Lisa Manterfield

Contemporary Upper Young Adult author Lisa Manterfield is the award-winning author of A Strange Companion and I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood.

Manterfield admits that her love affair with writing took some time: “I’m not sure if I’m a late bloomer or if I’m just not good at picking up hints from the universe, but it took me a long time to figure it out. I’ve always been involved in storytelling, whether that was through dance, theatre, movies, or books.”

Lisa has always been passionate and a go-getter. This characteristic was nurtured after something that happened to her when she was 12 or 13: “I landed the role of Dorothy in our high school production of The Wizard of Oz. It was such a shock, as everyone assumed another girl—who had an amazing voice and always got solos in the school concerts—would get the role. I had moderate singing, acting, and dancing skills, but apparently I had something she didn’t. I’m still not sure exactly what that something was, but that experience gave me confidence I hadn’t had before. It solidified the idea that I could go for something I wanted and maybe stand a chance of getting it.” Little did she know that this simple life lesson would help her later on.

“I somehow managed to ignore this and went off to college to become an engineer. Only after I’d secured two degrees and a steady job did I have this huge epiphany that I’d picked the wrong career. For about ten years, I tried to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I kept going back to storytelling. I did some acting, screenwriting, even marketing (which is also storytelling). But the moment I decided to write a novel, I knew this was what I wanted and needed to do.” She has gone on to have her work featured in The Saturday Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, and Psychology Today.

When the author encounters writer’s block, there are usually a few reasons why: “If I’m struggling to get words on the page it’s usually because there’s something fundamental about the story that I don’t know, a bit of foundational work I haven’t done, or a question I haven’t dug deep enough to answer. Maybe I don’t know what the point of the story is or I’ve fudged over understanding what’s driving my main character,” said Lisa. “So, I (literally) walk away for a bit. I take myself off for a long walk with my notebook and think about the story. Or I go back to some trusted exercises and try to shore up the missing bits. Sometime though, I get tired or lazy, and then I just have to plant myself in my chair, set a timer for 20 minutes, and just write until I figure it out.”

Lisa also revealed that she has considered who would play the characters in her book, A Strange Companion. “I cast Daisy Ridley as Kat, Andrew Garfield as Owen, and Nicholas Hoult as Gabe. I don’t know if J.K. Rowling has any acting chops, but she is how I envisioned Kat’s mother, so I gave her the role. I wrote a post about it on my blog

Lisa recently released her latest book, The Smallest Thing.

The very last thing 17-year-old Emmott Syddall wants is to turn out like her dad. She’s descended from ten generations who never left their dull English village, and there’s no way she’s going to waste a perfectly good life that way. She’s moving to London and she swears she is never coming back. But when the unexplained deaths of her neighbors force the government to quarantine the village, Em learns what it truly means to be trapped. Now, she must choose. Will she pursue her desire for freedom, at all costs, or do what’s best for the people she loves: her dad, her best friend Deb, and, to her surprise, the mysterious man in the HAZMAT suit? Inspired by the historical story of the plague village of Eyam, this contemporary tale of friendship, community, and impossible love weaves the horrors of recent news headlines with the intimate details of how it feels to become an adult—and fall in love—in the midst of tragedy.

Who is her favorite character in The Smallest Thing? “Of course I love my main character, Emmott, but she’s not always loveable in this story. She has a lot to learn about herself. So, I think my favorite character is Em’s best friend, Deb. Deb is brilliant and no-nonsense, but she also has a sharp wit and she’s funny. Deb is sort of a mash-up of a couple of my dear friends and probably a bit of myself, or at least who I wish I was. She is the logical sidekick Em needs to teach her how to be a better human being. I also have a very soft spot for the mystery man in the HAZMAT suit. He came out of a writing prompt and immediately piqued the interest of my writing group. I can’t say much more about him, though, without ruining the story.”

To keep up with Lisa, check out her website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, or keep up with the The Smallest Thing book tour here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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