An Interview with Lisa Brown Roberts, author of Spies, Lies and Allies.
Award-winning romance author Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn’t recovered from the teenage catastrophes of tweezing off both eyebrows, or that time she crashed her car into a tree while trying to impress a guy. It’s no wonder she loves to write romantic comedies. Lisa’s books have earned praise from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and the School Library Journal. She lives in Colorado with her family, in which pets outnumber people.
I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?
Hmm…that’s like picking a favorite kid or pet! I love each of my books for different reasons, but my first book, How (not) to Fall in Love, will always have a special place in my heart.
Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?
I’ve abandoned my early efforts, however I used the main character from the first semi-decent book I wrote as an important secondary character in How (not) to Fall in Love. He became the uncle of my protagonist, and played a major role in the story.
Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?
Since my first novel came out in 2015, I’ve published a total of six novels. I never would’ve dreamed I could do that, but I was fortunate to be offered multiple book contracts – but then I had to produce much more quickly than I had prior to being published. However, by nature I’m more of a percolater and a tweaker. I can’t read my books after they are published because I want to revise them – again.
I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?
I can write anywhere. With a family and a day job, I have to use every spare writing minute I can find. My favorite writing space is my sunny home office, but I also write in my car, in doctors’ waiting rooms, libraries, coffee shops, restaurants…anywhere and everywhere. I use notebooks when I’m out and about, but do my main writing on my computer. Sometimes I dictate ideas or dialog into my phone when I’m out walking my dogs.
Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?
I have wonderful critique partners I’ve worked with for years – they are all authors. I also have a couple of avid reader friends (not writers) who are great betas. My family doesn’t read my books until they’re in print, and honestly family members usually don’t make good beta readers because they’re too nice and don’t want to hurt my feelings.
I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?
We have wonderful bookstores in Denver, Colorado- The Tattered Cover, Denver BookBar, Second Star to the Right, The Bookies, and more. I love print books,, but I also enjoy ebooks and audiobooks. I will use any media to enjoy a great story!
I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from:
- childhood? Laura Ingalls Wilder, E.B. White, Dr. Seuss, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Norton
- adolescence? Paula Danziger, Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton
- young adult? The same as I’ve listed under adolescence. We didn’t really have YA when I was a teen.
- adult? So many I don’t know where to begin. Here are a few: Kristan Higgins, Anne Lamott, Jill Mansell, Sophie Kinsella, Sarah Hegger, Pamela Mingle, JoJoMoyes, John Irving, Graeme Simsion, Amy Reichert, Rainbow Rowell… I could go on and on!
Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What do you do?
I handle all of my own, because I’m reluctant to trust someone else to express my “social media self” accurately. Social media can be a minefield, so I tread carefully.
My favorite is Instagram, because I don’t encounter any drama there like sometimes happens on Twitter and Facebook. Also I love admiring others’ photos, and following all sorts of feeds, like crafts, food, travel etc.
About Spies, Lies, and Allies
Summers are supposed to be fun, right? Not mine. I’ve got a job at my dad’s company, which is sponsoring a college scholarship competition. I just found out that, in addition to my job assisting the competing interns, I’m supposed to vote for the winner. Totally not what I signed up for.
My boss is running the competition like it’s an episode of Survivor. Then there’s Carlos, who is, well, very distracting––in a good way. But I can’t even think about him like that because fraternizing on the job means instant disqualification for the intern involved.
As if that’s not enough, an anonymous informant with insider intel is trying to sabotage my dad’s company on social media…and I’m afraid it’s working.
Much as I’d love to quit, I can’t. Kristoffs Never Quit is our family motto. I just hope there’s more than one survivor by the end of this summer.