An Interview with Lisa Haselton

It is my pleasure to welcome author and editor Lisa Haselton to All Things Cozy. Thank you, Lisa, for taking time from your busy schedule to visit and share with us some of your insights and experiences.

As an editor, writer, reviewer, and interviewer, you are very involved in the writing, publishing, and promotion of the written word. Is it easy to take off your editor’s cap and put your writer’s pen down when you read for pleasure?

Actually, yes, I find it very easy to read for pleasure – it’s my “getaway” from the work I do. I do have a caveat, though, if a book is riddled with grammar issues or typos, or if I’m at all tempted to start circling issues, I’ve learned to put the book down and start another. It’s funny how I used to force myself to finish a book once I started. Must have been ingrained from grade school book report projects or something, but there’s really no reason to read a book that doesn’t hold my interest or that has errors leaping off the page. Reading for pleasure is just that, for me, a pleasure.

Do you have a “typical” work day?

Other than getting online by 7AM (usually) I haven’t had any typical day. My projects vary from day-to-day and sometimes hour to hour. I tend to take about 90-minutes for lunch, which includes a 30-45 minute walk/run/something outside, and I step away from the computer by 6 (no later than 7PM),  but everything in between is different day to day.

Your fiction writing has covered several genres. Who has influenced your work?

My fiction has come out in several genres, but at heart I think I have the dark fiction bug thanks to indulging (or perhaps overindulging) in reading Stephen King in the 1980s. I’ve always believed in ghosts and paranormal, and then his books came along, and I was pulled into the worlds he created – along with the vast array of characters. My favorite book is The Stand. I could be writing about a happy sunny day with a mom and her baby at a park and think that’s where the story is, but then it turns out the baby has fangs, and not everyone in the park gets out alive. I’m constantly amused and entertained with how my stories come out.

When you read for pleasure, do you favor a particular genre?

I favor mysteries – thrillers, suspense, and paranormals. Some fave authors are JD Robb, Michael Connelly, JR Ward, Diana Gabaldon (although that may be more historical than mystery), and I’m just getting into the world of Game of Thrones. Authors who can write consistent characters for a long-term attract me a lot.

Do you have an editing tip or two for writers to help them submit clean manuscripts? No matter how many times I go over my work, I miss a few errors. I know I’m not alone in this!

You’re definitely not alone. And I have to tell you that even though I’m a writer, and an editor, I need an editor for my own work. As writers, we ‘know’ what we have on the page, so we don’t actually ‘see’ what we wrote. I’m always amazed at what I don’t see in my own work that I find in other’s work.

As for tips – although you don’t want to rely on it 100%, always, always, always run spell check on a piece.

Another tip is to read the piece backwards. Start with the last paragraph and read it through, then go to the next-to-last paragraph and read that through. Or come up with any way you like, but read the paragraphs out-of-order – you’ll catch missing words and other issues that way.

If you find a misuse of “your/you’re”, do a Search on those terms, one at a time, and see if you’ve had the error somewhere else in the manuscript. (you can do that with any words that sound alike their/there/they’re, and so on)

You are also a photographer. Has a photo ever inspired your writing – fiction or non-fiction?

I love writing to photo prompts! I don’t think I’ve ever gone through my own photos and had a story inspired, it’s more that I’ll see a photo, or an image and a story idea will come to me. I love black and white photography and art work – it leaves a lot to the imagination when there aren’t any other colors.

 Tell us about your most recent “adventure vacation.”

Hhhm. Unfortunately, the most recent was a couple of years ago when I ventured out to Wyoming to spend a week at a dude ranch. I learned to ride a horse, how winter lasts a very long time, and mostly was inspired by the outrageously beautiful landscapes. I flew into Denver and had the snow-covered Rocky Mountains in my view for quite a while, I also saw canyon walls, miles and miles of fields and grass…I was amazed at how it looked like there was nothing ahead for hours, yet turn a slight corner and I could be in a little town. I stayed in Cheyenne, WY for a couple of days before going to the dude ranch (I need time to recover from flying sometimes) and discovered incredible rich history with trains while I was there. I’ve never seen such a large train depot and I spent hours learning about the history of trains – nothing I imagined when I planned the trip. I only discovered the trains because my hotel was right beside some tracks, and well, I heard a lot of rumbling through the night. Didn’t mind at all the 2nd night!

I’m currently planning a several month adventure to Italy for 2015, so have held back on shorter vacations last year and this year. I plan to do a lot of hiking and exploring and like with all my adventures, non-touristy activities.

Enjoy Italy, Lisa! And thank you for a wonderful interview. I am definitely going to start reading my work from end to beginning.

LHLisa Haselton is the pseudonym for Lisa J. Jackson. Lisa loves the life she’s created for herself as an independent writer and editor.

She has been a book reviewer since 2002 and loves being introduced to new authors. Her fiction writing interests run from short flash pieces to short stories to novels to scripts and include mysteries, thrillers, sci-fi, children’s, horror, Christian, romance, suspense, historicals, and anything else her muse finds exciting. All book reviews and fictional writing are published under Haselton. Non-fiction work, articles, essays, and poetry are under Jackson.

As a professional editor, she works in all genres with writers across the globe. She also works with publishers, corporations, and small businesses for written collateral, marketing, and web site content.

A lifelong resident of NH, Lisa enjoys traveling and taking adventure vacations that take her out of her element. She’s been writing and editing full-time since leaving the corporate world in ’06. She loves learning, b&w film photography, as well as cycling, hiking, and just being outside exploring. She’s spent one day a week since 2004 with her “Little Sis” from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and she cherishes every day they have together.




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3 Responses to An Interview with Lisa Haselton

  1. Patti says:

    What an enjoyable and informative interview with a dedicated editor and experienced writer….

  2. Thanks for the interview opportunity, Jeanne. Fun questions. And it’s funny how strange it feels to be on this side of an interview!

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