Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lisa Yee Interview

Lisa Yee is the amazing author of Absolutely Maybe.( You can find my review for it here!)

Other books by Lisa Yee:

  • Millicent Min, Girl Genius
  • Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time
  • So Totally Emily Ebers
  • Good Luck, Ivy!
Lisa Yee was born and raised near Los Angeles. She currently resides in South Pasadena, California with her husband, Scott, and their two children, Benny and Kate.

She has a huge Winnie-the-Pooh collection which is currently being loaned by the White River (Ontario) Winnie-the-Pooh Museum.

Lisa Yee's Official Website
Lisa Yee's Myspace
Lisa Yee's Blog

When did you get interested in writing?

Probably in the womb. I have always loved stories, and when I was old enough to read, I knew I wanted to write.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Read, read, read, and then read some more. Reading books by your favorite authors are the best way you can learn. Also, read some of the classics to find out why they have staying power. It took me six years to write my first novel, but I never gave up.
Are you anything like your protagonist, Maybe?

Hmmm . . . a little. When I was a teen I was outgoing and insecure at the same time. Maybe is braver than me though. I would have never run away and gone all the way across country. However, I always did have guy friends I was close to. I'm still close to them.

What gave you the idea to write Absolutely Maybe?

Originally the book was called CHARM SCHOOL DROPOUT. It was about a goth girl who's mom wanted to make her into a beauty queen. But when I started writing it, it seemed too fluffy. So I explored the character of Maybe more and her story morphed from there. It became deeper, edgier and richer than I had ever imagined.

How did you come up with all these unique names and nicknames?

It was so fun thinking up the names. Maybelline came because I thought, "What would someone who loves makeup name their daughter?" But of course, Maybelline hated her name, that's why she called herself Maybe. And the word "maybe" is so tentative. Like her.

The nickname "Hollywood" just seemed to suit Daniel. It was like a label that stuck.

My daughter has a friend named Thammasat Tantipinichwong. I loved the sound of it, so I asked him if I could borrow his name for the book, and he agreed. But it was too long to write, so I gave the character with the longest name, the shortest nicknamed -- "Ted."

Did you have to do any research for Absolutely Maybe? If so, what kind?

I researched alcoholics and AA. I also did A LOT of research on taco trucks, including visiting several and eating at them. Aaah, what I will do for a book!

Which character was the hardest to write?

Maybe's mom, Chessy, was hard to write because she hurts her daughter so much. Yet, I had to make her somewhat sympathetic and show a soft side to explain why Maybe loves/hates her so much.

What is your ideal writing spot?

My office! I have a really cool, cramped office full of toys and books. What better surroundings could there be?

Do you have any favorite snacks you like to eat while writing?

When I am on a tight deadline, I eat Tom's Jalapeno Chips and Diet Pepsi. I know it's bad for you, but ooooh it tastes soooo good!

Do you listen to music when you write?

Yes, I have an iTunes folder titled "No Words." It's songs in other languages or with no lyrics. That way I don't get too caught up in the music and get distracted. I am easily distracted.

Do you write by hand, typing, or both?

I always compose at the computer. My handwriting is so bad, I wouldn't be able to read it.

How long did it take you to write Absolutely Maybe?

Oh gosh. The idea festered for a while, but the actual writing was maybe a year? That's with stops and starts, and other writing projects sort of going on at the same time.

Do you have any writing quirks that get you in the mood to write?

I am internet junkie. Before I write, I check my Facebook, MySpace, blogs. I read the Drudge Report and New York Times, and I e-mail a lot. This serves as my transition to writing.

Do you work from an outline, or do you just jump on in and start writing?

Always, always, always an outline. And I write my last line first. That way I know where I'm headed when I writing.

Besides the sequel (if there is one) do u have any upcoming novels to be released after Absolutely Maybe in February?

I have the first of a chapter book series coming out in September. It's called BOBBY VS. GIRLS (ACCIDENTALLY) and it's illustrated by Dan Santat. You'd recognize his style if you've ever watched the Disney cartoon, THE REPLACEMENTS. That's his show.

Anything else you'd like to say to your readers?

Being an author has been such a great journey--like Maybe's road trip, only with lots of false starts and stops. Now that I'm an author, I still can't believe it. It's the best job, ever. I want to thank all my readers for helping me make my dream come true.

Hope you all enjoyed!


GirlwiththeBraids said...

Your office sounds like the perfect place to write! I am an aspiring author and your tips are going to come in handy. Thanks! :)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I think Absolutely Maybe sounds great. I really want to read it and the cover is just awesomeee.

That's really cool her next book will be illustrated by the guy who did The Replacements. How fun!

And winnie-the-pooh? We need to be friends!! LOL


Mandy said...


Yes, you should go to her website and see all the pictures she has of her Winnie-the-Pooh collection!


Lisa Yee said...

Yes, well, the Pooh obsession did get a little out of hand.

Mandy said...

Mrs. Yee,

Haha, I told my mom to tell her friend Robin about it. Robin is really into Pooh as well. I think it's really cool that you have a gigantic collection of something. I'm more of an Eeyore girl though. :) Eeyore is soo cute.


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