National bestselling author, Lisa Dodson (formerly Watson), is a native of Washington D.C. She writes in the Multicultural & Interracial, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Sweet Romance, and Clean Read genres. Nominated for Best Contemporary Fiction, her debut novel, Watch Your Back, sparked Lisa’s desire to continue creating engaging storylines, strong characters with universal appeal, and a keen sense of humor. They are drawn together by love, respect, and strong family ties. Lisa loves traveling, so weaving beautiful destinations into the pages of her novels as lush backdrops, or the heritage of her characters is not uncommon.
Her novels for Harlequin’s Kimani line, The Match Broker series: Love Contract, Her Heart’s Desire, and Love By Design, introduced readers to matchmaking guru, Norma Jean Anderson, aka The Love Broker. Each novel in the series hit the #1 spot on Amazon’s Bestseller List.
Lisa works at a technology consulting firm and is a Co-Publicist for the BookLovers Con. She is the mother of two young adults, a Maltipoo, Brinkley, and lives in Raleigh, NC. She is avidly working on a new Romantic Suspense for her next series.
Connect with Lisa on Facebook (authorlisadodson), Twitter(@LisaYDodson), Goodreads (Lisa_ Watson_Dodson), Pinterest (LisaYDodson), Instagram (LisaYDodson), and www.lisawatson.com
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
Writing has always been something that I love to do. My siblings told me I taught myself how to read when I was little. That love of communication has stuck with me. I realized that it was something that I was called to do when I kept coming back to it over the years. Finally, I got the hint and started writing with the intent of becoming published.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I write Contemporary Romance. My passion is writing Romantic Suspense, but I also write in the Clean Read, and Sweet Romance genres. My books center of the love of family, happy endings, and everyday obstacles that my main characters face within life, and on their journey toward happiness. I’m on Social Media, but the best place to find out about me is at my website, www.lisadodsonbooks.com
3) What projects are you currently working on?
I’ve just completed a novel, Six Days to Live for the Harlequin Romantic Suspense line. It is available for Pre-Order now with Barnes & Noble, and it will be released in October 2022. I’m also on deadline for another novel for that line, and working on a few proposals to pitch to my editor, and other publishers.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
My most significant achievement would be writing for Harlequin. It’s something I told myself I wanted to do when I was a teenager. I wrote for their Kimani line a few years ago, and now I’m back writing for them. It took me a few years before I realized that I had actually accomplished what I said I wanted to do decades ago.
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
I won’t lie, as an author, it’s hard hearing that someone doesn’t like your project because it’s your baby, you’ve worked hard, and it’s a part of who you are. So when you hear, “thank you, but no.” It hits you square in your gut. But the biggest thing I can impart to those authors struggling with facing a rejection is to experience it, deal with it, and move on. Keep trying. If they were gracious enough to provide feedback as to why it was rejected, take an honest look at the critique. What can you learn from it? Is what they said an accurate assessment? How can you improve your story based on that feedback? And what will it take to then submit it to another publisher, editor, or agent? Remember, one person’s No, could be another person’s Yes!
6) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
When I write, I basically write when I have the time. I don’t have a concrete schedule that I follow. In hindsight, I probably should. LOL!!! But, I have a day job, so I usually write in the evenings and on weekends. How long it takes me to finish a novel depends on what else I have going on. I’ve written a novel in a few weeks before, but A) It was a short novel, and B) I didn’t get a lot of sleep. That’s not something I can do often, so I usually give myself at least six months to write a full-length (55,000 words or longer) novel. As for an outline, I find it to be a necessary evil. I don’t like writing them. I’m a pantser (and trust me, I only found out what that mean recently). I prefer to sit, think, and let my Muse take it from there. However, I appreciate the need for an outline because it helps me create the synopsis for the story, which any editor you’re pitching your story to will want to see. It also helps ensure that everything that I wanted to have happen in the story shows up on the page.
7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
Absolutely not! It was never too late to follow your passion and do what you were destined to do. Everyone has a God-given talent. Something that they are just naturally good at. If yours is writing, then it’s something that you will do in life no matter what. That’s when I knew it was my calling. It’s something I would do whether or not I got paid for it. I spoke with a New York Times Bestselling Author during a book conference and she told me that it took her twenty years to hit that list. I’ve also known authors who it the list on their first novel. So you really never know. Ultimately, how well you do as an author doesn’t just depend on how well you’ve honed your craft. It also depends on the readers that read your book and enjoyed it. My advice is don’t get caught up in the timeline. If you want to be a published author, you have to start with writing and completing your novel. Don’t worry about the late start. Just start.
8) Are you an avid reader and have you always been? What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
I’m not as much of an avid reader as I was years ago. Now, I write more than I read. When I do read, it’s usually for work, or biblical books because I’m in a bible study group at Church. My first passion is Historical Romances. Oddly, I love them, but don’t write in that genre. It’s my true escape. As for a favorite author, I don’t have one. There are just too many amazing authors out there for me to have a favorite.
9) The Pandemic was a challenging time for some writers and creative individuals but also for others it was time that they needed to focus on their creative passions. Which side of that spectrum do you fall on? Are there any lessons or nuggets of wisdom that you gained during the Pandemic that help you within your writing career? Did the quarantine stifle your creativity or did it make you even more driven to get things done?
Honestly, the pandemic didn’t change my creativity one way or the other. I’m in introvert, so I never tire of my own company, and I receive my stimuli from internal and not external sources. I was still working during the pandemic, so my day job was my primary focus. Honestly, I would’ve loved to say I got all sorts of books completed during the shutdown, but nope, didn’t happen. I wrote about the same as I normally would. I’m more head down now because I’m on deadline, and I have a few other stories that I’m working on pitching so I’m more focused now than I was during the pandemic.
10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry as it is being represented today? Do you lean more towards traditional publishing or self-publishing as a preference? Does being a hybrid author interest you?
I’m a Hybrid author. I’ve been both traditional and indie published. I think that the publishing industry received a wake-up call from readers that wanted more diversity and inclusion in the types of novels that were being represented in the industry. Now more than ever publishers are seeking authors and stories of color. The thing is, we’ve been here all along. I’m grateful for every opportunity that I receive, and I’m just thrilled that publishing houses are now actively working to pursue authors and storylines that they previously may have passed on. I’m also happy to see that authors of color are not being funneled into just one line of books at a publishing house. The world has so much diversity in it. There are so many cultures, ethnicities, and races of people. Simply put, what is available to read at traditional publishing houses and digital platforms should reflect this, too.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I write because it’s one of my God-given talents. It’s what I would do no matter what. How I grew up, the influences of the strong people in my family cross over into my novels. I write about positive, loving people. To me, there is nothing more important than family. So how my characters interact with theirs is important. I write about everyday people drawn together by love, honor and respect. You won’t find male bashing, or heaps of negativity or drama in what I write. You can find that in everyday life and hundreds of other novels. It’s not something that I choose to write about in my books. I have always loved a happy ending, and I’ve always been drawn to romance. So regardless of what I write, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, those elements will always be present.