The time I should have shut up

Posted February 12, 2015 by Stacee in Signings | 0 Comments

I’ve been a fan of Lisa McMann since Wake was pushed on me by a friend. I’ve devoured and loved her There were a few times that our paths almost crossed at various events, but it never actually worked out. I have signed books due to a super sekrit drive by stock signing she did while on vacation and then I left books at the ever so awesome Changing Hands when I was in Arizona for another signing.

Needless to say when I saw Lisa was going to be in Huntington Beach, I was prepared to do whatever it took to get to her. I left San Diego at 2:30 and it took me 2 1/2 hours to go 60 miles. 405N is the bane of my driving existence. I got to the store just after 5. Jeanne was absolutely amazing and reserved two seats in the front row for me.


We chatted for a few minutes. Jeanne told me about Lisa’s 3 different school visits she did during the day and then it was time to settle in a wait a bit.


Lisa came out around 6:45 and by then the event area was filled with excited kids. She said that she had done at signing at the store for her first book and now 14 books later, she’s here again.

When my kids were 12 and 9, they came home with a letter and the letter said that the art classes had to be cut due to budget cuts. I felt bad because my kids loved art. I wondered what if kids were punished for being creative. And then my son said, “and they get sent to their death!”. I wrote the first chapter right away because it sounded like a story that no one had written.

Lisa the read the first chapter from the first book.


Since we’re on book 5, it’s safe to tell that the kids aren’t put to death. The man who has been taking them is taking them to a private island and teaching them to use their powers. There will be 7 books and we’re on track. Book 6 comes out in September and book 7 should be out around March.  After that, I don’t know. I love this world.

My kids helped me with the magic spells. I wanted to do magic with art supplies and I gathered my kids and Mr. Lisa and we thought of things to use.  {There was a lot more to this section}

There are all sorts of things on the website. My son’s artwork is there, and a video trailer, and there’s a really great educators guide for the first 3 books.

Lisa then opened it up to questions from the audience.

Why is does the scroll exist?

I’m not going to reveal the answer to that question. Basically it’s a magic thing, it’s not a war or anything.


How did you come up with the island names?

I have a sense of irony. I thought it would be great to call an island Quill when writing isn’t allowed. Same with Warbler, it’s a bird term, but it’s the island of silence.

Do the twins get separated?

I don’t want to answer that. Ask me in line and maybe we can talk about it.

Did you base any of the characters on your kids?

Not really. Sometimes the things they do make it in. There’s a character in Cryer’s Cross based on my daughter.


Are you a plotter or pantser?

With a series, I have to know how it ends, but I don’t outline. I will just write a paragraph or two and work off that. When I start to write, I’ll think of a mental bullet list, like these are the five things that need to happen next. I’m working on book 7 now and it’s a bit scary to think I’m finishing up, but it’s going really well.

Why is Simber on the cover of all of the books?

He’s such an unusual character. It’s a stone cheetah who is alive and I think he’s just really unique. They put him on the cover of the first book and I loved it.

Is it hard to think of new ideas for each of your books?

I think I have a harder time keeping a limit on the ideas. I have a notebook with a list of new ideas. I’m loving this series, but it’s nice to have those ideas in my back pocket.


How did you get into writing and did you go to college?

I have an English degree. I wanted to be a writer, but my parents didn’t think that could be a career. I went into the teaching program and got so far as the student teaching. I ended up dropping out because it was scary to think that I had to stand in front of a group of people and talk.  Turns out that’s what I do all the time, but I love it.

How did your publishing career go?

After college I wrote picture books. I was a bookseller and I submitted a bunch of stories. We didn’t have computers or email, so I had to mail things in and it would take 6 months or a year or 2 years to hear back. I ended up giving writing up for 10 years because I couldn’t take the rejection. I was working as a realtor and my boss told me that I needed a hobby, so I went back to the stories and found one that was good.

I submitted some stories online and ended up winning an $10,000 prize on a 3500 word story. We moved to Arizona and with the little nest egg, I started writing novels. The first two novels didn’t sell. I just kept writing. The third book would become Wake. I found an agent with it and sold it really quickly.

It was a lot of hard work and still is, but I love it.


After that, there weren’t any other questions.  Jeanne had us go row by row, so that meant that I was first to Lisa.  I got to the table and set my books down.  We each said hi and then she asked if she knew me.  I told her my twitter handle and she came around the table to give me a hug.

And then I just sort of flailed all over her. I think I said it was so nice to finally meet her.  I remember saying something about how she gave me Sawyer and how I loved him so much. Insert Karen {the awesome handler/publicist, I still don’t know exactly what her job is} saying something about me being a tease {maybe? I don’t recall what word she used. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t tramp, but that’s the word that comes to mind.}  I responded by saying that I was a total whore for book boyfriends {why didn’t someone tell me to stfu?} and have a shelf on Goodreads and that progressed into why didn’t I go to the signing at Warwick’s, which turned into discussing the signing rules for bringing books from home, and so on.

Seriously.  It was probably the hottest messes since I first saw Stephanie Perkins at Festival of Books and word vomited all over her.


Lisa so graciously signed the books I had. I meant to get Sawyer in writing, but she remembers giving him to me, so for now that works. I probably thanked her a million more times and she said I could take a kitten and panther toy that she was giving out.  When she asked if I wanted a set for a giveaway, I said no that I didn’t want to share.  Karen laughed and said I was so greedy. I agreed, but said that at least I admitted it.  Then I probably thanked her a few more times.

It’s sort of like I blacked out from excessive fangirling or something.  I know I made a fool of myself.

lll l ll

Before I left, I thanked Jeanne for everything and we chatted about the signings that were coming up. I probably thanked her eleventy billion times too.

Lisa McMann is delightful.  I haven’t read her Unwanteds series, but I am so in love with everything she’s written. If you haven’t read them, pick them up.  And if you get a chance to see her? Do it.

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