dissect it, study it front cover to back. Also, read books about writing. Some of my favorites are Editor-Proof Your Writing by Don McNair, Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, and Writing With Emotion, Tension, & Conflict by Cheryl St. John. Also, take as many writing classes and workshops as you can. The learning never stops. And most important, write. Every day. We all lead busy lives and it’s not always easy to carve out even thirty minutes in a day, but it’s essential to make time to write. We can’t call ourselves writers unless we actually do it.

When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?

I love living in Southern California, where I’m close to the ocean and mountains. A perfect Saturday afternoon is lounging on the beach reading a book and then wandering down the shoreline. I enjoy taking trips to Santa Barbara, Cambria, and Big Sur along the Central California coast. Aside from Hawaii, Sedona, Arizona is my favorite place to visit, so I go there as often as possible. I like hanging out with friends, perusing used bookstores, and reading. In addition to fiction, I read a lot of nonfiction metaphysical books. I’m a big Hay House fan, which is a publishing company founded by Louise Hay and publishes new-age/spiritual books. I attend their conferences and author workshops. I also meditate every day, which helps keep me centered. All of this, of course, is when I’m not working my eight-to-five corporate job or writing. Life is sweet but busy!

Not Your Normal Book Blog

BY LISA MOREAU

love-on-the-red-rocksCan I be honest here? I’ve had a tough time writing this blog. So much so that I’ve perfected the art of procrastination from this one article alone. On the upside, my canned goods are alphabetically arranged and my sock drawer has never looked neater. So, why am I dragging my feet? I’m in a quandary of how to peak your interest in my novel, Love On The Red Rocks, without giving away too much of the plot. That’s easier said than done.

So, how about we start with a question: What do you get when you put a disappearing Indian, red rocks, a ghost town, and a bunch of lesbians together? No, this isn’t a Zen Koan or a weird, probably politically incorrect, riddle. These are some of the elements in my book.

Intrigued? Well, I see you want more, so how about I introduce you to the cast of characters?

Malley is a quirky, cool chick who whispered the book in my ear. This is her story, but I get the credit as the author since I did all that typing. Malley isn’t in my head anymore, but she’d probably want me to tell you that she’s self-assured, organized, and knows what she wants. That would be accurate from the outside, but inwardly she’s insecure, fearful, and a little clueless. Jessie is Malley’s love interest. In early feedback from the book, everyone wants to date―and frankly, do―Jessie. She’s sexy, romantic, and a bit of a new age nut. She turns Malley’s world upside down, making her question her desires and face her greatest fears. There’s also Lizzie, Malley’s selfish best friend; Nicole, a stuck-up lawyer; and Rhonda, the hefty, unrefined cowgirl. As a side note, most people are surprised to learn that my favorite character in the book is Rhonda. I found her uncultured, brash behavior delightful.

Interested in reading the book yet? Geez, tough audience. Okay, maybe we should talk about that disappearing Indian.

The prologue in the book actually happened, minus the disappearing act. Yes, I encountered a flute-playing , ancient Indian who gave me a heart rock by the Kachina Woman in Boynton Canyon. (If we’re getting technical, it was actually a rose quartz crystal, but it’s a rock in the book). Most of the novel takes place in Sedona, Arizona amidst the majestic, mystical red rocks. Sedona is a new age mecca where weird stuff happens, which made it the perfect backdrop for the novel. But don’t worry, there isn’t anything too weird. Just enough to make it interesting.

How’s that? More? Wow, you’re sorta greedy.

Well, in addition to the above, Love On The Red Rocks has a couple of steamy encounters, a lesbian resort, an accidental naked shower scene, the world’s only teal arches, scrumptious butterscotch cinnamon buns, and most of all a sweet romance.

If that doesn’t convince you to check out my novel, I’m not sure what will. Now I’ll excuse myself because I’m hungry, and thanks to this blog I can easily find the canned turkey chili which is alphabetically arranged under C…or maybe that’s T.


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