Welcome to Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. Here to share a pot of tea and to chat about her book, The Sunrise Girl, is Lisa Wolstenholme.
Lisa is a mum, wife and writer currently working for the Katharine Susannah Prichard (KSP) Writers’ Centre in Greenmount, Western Australia as the Executive Officer of their self-publishing service, Wild Weeds Press. She is also the KSP Board Secretary, has facilitated a writing group at the centre and hosted creative writing and self-publishing workshops. Lisa is drawn to penning stories about life and loss, with a dash of love sometimes thrown in for good measure.
Lisa has two traditional publications: A 12,000-word story, When Love Breaks Down, published in December 2018 by WA-based publisher Serenity Press in their ‘Destination Romance’ anthology, and a 5,000-word story, The Wash, also published in December 2018 by Serenity Press in their ‘Passages’ anthology.
Her debut novel, ‘The Sunrise Girl’ was published by MMHPress in 2019.
When not writing or loitering around KSP, Lisa enjoys reading, travelling, music and wine.
Hello Lisa. It is my pleasure to warmly welcome you to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews. Thank you for joining me for Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. To set the mood for our tea infused interview, what is your preferred beverage, tea, coffee or other? And side accompaniment, scone, cake or other?
Hi Mrs B. Thank you for having me over for tea, although I must confess I don’t actually like tea; I’m a coffee drinker and also enjoy a nice glass of SSB. As a side accompaniment I’d have to go a large helping of tiramisu. What’s not to love about coffee, cream and chocolate 😊.
Can you tell us what genres you write for and how many books you have had published?
I mostly write women’s fiction with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure. I have been known to dabble with sci fi but find it quite hard to build believable worlds.
So far, I’ve had stories in the Serenity Press anthologies, Destination Romance and Passages; When Love Breaks Down, a Serenity Press novelette; a forthcoming story in the Gumnut Press anthology, Paw Prints of Love; and my first full-length novel, The Sunrise Girl, so I guess that makes five books.
The Sunrise Girl is your latest release, can you describe it in just a sentence?
A thirty-something former party girl’s husband dies, and she spends far too long trying to get over herself! Ha ha! Okay, the more enticing sentence: A sexy contemporary women’s fiction novel charting how thirty-something former party girl, Lucy Morris, struggles to overcome her guilt after the death of her husband and figure out what she truly wants.
Where did the inspiration for the title of your book come from?
Lucy regularly wakes at sunrise because of what she’s done, so it made sense to call it The Sunrise Girl. I also love sunrises; they bring hope for a better day, and that fits well with the story.
How long did it take you to write The Sunrise Girl?
The first draft was written in 2014 within a few months. I’d had all these scenes floating around in my head for several years so when I committed myself to writing the book, the words just fell out of me. It took me a year-or-so to start sharing it with my critique group, and then a further four years to finish faffing around with it and take the next step.
Can you tell us more about the main themes of your novel?
I guess the overarching themes are escapism from realities too painful to face, inauthenticity borne from not being true to oneself, addiction as an enabler of escapism, and the true value of friendship. Lucy is drowning in guilt following her husband’s death, and rather than face it she goes back to doing what she knows: partying. It enables her to escape in many ways through drinking, dancing, smoking, and sex.
Where did the inspiration for the main character of Lucy come from?
I guess she’s a culmination of many people and ideas. I needed her to be heavily flawed and someone who is emotionally immature and drowning in self-pity. I also wanted her to make irresponsible decisions because she hasn’t figured out what she wants. She can be quite dislikeable, hopefully because her character resonates with many women.
What ingredients do you feel are necessary to compose a successful contemporary women’s fiction narrative?
I can only go by the contemporary women’s fiction novels I enjoy, so for me it would include:
- a rich, tangible setting that envelopes the reader
- a flawed main character who needs to change, and some of that change occurs by the end of the story (I quite like the idea that a main character is their own antagonist)
- a good supporting cast who push and pull the main character causing confusion and erratic decisions
- some kind of secret to be revealed
- there doesn’t necessarily have to be a prominent love interest, but it doesn’t hurt 😉.
Gillian Flynn does all of this so well in Dark Places, and what’s not to love about Paulo Coelho’s Veronika Decides to Die?
If The Sunrise Girl made it to the big screen, who would you like to cast?
I’m a visual person so already had created a cast to help me build the character profiles. I imagined Lucy as an actress called Lucy Griffiths (she was Nora, Eric’s vampire sister in True Blood). Her best friend Em would be played by Lenora Crichlow (Annie in the British drama series Being Human), and love interest, Brian, would be Michael Fassbender.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading The Sunrise Girl?
I guess the main things would be the hope that even in the darkest of days people can change once they realise they need to be true to themselves and allow themselves to be supported by those who care.
What is the best part of being a published author?
Being able to share my daydreams and ramblings with readers.
If you could slip back in time, what era would you travel to and why?
Being a closet sci fi nut, I’d rather go to the future. I loved watching Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Star Wars and Blake’s Seven as a teen, and often daydreamed about what it would be like to live in space.
What is next on the horizon for Lisa Wolstenholme? Do you have any writing projects you would like to share with us?
I do! I’m trying to pull my finger out and write The Sunset Girl. It will be about Lucy’s best friend, Em, and will focus on what happened in Em’s past to turn her off relationships. Some of it was touched upon in The Sunrise Girl, and I hope it will make for an intriguing read.
What 2020 book releases are you most excited to read?
I love supporting WA writers, so I’m really looking forward to D.D. Line’s forthcoming novella from Gumnut Press. I also love Rachael Johns’ books, so am hoping Something to Talk About will come out this year too.
Finally, wrapping up our tea themed interview, who would you most like to share a pot of tea with?
I’d happily share a coffee with Gillian Flynn or my favourite presenter/adventurer, Bruce Parry.
Thank you for taking the time to visit Mrs B’s Book Reviews for Tea with Mrs B Lisa. Congratulations on the publication of The Sunrise Girl!
Thanks, Mrs B. It’s been awesome to be here.
Ever since Joe Morris died, Lucy wakes up at sunrise, cocooned in guilt and barely existing. Two years on, and frustrated by Lucy’s hum-drum existence, best friend Em drags her out on a birthday celebration, catapulting Lucy back into a lifestyle she’d long since left behind. A series of one-night-stands brings Lucy much-needed escape, but it all comes crashing down when the past comes back to haunt her. Lucy’s head is a mess, and she knows she needs help, but just as she’s starting to make some headway, Em convinces her a holiday to the party island of Ibiza is all the respite she needs. Falling back into her former party-girl ways, Lucy soon realises that Em is right. But is Ibiza just a smokescreen? Fuelled by a passionate encounter, and seduced by the island’s hedonistic pull, Lucy makes the bold decision to return. But when her carefully constructed boundaries become blurred, old habits resurface and she plots her escape. But Lucy’s past is about to bite again, only this time, there’s nowhere to hide. Can she face her demons and figure out what she wants, or will Lucy forever be the sunrise girl?
The Sunrise Girl by Lisa Wolstenholme was published on 12th December 2019 by Making Magic Happen Press. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
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