A writer and attorney living in upstate New York, Lisa Connelly is the author of a fitness book, “Lean & Firm” (Perigee), as well as numerous newspaper articles, book reviews, newsletters and other publications. She holds a BA in English from the State University of New York at Albany and a JD from New England Law School. Currently, she works for the New York State court system and lives on five rural acres with her husband Billy and their dog Bella. her manuscript – THE SINNERS – is a finalist in the Romantic Elements category of the Golden Heart® contest and was also a finalist in the VFRW’s Sheila contest.
A little about Lisa’s GH finaling manuscript:
Lilianne Oulette’s future is all mapped out – finish college, marry the rich and handsome Claude Defoe, and live a luxurious life in his French chateau. So maybe it’s Claude’s plan, not hers, but she’s okay with it – until she runs into Jack McCabe. As teenagers, Jack pulled Lilianne from the fiery car wreck that killed her parents. Six years later he’s the sexy singer in the red hot band, The Sinners. Their attraction is instant and undeniable, and Lilianne realizes that her future is about to change. The problem is, Claude liked the old plan, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get Lilianne back with the program, even if he has to destroy Jack and break her heart to do it.
I asked Lisa to answer a few questions so we could get to know her better before we dive into her post. Here’s what she had to say:
1. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing fiction for about five years. My GH finaling manuscript is the second I’ve completed, the first being a historical that I learned a lot from, and still haven’t quite given up on.
2. Did you always want to be an author or is this something you fell into later in life?
I can’t say I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I’ve always recognized that it’s my fate, in part because almost every teacher I’ve ever had – from Mrs. Wolf in kindergarten through Professor Sorenson in law school – has expected it of me. So did my Mom and Dad. Of course, faced with so much confidence, encouragement and positive reinforcement, what could I do but thumb my nose at all of them and spend many years trying on lots of other careers. Despite my best efforts, though, each of those other paths inexorably led me into writing – corporate newsletters, newspaper articles, and eventually a fitness book (Lean & Firm, Perigee). In desperation, I fled to the law, only to gravitate toward the most writing-intensive aspect of the profession – working in the courts, which primarily involves writing bench memoranda and drafting judicial opinions. So finally I said, what the heck, and started writing romance.
3. What do you do in your “other” life? (Day job, family, etc.)
I’m a lawyer by day, privileged to work with a dedicated, outstanding judge and brilliant colleagues. I’m also on the faculty at Albany Law School, where I teach Appellate Practice. I’m married to a great guy who’s a fantastic guitarist in a totally rockin’ band called Slick Fitty. He also happens to be an editor by day, which is really handy. We travel a lot, especially to visit my brother and his family, who conveniently live in Paris! And when we’re home, we’re foster parents (along with our dog Bella) to a succession of deserving dogs through Homeward Bound Dog Rescue.
4. Who are your favorite authors?
For romance, I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Judith McNaught, Lisa Kleypas and Diana Gabaldon, to name just a few. For historical, I’m a huge Patrick O’Brian fan, Dorothy Dunnett too. And I love fantasy – Robert Jordan, JRR Tolkein, Terry Brooks. Poetry – Edna St. Vincent Millay, Maya Angelou, Banjo Paterson, Samuel Coleridge. Oh gosh, so many more. So many books, so little time!
5. Do you have an agent?
No agent yet. In the first flush of exhilaration over the GH, I sent out a handful of queries. But when I came back down to earth, I realized that I need to do some serious revising before I do any serious querying, so that’s what I’m working on right now. I hope to finish that up in the next month and start querying again.
6. Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself right where I am at this moment, sitting in my recliner typing on my laptop . . . but with a handful of my own books on the shelf, a kick-ass agent who’s always in my corner, a brilliant editor who adores my work, an enthusiastic publisher hounding me for more bestsellers, and a community of writer friends who will support me through the ups and downs and allow me to do the same for them.
(I love the fact Lisa sees herself in her recliner typing away five years from now. I’m currently camped out on the couch with my laptop, typing away too!)
Okay, so now that you know a little bit about Lisa, here she is in her own words.
I often ask myself why I write when there are so many other things I love to do – read, paint, hang with friends, travel to foreign lands – that are soooo much easier. No rejection involved, no angst, no hand-wringing about whether I’m good enough or hip enough or clever enough to get it done. So seriously, why do I do it when it takes time away from all those simple pleasures, keeps me in seclusion for days, exacerbates my carpal tunnel. . . .
Because I’m addicted, that’s why. You’ve heard of a runner’s high? Well, I get a writer’s high. It comes on me when the story’s running hot, flowing like lava, and I don’t know what’s gonna happen next until I hit the keys that spell it out. Where is it coming from, so fast, so furious that my fingers can’t keep up and I break into shorthand just to get it down! Am I channeling from another dimension, tapped into a cosmic plane? I don’t know, but whatever else it is, it’s pure adrenaline, an out-of-body experience, a rocket ride to a place I’ve never been but somehow know like the back of my hand.
And then – wow – I look up and five hours have flown, my bladder’s bursting, and I feel like I can accomplish anything, anything at all in the whole wide world. How it works, why it happens, is a mystery I’ll never solve. But it’s what brings me back to the keyboard every time, that incomparable writer’s high.
I’d love to hear what compels you to sacrifice time with family, friends, and your other interests to sit alone with your keyboard. What makes you need to tell your stories?