Episode 12: Romance Is Hope, with Lisa Hughey

Lisa Hughey talks with host Patricia McLinn about her move from California to New England, how research leads to plot development, and her thoughts about characters after her books are finished.

You can find Lisa on:

*her website,

*Facebook and


Thanks to DialogMusik for the instrumentals that accompany this podcast.

Authors Love Readers with Lisa Hughey

Patricia McLinn [00:00] Hi, welcome to this week’s Authors Love Readers podcast, where we delve into the stories behind the stories. We’re asking authors questions. Some of them fun. Some of them serious. And from their answers, you’re going to learn things you never knew about the people who write the stories you love. My name is Patricia McLinn. I’m your host and designated question asker.

Lisa Hughey [00:23] I’m Lisa Hughey and I’m an author who loves readers.

Patricia McLinn [00:27] Now, let’s start the show.

Hi, and welcome to the Authors Love Readers podcast for the week. This is Lisa Hughey visiting us today. Um, I haven’t known Lisa as long as a lot of the other authors I’ve talked to so far, but we met at a Novelists, Inc. conference.

You know, that might be, uh, an ongoing thread of how I know these people. We hit it off, and had really interesting conversations. So I’m looking forward to continuing that, especially because I get to ask the questions. And the first question is going to be to have Lisa tell us a little bit about what you write.

Lisa Hughey [01:06] Hi, Pat. Thanks for having me. My name is Lisa Hughey and I write, um, almost everything. I write romantic suspense, romantic thrillers, paranormal romance, and I’m branching it out into contemporary romance a little bit more now.

Patricia McLinn [01:22] Did you get a lot of advice to not do that, to focus more on one genre?

Lisa Hughey [01:27] You know, I think when you’re, especially when you’re starting out, that’s, I think that’s solid advice, and I adhered to that. So I started with romantic suspense, and I had, I want to say seven or eight books in that genre. Then I had this paranormal that I had written that I really liked, so I continued on with that series.

And, um, I, actually, the reason I started contempt was I did a shared world with some friends.

Patricia McLinn [01:58] Oh.

Lisa Hughey [01:59] And so even though that wasn’t my genre, I really wanted to do this with a group of friends. So I did that and then wrote a follow-on novella, um, to that same, in that same world. And then, you know, last year was kind of a rough year and I wanted to write something happy, so even though maybe it’s not the best career move, I didn’t care. Honestly, I want to write, so I’m happy., Lighter, happier.

Patricia McLinn [02:24] And did that help?

Lisa Hughey [02:26] Yeah. Yes, well, so I actually have been working on the series world and haven’t written that much in the world. I had a, I did a, um, a book in a, another shared world called, um, Camp Firefly Falls. And in that book, I introduced this, um, This new contemporary series. And so I’ve been playing around with the, all the characters in the series, but haven’t written much of the books. There’s going to be five books, and I’m working on book one right now.

But yes, it was great. It’s been a lot of fun because even though my suspense isn’t like super dark, I do a lot of research that gets into darker things and I may brush over it in terms of like the plot, but, you know, if you start reading a lot of dark stuff, it can impact you. And the world’s been kind of dark in the last year or so. I wanted to go the opposite and I think it, I think it was good for me personally.

Patricia McLinn [03:20] I got a lot of advice, um, from people, especially earlier in my career to, to do the same thing, you know, to stay within a narrow bracket of what I was doing. And I didn’t want to. I kept being told I was pushing the envelope. And I said, What envelope and where, and where is the edge? So I empathize with that a lot. And my question then is how, what response have you gotten from the readers? How do they feel about it? Do you find you have different readership for different things that you’re writing or people following you from one to the other?

Lisa Hughey [03:56] Definitely different readership, which I found out, um, I released, um, in 2016 I released two in a paranormal suspense. So not, paranormal romantic suspense, um, it’s like, uh, remote viewing, but still in my suspense genre. And, um, my readers did not follow. They were not interested in those books at all, which was—

Patricia McLinn [04:23] Hmm.

Lisa Hughey [04:24] —news to me that was a little bit of a fail. But what just, you know, it’s fine. I tend to write like light paranormal. Like it’s not, I don’t create like this whole crazy and there’s no vampires or werewolves, it’s, it’s more like a paranormal overlay of my, of existing suspense plots. And, um, my readers follow me there. But I just did a survey, um, my last newsletter, I sent out a survey asking people to rank, like what of mine they do read. And I think my suspense people have carried over into my regular contemporary romance.

