Saturday, 28 July 2012

Author Interview: Lisa. M. Stasse

Launched in February 2012, this is a special feature on Rebecca-Books where I ask 5 of the same question to different authors on their new books to get an insight into what they are about and what it was like writing them. To check out past and future authors for this feature, click here

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Lisa M. Stasse sent me an email a couple of weeks ago with the book trailer (look below) for her new book, The Forsaken and while watching it, I got hooked. While some book trailers look like a secondary school film project at times, this looked professional with the great graphics that made it look like a proper film trailer. Ironically, a couple of days ago, a copy of The Forsaken came into the bookshop I work in and I admit, I had a small fan-girling moment - thankfully, the shop was empty at that time. 
With this being compared to hugely successful The Hunger Games, this should be hopefully a popular book this summer as people wait for second movie of the franchise (and yes, I haven't even seen the first movie yet...)
I asked if she wanted to participate in The 5 Questions with which she agreed so here she is! 

Synopsis (from 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.

What made you write THE FORSAKEN?
I always wanted to write a novel, ever since I was in high school. But I felt like I could never come up with a good enough idea (despite many false starts). Then one night I had a dream I was on an island being chased by crazy people in black robes, carrying knives. I thought that might be an interesting starting point for a book. At the same time, I was thinking about standardized tests because a friend's sister was about to take the SAT. Somehow my nightmare merged with the idea of the SAT and I came up with the concept of a government personality test that if you failed, you lost everything and got banished to a prison island--where you either fought your way out or died trying. The book sort of felt like it wrote itself, so the process was actually a lot of fun.

What did you enjoy the most about writing it?
Getting lost inside the world of the book. In fact, sometimes it was hard to come out of the world and go back to mundane everyday life. I often feel like that when I'm reading other people's books too--I love to get captivated and drawn into a whole other world. It's the best! Writing The Forsaken also gave me an excuse to sit and listen to a bunch of music too. I always listen to music when I write.

Describe the book in a sentence  
A normal teenage girl inexplicably fails a government personality test that claims she has a high capacity for brutal violence, so she is exiled to a harsh prison island called "the wheel," where she must forge alliances with the wild tribes that control it and try to escape.

What advice would you give to future writers - both in the writing and publishing process?
My main advice would be to read as much as you can! I'm a librarian at UCLA, so I'm surrounded by books all day. I probably read 3-5 books/week. I love YA novels (my most recent reads are an ARC of Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans, and Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley, both of which are awesome). My other advice would be to write as much as possible. It doesn't have to be a novel, or even stories. My main writing as a teenager was keeping a journal. I think the more you write, the better (hopefully) you get, and the more fun it becomes. Revising can be a big part of writing too, so be prepared to edit and revisit your stories in depth. The Forsaken went through several drafts before it was ready to be published.

Are you working on anything else?
Right now I'm just finishing up Book 2 of THE FORSAKEN trilogy, which will be coming out in the summer of 2013. I'm also playing around with ideas for a mystery/thriller set in Detroit.

Thank you Lisa!


Here's the great trailer I mentioned in my introduction: 

THE FORSAKEN is out now in both America and the UK. 


  1. I saw a recommendation for this book with inkpop, so it had already been on my radar. I sounds great so this might be one of my first book purchases in a long time!

    1. You should! I think basically if you're a fan of the Hunger Games, you'd like this one. I might have to get a copy of this somehow.


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