Author Interview: Lisa Mangum

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Lisa Mangum:

Lisa Mangum has loved and worked with books ever since elementary school, when she volunteered at the school library during recess. Her first paying job was shelving books at the Sandy Library. She worked for five years at Waldenbooks while she attended the University of Utah, graduating with honors with a degree in English. An avid reader of all genres, she has worked in the publishing department for Deseret Book since 1997. Besides books, Lisa loves movies, sunsets, spending time with her family, trips to Disneyland, and vanilla ice cream topped with fresh raspberries. She lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy. She is the author of The Hourglass Door (which was named the 2009 YA Book of the Year by ForeWord Reviews) and The Golden Spiral.--Goodreads
1. If you were to describe your novel, After Hello, in three words, what would they be?
Immersive conversational connections.

2. What was your inspiration for After Hello?
Maybe it sounds cliché, but I had a dream. After finishing the last book in the Hourglass Door trilogy, I was debating on which idea to pursue for my next book. I had a couple different ones I was thinking about but, while I liked them both, I couldn’t really decide. And then one Saturday morning I woke up after having a dream that started with a boy coming out of a bookstore and a girl taking his picture and following him. I started writing down what I remembered of my dream. Most of that dream was nonsense, but that initial moment felt intriguing and powerful. It slowly grew into the story of Sam and Sara and from there I was hooked. I knew that was the story I wanted to tell.

3. What would you trade your sugar packet for?
I traded my sugar packet for a framed poster of the Avengers, which I then traded to my friend Heidi, who gave me a stack of fashion books and coloring books. I traded those books to my nieces for a bucket full of Mr. Potato Head parts that I needed for a class I was teaching at a writer’s conference. (Now I just need to find someone who needs a bucket full of assorted Potato Head parts!) If you would like to join in the fun and trade a sugar packet of your own, check out and I’ll send you an official After Hello sugar packet. (Trade it, tell me the story, and you could win a prize!)

4. In After Hello, what character are you most like?
I see myself in a lot of the characters. I’m like Sara in that I follow through with a promise—even if other people don’t understand why I’m doing it. I like that she wanted to help fulfill Piper’s request even though she didn’t have to and it wasn’t her problem. I’m like Sam in that I sometimes keep my stories and my secrets close to my heart and it takes a while for me to open up to a person. I’m like Daniel in that I love the peace I feel in sacred and religious spaces. I think I’m even a little like Paul, who doesn’t like it when things are broken and he can’t fix them.

5. If you were taking a trip to New York City for just one day, what would be your top three
things to do and/or see?
There’s so much to do! If I only had one day, I’d love to go back to Ellis Island, walk the Brooklyn Bridge at night, and enjoy the best gelato that Little Italy had to offer.

6. Why did you choose New York City as your backdrop, for After Hello?
Honestly it’s because after my first visit to New York City in 2011, I fell in love with the city just as much as Sara did on her first visit. I loved the energy and the excitement. I loved all the different things to do, visiting all the famous landmarks, eating the delicious food. I wanted New York to be as much a character in After Hello as all the other characters. I hope I gave it the honor it deserves. I also chose it because it is such a big city and I liked the idea that even in a crowd, people often feel isolated and keep looking for that one special connection to let them know they are not alone.

7. When writing, do you multitask (and if so, what else are you doing)?
For the most part, when I have time to write, I write. I used to listen to music while I wrote, but I don’t anymore. I will admit I often have the Internet running in the background of my computer, but I have to be careful not to let that take over all my time.

8. If you could have dinner with any author (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
While I’m tempted to say some of my favorite authors—Stephen King, Tad Williams, George R. R. Martin, Toni Morrison, etc.—I think I would be too nervous to actually meet them in person and have dinner with them. Honestly, there is something to be said for splitting an order of chips and salsa with my author friends Ally Condie and Becca Wilhite. Dinner with them is always full of laughter and friendship and inspiration.

9. Will Sara and Sam ever meet again? (If yes, how would they spend their time?)
In my heart, I say yes. But since I’m not planning a sequel for After Hello, I’m not sure how that story would unfold. I wanted to leave the question open for the reader as well. After all, there are times in our lives when someone passes through and changes us and we never see them again. And that’s okay.

10. What are you working on now?  Can you tell us about it?
I’m just starting another YA contemporary novel entitled Just June. I’m still working on the tag line, but it’ll be something like this: May and June are as close as identical twin sisters can be. Which is why when May commits suicide, June is left to wonder, “Could I have saved her?” I like the idea of two people, who are genetically the same, but who take such wildly different paths with their lives. It’s a heavier topic than I usually write about, so I hope I can make it work.

Thank you, Lisa Mangum!  If you want to hear more about how awesome Mangum is, go HERE.  If you want to buy her book, After Hello, go HERE.  You can read my review about it HERE; it was fantastic.

You Might Also Like