Patricia McLinn [04:59] Aah, that’s interesting.

Lisa Hughey [05:02] Which that’s good. Since the suspense is where more of my core readers are anyway, and, you know, I probably shouldn’t keep writing the paranormal, but I like it. I like it’s, you know, it’s I find it fascinating. So I’m going to keep doing it, even if only like a hundred people read them.

Patricia McLinn [05:18] Well, there, you know, there should for, shouldn’t quote for business reasons, but then there should for, um, keeping you fresh and interested in the writing. And I think when you’re doing a fun project, a project that’s fun for you, I think that carries over to everything that you’re writing and sort of effervesces all the other work, that you’re working on.

Lisa Hughey [05:43] That’s a good word. Yeah, I would agree. I think that as much as, like I said, I didn’t, my suspense readers didn’t necessarily carry over, I loved writing those books. I find it’s a fascinating subject, you know, remote viewing is like the idea that you, you basically like leave your body in one place in your mind travels somewhere else. And it’s actually based on the CIA program that existed in the seventies.

Patricia McLinn [06:06] Umhmm.

Lisa Hughey [06:07] And I basically recreated it in, uh, you know, two-thousands. Uh, and it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun to read. Like I read books by people who have supposedly done this remote viewing, and they’re not like the guy who wrote the one book I read, it’s not a woo-woo guy, he’s a, he was military, I think he was a Marine. And then he worked for the CIA. Like not somebody that you would think of who would even believe that that was possible. So it’s, it’s fascinating.

Patricia McLinn [06:36] Well, it sounds to me like what writer, what writers do all the time. Our bodies stay in one place and our minds go all over the place.

Lisa Hughey [06:45] Yes, so true.

Patricia McLinn [06:49] Okay, let’s ask you some quick questions to let readers get to know you better.

Lisa Hughey [06:52] Okay.

Patricia McLinn [06:53] Um, uh, I’ll give you an easy one first. What’s your favorite color and why?

Lisa Hughey [06:59] My favorite color is green. I think it has to do with the fact that nature, most of nature is green. I like being outside. I like plants, even though I kill them. I just, I find, I find green, very soothing.

Patricia McLinn [07:13] Oh, that’s great. Do you have a favorite taste?

Lisa Hughey [07:16] Salt.

Fear of open heights and telemarking as a teen

Patricia McLinn [07:18] Ah. You know, there I’m surprised at how many of the authors are going to the salt. I thought a lot more of us would be toward the sweet, but okay. Do you have any strong fears and have they shown, have you used that then in books?

Lisa Hughey [07:34] I am terrified of open heights. So I’m not great in the—

Patricia McLinn [07:39] Uh.

Lisa Hughey [07:40] —and no, I can’t even, I can’t write about that. Like I, I get vertigo. I don’t know. No, I can’t, I can’t write about it even.

Patricia McLinn [07:49] Can you access some of that fear to, to use for other fears and in your books? Or is it so visceral that you just steer clear?

Lisa Hughey [08:00] Actually, yes. So that I can do. So I’ll think about how I feel when I’m on the edge of a mountain, like a lookout or something, I’ll take that, cause I, I mean, I literally have like that flight reaction.

Patricia McLinn [08:14] Okay. Have you had any surprising jobs in your life?

Lisa Hughey [08:18] Surprising jobs. So my very first job, I think I was, I was 12 or 13 and I, I was, it was like the precursor to telemarketing, but that’s what I was doing. I was sitting up in this attic in this old house with a telephone and a phone book, you know, with paper and a pen.

And I would call, I was cold calling people from the phone book to see if they would come into this dress shop. Um, this woman sold like designer clothes made specifically for people, so they were custom, and she was trying to get people into her shop for appointments. And that’s what I did. It was awful.

Patricia McLinn [09:02] I bet it was.

Lisa Hughey [09:03] It was horrible.

Patricia McLinn [09:04] Wow.

Lisa Hughey [09:05] It was before telemarketers. Like it was literally like before telemarketers were a thing, so, you know, people were surprised that you were calling and, it was a crazy way. I can’t, I can’t even believe she had us do that when I look back on it.

Patricia McLinn [09:18] And if you sound like your age, I would imagine that will throw some people off too.

Lisa Hughey [09:23] Yeah, because I was young.

Patricia McLinn [09:24] And that’s such a specific it’s crazy.

