with Lisa Lickel

Today is a double header--If you scroll down you'll find my first Adding Zest post--but you could also go over to Adding Zest and read it there and get in on the conversation. :)

Lisa has offered to giveaway not just her new release Healing Grace, but also her debut novel, The Gold Standard. So leave a comment (and your email addy to make it easier for me to track you down!!) to be entered into the book drawings. As always, the drawings will be open until Saturday evening and the winnerS will be posted on Sunday. :)

Lisa, thanks so much for being here this week! Tell us a little about yourself.
I live and write in beautiful southeast Wisconsin – not far from Lake Michigan, where I grew up biking down to the lakeshore and sitting on the pier, or visiting the lighthouse I could hear on foggy nights from my bedroom. I enjoy traveling, reading, watching the birds, hand quilting, visiting with family and friends, radio theater, writing, and picking up another book. Oh, and history – anything historical makes me close my eyes and breathe in motes from the past. I work with many historical societies. I live in a hundred and fifty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. I love Coffee. Cheesecake. Kringle. Bread. Venison on the grill. I teach Sunday School and enjoy ladies Bible Study at church.

Was there something that sparked your idea for Healing Grace?
Yes. While I was waiting for the results of the first “First Novel” contest from the Christian Writer’s Guild (I made the top ten) I finished the apprentice course. Some scenes for Grace were part of the last lessons, which eventually morphed into the story. My brother developed an infection in his nervous system that winter, and while I was researching his symptoms in order to try and understand what was going on, I thought about the whole healing process. What would the gifts of the holy spirit look like in today’s world? I have an idea for a whole series of novels based on the home community that I developed for Grace. Maybe someday….

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
This is a terrible problem to have, but once the idea for a plot is fixed firmly in my head, characters are a little bit fleshed out, the research begun, and a few key scenes sketched out, I have to write and write and write. The obstacle then becomes taking a break for such mundane things as eating or sleeping. Overcome? I’m getting better at planning out my writing projects.

Some writers put some of themselves into their characters. Do tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Writing is a good time for pretending. I think I’m more like an actor during my story-telling. I can become anyone I want through interview and research. It wasn’t until my fourteenth novel that I really wrote a lot of myself into a character my age who was going through issues I hope I never have to face. It wasn’t easy.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
That’s a pretty loaded question. It’s probably quicker to say what I don’t like – which is supernatural horror (although I’ve read two Stephen King books and saw two movies that weren’t quite so graphic), early twentieth-century novels, and generic bodice-rippers. I run the gamut from fantasy to westerns (big Zane Grey, Louis L’amour fan), to thrillers to pop fiction to sci-fi to literature to classics. I’m learning to read biographies and pick up stuff I’d never have considered due to belonging to a couple of book clubs.

What food or snack keeps the words flowing?
Pretzels and a pot of coffee. Preferably chocolate hazelnut.

What is your strangest habit?
I walk around asking people strange questions – like “if I ask you to touch my arm, how do you describe it?” and making a face to ask someone what that expression means to her. Probably the hardest thing for authors is coming up with new ways to say the same old thing. Other questions are: what does that taste like to you?
I also tend to read the end of the book when I’m part way through. I do not apologize.

What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I like to let my characters explore how the Lord works in their lives. Everyone experiences God in a way that’s meaningful and unique to him. Often folks don’t recognize that they’ve been touched by God, and I take great joy in pointing out that, yes, it’s just that simple! Forgiveness is usually woven throughout my novels.

What would be your dream vacation?
A couple of months to explore the British isles – all of them.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
I wish it was new, but it’s the same one: “I know the plans I have for you…” Curb your impatience!

Do you have anything in the works now?
Always. I have four pieces still “out there”; one in the final stages of choice-making at a small publisher, and one that I’ll be meeting with the editor at Write to Publish next week. I have some family business (my youngest son’s wedding!!) soon, and I’m finishing a re-write, so I decided to wait to start something new for a few weeks. I have several series in the back of my head, clamoring to be chosen as the next project. I am also involved in serial radio theater direct to podcast and in pre-production for another live performance early next year.

You can keep up with Lisa on her website and her blog, Living Our Faith Outloud.

Thanks so much for joining us and don't forget to leave a comment for a chance at winning a copy of Lisa's books! They sound wonderful! :)


  1. Linda8:43 AM

    Love reading books with spiritual themes. The difference between Christian novels and secular. I want something to help me grow and see God in a diff way other than my own vision-which is sometimes distorted.
    God does still heal, but I don't see it as often as it happened in the Word. Not sure why.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  2. I think, Linda, you've made a wonderful observation. God does heal-all the time! Remember, the WORD is a snippet of life from often just one perspective. I'm in Luke right now for my morning quiet time...the Apostle who didn't spend time with Jesus but who focused on the stories of healing he heard-because he was a physician. Remember, even Jesus had to perform his ritual a couple of times to make it stick on some people, like one of the blind beggars. A lot has to do with the person who was being healed: his or her attitude made all the difference. Sometimes I just have to say with the man in Mark 9 - help my unbelief!
    Grace struggled with herself. Some of the things she saw happening were so hard to bear; other things she thought were so easy to deal with was the "wrong attitude" in God's eyes.
    God's love permeates every part of our being. Sometimes we have to step outside of ourselves to see it.

  3. Anonymous5:30 PM

    Excellent interview! Both books sound great!
    Thanks. Sunny

  4. I'm a graduate of the Guild too and would love to read what another memeber has had published. Congrats Lisa!

  5. I've long wondered about healing and it's effects on people whether they believe or not.

    I'd enjoy reading these books.


  6. I've had my own myriad of questions about healing--especially during the months my son's dad was dying from cancer. And once I remarried, the questions began anew when my current husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. In both instances, the Lord was and is there, but some of the answers don't seem to fit my preconceived notions of "healing"! Both of these books sound intriguing!

  7. My deeply and belated sympathies, Dee. You've really been through a lot in your life. I'm working on a ms right now about cancer...wow, hard questions and hard to think about. Illness and hurt affect everyone in a person's circle, not just the patient. All those Christian platitudes and Bible verses feel like whips sometimes, instead of the gentle helps people who gift you mean them to be. The only thing I do know is that God is not generic and works specific miracles in everyone's life, according to his purpose.
    Bless you, Dee, and family.

  8. Two books! Cool! Enter me please. I am very intrigued after reading the interview.


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