GUTGAA Meet and Greet!

Photo Courtesy of Deana Barnhart
Hi everyone! My name is Lisa Ann O'Kane, and I am one of the first-round judges in Deana Barnhart's GUTGAA blogfest. Here are my meet-and-greet answers, and I can't wait to hop around and meet you as well!

Q: Where do you write?

A: I would kill for a proper writing space--or even a proper writing desk--but right now, my office is my laptop in my lap. I usually write in a comfy recliner, but I sometimes camp out on my kitchen table as well. As long as I have Nag Champa incense or Yankee candles, I am good to go!

Q: Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

A: There is a window to the left of my kitchen table, and it looks out to cottonwood trees, rose bushes and a very dilapidated turquoise shed.

Q: Favorite time to write?

A: Late at night. I love the calm and stillness, and there is something creative about the realization you're the only one awake in the house.

Q: Drink of choice while writing?

A: Tea! Earl Grey, Jasmine Green, Pumpkin Chai... The list goes on and on.

Q: When writing, do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

A: I have a very specific playlist I listen to when I write. Carla Bruni, Bebel Gilberto, the Shins, Bob Dylan, Ugly Cassanova... The music has to strike a perfect chord with me, or else I find it distracting. (I also love to assign songs to my characters. Although I don't usually write and listen to these songs at the same time, I play them other times when I want to find inspiration.)

Q: What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

A: The inspiration for my latest manuscript ESSENCE came to me randomly. (See my full pitch here.)

I was in Vail with my husband to watch a friend of ours get inducted into the Snowboard Hall of Fame last winter. There were tons of early '90's snowboarding legends there, and I was struck by how poorly many of them had aged. Some had mobility issues (thanks to the beatings they put on their bodies), some had substance abuse withdrawal issues, and many others just seemed "different."

I turned to my husband at one point and said, "It's weird. It's almost like these guys were given a certain allotment of life, and they've already used theirs up."

BAM. The rest of my story came to me like lightning.

Q: What's your most valuable writing tip?

A: Don't listen to too many people's advice. Writing is personal, and you need to have faith in yourself and in the process. Valuable insight can certainly be gleaned from other people, but limit your inner circle to only a handful of people whose opinions you really trust. Nothing squelches creativity like too much conflicting advice from well-meaning friends and acquaintances.

So, there you have it! I can't wait to meet the rest of you!