Cate: Woot! Lisa Lawmaster Hess is here to spread some holiday cheer! Lisa, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Lisa: Hi, Cate! Thanks for having me. I’m a transplanted Jersey Girl who has been writing for more than 20 years. I’ve written columns for local publications, as well as numerous articles for national and online publications. I’m also the author of three books. Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce that grew out of lessons and small groups with my students and my first novel, Casting the First Stone, was released last January.
Cate: Yay for Jersey Girls! lol What do you love most about Christmas?
Lisa: It’s a toss-up between the music and the decorations, especially the lights. I’m not wild about the all-Christmas-all-the-time radio play in November, but come December, that’s what I’m listening to...and singing along with, if I’m alone in the car (and sometimes even when I’m not).
Cate: It is infectious! Do you have a favorite memory of a Christmas past?
Lisa: It’s more like flashes of memories from a variety of Christmases. The Christmas we celebrated at the house where I spent my teenage years, when my daughter was just a month old. The year my daughter and my niece and nephew were small and continuously ran the loop through my parents’ kitchen, into the dining room, then the living room, then back again. The year it snowed so much we couldn’t make the trip to NJ and my daughter cried when we had to turn around and come home, then fell asleep on the living room floor in front of her new dollhouse. Dinners at my aunt’s house. Baking cookies. The Christmas open houses we used to host before we were parents.
Cate: Nice. If Santa could grant one wish, what would you ask for?
Lisa: Continued good health for those I love.
Cate: Excellent wish. What was the best gift you’ve ever received? What made it so special?
Lisa: The best gifts I’ve received haven’t come at Christmas, and they’ve been in the form of people and opportunities.
Cate: Any favorite Christmas recipes you’d care to share?
Lisa: I am sooo not a cook...but I have a chocolate chip cookie recipe I got from my friend Ginny that’s become my dad’s favorite.Unfortunately, it’s not mine to share.
Cate: Such a tease, lol. Tell us about your latest release, and where readers can find it online.
Lisa: My latest release is nearly a year old -- I can hardly believe it! It’s called Casting the First Stone and it revolves around a custody dispute that arises when the man who wanted nothing to do with his child or her mother comes back to pursue full custody just before his daughter turns 13. The story is told in alternating point-of-view, moving back and forth between Charli’s mother, Marita and her stepmother, Angel.
Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
Lisa: Of course (and thank you)!
Angel Alessio and Marita Mercer are linked by only one thing -- the man one loves and the other despises. When Angel’s husband decides to pursue custody of the child he fathered with Marita, both women are forced to consider what they will -- and won’t -- do to protect the lives they have built and the families they have created.
Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Lisa: As a school counselor, I worked with lots of kids whose parents were divorced or never married and I learned that most of the time, finding the “best” answer for the kids is complicated. Marita actually grew out of a character I created for a novel for a middle grade novel (a manuscript that’s still tucked away). I tweaked her so she’d be a protagonist on her own instead of a secondary character. Angel was the perfect counterpoint.
Cate: So heartbreaking to deal with sad stories in real life. Anything else you’d like to share?
Lisa: Hmmm...books make great Christmas presents?
If you’d like to read more about me or my books, drop by my blog, The Porch Swing Chronicles (www.L2hess.blogspot.com) or visit me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisa-Lawmaster-Hess-Writer/173899286016304?ref=hl). If you’d like to be added to my author newsletter email list, send me an email (jerseywriter @yahoo.com) with “Author Newsletter Mailing List” in the subject line.
Cate: Lisa has her Santa hat on! She is giving away a copy of Casting the First Stone.
Lisa: Yes, I am! To enter, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “12 Days Giveaway” in the subject line.
Cate: Thanks so much for being part of the 12 Days of Christmas! Hope you have a jolly holly holiday!
Lisa: You, too, Cate! Thanks for having me!