I am so excited to have Lisa with me here today! She writes one of my absolute favorite young adult series, The Hourglass Door trilogy. The third and final book in the series, The Forgotten Locket (review here), released recently and she was gracious enough to answer some questions for me about the series.
A Bookworm’s Haven: Can you start out by telling us a little bit about The Forgotten Locket for those who might not have read it yet?
Lisa Mangum: The Forgotten Locket is the third book in the trilogy that began with The Hourglass Door and continued in The Golden Spiral. It continues the love story between Abby and Dante. At the end of book two, Abby had been forced to make a difficult decision, but, driven by love, she past through the time machine door in order to save not only her family, but Dante as well. In book three, Abby finds that the past—like the present—is under attack by Zo, who has set his sights on destroying the river of time once and for all. Abby must find a way to keep the past events on their destined path as well as prevent Zo’s evil influences from corrupting all that she holds dear. With Dante by her side, she will face her greatest challenge yet—discovering what lies beyond the origins of the hourglass door.
A Bookworm’s Haven: Do you have a favorite scene from The Forgotten Locket or from one of the other two books in the series?
Lisa Mangum: I love all the scenes with Zo. For all that he’s the bad guy in the book, he often demanded—and got—some of the best lines of dialogue. There is a scene late in book 3 when Zo has done something very bad and Abby shifts from reaction to action and declares that she is going hunting—and you just know that Zo is going to be on the bad end of her anger. I had a lot of fun writing that scene because it was a great moment for Abby to showcase her strength and how much she has grown over the course of the story.
One of my favorite scenes in The Hourglass Door is when Dante gives Abby three gifts: a secret, a question, and a truth. And one of my favorite scenes in The Golden Spiral is when Valerie tells Abby the story of the Pirate King and the River Policeman. Valerie was such a fun character to write, and the stories she told were some of the easiest bits to write for the book.
A Bookworm’s Haven: Right now the young adult world is filled with the paranormal, but not many books deal with time travel, what made you want to write about this subject?
Lisa Mangum: I grew up reading epic fantasy as so when I started the project I knew I wanted to add a little flavor of fantasy to the love story. One of my main inspirations was a passage from Dante’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy, and I thought to myself, what kind of story could I write that would allow me to quote my favorite bit of that poem? Thinking about Dante the poet, led me to all things Italian, which led me to thinking about da Vinci, which made me wonder if da Vinci had ever dreamed up a time machine. After that, all the pieces just fell into place.
Time travel is a tricky subject to write about, and I don’t recommend it for the faint of heart. I filled up many pages with my notes and timelines and charts trying to make sure I kept everyone where—and when—they needed to be.
Lisa Mangum: Given the rules I set up for becoming—and staying—a Master of Time, I would probably say no, I wouldn’t want to be a Master of Time. While it would be cool to have all the time in the world—literally—in the end, I think it would be a very lonely existence. And there is something magical in itself about the aging process. You see things with a different perspective and you make different decisions when you’re older than you might have made when you were younger. I’m not sure I’d want to miss out on those kinds of opportunities.
A Bookworm’s Haven: If you could describe Dante and Abby in just three words (each), what would they be?
Lisa Mangum: Only three words? Wow. Okay, here goes. Abby: Courageous. Loyal. Compassionate. Dante: Honorable. Intelligent. Romantic.
A Bookworm’s Haven: Who is your favorite character in these books and why?
Lisa Mangum: I can pick only one? As much as I love Abby and Dante, I might have to pick Valerie as my favorite character. I hadn’t intended for her to be such a major player in the story when I did my first outlines and drafts. She was going to be Abby’s friend and that was about it, but as the story progressed, Valerie demanded more and more “page time” and said more and more interesting things. She simply refused to take a back seat in the story and before I knew it, she had carved out her own space. She mattered to the plot. I’ve never really had a character behave that way before and it was a wild ride trying to keep up with her through all three books.
A Bookworm’s Haven: The Forgotten Locket is the third and final book in The Hourglass Door series, what has been your favorite part of writing this series?
Lisa Mangum: I have lots of favorite parts of the writing process, but one unexpectedly favorite part was when I was able to read the books for the audio edition. When I was little, I would read out loud to my mom while she was cooking or knitting or wallpapering the kitchen—whatever it happened to be—and so when I was able to read my books out loud for the audio version, I just imagined that I was back home in the kitchen, reading them to my mom. I loved being able to add the emotion to the character’s dialogue and make it sound just like it did in my head. Of course, the trickiest part was the Italian. I don’t speak it at all—not a word—so I had to ask my friend to write it out phonetically for me. (I hope I didn’t massacre the language too much. J)
A Bookworm’s Haven: What types of books do you like to read in your free time? Are there any authors/series that you must have when they come out?
Lisa Mangum: I like to read all kinds of books. Right now I’m reading a lot of YA novels (both contemporary and genre-specific). I follow a lot of authors—Tad Williams, Margaret Atwood, Jasper Fforde, and Stephen King, to name a few. I’m on pins-and-needles for Dance of Dragons by George R. R. Martin.
A Bookworm’s Haven: Are you a plotter or a panster? Do you plot your stories ahead of writing? Or do you write and see what happens? (Writing “by the seat of your pants”.)
Lisa Mangum: I’m a plotter, all the way. One of the best things I learned from writing three books was what my writing process is like. And I do best when I can outline obsessively and write once. I like to see the whole shape of the story, where the edges are, and how it’s going to end. I like knowing what needs to be in each chapter and what comes next. Having said all that, I still like to leave some room in the story to be flexible and to play.
A Bookworm’s Haven: On your website you have three ideas for new books you want to write. They are all very different from one another, but all look really interesting! Are you leaning towards any one of them or excited about all three?
Lisa Mangum: I’m excited about all three, but for very different reasons. I think A Fairy-Tale Wedding would be a lot of fun and would be a great place for me to indulge my fantasy side and just play in a magical world. I think Just June would challenge me as an author to make sure I struck that perfect balance of emotion. I think Hello, Good-bye would be a great experiment in voice and dialogue.
A Bookworm’s Haven: Do you have anything you would like to add?
Lisa Mangum: I have spent so much of my life reading books and working with books, and I feel so blessed to have been able to follow my dream of finally being able to write books as well.
Thank you so much for being here today Lisa! I can’t wait to see what stories you will bring us in the future! To learn more about Lisa and The Hourglass Door trilogy make sure you check out her website here. And readers, don’t forget I have a giveaway going on right now that includes a signed hardcover of The Forgotten Locket, so go enter here!