Lisa Hughey [09:27] It was a nightmare.

Patricia McLinn [09:28] So telemarketing was not your future.

Lisa Hughey [09:30] No.

Patricia McLinn [09:31] Okay. So from still sticking with your childhood, though, did you have any books that really, really opened the idea of stories to you, that really made you love them?

Lisa Hughey [09:44] Oh, you know, I loved to read, I don’t remember super early, but Nancy Drew, Pippi Longstocking. And then, you know, as I started reading, uh, more adult books, fairly young. Uh, my mom loves romance, so I was reading her Harlequins like her, um, Presents, when I was like thirteen.

Patricia McLinn [10:08] Oh yeah. When you were, when you were younger, did you use to fret about anything or multiple things that now you say, Oh, for heaven sakes, what was I worried about?

Lisa Hughey [10:21] I used to just always be polite, even if somebody was rude to me or, or, you know, kind of like if you got the wrong thing in a restaurant, I’d just smile and eat it, cause I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to make waves. And now I won’t do that. I, I, as a matter of fact, last week I just had my hotel room moved because it was this ridiculously small room. And I thought I was paying for a room, like not a closet. And I would’ve just said, Oh, well I guess it’s all they have. And I, I was, I said, no, this is not what I’m paying for.

Patricia McLinn [10:54] There’s a, there’s a great book. This isn’t quite the same thing, but there’s a great book called, um, Women Don’t Negotiate, Women Won’t ask, I think that’s it. It’s the gender divide on negotiating. And it’s a really fascinating book. One of the things I always thought that I was moderately assertive, and when I read it, I realized I wasn’t especially always.

And the other thing that, really kind of hit me was that it said that the younger generation and the, she taught the, um, author taught at Wharton business school and she was using her students for some of the studies. So these are intelligent, you know, business oriented young women and they were still making the same mistakes.

They were still not negotiating, not asking. And it hurts them throughout their careers. Especially in negotiating the very first salary, uh, because then, so, yeah, it tends to be, um, subsequent, uh, raises are based as a percentage of that initial salary. So you’re always in the hole. So I highly recommend that to anybody. Um, I may give it a reread myself, see how I’m doing.

Lisa Hughey [12:16] You know, I think we’re taught to be polite. You know, we’re taught not to make waves, be polite, be nice to everybody. And that’s fine as a general, you know, like treat people with kindness. But it’s not okay if you’re just getting walked over, you know, like walked on all the time. And I, I do think that we do are, our daughters are disservice by making them too nice.

Patricia McLinn [12:40] Well, and I, I believe that you can be polite while you are also standing up for yourself.

Lisa Hughey [12:46] Right.

Patricia McLinn [12:47] You don’t have to be nasty. Sometimes I want to be nasty if they pushed me, if they’ve hit my, my temper, but most of the time I find if, if you are adamant, but polite that things will come around the way they should be, you know, like with your meal. You know, if you ordered the wrong meal comes.

I had you as a kid. Now I’m going to ask you a high school type question or teens. Did you have a song at that point in your life that you thought just, This is me, this, this speaks to me?

Lisa Hughey [13:21] So, you know, I actually, I thought about that question a lot. I hope it’s okay for me to say that you send us questions, so we have some idea.

Patricia McLinn [13:27] Sure.

Lisa Hughey [13:28] And I couldn’t necessarily—

Patricia McLinn [13:30] And then I spring other ones.

Lisa Hughey [13:32] Yeah, exactly. Just to throw us off. I prepared, Pat. Um, so my thing is I love music. Pretty much all kinds. I think the only thing that I’m not, the only type of music that I’m not crazy about is jazz. And I apologize to jazz musicians everywhere, it just doesn’t really work for me. And like super angry German Bogner classical. Besides that I like, I like everything. So I was trying to think if I had a specific song and I, I just can’t, I couldn’t think of anything that really worked.

Now in college, I had a group of friends and, um, Tina Marie’s Lovergirl was our anthem. We made sure it got played at every party we went to, and we all danced together. It’s still, if I hear that song, I think of my friends from college.

Patricia McLinn [14:25] Ohh, that’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. I have one from college is Starry Starry Night. Actually it was earlier than college, I think. But there is something about that song that I just felt was speaking right to me.

Lisa Hughey [14:41] It’s a beautiful song.

Patricia McLinn [14:42] It is. It is. And from college then, we use the old Beatles song There are Places I Remember.

