LisaAnn Turner is the author of The Real Magic.
LDSP: Hi, LisaAnn. Let's start with an easy question. Who are you?
LisaAnn: Good question. When I figure that out I’ll let you know.
LDSP: Oh. Maybe that wasn't an easy one.
LisaAnn: No seriously, I haven’t figured that out completely but I’m on my way. Right now I think I should probably be institutionalized for multiple-personality disorder—my personalities ranging from stressed out college student to exhausted employee, and overwhelmed wife and mother.
LDSP: That's a lot on one person's plate! Do you have time for any hobbies?
LisaAnn: I’m a sucker for a good strategy or time management game on the computer and I have to really limit myself or I can get carried away really easily. I also love to write stories…go figure. There’s nothing better than trying to translate my daydreams into words and watching as the world I’ve created in my head gets richer and more intricate and the characters more intriguing.
LDSP: Why did you decide to enter the LDS Publisher story contest?
LisaAnn: I was looking for a purpose for my writing. It’s fun to let my imagination just run wild but sometimes I love to have a concrete reason for writing, as well as boundaries for what the story is about and when I have to have it completed. Nothing works quite like a deadline to get me to focus.
LDSP: I hear you! Deadlines work for me, too. What inspired you to write this particular Christmas story?
LisaAnn: One of the most poignant memories from my childhood is the Christmas I discovered the truth behind Santa. I remember wondering where all the magic went and why I couldn’t figure out how to get it back. This story was my way of figuring out how to uncover what the “Real Magic” of Christmas is all about.
LDSP: Sounds like a pretty traumatic event. Tell me about it.
LisaAnn: A sibling (who shall remain nameless—though they know who they are) decided it would be fun to show me where all the presents were hidden. I was so sad to lose the gift of believing in Santa and set out to prevent that from happening to anyone else. At school every time someone attempted to convince a believer that Santa wasn’t real I would jump in and vehemently claim that he was as real as anything.
LDSP: Good for you! What’s your favorite part of Christmas?
LisaAnn: That’s easy. It’s the traditions and the spirit that permeates everything, from what the radio stations play to the way we treat each other. I wish this spirit of giving and love could bleed into the rest of the year. Can you imagine what kind of world we’d live in if the spirit of Christmas could exist all the time?
LDSP: That would be wonderful, indeed.
LisaAnn: Yes, it would. With traditions, there’s a predictability about Christmas that I love. I know exactly what we are going to eat for Christmas Eve dinner and when we will make and decorate our Gingerbread houses. It’s a holiday stuffed to the brim with fun and exciting things we only do once a year. There’s just so much to look forward to.
LDSP: Is there anything you could do to make your Christmas celebrations better?
LisaAnn: Definitely! Every year I try and find ways to incorporate Christ in the celebrations and every year I realize I haven’t done enough.
LDSP: Aside from the story in this book, do you have other published stories or books?
LisaAnn: Define published... No, not yet but I’m sure working on it.
LDSP: What are you working on now?
LisaAnn: A book I’ve been working on FOREVER. Every time I think I have the plot all figured out something throws a wrench in the story and I have to re-write everything. The story is getting better and better and I think I’m finally at a place where I’ve figured out most of the vital plot details. I hope.
LDSP: What’s your story about?
LisaAnn: That’s for me to know and you to find out.
LisaAnn: Okay, I guess that's fair, being as I certainly keep a few secrets myself.
LisaAnn: I just don’t feel comfortable publicly declaring what the story is about until it stops evolving. I’ve done that before and felt like a complete idiot when the story changed so much it was completely unrecognizable and didn’t match up at all with what I had said.
LDSP: I think every writer has experienced that at one time or another. Do you have any advice for new writers?
LisaAnn: Yes, I do. To coin a phrase from Genie from Disney’s Aladdin (in bumble bee form), “Beeee yourself.” There are so many people out there trying to tell everyone how to write and, quite frankly, all of them are wrong (well, not with the grammatical stuff). There is no one right way to craft a story. It’s an individual process that requires a lot of effort, patience, thick enough skin to take the criticisms and use them to your advantage, as well as the convictions to stick with it long enough to find success.
LDSP: Good advice! And speaking of genies, if you had three wishes what would they be?
LisaAnn: Wow, that’s a tricky one. I guess I’d ask for wisdom, patience, and a distaste for sugar. (I have an addition to sugar that I need some help with.) I know I’m not asking for anything really exciting or cool but these are the things I’m in desperate need of at this moment of my life. Ask me again in a few years and I’m sure it will be different—except the sugar part—I’m not sure how I’ll ever conquer that one.
LDSP: Well, don't look to me for help on that one. I have my own sugar issues. Maybe we should form a support group? Writers Addicted to Sugar Anonymous (WASA, for short).
LDSP: Okay. Maybe not. Thanks for stopping by Lisa and have a wonderful Christmas!