AN INTERVIEW WITH
BRAVE NEW CENTURY
With the recent release of Brave New Century, author Lisa Lickel adds yet another contributing piece to her already-brimming resume. Set in Milwaukie at the turn of the century, Lickel writes of history, romance and of finding your way, even if it means blazing your own trail.
Blazing trails and finding her way when the path wasn’t so clear is a concept Lickel has mastered. Her career spans two decades, includes the death of a close friend in a space shuttle accident, and beyond writing to a successful pursuit into editing and mentoring. Perhaps the secret to her success can be found in the verse perched on her website’s home page: “Let us hold unswervingly to our faith, for He who promised is faithful.” ~Hebrews 10:23
In our recent interview, Lickel was transparent as she talked about her friend’s accident, her contributing story, Three Rings for Alice, that kicks off the Brave New Century novella, and of course, she filled me in on the impressive 160 year old house she currently resides in.
AUTHOR LISA LICKEL
MN-You have a fascinating bio, which includes reference to a former classmate who was killed in a space shuttle accident. How did that event contribute to your writing career?
LL-I still remember when I heard the news—I was driving and had to pull over. Hearing of Laurel’s death wasn’t exactly a catalyst, as I’d been taking the Christian Writers Guild course, but writing about it and seeing the piece published in the local paper helped me continue to pursue writing and make connections within the local publishing community.
MN-Of all the pieces that you have written, fiction and non-fiction, contributions to magazines as well as writing in the historical, romance and mystery genres, you say that your passion is inspirational fiction. What do you hope to ccomplish through your writing, especially as it relates to inspirational fiction?
LL-Fiction is almost always for recreation, for pleasure, though naturally most readers want some value for their entertainment money, whether learning about new places, customs, or taking a peek into an unfamiliar world. I hope to provide clean entertainment, maybe even some clean shock value, to show people who live in faith but still go through worldly troubles. People who practice faith have a different perspective in reaction to problems, so I show readers another path out of the woods, and hopefully make those who don’t have a faith system see that it’s not scary.
MN-You recently contributed to an anthology titled Brave New Century. Tell me a little about Three Rings for Alice and how you came up with the concept for this particular story.
LL-The story was originally written for Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents monthly newsletter that went out to their subscribers. Each newsletter contained a chapter from a serial story; no more than 500 words, one contemporary and one historical, alternating years. So, I tried writing a historical story about a young woman facing the turn of the twentieth century in the big city instead of on the prairie where so many historicals were taking place. When it didn’t sell, I re-wrote my story to pad it out a bit and put out a call for others to join me writing similarly themed stories for a potential anthology.
MN-I love your lead character, Alice. She has such spunk; I’d love to see her character alive and well in 2014. Do you think she would be more of a feminist or activist for those in poverty?
LL-Thank you. I enjoyed Alice, too, and really immersed myself in newspapers, photos, books, and reports of the era to get a feel for her personality. It was a changing time all over the world; people couldn’t rely on old family money, and women had to enter the workforce in order to survive, often even if they were married. I think she might be a social worker or at least a very benevolent business owner today.
MN-Why set your story in Milwaukee? Is there something about it that especially intrigues you?
LL-I live near that city; my concept was to show life in big cities as opposed to the prairie. Milwaukee is interesting, as it was settled by people of strong ethnicity who created neighborhoods for themselves and supported each other. It’s still the most culturally segregated city in the US, which is both bad and good. But Wisconsin was always a progressive state, and we have a rich heritage in producing goods and manufacturing. Milwaukee had a series of socialist mayors for decades into the twentieth century. When I read about building the new city hall and the modern innovations they used, I had the foundation for my story.
MN-So, tell me about this 160 year old house that you live in. I can only imagine the history connected to it.
LL-It’s a fun house, and as a historian of course I found out everything I could about it. Surprisingly it hasn’t been handed down from family to family, but each generation has been a different family coming in. It was built by a Great Lakes ship captain, then purchased by a German family who later built a hotel in a nearby city; I have a photograph of the house from that era, in 1881, when the house was already 30 years old. Then it was purchased by an Irish family who had ties to the little Catholic chapel in the neighborhood, then owned by a couple of other families who had family in the neighborhood. We bought it in the ’80s, and my youngest son learned to walk here. I’ve enjoyed it more than my husband, I think, as there isn’t a straight edge or 90-degree angle in the entire place, and we had to update the electrical and plumbing systems.
MN-What is your ideal writing location and how often are you able to go there and create?