Lisa Hughey [14:50] Oh yeah.

Patricia McLinn [14:51] Is that the title of it? I’m not sure that’s the title, but that some of the lyrics.

Lisa Hughey [14:56] Right.

Patricia McLinn [14:57] And we did that in our final party. Our parting party. And so that has a lot of meaning to me too. Yeah. Well, those are great songs. Really important question here. Are you left-handed or right-handed?

Lisa Hughey [15:13] I’m right-handed.

Patricia McLinn [15:15] On your right hand, is your ring finger or your index finger longer?

Lisa Hughey [15:19] Oh, okay. So, now this is weird, when I looked the other day, they were basically the same length, but now my ring finger is a little longer. So I don’t know what that means.

Patricia McLinn [15:30] You know what, sometimes it’s the angle and especially if you, so put your palm away from you.

Lisa Hughey [15:35] Yeah. My ring finger is just slightly longer.

Patricia McLinn [15:38] And now here’s the, the other part of the question. Is your left hand the same way as your right hand?

Lisa Hughey [15:44] Yes.

Patricia McLinn [15:45] Okay.

Lisa Hughey [15:46] What’s the significance?

Patricia McLinn [15:47] I don’t know what it means. I have no idea.

Lisa Hughey [15:52] Super wisdom to be is imparted. I’m going to learn something.

Patricia McLinn [15:55] I’m just, I’m just curious, that’s all. I, somewhere back in the, way in the recesses of my memory, it says that in hand reading left, or palm reading, left hand is what you started with and your right hand is what you’ve made of yourself. But I have no idea what the significance of the length of your fingers is. Maybe somebody will tell us. So I’ve just been going around asking that nosy question just for the heck of it.

Okay. So I have this, I have this bizarre desert Island in my head where you get, you can play movies, but you can only play three movies forevermore while you’re on this desert Island for however long you’re captured there. So, which three movies are you going to take to my strange little desert island?

Lisa Hughey [16:48] Um, so I’m going to take Little Miss Sunshine. National—

Patricia McLinn [16:52] Mmm.

Lisa Hughey [16:53] National Treasure and Indiana Jones, the first one.

Patricia McLinn [16:57] Okay. I can see a connection between this.

Lisa Hughey [16:59] The second two. Sure.

Patricia McLinn [17:02] Yeah. So what do you see a common thread with all three in, in your mind, is there?

Lisa Hughey [17:17] Not with all three. No.

Patricia McLinn [17:09] You just like it. Good. Okay.

Lisa Hughey [17:11] I love a Little Miss sunshine. I think that, I think it’s brilliant.

Patricia McLinn [17:14] There all, well, upbeat isn’t quite the right fitting word, but, you know, I think of this quote from Jessica Tandy, and I’ve never been able to find it like online to confirm it, but I heard her in an interview say, and this is a paraphrase, that she wanted to make movies that when people left the theater, they were glad to be a member of the human race.

Lisa Hughey [17:37] Oh.

Patricia McLinn [17:38] And I thought, Yes, yes, yes, yes. That those are the kinds of movies I like to, to watch. Those are the kinds of stories I like to read. Those are the stories I want to write. And I can see that as being a thread with those books.

Lisa Hughey [17:53] Yeah. Yeah.

Patricia McLinn [17:54] They, are those movies—

Lisa Hughey [17:56] Yeah, I like that.

Patricia McLinn [17:57] That they appreciate the human race.

Lisa Hughey [17:59] I think, um, all three of those movies too, there’s like a sense of hope at the end, which is pretty much why I write romance, obviously. Um, that’s pretty much the definition of romance, right? Hope, hope for the future.

Patricia McLinn [18:13] Yeah, I like that. So as long as we’re talking about that, do you have, do you have a motivational, upbeat quote that, that you like, that you repeat?

Lisa Hughey [18:23] Uh, yes. Um, mine is, every, everybody’s path is different and another one might, might be, um, comparison is the thief of joy.

Patricia McLinn [18:34] Oh, who said that?

Lisa Hughey [18:36] Oh, shoot. I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt, but I could be wrong.

Patricia McLinn [18:41] That’s a great one.

Lisa Hughey [18:42] It might’ve been Teddy Roosevelt. I can’t, isn’t it great, I think that whenever I, when I, whenever I have that, like temptation to compare whatever, somebody’s kids or my career or whatever, I think about that, and my path is completely different than their paths. So of course our results are going to be different at this moment in time.

