Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Conversation 18: Author, Director, Playwright, Musician: Lisa Kirazian

Welcome back to Clockwork Conversations!

I am very excited to have a guest on the blog today I was fortunate enough to cross paths with on Twitter; someone who has become quite a source of encouragement and inspiration to me as she achieves so much artistically in her own life! 

Allow me to introduce you to the amazing Lisa Kirazian!

Welcome, Lisa! Please tell us a little about yourself.

LK: I write plays and screenplays and have seen several produced or published. I've also directed for stage and screen. For years I also wrote articles for newspapers and magazines and edited abridgements for many audiobooks.

Many years ago I started writing fiction, including a novel series about conservatory musicians in 1960's London. The first installment, BRAVURA, just came out on Oct. 15, 2014 on Kindle and then in paperback.

I trained as a violinist and have played for 37 years, including touring with an orchestra as a teenager; appearing in a semi-professional duo for private events, and performing solo at many recitals and concerts over the years.  These experiences shaped and still inspire a lot of my writing.

My husband Steve and I have been married 14 years and we are grateful to have two wonderful young daughters. I love baseball and old films. I love speaking to groups of women, youth, or artists and do so often, to encourage them in any way I can.

Q1: You are so accomplished: a musician, playwright, director, author, the list goes on...I don't know where to even begin or end a list of the things that you've accomplished but I can tell you it all inspires me!  What inspires you?

LK: Thank you, bru! As a writer I'm inspired by how well AND how badly people love -- how they live out their love from their strengths and weaknesses, and then I try to capture how that looks and sounds on paper, on stage or on film.  The stories that have taken hold of my heart most have transformed the way I try to love.

I'm personally inspired by God's love, my family's love, and the love of my mentors and friends.  All of them have challenged me to go deeper and farther into the things that matter most, in writing and life.

So I mostly want to write about how love -- or the skewing of it -- affects us, and how the way we love changes over time, as messy and unavoidable as it is.

Q2: Among the many roles you fill in life, one is 'parent'. I found parenthood changed me in just about every way possible... has parenthood changed you as an artist?

LK: Yes. As grateful as I was to become a parent, I was worried that the rest of my life and interests would go out the window. But I would say parenting has refined and deepened my interests and priorities more than ever. And I think I've been just as fruitful artistically since having children, primarily because I have to make the time really count and only pick writing/directing projects I'm truly passionate about, because there's no extra time!

I also think parenthood also gives us a BS radar we may not have had before, in so many areas. Being a mom has shown me so many of my weaknesses. As a result, I find myself freer to be honest in writing and in life in general -- whether it's admitting a scene needs to be cut or admitting to my daughters or husband that I was horribly wrong.

Parenthood is also a lens through which I see stories differently now. I had to write a play for a theater about foster care, for example, which I've never directly experienced. But when I imagined what it would be like if our kids were placed in foster care and what it would feel like if they were taken away from me, it rocked me to the core and helped me write more viscerally about the topic.

Q3: Dream time: Let's say you have the chance to direct a film adaptation of any story that's out there, whether it has been a movie before or not. Which would you choose?

LK: Ooh, I love this question! Even though so many favorites have been done already, I'm going to indulge:

--I adore the 1972 BBC adaptation of War and Peace (19 hours!) But boy would I love to take a crack at that. Have my dream cast picked out and everything.
(The BBC is about to unveil a new War and Peace series, but they admit they are taking all the 'war' out of it and just focusing on the relationships - huh??)

--And we can never have enough adaptations of Jane Austen's Persuasion, can we?
(Well, maybe we can...)

--And as I've told you before, I also think your books are perfect for cinema!

--Finally, since you said dream time, I hope to direct at least a few episodes of my book BRAVURA and "The Music We Made" series someday, as I am adapting the books for television.

Q4: What is the mark you most wish to make upon the world?

LK: I always hope to be an encourager. I want my writing and relationships to encourage people to discover more about themselves, about God, and about each other, and to help people embrace who they are and live with their whole heart.

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

LK: My house certainly looks like I collect everything!  More recently, though, I collect art! Nothing exorbitant. Rather, we like modest contemporary works by living Armenian artists (my nationality). Steve and I, along with our friends in an organization we're part of, help organize Armenian art shows here in SoCal each year, which not only support the artists but also raise funds to rebuild schools in Armenia that were devastated by the 1988 earthquake and still desperately need overhaul.

Thank you so much, bru! You are a great encouragement to me, too, and to many of us!

Thank you, Lisa, for being such a source of light and encouragement to all who interact with you! I really appreciate you stopping by to talk with me today. Wishing you all the best of luck on your books and future endeavors...I'll be cheering you on!

Find out more about Lisa Kirazian by visiting her website:

See you all next time!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Conversation 17: Author Mary Rowen

Welcome to Wednesday, folks! You know what that means, it's time for another Clockwork Conversation!