LL-As an empty-nester I have the run of the house. I like to get up and down, move around, when I’m working, so I’m all over the place. I have a desk and a couple of chairs I’ll alternate between, even a deck. I have to discipline myself to take time for my own work as well as that of my editing clients.
MN-What is the go-to mantra that keeps you focused on your goals when life throws its many distractions your way?
LL-“It’ll be nice when it’s done.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR…….
Author Bio- Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her novels include the Buried Treasure mystery series (The Last Bequest, The Map Quilt and The Newspaper Code) and the Fancy Cat Mystery Meow Mayhem; as well as the award-winning romance, Meander Scar, A Summer in Oakville co-authored with best-selling author Shellie Neumeier, Healing Grace, Brave New Century, a historical anthology, an anthology A Wisconsin Harvest, Vol II, and The Last Detail. She has penned dozens of feature newspaper stories, short stories, magazine articles and radio theater. She is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin magazine and loves to encourage new authors. Lisa also is an avid book reviewer and blogger, a freelance editor, a writing mentor, and blogger. She is married to a high school biology teacher, and they have two sons and daughters in law, grandchildren and a grand-kitty.
Meet Our Journalist
Mary is an avid reader, writer, editor and self-proclaimed advocate for the authors that make Christian publishing the great industry it is. She supports publishers by interviewing authors and promoting their new releases, as well as upholding a standard of ethics that defines the word “Christian”. Her passion is to see the publishing business excel by promoting literature that speaks to our generation without compromise. Mary is the host of Marysworld Internet radio talk show, maintains a website affiliated with several publishers, and is a member of the Evangelical Press Association. (EPA)
Mary’s World Website & Blog Friend Mary on FB
An anthology! Actually, my first anthology review of four unique delightful novellas revealing a few significant chapters from the lives of four young women experiencing life changes through God’s grace during the time period of the early 1900’s.
Lisa Lickel authored Three Rings for Alice. The title lead me to think of rings worn on fingers, however my thoughts were modified when I read this amusing story of telephones ringing, mystifying the young lady Alice with an intriguing voice she hoped to meet. Alice was an emerging modern woman of her day, among the first women to work as the secretary to the Mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Orphaned as a child, she is forced to make her own way, vowing to never marry….but….the fellows interested in marrying her are uninteresting. Is it possible to fall in love with a voice over the phone? Ms. Lickel displays her expertise to write a completely entertaining story.
Forgiven, written by Paula Mowery and set in Knoxville, Tennessee is a sweet classic story of Henry Smith and Jessie Lee Capelle, two young people falling in love at first sight. Neither is aware that a tragic historic event involving both their fathers will come to light causing tumultuous interference to their engagement to marry. Henry’s mother, widowed and losing a son in the past tragedy, has her mind set on Cassandra to become Henry’s wife. The twists and turns in this romantic mystery kept me awake late. A satisfying read that you will surely enjoy.
Kathleen Rouser brilliantly wrote The Pocket Watch – about Isabel Jones, an orphan, and Dr. Daniel Harper so attracted to one another through an accident that the possibility of marriage to one another could cause tremendous scandal over this forbidden union by God and society of Detroit, Michigan. Two inanimate objects, first a pocket watch lost, and a ring cause possible ended destiny for this beautiful couple in love. Ms. Rouser has written a fascinating story with a blend of great characters – you won’t want to miss this read.
A Flame of Hope, composed by Teena Stewart is an ignited story of love during the disastrous San Francisco earthquake in 1906. Petite Lily McMinn works in her family’s mercantile and eagerly anticipates the visits of handsome Policeman Gideon Light who often drop by for lunch at the mercantile’s refreshment deli. This couple is just beginning the blessing of a real love relationship when the earthquake occurred. Gideon becomes the hero for Lily and her family. Learning to live through a deathly time for others is greatly challenging to all involved in this story. Ms. Stewarts descriptive penning of events is excellent and enlightening as to how God works through dire situations to deepen faith.
Each of these authors encompasses the imagination to extend their writings to complete novels, if they had so chosen. Their novellas are absolute breath takers, in that the wonders of compassion, forgiveness, new faith, soul searching and turn of the century occurrences for women to express their individuality has been well researched and expressed. Lisa Lickel, Paula Mowery, Kathleen Rouser and Teena Stewart – you have glorified our Lord through your finely penned hands. Thank you for bringing tears of emotion to my eyes. To me, when I cry over a story, that’s a sign of a great writer. We all need a good cry once in a while….after all, God does gather our tears in jars. He understands why we shed them. My prayers for each of you are that He will continue to bless you with words for readers to find praiseworthy.
All the above originally was published in The Wordsmith Journal Magazine in the past three months.