Tuesday, October 22, 2013
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Lisa Calell
Disconnected, which I reviewed yesterday, is a dark novel with bright pockets of light within its pages.
It talks about PTSD, abuse and also undying love.
Now get an exclusive look inside the mind of author Lisa Calell & make sure you stay tuned to my blog for exclusive sneak peeks at the sequel to Disconnected, Reconnected!
1. Disconnected deals with kidnapping and rape. What made you decide on the topic?
Most ideas come from somewhere - whilst writing Disconnected I read a fictional book about child physical and mental abuse. This book ripped my heart out. I was so emotionally taken in with the story, it affected me for months. In the plot for Disconnected I was aware that Katie was traumatised by something but I had not decided what that was. At first I had considered drug addiction but I wanted something that made it that little more heart-wrenching. When I started researching and looking for something, I came across an article about a girl that had been raped but never brought her attacker to justice because she was too scared and ashamed to go to the police. She suffered depression, night terrors and a fear of leaving her house to the point where she attempted suicide. It was such a sad article that touched my heart deeply and the thought of anyone getting away with such a heinous crime, bared heavily on me and therefore I decided that this was what I wanted to write about.
2. PTSD is a very debilitating disease that many people underestimate. Why did you decide to use it so prominently, as some rape victims don't have it as severely as others? (As a sufferer of it myself, thank you for writing about it so realistically!)
A lot of people relate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to soldiers, predominantly male. In actual fact, women are more likely to suffer from PTSD than men and at least 1 out of 10 women will develop it in their lifetime. It has also been recorded that one out of two rape victims will suffer from PTSD - obviously not as severe as in the case of Katie but that is a high statistic so I believe it is good to get it out there and make people more aware. As you say, it is a very debilitating disease and one that so often gets under-estimated. I have a close friend that has been through it and whilst you cannot erase the memories, with the right help you can find a way of dealing with them. I sincerely hope that you have found a way and thank you for your kind comment.
3. In the story, Chris loves Katie despite the fact that she lied to him about many things, even her surname! What was it about the theme of undying love that made you want to use it in the book?
Who doesn't love a good love story? I like nothing more than burying myself in a book that delves into the emotions of a man and his love for a woman. Emotions enter every factor of life and with Katie's story being so tragic, there had to be a light somewhere. Chris is her light, he understands her and knows why she lied. She was protecting him from her past and in essence, himself because of the damage it causes when he uncovers the whole truth. In Reconnected you will discover just the lengths in which he will go to for her. As the saying goes "Love conquers all."
4. Another subject you discuss is a miscarriage. Were you concerned with how the book would be received with all of the sensitive subjects you touched upon?
You know I never looked at it like that, I guess there are many elements of tragedy in this story but these are a common link to everyday life - drug abuse affects a lot of people as does the pain of miscarriage. In fact statistically nearly as many as 75% of all conceptions miscarry. My mum had one, my sister and a few friends, it is more common than you would think. When I was writing this story I just simply followed the flow and where it led me to.
5. The sequel, Reconnected is supposed to be out in December. Can you give the reader a brief glimpse into what may or may not happen?
I think there may be an element of shock from the storyline. I don't want to give too much away but Katie and Chris find a way of healing and 'reconnecting' together and as well as closure for them I am hoping it will bring closure to those readers who were left on the cliff-edge hanging at the end of Disconnected.
6. Casey's drug use is the reason Katie goes through what she does. What made you decide to use drugs as his reason instead of something else?
Unfortunately drugs are part of our society and make people do unspeakable and unthinkable things. What Casey did was more due to his drug addiction than anything else and something that happens or comes to light in Reconnected will show just how scary the levels are that a drug addict will stoop to in order to get their 'fix'.
7. Katie writes children's books. Did you ever or do you want to write for children in the future?
In Reconnected Katie writes a book called 'Orphan' - I have considered writing this book under the pen name she uses. Maybe I will - just have to wait and see. It is not something I have ever really thought about in great depth but I have learned that anything is possible so watch this space ...
