Lisa Jordan writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, edits one e-zine, and is a columnist for another. She lives in Pennsylvania with her real-life hero hubby of almost 21 years, two teenaged sons, assorted dust bunnies, and a colony of ants that continually feasts from the crumbs on her kitchen floor. All three of her fellows are students, her hubby and their oldest son both being in college, and their youngest in high school.
Lisa is a SAHWAHM—stay-at-home-work-at-home-mom—who loves kids. She owns and operates a state-registered family childcare business, caring for six children ages two to five. Working from home allows her to dictate her own schedule. She writes during naptimes and is able to take time off to attend writing conferences, such as the one sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers, and My Book Therapy retreats.
When not caring for her young charges, caring for her family, or hanging out with her characters, Lisa enjoys crafting. She’s addicted to the TV show, NCIS, which she uses as a great study in characterization. Her second favorite place in the world is Sanibel Island, Florida, where her family vacations every other year. Her favorite place is her hometown, where she enjoys spending time with her family and hanging out with her Coffee Girls.
Lisa enjoys fruit and yogurt smoothies, so I’ve set up a smoothie bar. Feel free to create a concoction of your choosing. I’ve got bananas, peaches, mangoes, kiwi, pineapple, and an assortment of berries. I added some fun enhancers: peanut butter, honey, and a selection of nuts. Whip up your tasty treat, settle in, and enjoy the opportunity to get to know more about Lisa and her writing.
Lisa’s Journey Begins
When did you decide that you wanted to write? Did you start right away, or did the dream remain on hold for a while?
I’ve wanted to write since I was sixteen after reading Danielle Steele’s The Promise. I wanted to give others that same heart satisfaction I felt after reading The End. I wrote, but life situations interrupted my quest until about ten years ago.
I decided to become serious about my writing and my husband bought me a word processor for Christmas. In 2003, I completed my first NaNoWriMo novel. My hubby realized I was serious and bought me a laptop. Since then I’ve worked to hone my craft so I can get “the call” someday.
You joined American Christian Fiction Writers and made some great connections. How did this come about? In what ways has your involvement in ACFW helped you grow as a writer?
Out of high school, I majored in fiction writing in college, but left college to get married and start a family. I decided to write seriously about ten years ago. I joined Writers Village University and met some writers whom I’m still friends with today, but I wanted to write Christian fiction and WVU wasn’t solely Christian, so I Googled Christian fiction groups and found ACFW in 2005. I joined and went to my first ACFW conference that September. I found my place in the world.
At the 2005 conference, I met three of my all-time favorite authors: Deb Raney, Colleen Coble, and Susan May Warren. All three of them encouraged me and helped me to strengthen my writing. My relationship with Susie Warren continued to develop and grow. Last July, I become the forum coordinator for her My Book Therapy site. My writing has continued to improve under her mentorship and absorbing what she teaches on her site and through her MBT retreats.
Lisa’s Squee-worthy Successes
One of the most prestigious contests for inspirational writers is the Genesis, sponsored by ACFW. Your category romance, Draw Me Close, took second last year. How did you react when you received the news that you were a finalist? What was it like attending ACFW as a finalist and hearing your name at the awards ceremony?
I received a phone call from Jim Rubart letting me know Draw Me Close had finaled in the Genesis. Surprise and joy filled my heart. I cried and apologized to Jim for crying. He was very nice about it.
Attending the conference as a finalist was kind of a surreal experience. When people congratulated me, I almost wanted to turn around to see if they were talking to someone behind me. I met the other finalists in my category and loved them immediately—they’re wonderful ladies. I sat in the back of the banquet room, and when my name was called as runner-up, I kept telling myself as I walked to the platform, “Don’t trip. Don’t trip. Don’t trip.” 🙂 I was so happy for Christy for taking first place because that meant I wouldn’t have to speak..
This past March you received The Agent Call. How did that come about? What was your response? Stunned silence? Tears? Incoherent babbling? Or did you startle the neighbors with your shouting?
I met Rachelle Gardner for the first time at the 2008 ACFW conference where I pitched a women’s fiction novel I had completed. She asked for the first five chapters, but I did not follow through. (The novel is still not completely revised yet.)
I continued to read her blog and planned to pitch to her at the 2009 conference, which I did. During our appointment, she asked for the full manuscript. I completed the final edit on it and submitted it to her in March. I had emailed her a couple of times between September and March letting her know the status of the manuscript.
A week later, she emailed me with an offer of representation. The words of the email blurred as my eyes filled with tears. I whispered, “Thank you, Lord.” and burst into tears. I called my husband, expecting to leave a voice mail on his cell phone. He had forgotten to put his phone on vibrate, so it rang in the middle of class. I shared my news with him, and then called several close friends and emailed my writing friends.