Patricia McLinn [19:06] Yeah, my mom always used to say to me, if we’re comparing myself to somebody, you know, Oh, they got to be on the pompom squad, which I did eventually get on, but not the first year I tried. And she’d say, Okay, but do you want her whole life? I go, Well, no, I just want this, you know, come on, give me a break. And she said, no, it’s a package deal. And I’d say, Oh, darn. I thought that was totally unfair.

Lisa Hughey [19:40] Yeah. That’s smart.

Patricia McLinn [19:43] Yeah. Yeah. So here’s a question from a reader and I’m going to read it as she wrote it. Where do your stories come from? I know one author who dreams her stories, another has a character suddenly taken up residence in her head. So how are your beautiful stories born?

Lisa Hughey [20:02] I love that question. So I actually, um, use things that are happening in the world quite a bit. A lot of times that, especially in my suspense plots, there’s always a kernel of truth. Something that’s happened or something that’s speculated that’s happened. And it’s just provides that little jumping off point.

And then of course, I ignore whatever happened in real life and, you know, make up my own circumstances, but I’ll, I’ll start with something that, that actually happened in, typically in current day, but not always. And then I also think with, with that thing that happened, what’s a good character match for that event or that situation. And then I kind of go from there.

Patricia McLinn [20:47] Okay. So that, that leads into the next question about how you take it from that spark, that, that initial thought and develop it into a book. So your, your next step is looking at the characters.

The mystery of the code breakers in War World II

Lisa Hughey [21:00] And the what-ifs. So, as an example, um, my first thriller, I have a series called, um, Black Cipher Files and the first book in that series, Blowback, has current day espionage characters, but it came, the whole idea of these characters came from a research book I was reading called Body of Secrets. It’s a, non-fiction about the national security agency. It’s a fascinating book that runs through the history of how it was formed and various, like operations or world events that they, they were involved in.

And, um, I read this, it might’ve been a paragraph or a page about, uh, US-British joint task force, um, during World War II captured, uh, this castle in Germany, in Nazi Germany. They captured this castle and it was literally like code breakers, there was, you know, people sitting at machines breaking code, but here’s the cool part. So they captured all those people and it was a, it was a race between, um, the US-British allies and Russia, who was actually also our ally at the same time to get to, to get to these German code breakers because even though we were allies with Russia, it was rather reluctant.

Lisa Hughey [22:15] So we got there first, we captured these people and there, they disappeared all the records about what happened to those people are still, still to this day classified. I was like, well, what happened to those people? Where did they go? So I started thinking about that and I started thinking about, Okay, so if they’re, if they’re gone, they had to have put them somewhere. And if it’s classified, then somebody somewhere must know something like their descendants. There must be something with their descendants, something.

So I, I took just that and started thinking that my current day espionage characters would be the descendants of those code breakers. And so there’s actually like a mystery surrounding. The code breakers and then a suspense plot with the current day people.

Patricia McLinn [23:06] The mystery of the code breakers, is that carried through the whole series then?

Lisa Hughey [23:10] Yes, it’s a trilogy. And you find out like each, in each book, you find out a little bit more about what happened to these people. Again, it’s all, it’s all made up. It’s still classified. I have no idea what has actually happened to those people, but I found it fascinating that it—

Patricia McLinn [23:26] It is fascinating.

Lisa Hughey [23:28] When I was writing the first one it was classified and it came up for, I guess, I think it’s Congress that has to declassify the information and it came up in 2012, and they still voted to keep it classified. So, there’s something in those records, whatever it is.

Patricia McLinn [23:43] Wow.

Lisa Hughey [23:44] Right?

Patricia McLinn [23:45] Pushing 70 years later.

Lisa Hughey [23:46] Yeah, I’ mean—

Patricia McLinn [23:47] It’s going to be fascinating when they are declassified. Have you ever written anything where you thought you were making it up and then you found out it was there, there was truth to it, whether it happened, you know, for whatever reason?

Lisa Hughey [23:59] I don’t think, I don’t think that’s ever really happened. I don’t know. I mean, it might be, might be kind of funny if it was, but not as far as I know.

Patricia McLinn [24:07] I had, um, just a small thing. I had a character, the hero of, um, Prelude to a Wedding, I thought I was making up this occupation that he was an antique toy appraiser. This was, you know, 30 years ago. And then lo and behold, not only was it that there an occupation, there was an association of antique toy appraisers.

