Interview: Lisa Brown Roberts, author of SPIES, LIES, AND ALLIES

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Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I love writing about teens because I vividly remember how it felt to be on the cusp of everything. When you’re a teen, life is full of possibility and everything seems possible. You aren’t yet weighed down by adult responsibilities, for the most part, though I know some teens do face these challenges. And for some reason, writing in a teen voice comes naturally to me.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I’ve loved stories forever. I can’t remember not having my nose stuck in a book. My parents were big readers and my mom taught English, so no doubt that was a big influence.

How long have you been writing?

Forever. I have story notebooks going back to the second grade. However, in terms of buckling down and getting serious about making this happen, that started around 2011.

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

Spirituality is important in my life, and I think that’s the case for many readers, which is why I sprinkle in casual mentions of it. Also, my characters’ growth arcs have spiritual components – generosity, compassion, acceptance, etc.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Humor and heart, with a dash of nerdy.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Writing a romantic comedy while my dad was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. It was the hardest book I’ve ever written, but it ended up being an homage to dads and daughters, and I’m very proud of that.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?

If so, discuss them.The interns competing for the college scholarship are dealing with limited financial means, but this doesn’t define them. They’re all dedicated to their future and finding a way to pursue their dreams.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?

What was least useful or most destructive?Most useful has been studying story structure and story beats. I write character-based novels so plotting is sometimes challenging for me. Least useful is any advice that begins, “Every writer should(fill in the blank).” There’s no magic formula that applies to all writers.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I have a full-time day job so I’m technically a part-time writer, though most days it feels like I have two full-time jobs! Juggling the two means I’m not able to put as much time into promo as I should, and it limits my productivity. I say “no” to a lot of social engagements and don’t spend much time relaxing because most of my free time is spent writing/revising/marketing. Still, writing is my bliss so it’s worth the lack of sleep.

What do you like to read in your free time?

Lots of YA, of course, and lots of adult romance and women’s fiction. I also enjoy cozy mysteries and some spec-fic.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I just finished a spin-off of The Replacement Crush. I had a blast writing it and can’t wait to share it with readers who asked for this particular story. I’m also working on another nerdy YA rom-com, and several adult romance projects.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Judy Blume, Paula Danziger, Jane Austen, Kristan Higgins, Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, J.K. Rowling, and Julie Anne Peters.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

Names are very important. I often choose names based on their meanings. I use online resources to research names.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

She never gave up on her dreams and neither should you!

What literary character is most like you?

I hope I’m a bit like Lizzie Bennet.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

Australia

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

A penguin.

 

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Aboutthebook (1)

Spies Lies and Allies_500

Summers are supposed to be fun, right? Not mine. I’ve got a job at my dad’s company, which is sponsoring a college scholarship competition. I just found out that, in addition to my job assisting the competing interns, I’m supposed to vote for the winner. Totally not what I signed up for.

My boss is running the competition like it’s an episode of Survivor. Then there’s Carlos, who is, well, very distracting––in a good way. But I can’t even think about him like that because fraternizing on the job means instant disqualification for the intern involved.

As if that’s not enough, an anonymous informant with insider intel is trying to sabotage my dad’s company on social media…and I’m afraid it’s working.

Much as I’d love to quit, I can’t. Kristoffs Never Quit is our family motto. I just hope there’s more than one survivor by the end of this summer.

BUY THE BOOK BUTTON

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About Lisa Brown Roberts:

Award-winning romance author Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn’t recovered from the teenage catastrophes of tweezing off both eyebrows, or that time she crashed her car into a tree while trying to impress a guy. It’s no wonder she loves to write romantic comedies.   Lisa’s books have earned praise from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and the School Library Journal. She lives in Colorado with her family, in which pets outnumber people. Connect with Lisa at www.lisabrownroberts.com.

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