Lisa Mangum

Today we welcome Lisa Mangum to our blog. She will be leading our first ever, “Writing the Middle Grade or Young Adult LDS Novel” workshop. Editor, author, teacher, is there anything Lisa can’t do?


How did you begin writing? 

I started reading at a young age, and my mom was a writer, so I grew up knowing that writing was a “job you could do.” I had always loved writing, but I didn’t turn to it seriously until about 2006, when I joined a writer’s group and it rekindled my passion. When I got the idea for THE HOURGLASS DOOR, it was all I could do to keep up with the story that wanted to be told. I’ve never looked back since.

The Earth’s under attack, you go to the bookstore for one book to take with you during escape. Go!

The practical part of me says I should get a book with survival/first-aid tips, but the passionate part of me grabs HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, for the following reasons: (1) it’s small and would fit in my pocket; (2) it’s a stand-alone,* so no cliffhanger ending; (3) it’s funny and would remind me not to panic during an invasion of Earth; (4) it’s at the beginning of the alphabet, so it would probably be the first one I saw when I ran into the bookstore.

*yes, I know there are more books in the series, but the first one is the best.

When you’re not laboring over the keyboard, what would we find you doing?

Though I am an editor by day and a writer by night, I am a reader–always. So you’d probably find me with a book in my hands. If not that, I always enjoy a good jigsaw puzzle, going to the movies, or playing a board game.

What’s the last book that made you do a spit take? Or at least laugh out loud?

The last book that gave me that jaw-dropping moment (though not of laughter; sorry, I haven’t been reading very many funny books lately) was DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor. The way she lead me along that plot to the unbelievable and heartbreaking conclusion was awe-inspiring.

Can you give us a typical day in the life of?

Up around 7:30 am, take Trax to work (I read on the train), at work I check my email/voice mail, finish up any projects that I left unfinished from the previous day, meetings, editing, lunch (where I read manuscripts), editing, meetings, more emails. I head home around 5:00 for dinner with my husband. We watch a show or two on TV, and then I work on my writing until bedtime (around 11:00). (Lather. Rinse. Repeat.) Weekends are for housework, errands, movies, and Doctor Who marathons.

You’re at Carol’s dance party. Are you dancing in the middle? Head bobbing? Fly on the wall? Or do you apologize later because you got a sudden case of food poisoning?

Wallflower, all the way.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given concerning writing?

“It’s okay to write your story out of order.” I used to believe that you had to start with page 1, chapter 1, word 1 and write straight through to the end. But that was frustrating because if I got stuck, I just stopped. Or if I felt like writing the kissing scene, but I was stuck in an action part of the story, I’d rush through important information just to get to the other part. Once I realized it was okay to write out of order, then, when I got stuck, I’d skip to another part of the story. When I wanted to write the kissing scene, I’d write the kissing scene–even if that was the last chapter of the book. It was a liberating revelation to me as a writer.

And last but not least: you’re a teenager again, what song is playing in the background, or in your head, during your first kiss?

Considering my first kiss as a teenager was during rehearsals for ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, there is an echo of the song “I’m Shy” rattling around that memory, but when I think about my first real kiss with a boy I liked, I always think of “Bravado” by Rush.


For more information, or to register, please go to:

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