Get To Know Lisa
Lisa Mantchev grew up in the small Northern California town of Ukiah. She can pinpoint her first forays into fiction to the short stories she thumped out on an ancient typewriter. Playwriting came a few years later with an adaptation of Maeterlinck’s The Blue Bird for May Day Festival in the fourth grade.
Starting at the age of seven, she appeared in community theater productions of South Pacific, Peter Pan, The Nutcracker, Beauty and the Beast and Magic Theater. In high school, she appeared in productions of Grease and Eleemosynary before writing, directing and producing a children’s play for the Ukiah Player’s Theater. She then received two scholarships to study drama at the University of California, Irvine. Her senior year at UCI, she wrote Seeking Therapy, which was produced through the playwright’s class. Lisa also won the Chancellor’s Award For Undergraduate Research in Drama her senior year while studying in the Campuswide Honors Program.
After graduation, Lisa taught English at the Lycée Internationale de Los Angeles and created their Drama After School Program. In between report cards and drafting scripts for Winter and Spring productions, she returned to writing fiction. Her first professional short fiction sale was in 2002, and her debut trilogy sold in 2007.
She makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state with her husband Angel, her daughter Amélie and four hairy miscreant dogs. When not scribbling, she can be found on the beach, up a tree, making jam or repairing things with her trusty glue gun.
QUESTIONS FOR LISA
1) The Theatre Illuminata is filled with magic. Does the location of the Theatre change as easily as the sets and props on stage? In other words, is the Theatre always in the same city?
You’re the first person to ask me this! You win a cookie! *L* There’s actually a character from a medieval morality plays called “The Everyman”… and he’s there to represent the individual, with whom the audience or reader is supposed to be able to identify. So, in a lot of ways, the Théâtre Illuminata is an “every theater”… timeless, despite the architectural details I gave it, and not any place you’d think to look for it. If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble over it on your way somewhere else completely.
2) How many Acts (books) do you have planned in Bertie’s story?
It sold as a trilogy… Book 2 is Perchance To Dream and will be out in the Fall of 2010, with the last theater book out the year after that.
3) You seem to write about a variety of fantastical elements. Is there any one that you prefer? Fairies, spirits, magic, etc…
I haven’t happened upon a preference for a particular element, but I do prefer it be presented in the style of “magical realism” so that the fantastic elements are a given, something accepted. Then it’s the story, the character’s interaction, the difficulties they experience _beyond_ the fantastic element, that’s important.
4) If you could spend the day with one of the characters from EYES LIKE STARS who would it be? (I’d pick Nate! What an adventure we’d have!)
Bertie. I have some questions regarding the third book that I need answered. *L*
5) Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what most often popped up on your playlist during the writing of EYES LIKE STARS?
“The Assassin’s Tango” from the Mr. & Mrs. Smith soundtrack, for reasons that will become obvious when someone reads the book. Also, since giving the book this title (the original was Scrimshaw) I found a song by Faulter with the same name… and the title of their album is “Darling Buds of May” which is a reference to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18. Coincidence? Fate? One of those!
QUESTIONS FOR BERTIE
1) You seem to like dying your hair interesting colors. You’ve already used Colbalt Blue and Raven’s Wing Black with Egyptian Plum tips. What colors are you thinking about next?
I was thinking some shade of green? Mrs. Edith got a color called “Elphaba’s Visage” that looks good.
2) Having fairies for best friends seems to have some good points and bad points. Thinking back on your relationship with Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed, what is the worst thing they’ve done and what is the most useful thing they’ve done?
Worst thing, hands down, was the time the boys put the dead fish in my bed. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except they’d also put quite a lot of seawater in with it, because it wasn’t dead when they left it there. My mattress dripped for weeks. Most useful thing is that they can scent a doughnut at a hundred yards.
3) Out of all the plays in The Book. Which is your favorite?
Don’t tell Nate or Ariel, but I sort of like that Phantom of the Opera. Even if that Christine girl was a total moron.
4) Have you ever considered become an actress? If so, is there a particular role you’d like to play?
I hadn’t really ever thought about it… it’s not like they’d ever need me to go on for anyone. But Wendy in Peter Pan would be fun. I know all the lines for that one.
5) The Green Room at the Theatre seems to always have a great selection of food. What is your favorite? Does The Green Room provide it for you often or is it something you don’t get to eat very often?
I like the really spicy dishes that sometimes appear in there for the pirates, and when we were doing The Mikado, there were all sorts of little sushi rolls on tiny plates. The fairies hated the raw fish, though. See my answer to Question 2.
6) How long have you and Nate been hanging out?
He fished me out of The Little Mermaid set once, when I was about eight or nine. So it’s been a while!