An Interview with Lisa von Biela

Published December 7, 2014 by MommaCat

 

Lisa Von Biela

 

 

1) What would your power be if you were a super hero?

I would love to be able to teleport. As long as I didn’t smash into someone else and mix up my molecules, it would be a very practical power to have. Imagine the commute time that would save!

2) If you could live during any era in any land, real or imaginary, where would it be and why?

Every single real one I can think of has a downside I don’t like. So, I’d like to live in a place of my own design, so I could have everything I want. I’d have a nice two-story log cabin set on a good-sized chunk of land in the middle of nowhere—think Montana or Wyoming, that sort of setting. There would be lots of trees, both evergreen and the kind that make for great fall colors. There would be acres of green, a little stream, maybe a large pond with some fish. It would have a warm, rustic feel, but it would also have fast, reliable Internet and all the modern conveniences. It would be quiet and serene. Deer and other critters would roam freely. There would be all manner of birds. And because I’d be able to teleport, if I needed something in the city, it would be a quick trip to go get it and return to my little paradise. Oh, and I would like to be able to control the weather. Snow is fine if I’m roasting a turkey. But I’d like to be able to conjure up fall, summer or spring, depending on my mood.

3) Do you write every day? Can you envision a day where you no longer write stories?

No, I don’t. Work and commuting take up most of my time and energy during the week. I do most of my writing on the weekends. Sometimes I am able to sneak some in before I leave for work in the morning. I actually envision the opposite of your question. I aim for the day when I can write every day. I often get ideas and have to hang onto them for later. I would love to be able to work on multiple writing projects at a time, but I only have the bandwidth to focus on one at a time right now.

4) How much research do you do?

That depends on the project. If it’s something along the lines of dark fantasy, something out of my head, I generally have little to no research to do. If it involves IT, I just fall back on my prior professional experience (as I did for THE GENESIS CODE). My pre-vet/undergrad experience gives me a good baseline for basic biology and some medical aspects. But, when there are deeper medical or other technical aspects to the story, I may do a fair bit of research. For example, in THE JANUS LEGACY, Crohn’s Disease played a key role, so I looked into the symptoms, the underlying disease mechanism, currently available treatments, and so forth. For the novel I’m working on right now, I did quite a bit of research before I could even outline the plot. I needed to learn about GMO soy, commercial cattle feed, amino acid structures, and more! I was trying to build up a cause-and-effect that would be central to the story, and I wanted it to be reasonably based on science.

5) What’s your comfort food?

A carnitas burrito, covered in sauce, with sour cream and moderately hot salsa loaded with fresh cilantro. And a margarita. Rocks. That’s good stuff.

6) What if you could trade bodies with one person for one day? Who would that be?

Kathryn Budig, the yoga guru. She appears in a series of ads for yoga products in Yoga Journal. The photography in those ads is beautifully done—really showcases her strength and flexibility. If I could be that strong and flexible for a day, well, I might not want to return the body.

7) What are the next three books you plan to read?

<checks Kindle> Looks like Dandelion Wine by Bradbury, The Philip K. Dick Megapack (of short stories), and either The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty or the Dead Clown Barbeque Expansion Pack by Jeff Strand. That could change! I usually read more novels and novellas than short story collections. Just happens that I picked up several collections recently and they’re in the TBR.

8) Who would you like to co-author a book with?

Hmm, tough choice. I’ll limit this one to living people, just to narrow it down. I’d like to co-author with Greg F. Gifune because I think I’d learn a ton about characterization, and I bet he’d be a blast to work with. He’s certainly been a great advisor and editor to me over the years. I’d also like to co-author with Robin Cook because he actually is a doctor, and I try to write as if I were one. I might pick up a thing or two from him. While I’m at it, how about Margaret Atwood? She has an amazing imagination. She comes up with entire worlds in her work.

9) What five people – living or dead – would you invite to a dinner party? (language & time are not problems)

No question, Rod Serling for sure! Then, how about Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury to sort of round that out nicely. Then throw in William Shatner. He’d be a hoot, I have no doubt. We could all talk about “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”

10) Would you talk about your upcoming books and their production schedule?

Yes, I’d love to!  So, BLOCKBUSTER is coming out in January.  My second novella, SKINSHIFT, is due out in June.  It’s a dark tale with supernatural and fantastical elements.  Dominic Donato is someone not to be trifled with.  When his partners in crime double-cross him and dump him in the Mojave desert to die, he is so driven by rage that he finds a unique way to not only survive, but to retaliate.  Quite effectively, too.

I also signed a 3-novel, 3-year contract with DarkFuse earlier this year, and am very proud and honored to be part of the author roster.  As this interview goes to press, I’m in the final editing stages on my first book under this contract, BROKEN CHAIN.  It’s a medical/scientific thriller about a serious break in the food chain that’s related to a widespread outbreak of violent behavior.  So it’s part medical detective story to identify the root cause and the linkage—and part Armageddon/aftermath story once the linkage is found and food bans and other programs go into effect to try to resolve the problem.

11) How do you want the world to remember you?

Well, I don’t have any kids that I know of, so I can’t fall back on that. I suppose I’d like to be remembered as someone who changed something for the better with her writing—whether that happens with my legal writing or my fiction (preferably both!). On the fiction side, it would be great if I could write something that becomes a classic for some reason. Like something from Bradbury—terrific writing and visionary as well. If I could do something like that and have the world remember me that way, that would be great. Yeah, I do aim high.

 

If you don’t aim high,you won’t hit the sky. Thanks for visiting Cat After Dark, Lisa. I loved having you visit. Please come back again!

Lisa hangs out at lisavonbiela.com

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