Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Conversation 5: Lisa Fernow

(Please note there will be no interview this Thursday, but interviews will resume as scheduled on Tuesday, September 2nd.) 

Greetings, all! Welcome back to Clockwork Conversations.

I'm your host, February Grace, and today's guest is author Lisa Fernow!

Let's start by learning a bit about her...


Lisa Fernow grew up on the classic mysteries of Ngaio Marsh and Elizabeth Peters. Dead on Her Feet is the first book in a planned series set in the tango world. Her short story, Death of a Tango Dancer, was featured in King County Library System’s Take Time to Read program in 2010.

Lisa has danced Argentine tango since 1996, studying with such legendary masters as Cacho Dante, Susana Miller, and Brigitta Winkler, and other inspiring instructors in Atlanta, Seattle, and Portland.

Lisa holds a BA in English and Theatre from Cornell University and a certificate in commercial fiction writing from the University of Washington. As a former Time Warner and PepsiCo global marketing executive, Lisa bowled with Michael Jordan, got sweat on by Cindy Crawford, taught capitalism to Hungarians and helped launch Scooby Doo merchandise into 150 countries.

Now living in Seattle, she runs a consulting practice focused on innovation, and loves toggling between business and fiction writing, as both require creativity and strong storytelling.

Q1: When you travel, do you like to plan every detail in advance, or are you more spontaneous and go where the days take you?

LF: I love to travel to out of the way places - and I am very lucky to have friends who adore planning treks to the Thai hill country, photo safaris at Kruger National Park, dancing tango in Buenos Aires - you get the idea - so I go wherever I am invited and am happy to fold into their plans.  But on my own I am likely to plan my hotel and transportation then leave the rest to whim. The only thing I absolutely insist on is getting great food, and I have been known to research restaurants well in advance and build entire itineraries around them.  Once on the ground, I am what the French would call a flaneur, someone who is happy to bum around the streets without any particular goal, and I love to discover what the locals are up to.  One of my favorite experiences was in Salvador, Brazil - a friend and I were wandering around the neighborhood and came across a bar where the locals were watching soccer.  They invited us in and made us feel right at home.
Q2: Do you enjoy any sports? (Watching or playing.)

LF: I love going to live baseball games for all the wrong reasons:  the hot dogs, the beer, the warm breezes, watching all those cute baseball players in their old fashioned uniforms. I have no idea what's going on and I don't care.
Q3: What is your favorite space/room in your home? 

LF: Right this minute I am in my armchair looking out over Lake Washington.  On a clear day I can see Mount Rainier.  I am supposed to be working when I sit here but a lot of the time I just gaze out the window and think about how lucky I am to live where I do. 

Q4: What three items are always in your kitchen/refrigerator?

LF: Champagne, milk for my morning coffee, and artesian cheeses which are often moldier than they should be.  My refrigerator is very full right now with things I never eat and things I am afraid to open.
Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

LF: I used to collect early editions of golden age mystery writers like Ngaio Marsh.  I love their old fashioned language and world views.  A great example from the 1930's is E. Phillips Oppenheim, author of The Dumb Gods Speak.  Here is the first sentence from Chapter 1:  “At 10:43 on a morning when the deep blue sea of the Mediterranean was flecked with whitecaps and the clear outline of the Esterels suggested a mistral, Mr. Jonson stepped from his compartment in the Train Bleu and, with a suitcase in either hand, alighted upon the platform at Nice.”  My early edition includes a letter from the author to Lady Gosford, on Cunard stationary, inviting him to dine on board the Brittanic. Apparently he was too ill to accept her invitation.  Books like this connect me to another time. 

What a fantastic interview! Thank you again for joining me today, Lisa! 
You can learn more about author Lisa Fernow by visiting her website, at: http://lisafernow.com/
See you all next week!