Lisa Yallamas [lisayallamas]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I loved the Odyessey (a children's version I bought through school book club), the Drina series, about an orphan dancer. I only thought seriously about writing after the teacher read out an essay to the class and called me a writer.
I had a few poems published in the school magazine but the first people to read anything I wrote were members of the public when I started writing for newspapers.
When I returned to writing fiction in 2000, script editors read my feature script.
And my niece has been reading my unpublished children's book manuscript since she was five or six, giving me invaluable feedback.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
Fables, myths, mystery and adventure. I published Chapter 4 of my children's book on my blog: http://yallamas.com/citizens-of-roam-chapter-4-a-global-warming-m
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Stories start with a character trait, a plot line, a random idea about something that stops me in my tracks. I write notes for a long time before I write an outline. When I have a block of time I sit down and tease out characters.
The characters form before the plot.
Blogs start with thoughts about things that happen in my life, current news events and a desire to jot down ideas in a public place for public inspiration.
Professional copywriting and journalism - strict deadlines. Writing is the last thing. Research is everything.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
I'm sorry to say that most mainstream sources are tediously predictable: newspapers, TV, commercial radio. After two decades as a professional journalist who tried hard not to be middle-of-the-road and conformist, I've learned to trust my own judgement - rather than group think.
I like to read the work of independent thinkers.
The Monthly, National Geographics.
I like Radio National's website, Seth Godin's blog is a must read.
I look signs of something yet to be.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Character and then structure.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
First person - not necessarily as myself.
What well known writers do you admire most?
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
I think I believe a character when it makes me feel and react.
My characters appear unbidden and I discover who they are as I go about life. Something correlates and something rings true.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Don't often. If I feel that someone is genuinely listening.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I don't think I write for myself. I write with a particular audience in mind.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Not therapy - almost puts you in therapy sometimes. I hate it. When I'm convinced by my own idea, then I have to write it - that's hard work.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Definitely. Love to know what people think. I may often react and disagree but it makes me think.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
No. Not yet. Too busy earning a living as a writer.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Yes. Need a response at some point to see what's not on the page.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I think I've found my voice.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I need a deadline. I quarantine time. I turn off the internet. But only when I'm actually writing. When I'm taking down notes, words, sketches - most of it gets lost.
When things start recurring then I have to make an effort.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
On paper first. I have a paper trail.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I follow a few twitter hashtags and blogs.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I spoke to two at a conference last year. I've emailed and twittered with another. I was rejected by another. I've negotiated with Amazon's self-publishing site which I'm still thinking of pursuing - but I'm going to submit a book proposal once more and see what happens.
What are you working on now?
Working to publish my children's book.
Writing and researching TV projects for community TV and a possible documentary.
Continuously working on my blog as well as earning a living as a copywriter.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Get someone to edit it or give you a professional assessment.