Ten Knives Interview with Lisa Morton:
Knife 1) Please name at least three contemporary authors who write generally better than you do and why.
[Lisa Morton] First off, Dennis Etchison, who has an astounding (and confounding) ability to fill even ordinary sentences with a sense of dread. He's like a magician - I read one of his stories and just think, How did he DO that? Next, Alan Moore, whose imagination and ability to tell a massive story that goes on for years just leaves me in awe. Lastly I'll mention David Lynch, whose writing has of course been confined to screenplays, but those screenplays are brilliant - no one can shape the subconscious mind into something concrete like Lynch can.
Knife 2) Has ever something happened in your life that made you think of giving up writing?
[Lisa Morton] I know I could never give it up altogether, but I frequently think of giving up parts of it. Right now, for instance, I'm swearing off non-fiction books, because they eat up too much of your life. I could probably write multiple novels in the amount of time it takes to finish one non-fiction book.
Knife 3) Which compromises did you have to accept for commercial reasons?
[Lisa Morton] Well, of course as a screenwriter compromises are just part of the job...and are a very big reason I went into prose writing. I really don't feel that I've had to accept any compromises as a fiction writer.
Knife 4) Is it very important to win literary prizes? Does it help to sell?
[Lisa Morton] I'm not sure I'd say it's "very important". I think it can open some doors for a writer that might otherwise be closed - like getting editors to read your work a little more quickly, for instance. And given how many major publishers plaster "award-winning" all over their covers, it must help to sell! But I truthfully haven't seen it help me to sell more of my books.
Knife 5) When you have no ideas for writing, how do you bring down yourself and whom do you phone to?
[Lisa Morton] I never have a lack of ideas. I've got more ideas than I have lifetime! I've also never suffered seriously from writer's block. If I get a little stuck in a story, I usually find that answer by going back and re-reading what I've already done.
Knife 6) What do you think when you read your country's best seller rankings?
[Lisa Morton] I feel like it's something that just has nothing to do with me. I couldn't be less interested in reading most of the books, and I have no idea why the public is so obsessed with thrillers and romances, two genres that just interest me not at all. And I really don't understand the success of self-help titles. It's sad that so many people seem to have so little self-awareness that they think they can fix their unhappiness by consuming whatever the guru of the hour has spewed forth
Knife 7) What do you reproach to American publishing? What are its limits?
[Lisa Morton] Publishing is in such a state of flux right now that I'm not sure what to say. It seems like every day brings news of some major change to traditional publishing. I do agree that the major publishing houses are going to need to figure out some way to bring down the price of their digital books. Because I love printed books, I just hope we won't see them go away completely. As for limits...well, I'm sure the publishers are trying to figure that out themselves right now. Their massive overheads are going to be a problem for them, I think..
Knife 8) How many times have you refused to participate to a no-profit project?
[Lisa Morton] A few. Okay, a lot. I won't submit stories to anthologies that offer no pay, and I try to warn other authors from doing the same. I think there's a common misconception among newer writers that you need to start with non-paying "4 the luv" markets and work your way up. If you're good, you can start selling to professional markets; if you're still struggling to reach that point, then having badly-edited stories in books that will sell a grand total of 23 copies is going to do you no good. Work on improving your writing first, then go back to submitting to the best editors and markets.
Knife 9) What did you do right after signing major book deal?
[Lisa Morton] I'm not sure I've signed anything yet that I'd call a major book deal. But my answer would still be: Get to work on the book right away, because you never have as long on those deadlines as you think you do!
Knife10) Final question: Whom to (or to what) would you throw a knife?
[Lisa Morton] When I was a kid, my two biggest villains were Anita Bryant, a brainless beauty queen who was vigorously opposed to gay rights, and Phyllis Schlafly, who campaigned against equal rights for women. So I'd like to travel back in time and take them out. Maybe we would have had an Equal Rights Amendment and same-sex marriage laws if I did.
Lisa Morton's career as a professional writer began in 1988 with the horror-fantasy feature film Meet The Hollowheads, on which she also served as Associate Producer. For the Disney Channel's 1992 Adventures In Dinosaur City, she served as screenwriter, Associate Producer, Songwriter, and Miniatures Coordinator. For stage she has written and co-produced the acclaimed horror one-acts Spirits of the Season, Sane Reaction and The Territorial Imperative, and has adapted and directed Philip K. Dick's Radio Free Albemuth and Theodore Sturgeon's The Graveyard Reader; her full-length science fiction comedy Trashers was an L.A. Weekly "Recommended" pick. Her short fiction has appeared in the books Dark Voices 6: The Pan Book of Horror, The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein, The Mammoth Book of Dracula, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, Dark Terrors, After Shocks, White of the Moon, The Museum of Horrors, Dead But Dreaming, Shelf Life: An Anthology of Bookstore Stories, Dark Terrors 6, Dark Delicacies: Original Tales of Terror and the Macabre, Mondo Zombie, Dark Passions: Hot Blood XIII, and Midnight Premiere, and the magazine Cemetery Dance.
Her chapbook The Free Way was published by Fool's Press, and in early 2010 her first novel The Castle of Los Angeles was published to critical acclaim. She has also written numerous episodes of the animated television series Sky Dancers, Dragon Flyz and Van-Pires. Her first book, The Cinema of Tsui Hark, about the legendary Hong Kong director/producer,was published by McFarland, who also published The Halloween Encyclopedia in 2003 and A Hallowe'en Anthology: Literary and Historical Writings Over the Centuries in 2008. Her television movie Tornado Warning was chosen by the Pax cable station to launch their 2002 fall season, and 2005 saw the release of three horror films, the vampire thriller Blood Angels, the mutant shark story Blue Demon, and The Glass Trap, about genetically altered fire ants. Lisa was awarded the 2006 Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction for her story Tested (which first appeared in Cemetery Dance magazine), and the 2008 Bram Stoker Award for Nonfiction for A Hallowe'en Anthology. For the first anthology she edited, 2009's Midnight Walk, Lisa received a Black Quill Award for Best Dark Genre Anthology, and she won the 2009 Bram Stoker Award for Long Fiction for her novella The Lucid Dreaming. In 2010, she received her fourth Stoker Award, this time in the First Novel category for The Castle of Los Angeles. In 2011 her short story Golden Eyes was published in Italy, in the ebook anthology Arkana-Nightmare Tales (Il Posto Nero Free eBooks). She is also a two-time recipient of the President's Richard Laymon Award, presented by the Horror Writers Association. Her last book is the short story collection Monster of L.A. (Bad Moon Books, 2011) Web Site
The Book: Monster of L.A. (Bad Moon Books)
19 never-before-published short stories and 1 novelette (The Urban Legend) that re-introduce the classic movie monsters into contemporary Southern California settings. At the back of the book are small essays that discuss the setting of each story, providing some local history. Also included are eight photographs. In these pages you’ll find the dark stars you grew up watching: Frankenstein, Dracula, Mr. Hyde, the Phantom, the Hunchback…all the silent ones and the first to find their voices are here, and they’re even presented in roughly the order in which they first appeared on a silver screen. The Haunted House of the ‘30s gives way to the Werewolf of the ‘40s, the Monsters of L.A. Creature of the ‘50s, and so on, all the way up to our favorite modern boogeyman, the Zombie. In some of these stories, you’ll find an earthly incarnation of a famous namesake: Frankenstein is a patched-together, homeless vet, the Invisible Woman is so ordinary you’d never see her; but some of these familiar friends - Dracula, the Devil, or those seriously creepy Clowns -will be instantly recognizable.
Buy "Monsters of L.A." by L. Morton on Amazon