Interview With Lisa Author of Song of the Sparrow
The year is 490 AD. Fiery 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat, the daughter of one of King Arthur's supporters, lives with her father on Arthur's base camp, the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Elaine's only girl companion is the mysterious Morgan, Arthur's older sister, but Elaine cannot tell Morgan her deepest secret: She is in love with Lancelot, Arthur's second-in-command. However, when yet another girl -- the lovely Gwynivere -- joins their world, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry. But can her love for Lancelot survive the birth of an empire?
1. How was the process like writing Song of the Sparrow in poetic verse?
Writing Song of the Sparrow in free verse form came very naturally to me. I had actually started writing the book in prose, but it just wasn't working. Then, one night, I was spacing out at my desk, and the first lines of the story came to me, and I knew I had found Elaine's voice. Then, as I wrote, the verse began to feel very organic--not only to the expression of Elaine's voice, but to the setting, the time period, too.
2. Did writing your book require a lot of research?
I did a great deal of research before I wrote Song of the Sparrow. I read tons of books about the Britons and about King Arthur. In fact, in the back of my book is a list of all the sources I read and consulted. And in addition, I studied maps and listened to birdsong and researched what kinds of wildlife and vegetation were native to Britain.
3. Did you use an outline to write Song of the Sparrow?
I generally do write with outlines. Once I had Elaine's voice down, I drafted an outline so I knew, roughly, where the story was going.
4. How was it like when you got the Call & found out your book would be published?
The first time my agent called me to tell me that there had been an offer for my first book, The Weight of the Sky, I was thrilled beyond belief. The sense of amazement and humility and excitement was tremendous. Seeing my books on store bookshelves is also a fantastic feeling!
5. Do you have any advice you’d like to share for aspiring novelist?
The best advice I can offer is to read, as much and as widely as possible. The more you read, the stronger your writing will be. And also try to carve out time every day, or as close to it as possible, for writing. Sitting down and staring at the blank page or empty screen takes discipline.
6. Random question: Where is your favorite place to write?
I love to write at home in my personal library--I have a comfy red leather chair, very old-fashioned--and I also love to write at the New York Public Library. The main branch has several beautiful rooms that make for great writing space. And it's very inspirational!
Thank you so much for the opportunity to chat!!
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To visit Lisa go to her website here.
To purchase song of the sparrow go here.