Q&A with Award-winning author Lisa Boragine
Please welcome Lisa Boragine to our Featured Q&A series at Writer’s Fun Zone.
Lisa Boragine was awarded First Place in the Genre Novel First Chapter contest, sponsored by me, Beth Barany, and run through the Literary Arts Stage of the San Mateo County Fair. (Congrats Lisa!)
If you’d like to be considered for an interview, check out our guidelines here.
ABOUT LISA BORAGINE
L. Heller Boragine was born in Colombia, South America. She is fluent in Spanish and English. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont in Environmental Studies, a masters degree in Speech Communication from Syracuse University, and has 20 years experience teaching Communications studies and coaching academic debate. She is currently working at Cengage Learning, a Boston based education software company while she completes a PhD in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England. Heller Boragine is committed to completing her novel, Rainbow Warriors, this year. Rumors of a time machine in her closet are widely exaggerated.
On to our interview!
1. Tell us who you are and what inspires you to write in 100 words or less.
I am fascinated with time travel, consciousness, persuasion and good storytelling. I am inspired to write because I feel that stories can change the world. I kept a journal all through elementary school, high school and college (I have over 45 journals stored in tubs) and started writing a journal for my kids when they were little. I no longer keep a journal, but I feel as if all those words and ideas help inform my writing today.
2. How did you get to this place in your life? Share your story!
When I was 7 years old, my second grade teacher gave us folders for our writing. Mine had a sticker of Snoopy on his dog house with the words “Famous Author.” At the time, I felt as if this was a promise for the future, and I started writing. I wrote a 100 page novel in high school (I’m sure it wasn’t very good) but stopped in college. I wasn’t inspired to start writing again until last year, when I changed jobs and started taking the train into Boston, and I felt it was time to start writing again.
3. What are you most passionate about?
I am passionate about justice and equal treatment of other people, animals, ecosystems and our planet. I strongly believe empathy is the key to transformation. If we could just be a little more understanding of each other and a little less thoughtless in our words and actions, we could avoid a lot of heartache, pain and suffering.
4. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, routine, and/or rituals around your writing?
It is supremely important to act on your impulses. If you come up with a little idea, write it down. Immediately. Don’t wait for later, because that glimpse may disappear. So I find myself scribbling an idea on a piece of paper, or writing myself an email with that idea so that I have it documented. My great ideas have a way of evaporating if I don’t capture them in the moment. The other thing I notice is that I write best at night, when everyone else in my house is asleep. There is something about the evening energy that helps me write, there’s somehow less mental chatter going on when everyone else is asleep. I am most productive between 11 pm and 1 am. So if I come up with an idea on the train during my morning commute, I will pull out those notes at night and use them to down plot points, character details, or to write the story. I use Scrivener to help organize my ideas, research, and plot, which I won as a giveaway in a Fellowship of the Pen course with Beth.
5. What are a few challenges you faced in creating, marketing, or publishing your creative work? And your solutions to them.
I have not yet published or marketed my book, so that’s a hurdle I have yet to cross. I am still writing. In terms of writing challenges, I find that coming up with an initial idea for a story is easy for me. What’s more challenging is to keep momentum through the middle and to bring the story to closure. I find myself tempted to just keep tinkering with the beginning to get it “just right” because that has become my comfort zone. But I need to keep moving forward, which is the hurdle I am working on right now – I am about halfway through my current novel, and I have to restrain myself from tinkering, but instead writing the story forward. What I have found really, really helpful is to use people like Beth and writing support groups to get insight and feedback on my writing as I go. It really breathes fresh air into what I am doing.
6. What do you wish you had known before you started writing fiction?
I wish I had known that when you tie in ideas, knowledge and research from your life it makes the writing stronger and more believable. Also, I found out that mapping out your story doesn’t have to be a chore. I am not a plotter by nature, but it can be fun to map out the story and the world if you just treat it as a brainstorming exercise.
7. What’s next for you in your creative work?
I am working on this book, the Rainbow Warriors, and I am half way there. I have a vision to make this a series of three books.
8. Is there anything else you wished I’d asked? Please share!
Why the science fiction genre? Because those are the books that I find the most interesting to read. Science fiction allows you to bend the rules of physics, which allows you to investigate justice and morality in new ways. I am a huge fan of the British science fiction show Dr. Who because it is entertaining but also because it grapples with moral and ethical issues in really interesting ways.
It’s the late 21st century, and Mai is a young committed ecological activist who wants to travel back in time to stop the devastating impacts of climate change (that is, if she can get the coordinates right). Dax, on the other hand, is a 30-something who aspires to an easy, comfortable life. But when Mai finds herself trapped in a secret prison and Dax gets suspected of conspiring with eco-terrorists, the two become unlikely co-participants in the battle to stop the eco-apocalypse. Will Mai succeed in her mission to prevent ecological collapse or will she get sold out to the government?