This week I am happy to welcome author Mary Rowen to the blog!

Please, tell us a little about yourself!

MR: I'm a writer who's lived in New England most of my life, with the notable exception of one year in Europe. Writing has always been something I've loved, even though I took a break from it for a number of years. At the moment, I have two books published with Booktrope, Leaving the Beach and Living by Ear.

Q1: Let's say Hollywood is calling: they want to make a reality show of your life. Who would be the main cast of characters and what would the setting be?

MR: My life wouldn't make a very interesting reality show, I don't think, because I spend a lot of time on the couch with my computer, dog & cat. I guess it would be a low budget show, although we've had to replace the couch a couple of times because the dog chews it up. So there would have to be a budget for new couches. 

Q2: Do you enjoy music? If so, do you have a favorite kind/band/artist?

MR: Yes! I love music. Both of my books have strong music themes, and in some ways, those two books represent the two sides of my musical personality. Living by Ear is about a female musician who's passionate about performing, and although I'm not a very good musician, I have performed in public and really enjoyed the experiences (despite the fact that my audiences may not have)! Leaving the Beach is a much darker story about a bulimic woman obsessed with rock stars. I was bulimic for many years, and the character in that story is a huge music fan, as am I. My favorite styles of music are rock, folk rock, and indie rock. 

Q3: If you had to try one of these challenges, would you rather attempt: A) Swimming the English Channel B) Climbing to the top of Sydney Harbor Bridge or C) Acting as a chaperone on a junior high-school class trip to Walt Disney World?

MR: There's only one viable answer to this question! I'd die of exhaustion trying to swim the English Channel, and probably of fear trying to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. (Or maybe I'd just fall off, as I'm really clumsy.) So I'd most definitely take the junior high schoolers to Disney World. When I was in my twenties, I taught middle school English for a number of years, and once chaperoned a trip to NYC. It was exhausting for sure--junior high school kids have a lot of energy--but also really fun, and I think it'd be even more fun to take them to Disney World.

Q4: What life lesson would like to pass on to future generations?

MR: I'd like to tell future generations that the only important thing in life is love. For real. Life is too short to be unkind to people. 

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

MR: I don't really collect anything, but if I could, I'd have a lot more dogs and cats. Right now, I only have room in my house (and life) for one of each, but they're very special to me.

Thank you, February!

Thank you, Mary, for stopping by to chat today it was great to get to know a bit about you!

Readers, you can find out more about author Mary Rowen by visiting her site: 

See you all next week!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Conversation 16: Author Della Connor

Hi all, happy Wednesday!

Today's Clockwork Conversation is with author and educator Della Connor!

Welcome, Della! Please tell us a little about yourself.

DC: By day, I am an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, but at night I become a weirdly possessed writer who writes fantasy young adult books! I guess I am some kind of an anomaly. My daytime life is so different from my creative evening life. Somehow, it works for me.

Q1: Are you a 'dog person', 'cat person', both, or neither?

DC: I would say both. I have had cats and dogs most of my life. I like cats because they don't require a whole lot. They are automatous little creatures who like to do things their way! Dogs on the other hand are more social and require more care especially when you are out of town. That being said, I like to walk dogs and I haven't had a cat I could walk. LOL

Q2: Would you ever want to try zip lining? Why or why not?

DC: I have been zip lining and it was AWESOME! I want to do it again and again. For anyone who hasn't tried it, it is amazing and it feels like flying like a bird, or what I imagine flying like a bird feels like.

Q3: Let's say that you can have afternoon tea with any three ladies, now living or who have ever lived (no fictional characters though!) Name them. Where would you dine?

DC: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the unsinkable Molly Brown. Can you imagine the stories these women could tell? Laura Ingalls Wilder lived through the taming of the Wild West. Eleanor Roosevelt, World War II and the Great Depression, Molly Brown, the sinking of the Titanic. They were all women who spoke their minds and told their stories in eras where women just didn't do that. Let's dine at The White House. I've always wanted to have a meal or even tea there.

Q4: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? If so, is there any story related to them?

DC: I could never pick a favorite pair of shoes. I have way, way too many! My family makes fun of my shoe fetish. I have every sort of shoe imaginable and I love each one of them. When I travel I usually buy a piece of jewelry and a pair of shoes and when I wear them they remind of the wonderful time I had.

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

DC: I used to collect chickens: figurines and anything else chicken. I stopped when I ran out of room in my kitchen. I don't even know why I liked to collect them, because I really dislike live chickens. I grew up on a farm with chickens and my least favorite chores were collecting eggs and cleaning out the chicken house. In fact, I put chickens in my book and described how they will peck another chicken to death if they find something wrong with it. Does seem kind of ironic that I like chicken decorations. Maybe I need counseling. LOL

Thank you, Della, for being my guest today!

You can learn more about Della Connor by visiting her website:

See you all next week!