Q&A With Lisa Kline

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Q&A With Lisa Kline 

Alexa Aston has been kind enough to connect me with many authors. I love it when authors, publicists, & agents connect me with different people. One the authors Alexa has connected me with is author Lisa Kline. Lisa is the author of many books some of which are The Ruby Mirror, Ladies Day & Between The Sky and The Sea which is her recent novel. 

Q: Lisa you told me in your email Between The Sky And The Sea, is a historical romance novel that takes place in Savannah Georgia in 1838. Where did the idea come from for the novel & how much research went into it? 

A: Thanks so much for this fun interview, Bianca! The remains of the steamship Pulaski were found off the North Carolina coast in 2018 and there were several articles in the Charlotte Observer about it. After following it avidly in the paper, I started looking up other information about the wreck, which took place in the summer of 1838. I was able to find some first-person accounts of the wreck, as well as contemporaneous articles in newspapers around the country. One article that fascinated me was in the Delaware Gazette, which described a Miss Onslow and Mr. Ridge who floated together on two deck settees for four days before being rescued. When the ship sank, they had never met. When they were rescued four days later, they were engaged. I was hooked! I started thinking about writing a fictionalized version of these four days of “courtship.” I did mostly online research for the book between 2019 and 2021 because of Covid. I also ordered and read a lot of books! The Georgia Historical Society reopened several years later and I was at last able to visit Savannah, the home of my main character, Lavinia Onslow, and see the square where I’d imagined she lived. I also chose the location for her fictional millinery shop. During my research, I did encounter some evidence that the article that I’d read in the Delaware Gazette might have been an invention to sell more newspapers, since the names of Miss Onslow and Mr. Ridge were not on the Pulaski passenger list. By then, I was far into my story, and since my story was fiction, anyway, it didn’t matter to me at that point if it was true. 

I was about two thirds of the way finished with my first draft when Patti Callahan Henry’s book Surviving Savannah, also about the Pulaski disaster, came out. I waited until after I finished a draft of my book to read it. I really admired it. It’s quite different from my book. 

Q: How long does it typically take for you to write a book?

A: I spent about five years writing and researching Between the Sky and the Sea. The research was time-consuming, especially during Covid, and I experimented with lots of different ways of telling the story. I first wrote it in third person, then tried it in first, and then went back to third. I also tried different types of time-lines, and ended up telling the story chronologically.  This book was a long time in the making! 

By contrast, I wrote Ladies’ Day, a contemporary novel about mother/daughter relationships and women’s friendships and golf, in about two years. So, the historical novel took more than twice as long as the contemporary one. 

Once, when I was writing a series for HarperCollins, I had about seven months to write each of five books. To do that, I set a word count to meet each day – it came out to about four pages daily. That can be tough if you miss a day – then the next day you owe your book eight pages. So there is definite pressure. With the series, because I already had developed my characters, I had some of the work already done, which made it easier.

Q: Lisa, do you have any upcoming releases & stories you are writing right now? If so can you reveal any details or is it too early to ask?

A: The first draft of a contemporary story is sitting on my computer resting, waiting for my return in a few weeks. The only thing I can say right now is that I had a lot of fun writing it. 

Q: Where did your love of reading and writing come from? Did you always know that you wanted to be an author?

A:  I wanted to be a writer when I was in second grade. I wrote a series of books called The Adventures of Little Horse and Little Lamb on the wide-lined paper they used to give us in elementary school. In fifth grade, I wrote the beginnings of a novel about a girl and her brother who go on a barefoot quest through the mountains in the snow to get penicillin for a younger brother who is ill. I didn’t stop to think about why they were out in the snow barefooted or why they needed to go through mountains to get the penicillin. Couldn’t they have just gone to the pharmacy? Anyway, I abandoned that story, which is probably a good thing, and focused on other things for a couple of decades. I had several jobs in my twenties where I did write documentaries, training films, and instruction manuals, but not fiction. 

When my children were young, I remembered my early dream to write a novel, so when I was in my late 30’s, I signed up for a creative writing class at The Writers’ Center in Bethesda Maryland. I wrote probably two dozen stories and collected fifty rejection slips before finally publishing one. My first book, Eleanor Hill, historical fiction loosely based on my grandmother’s childhood and young adulthood on the outer banks of North Carolina, was published when I was 45. 

My mother was so proud of that book. My love of reading came from her – she always loved reading and sharing her love of books with me. 

Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to your work? The entertainment industry is in desperate need of originality again. Whether they do or not, who would be your dream cast to play the characters you created?

A: I used a stock photo for Daniel while I was writing and I’m so attached to it that I can’t substitute anyone else. I don’t know this guy’s name, but here he is. And here is the painting I used for Lavinia. Her expression of determination matches the way I imagined Lavinia would look. 

However, in the incredible event that Hollywood might have an interest, my husband said he has always imagined Daniel as Timothee Chalomet. And Sadie Sink could play Lavinia. I also would be totally open to any blind or non-traditional casting. 

Thanks so much for this fun interview, Bianca! And a big thanks to Alexa Aston, as well, for telling us fellow authors about your interviews.