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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Touching the Heart and Soul: An Author Interview with Lisa T. Bergren

Lisa T. Bergren is a best-selling author with more than 2.5 million copies sold. She has published over 40 books in a variety of genres that keeps bringing her more readers.. As busy as she in writing and promoting her books, I am thankful for the time she’s given me for this interview. So, let’s get to it.
You are certainly a prolific writer now, but when did you publish your first book? How long did it take before you thought you could make a career at it?
I published my first book in 1993, I think. The same day I got a job at a publishing house, they also gave me a contract on my novel. The novel came out and did crazy-well, much to the surprise of all, including me. :-) It wasn’t until I was about 7-8 books in that I started thinking about making a career out of it. But I kept my day job until about 2000, and even after that, have always had part-time jobs to help bring in the moola. Writing is a feast or famine business, which makes it hard to manage a budget and a household.

Your writing includes different genres from Children’s stories, Adult Fiction, YA and New Adult. Do you prefer one genre to write in more than another?
 I like the freedom to write whatever God lays on my heart. Sometimes that’s a little picture book, sometimes that’s epic suspense. I’m blessed to be able to follow those leads and find companies to publish them. That said, it makes it really hard for a pub to develop an audience for me, when I’m also switching gears. So if you’re passionate about one direction, and can stay passionate, stay there. That’s the best way to become an A-list author.

How do you keep the writing fresh and contemporary after so many books?
I think it’s rooted in that freedom. For me, it’s all about the new idea, the new challenge. There was a period of time that I was burned out and I didn’t write anything for three years. I was nearing that place again and really pulled back on the schedule, resisting the urge to sell another proposal, another story, until the passion kindled again.
When you do research for your books do you ever actually visit them or is the research mostly internet or book researched?
The internet is great to cover a lot of bases, but actually being there makes a huge difference. I didnt go “on location” until I’d written six books, and then I caught the bug. I’ve been to Italy five times, England and France, all on account of research. Can’t wait to go to the next place!
Do you do the research or do you have an assistant?
Nah. It’s all me. I LOVE the research. The story lines start to percolate as I read. It’s awesome. But then, I’m a learner, so that fuels my fire.
Have you ever gone somewhere and thought this would be a great location to use as a backdrop to a story?
Everywhere I go.

Do you think there will always be print books? How do you feel the digital market has changed the publishing industry for the better or worse?
I think there will always be print. I’m a fan of digital—and audio! I’ve become a huge audio fan. But digital is allowing authors who couldn’t get a break to try their hand at publishing for the first time, and I think that’s awesome. I consider myself a hybrid author—publishing traditionally but doing some self-publishing too.
The only challenge is when authors don’t get a professional edit and decent cover on their books. Then they’re just muddying the waters for readers. If you’re going to self-publish, if you’re that passionate about your book, then go all the way. Invest the money it takes for a pro edit ($2000-3500)—even if it takes a year to save that money to invest—from an editor who has worked for a publisher and can reference work in your genre; get a pro cover (decent covers from $99-300); send your typeset book to 30 detail-oriented readers to proof, if you can’t afford a pro proofer.
Take the time to do it right…don’t rush. I see a lot of talented authors out there shooting themselves in the foot by rushing work that takes time to do right. If they’d take the time, make the investment, they’d get far better reviews and start to build the audience they hope for.
Books that are Christian themed are growing in demand. Why do you think that is occurring?
I think in all times and places, people long for a dose of hope. That goes for people outside the faith too. I hope my stories appeal to all, for this reason. There’s always hope.

Is there a book you’ve written that you believed in, but couldn’t find an editor to feel the same?
Hmm, I really wanted to write a story on the artist Bernini. But I wanted it to be an ABA release and no one bit at the proposal. So I just moved on to other things, thinking I might return to it later. Maybe it will be a future self-pub!

How do you write? Outline first? Character Development?
An overview. Sometimes an outline. Sometimes character work-ups. But most of the time, I just write by the seat of my pants, and discover characters and nuances of the plot as I go along.
What is some of the best writing advice that you’ve received or could give?
Read like crazy. Go back and re-read your favorite books in your genre, dissecting each chapter, figuring out what the author did in each segment that made that book sing for you. Then do something similar. In copying style, pacing and character development, you’ll get the bones down in your first draft. Then you can make modifications to make it truly your own.

If you would like to learn more about Lisa and her writing, you can do so by going to her website at


  1. I love the cover for Glittering Promises! And that's great advice on self-publishing. I admit I'm a bit of a cover snob(can't help it- they're like little pieces of artwork you get to hold) and when I see a poorly done self-pubbed cover I automatically think 'nah'. Great interview, ladies!

  2. I agree with you, Leandra. Covers are an initial selling point for a book, so it is important for it to have impact..