Ask the Author: Lisa Moore Ramée
What would you like readers to know about you?
My journey to publication has been extremely long. I started submitting articles to magazines over twenty years ago and it was probably getting a handwritten rejection that complimented my writing that kept me on the path. I paused for a while as I was raising my children but as they got older and needed less of my time, I went back to writing. I really wanted to get an MFA because that seemed like a sure way to get published (lol) but there weren’t any programs near me, so instead I got a Master’s in English Literature, focusing primarily on Creative Writing. That experience reminded me of how much I loved the process of writing. But I was in school with other students who were 10-15 years younger than me. And it worried me that I was maybe getting serious about this writing journey too late. But then I heard someone say that the only way to be certain you’d never “make it” as a writer was to give up. And that the one thing authors had in common was persistence. So, every time I sent my work to agents and got another rejection, I would remind myself of those things and send out more queries. I wrote five full manuscripts before I got an agent–ironically, the book that finally got me an agent was actually the first book I wrote. (Of course, it went through many, many revisions!) I’m never embarrassed about the fact that I was an older debut author than most. It’s something I’m actually hugely proud about.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
I have two books out currently (and another on the way). My second (sophomore) book is Something to Say. The main character, Jenae is certain she’s caused her brother’s basketball injury and something even worse and she just wants to be left alone. To be invisible. But then along comes Aubrey who is determined to be her friend and even worse, wants to drag her into the limelight. Jenae is shocked to find herself enjoying Aubrey’s exuberance and before she knows it, she realizes they’ve become friends. But when Aubrey tests their friendship by pushing Jenae to participate in a debate over a proposed school name change, Jenae has to decide if she’s willing to risk the first real friendship she’s ever had in order to avoid speaking up and being seen.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
Oh, there were SO many inspirations for writing this story. I was terrified of public speaking growing up and had a moment exactly like Jenae’s where I thought I might pass out when I had to give a speech in front of my class. But also, I saw young athletes’ plans derailed by injuries, and news stories about elderly folks wandering away from home. I saw large uproars over school name changes. And when I was very young, I lost a cousin to childhood leukemia. All of these disparate things went into the book. But that’s how I write stories. For those who have read A Good Kind of Trouble, they’ll have noticed that book too is about a whole bunch of things.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
Almost any scene with Aubrey was my favorite part to write, but probably the best was when Aubrey and Jenae visit a cafe and have delicious mini grilled cheese sandwiches and a big secret gets revealed.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Judy Blume and Stephen King early on and then Jacqueline Woodson.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Two things: READ! (If you do nothing else, do that.) Secondly, don’t give up. Your journey may be long like mine, but that won’t make it any less sweet when you’re holding your first published book in your hands.
My books can be purchased wherever books are sold. (At indies, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)
The best way to find info about my books and me is my website: lisamooreramee.com
I can be found on Instagram and Twitter at @leeseray