Q&A with Thriller Novelist, Lisa Towles
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About Lisa Towles
Lisa Towles has 6 mystery/thriller novels in print and her new thriller, Ninety-Five, will be published in November, 2021, by Indies United Publishing. Her 2019 thriller, The Unseen, was a Finalist in the Thriller category of the Best Book Awards by American Book Fest and a Winner of the NYC Big Book Award in the Crime Fiction category. Her 2017 thriller, Choke, won a 2017 IPPY and a 2018 NYC Big Book Award for Thriller.
Lisa’s published books include Ninety-Five, The Unseen, Choke, and the following titles published under her previous name, Lisa Polisar: The Ghost of Mary Prairie, Escape, Blackwater Tango, and Knee Deep.
She is an active member and Panelist/Speaker of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She has an MBA in IT Management and works full-time in the tech industry in the San Francisco Bay Area.
On to Our Interview!
Q: Tell us who you are and what inspires you to write.
A. I can’t really say what inspires me to write. I look at the world around me. I immerse myself deeply in my relationships. I see both darkness and light, and stories just sort of emerge in different ways.
Q: How did you get to this place in your life? Share your story!
A. I’m a lifelong musician and writer originally from New England. After spending 15 years in New Mexico, I moved to northern California in 2007. I wrote my first book when I was 20, after reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, and I’ve continued writing books and short stories ever since.
Q: What are you most passionate about?
A. Writing stories, making book trailers, graphic design, reading, and using what I’ve learned to inspire and support novice writers on their writing journey.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, routine, and/or rituals around your writing?
A. I’m typically a night owl. I’m a member of several professional writing organizations that each have drop-in writing sessions to write for an hour with other writers online and on Zoom, which is great! I usually write during 7pm or 10pm writing sessions and that time really helps me push my stories along.
Q: What are a few challenges you faced in creating, marketing, or publishing your creative work? And your solutions to them.
A. Definitely finding the time to write is a challenge. Even when things are flowing well for me creatively, it still takes me a long time to write a book, and that’s just the first draft! Then comes the first rounds of self-editing, then beta readers and incorporating their suggestions, then more self-editing, then hiring an actual editor, then proofreading the final draft before sending to publishers. It’s a long process, but a rich and wonderful one too.
Q: What do you wish you had known before you started writing fiction?
A. I think the idea of permission is something that universally challenges the creative spirit. We’re so focused on perfection and excellence that freedom and exploration are often missed.
Q: What’s next for you in your creative work?
A. I’ve just finished writing my first series, a 3-book thriller series that I’m really excited about.
Ninety-Five by Lisa Towles
Troubled University of Chicago student Zak Skinner accidentally uncovers evidence of an on-campus, organized crime scam involving drugging students, getting them to commit crimes on camera, and blackmailing them to continue under the threat of expulsion. Digging deeper, Zak discovers that the university scam is just the tip of the iceberg, as it’s connected to a broader ring of crimes linked to a dark-web underworld. Following clues, Zak is led to a compound within Chicago’s abandoned Steelworker Park, only to discover that he’s being hunted. While trying to find his way out alive, Zak discovers there’s something much more personal he’s been running from—his past. And now there’s nowhere to hide.
Connect with Lisa Towles