After speaking with Rachelle on the phone, I accepted her offer and have been Snoopy Dancing since March of this year.
One of your life goals was put on hold for a time, but you returned to it later. Please tell us about this experience?
You’re never too old to achieve your goals. I didn’t finish my college education and always wanted to, so I went back to school a few years ago. At the age of forty, I graduated summa cum laude with a degree in early childhood education. Because I worked full-time, taught Sunday school, cared for my family, and wrote, going to school was an additional challenge, but I learned I can do anything through Christ who gives me strength.
Lisa: Contributor, Columnist, and Editor
You wear all these hats. Please tell us about each one.
Contributor . . .
I am a bi-monthly contributor to PG (Parental Guidance) Magazine, a regional magazine for parents, children, and families in my area. I write articles that deal with child development..
Columnist . . .
I am a bi-monthly My First Sale columnist for ACFW’s Afictionado e-zine. I share the honor with published author Tiffany Stockton who writes as Amber Stockton. We interview debut authors who have sold their first novels.
A list of my articles and interviews can be found on my website..
Editor . . .
I am the editor of Voices, My Book Therapy’s e-zine—For the Voices by the Voices. Readers and writers who are members of My Book Therapy are called Voices. They have opportunities to submit articles for the e-zine.
Partners on Lisa’s Journey
Who are you some of your writing buddies?
My writing partners include The Ponderers, a group of women who met at Susie Warren’s My Book Therapy retreats. We clicked instantly and formed friendships that will last a lifetime. We pray over each other almost daily, brainstorm together, and encourage one another. Now that they are a part of my life, I can’t imagine continuing my writing career without them.
I have another group of friends who have supported and encouraged me as well—the Writer C.H.I.C.K.s—a group of published and unpublished writers who understand the struggles of publication. We bring our diverse abilities to the group to pray for and support each other.
Lisa’s Best Tips for Writers
~ Pray—without God directing your path, how can you stay on the course he has laid before you? Pray for your writing friends.
~ Ask—no such thing as a stupid question. If you need help, ask for it. None of us knows everything, but chances are you will find someone who can help you with information.
~ Read—read what you love and read outside of your comfort zone to see how authors of various genres tell a story.
~ Write—this should be followed by a duh, but I’ll be polite and resist. Talking about writing is more fun and so much easier, but you won’t sell that book unless you write it.
~ Partner with one another—writing is a solitary business. Find a writing partner or two or three to pray and encourage one another. Swap chapters and help each other hone those writing skills.
~ Persevere—writing takes time. Don’t be in a rush to submit anything other than your absolute best work. And when those rejections or low contest scores come in, grieve for a day, brush yourself off, and get back to writing.
Lisa’s Journey Continues
What are you working on now?
Draw Me Close, the first novel in my Coming Home series, has been submitted to Steeple Hill for their consideration. Tina James requested the full at the 2009 ACFW conference. While waiting for their response, I’m writing Pocketful of Posies, a contemporary romance about a travel agent who feels she is unworthy of God’s unconditional love, but a shy landscaper, an infant with special needs, and an inherited dilapidated house show her God’s grace is hers for the asking.
Five Items Lisa Has at Her Fingertips When She’s Writing
~ Water bottle
~ Susan May Warren’s Inside…Out & Deep and Wide books
~ Earbuds to listen to music on my computer while I write
~ Post-it notes & pen for notes
Five Accomplishments That Have Meant the Most to Lisa
~ Giving my life to Jesus over 14 years ago
~ Celebrating almost 21 years of marriage
~ Raising 2 boys who treat others with love and respect
~ Graduating college at the age of 40
~ Completing and submitting my first novel
Lisa’s Question for You
As someone who works full-time and struggles to balance family, business, friends, church, downtime, and writing, I would like to know how others have moved from writing part-time to becoming full-time writers. If you are not a full-time writer, how do you juggle your responsibilities to make time to write?
Lisa has generously offered to give away a set of 4 hand-stamped assorted note cards with designs of her choosing.
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Lisa by midnight June 15 (Pacific time) and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process. (You don’t have to leave it in the body of your comment this way.)
On June 16, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address. (I don’t share your information with anyone, other than sending your mailing address to my guest, and I don’t add your name to any mailing lists.)
Congratulations to Beth K. Vogt, winner of Lisa’s hand-stamped note cards.
Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Learn More About Lisa
Visit her website ~www.lisajordanbooks.com
Visit her personal blog ~ www.lisajordanbooks.blogspot.com
Friend Her on Facebook ~Lisa Jordan
Follow her on Twitter ~lisajordan