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Interview: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

Submitted by on July 10, 2012 – 9:46 amNo Comment

Kitt: Hi Lisa, we’d like to welcome you to Paperback Dolls! We’re so happy to have you here.

Lisa: I’m so happy to be here! I love the Paperback Dolls site. Very cool!

Kitt: Releasing today is your debut novel, The Forsaken! Congratulations!

Lisa: Thank you! It’s really exciting. It’s kind of hard to believe that the day is finally here.

Kitt: How does it feel to have your first novel published?

Lisa: It feels great—completely amazing. But I also feel kind of nervous too! I mean, it’s a big day for the book.

Kitt: Since this is your first time at Paperback Dolls, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

Lisa: I’m a digital librarian at UCLA and also a photographer. I live in Santa Monica, CA.

Kitt: When did you first start writing? What made you decide – ‘ok, this is it, I’m writing a book’?

Lisa: I love writing. I’m totally addicted to it. I tried writing a few books before this one, but I never finished them. With this book, it was like the characters took on a life of their own. The story felt like it wrote itself in some ways. I guess I knew it was a book when I finally finished it, and it was about 400 pages long!

Kitt: Do you have any authors that you took inspiration from or influenced you the most?

Lisa: Definitely! I still read about 3-5 books/week and I used to read more. My favorite authors range from JK Rowling to Toni Morrision to Suzanne Collins to JG Ballard. It’s a total mix. I also love Alex Garland’s book The Beach (which was made into a not-great movie starring Leonardo diCaprio about ten years ago). I love John Green’s books too. He’s a great writer.

Kitt: When you want to get away from your own books and take a break, what do you read?

Lisa: Probably a lot of the authors mentioned above! Right now I’m reading an ARC of Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans and it’s awesome. I also love reading Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf.

Kitt: Can you tell us a little bit about The Forsaken, releasing today?

Lisa: It’s about a 16-year-old girl who fails a personality test in a dystopian future and is banished to a prison island called “the wheel.” There she has to forge alliances with the other wild tribes of exiled kids, fight the government machines that control the island, and try to escape. Along the way she falls in love and learns some shocking truths about her identity.

Kitt: Of all your characters in The Forsaken, which one is your favorite?

Lisa: Definitely Alenna Shawcross, the protagonist, although I have a soft spot for all of them (even the villains!)

Kitt: Are any of your characters, such as your heroine Alenna, based on other people? Do you have mental images for your characters?

Lisa: I always have mental images of them. When I was writing the book, a lot of the time it felt like I was transcribing a movie that was playing in my head. The characters aren’t based on other people, but I sometimes borrow traits (or great lines of dialogue) from some of my friends, and my husband too.

Kitt: Was there a particular scene or part of the book that was more challenging to write, if so, can you explain?

Lisa: I really wanted to get the friendship stuff right between the girls on the island. Often friendship gets completely ignored in favor of romance and action, but friends and loyalty are really important, especially when you’re a teenager. So I wanted to get that across.

Kitt: If there is a lesson that each of your main characters need to learn what would it be?

Lisa: Alenna needs to learn that she’s stronger than she thinks. Liam needs to learn to let people in. Gadya needs to learn she can’t fight every battle on her own. David needs to learn to be honest with himself and choose a side.

Kitt: What can we expect next from your Forsaken series?

Lisa: I just finished writing the next book. It’s on an even bigger scale. I love epic things. So in the next book every relationship gets tested, and the action gets more intense. Not all the characters survive.

Kitt: Do you have Forsaken all pre-plotted and planned out? How many books you’ll need for the story arc to come completion?

Lisa: I do have everything plotted out (not every detail, but the overall arc of the story for each character). It’s actually all written in a notebook that I keep on my desk! Three books should do it. Of course I’d love to do more. It’s so much fun to stay inside a world on the page.

Kitt: So, what’s next on your “to-do” list? We know you are busy promoting your new book, but are there any new works in progress we can be anticipating? Or are there any other genres that you’d like to explore?

Lisa: I love the dystopian genre, but I’d also love to write a thriller or mystery. Something amazing and crazy like INCEPTION. I’d also love to write screenplays one day (or at least try!)

Kitt: We want to thank you so much for taking the time to visit us and answer our questions! We are super thrilled to have you on Paperback Dolls. Best of Luck to you!

Lisa: Thank YOU so much for having me! I had a lot of fun answering the questions. Paperback Dolls rocks! I hope you enjoy THE FORSAKEN!

Lisa M. Stasse was born in New York, and has since lived in Spain, Russia, Hawaii, and North Carolina. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Government and English lit, and is currently a digital librarian at UCLA. Lisa loves watching science fiction movies, cooking Spanish food, and dancing around her house to 80′s music. She lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband and their two-year-old daughter. All three of them are learning how to surf. Say hi at lmstasse[at]yahoo[dot]com.

Find Lisa M. Stasse: Website | | |

The Forsaken is in stores now!
Get your copy today!

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A thought-provoking and exciting start to a riveting new dystopian trilogy.

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

Paperback Dolls is made up of women from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, different tastes and beliefs that were brought together through a love of reading. We like to think of ourselves as a cyber version of "The View" that focuses on books, authors, and reading. We are proof positive that one common love can unite the most opposite of people and form lasting friendships that introduce other ways of life and perspectives to each other.
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