8. How many books do you think Katie's story will span?
Reconnected will bring the series to a close for Katie.
9. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and why did you make that life decision?
In truth - last September!! I had just turned 39, I only had one more year before I hit 40 and as I looked upon my life I thought "What have I achieved, other than the kids?" The question kept coming back until one day I picked up my iPad and started writing a story on the DraftPad App. Still at that point I had not considered it would turn into a nearly 300 page novel, but by December last year that is where it was. I read it over and over, changed it many times. I asked a few select friends to read it - I needed to understand if it was any good. They were blown away but I still wasn't convinced that their opinion was not biased so I decided to go straight to the Lion's Den - Amazon. My life decision was never to be a writer, I always wanted to be a singer or an actress but Hollywood never came knocking on my door.
At the end of August this year, as I turned 40 I felt the greatest sense of achievement ever. Whilst standing at the top of The Empire State Building in New York as my 40th birthday came to an end, I realised that not only had I fulfilled my longest dream of going to New York - Disconnected has been a success with over 10,000 downloads in less than 6 months. I am grateful to every reader that has taken the time to not only read my book but to write to me personally and thank me. That is what matters to me more than anything that I have written something that people have enjoyed and as long as that is the case I will continue to write more.
10. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
I am still in full-time employment at the moment with aspirations to write full-time but that is not financially viable at the moment. I am a total techno geek and love new gadgets which helps as I deal with IT, mobile phones and tablets as part of my daily job. So I guess I am doing what I would be whilst writing so I get the best of both worlds.
11. What authors did you read when you were younger? What authors inspire you today?
When I was really young The Famous Five by Enid Blyton was one of my favourite series of books to read. Through my teenage years I read a lot of biographies, I loved learning about peoples lives - some of the more memorable were Jim Morrison of The Doors, JFK and Marilyn Monroe. Another writer I loved in my teens was Erma Bombeck, anyone that can make me laugh out loud while reading - that is talent! I went through a horror/crime stage and read the likes of Stephen King, John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell, Minette Walters and many more. I read all Harry Potter books within days of release - JK Rowling is the queen of imagination. More recently though, I have been heading down the romance route. Maybe that was the inspiration for introducing it into Disconnected. Like a lot of people, I have enjoyed the Fifty Shades of Grey experience, The Cross series, Thoughtless series and the Breathing series. In fact my book of 2012 was Rebecca Donovan's Barely Breathing and most probably my biggest inspiration at the time I started to write. There are so many authors that inspire me, all of the above to name a few but my real inspiration and the reason I will continue comes from the reader. When I read a book, I bring the characters into my life, I cry for them, smile for them and share every experience they have so when I hear that my characters have become part of someone else's life and they have taken them in to their heart - my inspiration to write grows and grows.
12. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
Always a tough question this one.
I would like to say having had Hollywood break my door down that I will be living somewhere warm and secluded, writing a few books a year whilst gaining a tan and drinking cocktails on the beach. Yes, my aspirations are to be more financially viable to consider writing full-time and that will be my continued aim. I have learned to live moment to moment though - as John Lennon said "Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans."
13. Would you like to see something you write be made into a movie one day?
Absolutely! How amazing would that be.
14. In the end, what would you like readers to take from Disconnected?
Disconnected is quite a tragic, traumatic story but people can always get through anything with help - be that a spouse, a counsellor, a doctor or just simply a friend. For me the Disconnected series is about never giving up and always moving forward. It may not seem like that at the end of Disconnected but by the end of Reconnected I hope that is what the reader gets out of it.
15. Thank you for taking part in this interview! Can you please leave the reader with three things that may surprise them about you?
Thank you for reading and reviewing Disconnected. It has been my pleasure to be a guest on your blog. Three things that may surprise people about me - that is another tough one.
I am Scottish - maybe some readers already knew that, I need to think harder ...I am currently in training for the London marathon and a purple belt in karate and last one (I will try and make it a good one) ... At school I would always get in trouble for not writing a story or an essay because I had a huge fear that it would get laughed at! I wish I could meet my English Teacher now and tell her about Disconnected.
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