Lisa Hughey [24:29] Right.

Patricia McLinn [24:30] Who knew? Not me. I didn’t know, but clearly they did. So, that’s my small example of, of that happening where you think, Oh, I’m going to just totally make this thing up. Nope. Already exists. Which of your books has been the easiest to write? Just a joy?

Lisa Hughey [24:50] So, it’s actually not a full-length book, but it’s a novella. It is called One Silent Night, and it’s, that’s the one that’s in the shared, shared world. Um, I have a group of friends, there are seven of us, and we wrote, um, we created this fictional town called Snow Creek in California. And there’s like a little tiny bit of magic in some of the stories, but, um, it’s centered around Christmas and, um, there’s seven different stories. And I wrote this story.

I, I tend to be more plot-driven, I think. I mean, I’m character-driven, but not super emotional. And I wrote this story, it was, um, a couple that was getting divorced, um, because they’d had major infertility issues, and they have to, they spend Christmas together because her mother’s dying and she doesn’t know that they’re getting divorced. It’s was really emotional and really intense. And I had no idea I could write a story that emotional. And it just like flowed out of me. It was a, it was an amazing experience. And, um, I, I love that story still.

Patricia McLinn [25:55] Do you think it affected your writing subsequently?

Lisa Hughey [25:59] Yeah, because I didn’t, up until that point, I’m not, I’m not very angsty. I tend to write characters who already, are fairly solid in their sense of self. You know, they’re not, they may be unsettled in some way, but they’re not, they’re not struggling just with their own humanity they, they’ve already kind of got that down. So I don’t write super emotional stories. They’re, you know, they’re happy and there’s good things, but they’re not super emotional. And I realized after writing that, that I could write something that was more emotional. And I think that, um, I think that my books have gotten better because of writing that story.

Patricia McLinn [26:35] It always fascinates me how one story or one book can push us in new directions and help us grow as, as writers. So, your most recent book, what, what is that?

Camp Firefly Falls, Semi-Charmed Life, returning to camp as adults

Lisa Hughey [26:48] So, my most recent book is called His Semi-Charmed Life. And it, that is also part of a shared world. That’s the Camp Firefly Falls, which is, um, super fun concept. Basically all the stories are set at Camp Firefly Falls, which is a summer camp for adults. Um, so there are adult things that happen. Um, and it’s just, it’s just a really fun. It’s like, you know, going back to summer camp as an adult, which is a lot more fun than, you know, when you’re a kid and your parents made you go.

So, I had a lot of fun writing that story. And the, the, the premise of that story is that these two people actually met at camp 20 years ago. Penny, the heroine, was nine, and Diego, the hero was, um, 15, and he was a counselor, and she was sort of a spoiled little kid. And, um, they have this interaction. And it sort of changes both of their perspectives.

So she’s spoiled and very well off. And he’s first-generation Puerto Rican with kind of a tough, you know, beginning. It, it shifts both of their perspectives and forms how they, they both approach adulthood. And then they end up meeting back at camp 20 years later. And it’s just a, it’s a really fun story.

Patricia McLinn [28:08] Yeah. It sounds like that would be pretty, um, toward the joy side of the writing continuum. Have you had any books that were really difficult to write?

Lisa Hughey [28:17] Well, the, the third book, the third book in the, um, Black Cipher Files trilogy was really hard. I wrote those books over probably six years, you know, I would go back and forth. Each book has their own plot, like, but then there was an overarching like story that had to be answered. And I had to tie everything in, and I had to make sure that the timeline worked, and then everything that I had set up in the other two books made solid sense. And, the timeline of the ancestors.

And so that was really hard to make sure I got everything in that was important and still make it interesting. And, and like the suspense, like you, you needed to, you know, be rooting for these characters. And every time I was writing something and I was thinking, Oh God, but did I remember to put this, you know, X, Y, and Z in? And it, it was, the book was a lot of work. It was a lot of work.

Patricia McLinn [29:15] Uh, huh. Did you find that the readers reacted to it well?

Lisa Hughey [29:20] Yeah, actually I think it’s my highest, you know, as far as reviews go, it’s my highest rated book of all time.

Patricia McLinn [29:28] Terrific. There seems to be a thread that as hard as, when a book is hard for us, the readers don’t necessarily recognize or, or get that feeling of how hard it was for the author.

Lisa Hughey [29:45] Right.

