Questions Nobody Asks


1. Where do you find shoes big enough for those enormous feet?

Great question.  It’s hard.  I try to shop where NBA players shop.  But I’m really frugal, so sometimes I just wear flip flops and let my heels hang out the back a little.

2. You grew up in Kentucky and Texas, yes?

Yes.  Caneyville, Kentucky, the first seven years of my life.  Leitchfield, Kentucky, the next five.  Denton, Texas, through high school.  No.  None of those schools have asked me to be their high school graduation speaker.  I totally understand that.

3. Were you a “cool kid” in high school?

If I said “yes,” would you really believe me?  Of course not.  Everyone knows most writers were never cool in high school.  Most of my graduating class probably wouldn’t even recognize my name.  I wasn’t voted “Most likely to succeed” or even “Class Clown.”  If I were given a designation, it would have been “Most likely to hang out with the band kids even though she can’t play an instrument.”  OR “Most likely to never have a boyfriend.”  (See foot size issue above).

4. Is it true that you have no higher education to speak of?

It is true.  If I were educated, would I have ended the above question with a preposition?  The answer is a resounding “no.”  I did go to college for more than five years, attending four fine institutions of higher learning.  However, at the end of the five years, none of those institutions believed my name and theirs should be on the same piece of paper.  I have incredible respect for their standards.

5. What inspires you to write about small towns and rural characters?

I love what my friend, Carol Morris Ramsay, said.  Small town life is an art form.  I want to give it the merit it deserves.  Also, I’m not industrious enough to do the research required to write a story about a teenager living in Iceland or an older man in the inner city.  I know what it’s like to live in a small southern town.  Blessedly, I live it every day.

6. You’ve been married for 25 years.  You’re still not tired of each other?

It’s not amazing or remarkable that I’m not tired of Philip.  He’s smart, interesting, kind, ridiculously good-looking.  He’s a college professor.  I tell him all the time that he gave me a tremendous gift…the gift of being at college all the time without having to go to class.

It does, however, amaze me that he seems to not be tired of me either.  I’m almost 50, menopausal, emotionally unstable, and the bathroom is a wreck.  The hairspray build up on our bathroom floor could be used to cement bridges together.

Truthfully, we’re humbled and thankful.  Our marriage has been a gift from God.  Both of us remain willing to make sacrifices to protect it.  That’s a gift too.

We’ve lived on the outskirts of Dresden, Tennessee, for almost ten years.  Phil teaches at the University of Tennessee at Martin.  We’re ridiculously happy living in West Tennessee farm country.

7. You have two teenage boys at home.  How’s that going?

The food bill is high and the smell of Axe wafts through the air along with a few other smells.  But it’s all part of a glorious process.  We like both of them on most days.  They like us at about the same ratio.  Thankful is an understatement.

8. How many books do you anticipate in the “Doug and Carlie” series?

How many books do you want?  I’m a people pleaser.  I will do your bidding (within reason).  I’m guessing four.

9. Have you always been a writer?

I’d love to write something quippy about how menopause unleashed literary fervor in my life.  But truthfully, I never remember not writing.  Even as a small child, my FAVORITE assignment was, “Write a funny story about…”  My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Carolyn Thomason, would give us these wildly creative assignments.  She’d stand in front of the room and say, “Oh, Class, there’s been a terrible mishap.  There are some monkeys stranded on a deserted island and they’re bored.  They’re tired of eating bananas all day.  Can you develop a game for them to play?  Tell me all about it.”  That was the purest form of academic joy I ever experienced.  It made up for the fact that I was the last kid in third grade to learn my times tables.  Nine times seven still makes me pause.

My mom is a remarkable writer and proofreader.  Did she pass on a love for writing genetically or environmentally?  I doubt we’ll ever know.  I know we both have the dreaded “spelling gene.”  That’s the genetic abnormality that causes us to phone churches, businesses, or billboard companies to lovingly inform them that they have a misspelled word on the sign.  We consider it a public service.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Meleah Heavner
    Dec 27, 2014 @ 19:02:13

    Hello Lisa:-) I have some questions about publishing. I have been working on my first (takes a deep breath, as she gets up the courage to say the word) “novel”, that I started in 2012 during this crazy online phenomenon called NANOWRIMO, in which the goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November, for National Novel Writing Month (takes another deep breath because she writes in ridiculously long sentences). The story is southern fiction, aiming at “humorous southern fiction” and hoping for the best:.-) One question I have is, what aspects of the publishing business influenced your decision to self-publish versus via a traditional publisher? Any feedback or advice regarding publishing (or writing, or whatever) would be much appreciated. Thanks!


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