|The Christy-award winning author of 20+ books including the Women of Faith Novel of the Year Quaker Summer, a double 2008 Christy award nominee, Lisa Samson has been hailed by Publishers Weekly as "a talented novelist who isn't afraid to take risks." She lives in Kentucky with her husband and three kids.
Favorite Verse: 1 John 1:6 - Because it sums up the christian life; we walk with Christ so we can walk with each other.
Our Interview with Lisa Samson
What inspired the concept for the The Passion of Mary-Margaret?
It was the usual one thing leads to another idea path. But in essense I was looking for a metaphorical exploration of the incarnation and how we can live incarnationally, sometimes required to lay down our lives in ways we never imagined.
Is any part of The Passion of Mary-Margaret factual?
Not really. Only one minor story while she's in Africa--about a woman who hacked up her boyfriend's legs with a machete. I found out about that when I was over in Swaziland last year. The woman actually came to the Lord which is pretty inspiring.
How did you choose the location for the setting?
I love lighthouses and have been wanting to set a story around one for years now. As a Marylander, the Chesapeake Bay is very dear to me, and living on an island has always seemed like it would be wonderful. I got to do all three in this book!
How long did The Passion of Mary-Margaret take you to complete?
About four months, I'd say.
Do you have a favorite character in The Passion of Mary-Margaret? Why?
Mary-Margaret. She just wants to serve and love God, but something unexpected always seems to come her way. The fact that she still goes on, despite the surroundings of her birth, her crush on Jude, the bad-boy, and Jesus's crazy plans and not always with the perfect attitude is appealing to me.
How much research did The Passion of Mary-Margaret take?
Nothing like a historical novel would. But I had to do some research on the red light district of Baltimore and had some
lovely conversations with Sister Ellen, a religious sister who is in charge of education at my parish. My trip to Swaziland was very helpful for the Africa segments.
What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing The Passion of Mary-Margaret?
That simple penicillin will kill syphilis. You never know what you're going to have to look up!
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Self-discipline is always a biggie, especially as a mom. But the internal struggles can be a nightmare: Why do writers who haven't been around as long as I have acheive greater market success? Does excellence really matter? And the spiritual struggles: Am I saying what God wants me to say? Does my personal life warrant themessage I'm giving? And don't even get me started on armchair reviewers on the internet!
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
Definitely the ability to schedule my writing around my other responsibilities. Not having to go into an office every day. Getting to absolutely finish a project and move onto something else. I love that constant freshness.
What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write "by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in between?)
I'm somewhere in between, definitely. I have a basic idea of where the main plotline will go and then the rest fills in as I proceed.
Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?
Yes. I love seeing where the story and their basic characteristics will take them as it all seasons during the process. Sometimes they really surprise me!
What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
I'm also working on a book with my daughter about our trip to Africa, called Love Mercy: A Mother and Daughter's Journey to Africa. I'm finishing up The Good Life, a novel set here in Kentucky that will be out next year. And I'm just now beginning to mull over story ideas for my next novel. I have no idea what it's going to be at this point, but somehow an idea will come up, despite my "ideas" file, that I'll want to go with.
Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?
My father, who taught me the value of creative pursuits.
What advice would you give to a person trying to become a fiction writer?
Read great novels and write, write, write. It's okay to mess up too. The present novel I'm working on, well, I had to scrap 10K words and start from scratch. It happens. And that's okay.
What message would you like your readers to take from The Passion of Mary-Margaret?
God asks us to do crazy things more times than not. Just hop onto the roller coaster, raise your hands in the air and enjoy the ride as best you can! But most of all, remember that Christ works in and through us, and that is such a wonderful privilege and high calling.
What is your goal or mission as a writer?
To write as best as I can and hopefully, glorify God in the process.
What do you do to get away from it all?
I eat my husband's delcious food with plenty of friends and family around the table.