Book Squirrel chats with Lisa Hofmann, author of fantasy and medieval dark fantasy books.
Hi Lisa, welcome!
Hi, Book Squirrel! Thanks for having me here!
I love chatting with authors, so it’s great that you’ve joined me today. Tell me, Lisa, what inspired you to write?
I’ve always loved to write, but I never had the courage to really do more than outline my ideas and set them aside for “some other time” before I discovered that indie publishing isn’t so complicated that I couldn’t learn to do that. The concept of submitting my work to a big publishing house put me off the entire process for a long, long time, thinking that the odds were stacked so high against someone with no background in the industry, I truly believed it would be next to impossible to ever get a book out there via the usual channels. I’m a teacher by profession, and I worked at the local university for several years, translating non-fiction specialized books, and that made it seem so unlikely I’d even be any good at writing fiction, never mind fantasy fiction – until a friend began to encourage me, telling me that the little dabbles I was putting on a free reading site were really good, and worth working with.
What’s your favourite thing that you have written?
I think I always like the book I’m currently writing best, but I have to say that my favorite story as such is the one I most recently published. It’s a dark fantasy novel titled Trading Darkness, which is set during the time of the witch trials near my own home town. There are historical elements in it which really took place, and the setting is real, of course, and I really lived inside the main characters’ heads for the time I was writing this. Not only is it my most recent publication, though, but also my oldest work. I began outlining this while I was still attending university as a student majoring in (local) Women’s History. I think it took me over 20 years from the first draft to actually publish it.
What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?
I think I’d have to differentiate there in terms of genre. I like reading Horror, and I love anything by Stephen King. Blaze would be way up there on my list, next to Koonz’ Lightning. YA Fantasy: Reckless – The Golden Yarn by Cornelia Funke. Historical: John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
Legacy of Hunger by Christy Nichols, who is an indie author. I like reading books by fellow indie authors, and I remember this one because it was quite captivating.
What are you working on writing now?
The third book of my fantasy series. It’s a medieval fantasy fiction about a group of people who have magical talents, though nothing I’d define as sword-and-sorcery in the classical sense. It’s more about the conflict that arises in that particular society, and it’s very character-driven.
Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?
Definitely chocolate. And cappuccino.
Who designs your book covers?
I usually have an idea, or choose the basic raw image from a stock photo site myself, and then I look for someone who I think can work it out for me. I’ve worked with different artists over the past two years.
What’s your favourite kind of music?
Rock music, but I also like classical music, and movie scores.
Forest, country, beach or city?
Always the beach. But not the Mallorca kind. I prefer the rugged west coast of Ireland.
What’s the best vacation you’ve had?
Ireland, of course. I try to go there with my family every other year. It’s the quiet, the landscape, the ocean, the people. It’s just the perfect place to wind down.
What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?
Arrogance. I think you can find it in most of my villains.
What’s your favourite TV show?
I don’t really watch a lot of TV, but I do watch most episodes of Game of Thrones when they air here (that can take a while in Germany). I like the quality of that production – the actors are great, and the computer generated images are awesome.
What movie can you watch over and over again?
Hm… National Lampoons Christmas Vacation annually. But The 13th Warrior was great, and I must have seen that about five or six times now.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher or a pilot. I was too short to become a pilot.
What’s your favourite season? Why?
Summer. I really, really, really hate snow.
You should try hibernation! It’s great!
That’s a very good suggestion!
Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?
Cornelia Funke for the get-up-and-go, Stephen King for the success, and any and every indie author for the guts to go and do what they do.
What’s your favourite quote, ever?
“There is magic within every beginning, and it protects us and help us to live.” – Hermann Hesse.
Name three people you admire, and give reasons.
I admire so many people for various reasons, but it’s never anyone famous. It’s people I’ve met who deal with their lives in ways that I find inspiring, so I try to adopt their way of handling things for myself.
What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?
That it’s difficult to find the time to write while you’re working in your day job and taking care of those everyday things that arise when you have a family with children – you’re always in between things, and you have to set priorities. Very few indie writers are able to make a decent living from their books, and I’d love for both readers and writers alike need to know that someone who does this is investing a lot of “stolen” time, sweat, and money in their work. Readers seem to expect to get lots of books for free or really, really cheap nowadays, due to the huge choice of books on offer on the internet, but that is ruining the market in a big way, really, and you get what you pay for – both readers and writers do.
Name two things in life that you wish were easier.
Just two? *giggles* No, I love my life just as it is. I wouldn’t change a thing, except for maybe that I’d love to have more time to write without developing a bad conscience for not having done this, that, or the other properly or more patiently with or for the most important people in my life: my kids.
Where can we find your books?
Where can readers follow you on social media?