Patricia McLinn [29:46] And often respond really well to it. And sometimes the ones that were like, Oh, this is so much fun to write, for the author, the readers I like, Yeah.

Lisa Hughey [29:55] Yeah, exactly. Yes. Yeah. Well, I had a book that I wrote. I, I, uh, I’d been thinking about the character for a while and I think it’s probably from a, um, a character arc and a plot arc, one of the most technically perfect books I’ve written. I really, my, um, my readers, weren’t crazy about it. They didn’t hate it, but they weren’t in love with it either. And I was really surprised because I was like, this book is really like, uh, like I said, almost technically perfect in terms of my character arcs and my story arcs and everything else, and the readers didn’t respond nearly to things that were much harder to write.

Patricia McLinn [30:34] Hmm, that’s, that’s I think, um, uh, as I said, a trend and I, it would be interesting to know is if there’s something that comes through in the books that are difficult to write that, that the readers pick up on subliminally. I don’t know. I just, I find that very interesting.

Okay, and a reader asks when you finish a book, do you miss the characters? Do you think about them afterwards?

Lisa Hughey [31:01] Yes, absolutely. I, uh, I do. I, I’ll think, Hmm, I wonder where they’re at like what, and I’ll think about that. Like, okay, you know, are they going to have babies? Are they not? Are they, you know, moving in together? Depending on the story. So, yeah, I do definitely.

Patricia McLinn [31:19] Has it ever made you go back and write another story about them or connected to them?

Lisa Hughey [31:24] So, not about them, although in the, um, the very end of, so I have a, a series called, uh, The Family Stone. There’s seven books. They’re shorter. Some of them are almost novella length, like 30,000 words. And then some are closer to 50. I love, I love this. I started with a blended family. There’s um, four siblings. Um, the two oldest were, their mother was married to their father. Who’s a complete bastard. And then the third brother, his mother was like a Vegas dancer and basically dropped the kid on the father’s doorstep and took money and left.

And then the fourth sibling is a sister. Her mother got pregnant when she was 18 with this bastard father. And she ended up raising all four of the kids. And then there’s, uh, there’s uh, a surprise baby, who’s an adult by the time they find out about him. And a couple of peripheral characters who get their own stories, and the mother gets her own story.

Patricia McLinn [32:23] Yay, sounds like she deserved it.

Lisa Hughey [32:25] Yeah, oh, I, you know, I love her book. So the very last story I do an epilogue, which is the wedding of the oldest brother. And, um, his heroine. And that was, that was really fun. Like, I didn’t need to add it, I could’ve just thrown in a, you know, a few lines or whatever, but it was, it was really fun to write the wedding.

Patricia McLinn [32:49] Umhumm.

Lisa Hughey [32:50] And there were, there were some unanswered things from their story that I, I sort of closed off. They could’ve stayed unanswered, it wouldn’t have impacted the reader in any way, but, um, I, I tied up some loose ends at the end of the seventh book.

Patricia McLinn [33:02] Yeah, you just wanted to go back and spend more time with them.

Lisa Hughey [33:07] I did. I did. Well, they’re fun. And it’s, so I I’ve, I’ve toyed with writing a Christmas story with the whole family together. I just haven’t had a chance. So that might be next Christmas.

Patricia McLinn [33:17] Do you celebrate when you begin or end or publish a book? Have you ever?

Lisa Hughey [33:24] I’m so bad. I don’t. I used to, you know, like there’s some people, you know, buy themselves a purse or whatever. I, I just don’t, I don’t really do that. There’s, there’s always more to do. And so I find that I just want to get onto the next thing.

Patricia McLinn [33:40] Hmm. Do you have ideas that have never jelled? So do you have the drawer of whether that, that’s a physical drawer or a mental drawer of, um, half finished or unpublished stories?

Lisa Hughey [33:53] I do. I have some things out there that are just not ready to be done yet.

Patricia McLinn [33:58] Because your writing isn’t quite ready for it or because it doesn’t, why are they not yet ready to be done?

Lisa Hughey [34:05] I just think I’m not ready to write them. I, you, you know, you, you find like all of a sudden be like, Ooh, you know what? That’s, I’m not ready for that yet. I need to wait until I’m in a place where that, that story just, I can’t stand but not write it. If that makes any sense.

Patricia McLinn [34:20] Oh, yes, to me.

