Name: Lisa Bilbrey
Age: 40 and proud!
Where are you from: A small town in Texas. We now have two stoplights instead of one!
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’m a mom of three, married to my high school honey for 20 years. I’m a football mom, baseball mom, basketball mom, mom to a proud geek, nerd, and Star Wars lover.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing about ten years ago after an intense bout of insomnia. I’ve always had these little stories inside my head, so I figured I’d write them down. I fell in love with the craft, with the passion, and can’t imagine ever not writing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t know. When I was younger, I struggled a lot in school and never thought I’d be smart enough to write. I’ve had to teach myself a lot about grammar and sentence structure. In fact, I’m still learning new things every day.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had a dream about this woman standing on the beach. She was upset, crying, and the wind was blowing her hair around her, the sky was dark and gray. There were lots of lightning and thunder and when she looked back at me, somehow I knew that her emotions were fueling the weather. Thus Angel’s Heart was created. However, it’s not the first book I published. I hit a snag about half way through and ended up writing Life’s Unexpected Gifts for an anthology.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t know that I have a style per se… I just can’t hop around from chapter to chapter. I need to start at chapter one and write everything in order. Also, I used to be a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal, but lately I’ve found that using a basic outline helps me stay on track.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I have so many different titles, it just depends on the books. Angel’s Heart were because of the plot, Awakenings because of the sexual awakenings between the characters. Life’s Unexpected Gifts because the main character is being wooed by a secret admirer. Um, The Journey Collection because of Travis’s journey throught the series. A Season of Change because of the shift between spring and summer, and how it correlates to Meredith’s life. The Apartment because of the plot setup, and Broken Hearts & Dusty Dreams because it sounded good in my head, lol.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I write so many different types of books: Paranormal, suspense, Young Adult, Erotica, Contemporary, but the one thing that is the same is the need for acceptance. My characters don’t always feel loved and cherished, I tend to abuse them more than I should, but I love being able to break them down and build them back up. I believe in love and passion and magic.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I can’t say any of my books are 100% real or unreal. I think there are parts of all of them that are based on people who have influenced my life, in good and bad ways.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Oh, probably the Awakenings Series simply because I really had to break out of the normal man meets girl and they fall in love mind-set and really challenge myself to think outside of the box.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have so many favorite authors. J.K. Rowling will always be one of my favorites. I also like Veronica Roth, Stephenie Meyers, V.C. Andrews, but I find myself leaning toward more indie authors lately. Lindsey Gray is one that I will read everything she writes. Same for Sydney Logan, R. E. Hargrave, M. B. Feeney, and so many more.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I’ve been lucky to make a handful of really amazing friends. Rhonda, Michelle, Nicole, Leigh, Tina, Kerry…. They’re always there for me, always ready to listen to me bitch and moan, but also to tell me to stop being a crybaby and get back to it.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. It has to be. It may not be my only career, but it’s just as much as business as my day job is.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change any of my books. They aren’t for everyone and I’ve been blessed to not get too many bad reviews, but the ones I have gotten gave me a lot of insight that I carry onto my next project.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always had stories inside my head that I would play over and over as I drove, or went to sleep. So, I decided one night to attempt to write one of them out…. And it was bad. Like really bad, but I grew and matured as a writer and that’s all we can ask of ourselves.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is a bit from my new Zoe Mack Series:
“You’re a fucking cop!” Donald screeched, struggling to get away from the officer who had him pinned against the wall.
Zoe walked over to him, placed one hand on the cool plaster, and leaned toward him. “That’s right, Donnie-boy. I’m a cop, and I know you’re the bastard who is responsible for the rape of at least four women you met through Loveland’s Dating Service. Probably more. And the DNA we’re going to get off your glass from Shuko’s will be more than enough to make sure you don’t see the outside of a six by eight for a long, long time.”
“You stupid bitch,” Donald snarled, lunging for her, but the officer holding him was able to keep him from moving more than a couple of inches.
“Take him to central booking,” Zoe told the officer before walking away from both of them.
Her captain — Jeffery Nelson — was leaning against the back of the van when she exited the building, his arms folded in front of his chest, and a smirk on his lips.
“What’s so funny?” she asked, knowing he’d heard everything said between the two of them thanks to the wire she was sporting.
“You just love antagonizing them, don’t you, Mack?”
“I do,” she admitted with a nod. “I’ll get the paperwork done in the morning, if that’s okay.”
Captain Nelson smiled. “Sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she insisted.
Captain nodded. “I’ll see you first thing in the morning then.”
Zoe agreed with a tilt of her head and looked back over at Donald, who was being loaded into the backseat of a black and white, but her attention was pulled to the man leaning against the back the police car: Jax Shaw. He stared at her, a look of yearning on his face, a look she couldn’t return.
Once upon a time — and not that long ago — he’d been her comfort, her solace from a world that overwhelmed her. But not anymore, not after he betrayed her like many others in her life had. So, rather than allowing herself to let him hold her, she turned and walked in the other direction.
Twenty minutes later, and a stop at the corner market for a few groceries, including a nice, cheap bottle of wine, Zoe was trudging up the steps of the three story brownstone she had called home for the last six years.
As she dug her keys out of her purse, Zoe shifted her eyes to the small, two inch by three inch business card that had been taped to her door. In large, gold letters the words: Federal Bureau of Investigation. And below that was the name: Special Agent Elijah Stone. Beneath his name were his work number, his cell number, and three words that had been handwritten: I need you.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find that too often, my characters are too sappy. Toughening them up is hard for me.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I wish! I would love to be able to travel more, but I do a lot of research and study as many pictures as I can.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
JC Clarke designed the covers for the Awakenings Books. Sidney Kalney designed the cover for The Journey Collection. Laura Braley designed the covers for the First Angel’s Heart Book and for Life’s Unexpected Gifts. I designed the covers for the second Angel’s Heart book, A Season of Change, Broken Hearts & Dusty Dreams, and The Apartment.
JC Clarke is definitely my go-to designer, though. She’s amazing and such a blessing to work with.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The writing wasn’t all that hard, it’s the getting people to buy it that is a challenge.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
To have patience, an incredible amount of patience.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Oh, That’s hard. I’ll stick with the Awakenings Series and say Zoe Deschanel for Elle, Amy Adams for Sadie, Alex Pettyfer for Callum, and Fernando Noriega for Derek.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just keep writing. When it gets hard, when you doubt that you’re good enough, when you want to quit, just keep writing.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my silly stories and allowing me to be a part of your lives. I’m blessed to have each and every one of you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m not reading anything at the moment. I struggle to switch from writer mode to reader mode.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Reading was never easy for me so my mom would sit down with me and read The Happy Kitten over and over. Eventually I started reading Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, The Babysitters Club.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My children. There rarely is a day where I’m not laughing, often leading to crying because of them.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I’d love to meet J.K. Rowling and just thank her for letting me read her books.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Nothing. I want to be cremated.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love to read, clearly. I’m also addicted to jigsaw puzzles and I like to crochet.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Musicals! Never lose me a viewer if you throw in a catchy song.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Foods: Crab legs
Music: Too many to say one, but I’m in love with Violin by Amos Lee.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Probably just be bored out of my mind, lol. I’m also a librarian, so I can’t imagine a world without books.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
You can find my blog at: www.lisabilbrey.blogspot.com I love to spotlight other authors and their books!