Lisa Hughey [34:24] Yeah. I know. I don’t know if readers understand that. Sometimes it’s, uh, you know, you just, you get to the point I like to think about a story for a little bit before I actually start writing it. Cause then I, like in the back of my brain I think, is it Jenny Cruise calls it the girls in the basement, something like that. Like there’s, you know, you’ve got all these things sort of percolating around, but they need, they need to sort of simmer.

Patricia McLinn [34:47] I think that’s Barbara Samuel.

Lisa Hughey [34:50] Is that who it is? Yeah. So I, I, uh, I’m a firm believer that it’s better if it sort of simmers in the back of your brain. So I do have some things out there that, um, I think I’ll write eventually, but I’m not ready to write them yet.

Patricia McLinn [35:03] Are there any that you initially thought, Well, that’s a really good idea, and then as you sort of thought about it, it, you just realized it wasn’t going to come together or do you hold out hope for all of them?

Lisa Hughey [35:15] I kind of hold out hope for all of them.

Patricia McLinn [35:18] Me too. I always think that there’s going to be a way to work this somehow, sometime.

Lisa Hughey [35:22] Exactly. It’s my innate sense of optimism.

Patricia McLinn [35:26] What is the favorite part for you, of the writing process?

Lisa Hughey [35:29] Oh, I’ve loved this question. You know, it’s funny. I love that. the beginning, like right in the beginning is really fun. Just that, you know, there’s so many possibilities. There are so many different directions you can go in. And then I also love the part where the story goes a little slower at first, in through the middle it can be a little slower, trying to figure out exactly how you want to position things for the end.

But then there’s like that burst at the end where, you know, you’re just sort of vomiting outwards, cause things are going so fast, like your, your fingers almost can’t keep up with, you know, what’s happening in your brain. And I love that feeling. But I also like revision too. Like I like going through and taking all that vomit, which is a horrible word, but it’s so appropriate.

Patricia McLinn [36:15] It is.

Lisa Hughey [36:16] And making everything pretty and flow and it’s a different part of your brain, but it’s, uh, and it’s, uh, it’s a different process, but I like, I like both sides.

Patricia McLinn [36:27] It sounds like you like the whole thing. What, what part do you not like?

Lisa Hughey [36:31] I think, I feel like middles are always a little tough and it’s striking that balance of making sure that your characters, you know, I have an idea of where I want them to end up obviously, but sometimes making sure that they make the right decisions to make that where I want them to end up believable and, um, where they should end up can be a challenge.

Patricia McLinn [36:55] Yeah. And the middle, I think, it just struck me because you were talking about at the beginning there are all these possibilities and, and my process was really weird and different. So when I talk about beginning, middle, and end, it’s not necessarily the beginning, middle, and end of the book. It’s the beginning, middle, and end of writing the book for me. But anyhow, the middle part is where you’re eliminating possibilities.

Lisa Hughey [37:23] Right.

Patricia McLinn [37:24] You have to narrow down. You, you can’t have it go all the possible directions. And I, I don’t like that. I want to keep the doors open as long as possible. And it usually, for me, comes down to I’ve set a deadline. I’ve promised the readers and I have got to let go of things.

Lisa Hughey [37:45] Yeah.

Patricia McLinn [37:46] That’s the only way I will do it. So that’s, that’s. My new theory about the middle, just from what you just said. I’ve established a middle theory.

I have another question from a reader that I wanted to ask you, and this, it possibly all ties together with another question. That reader asks, What is your favorite place to write and why? Does it have an inspirational view? And I also want to ask you then if you have a routine for writing?

Lisa Hughey [38:12] I don’t necessarily have a favorite place to write as in a specific concrete place. I love to go to a hotel and write.

Patricia McLinn [38:22] Hmmm.

Lisa Hughey [38:23] And I started doing this. It’s been awhile, maybe 10 years ago. I, I had, uh, an agent who wanted to read my manuscript and I wanted to just get it perfect before I sent it to him. And so I checked myself into a hotel for two and a half days. I literally didn’t have, um, them clean my room and I spent, you know, 60 hours minus a few hours for sleep, just polishing.

Patricia McLinn [38:49] Wow.

Lisa Hughey [38:50] And I love that. It’s I get I’m so productive because there’s, there’s nothing else to do. There’s, you know, I can’t go do laundry. I can’t go to the kitchen and make a cup of tea. And then, you know, an hour later when I’ve, I’ve like cleaned my sink and organized my spices.

I think I love to go to a hotel and write. And when I can, I’ll do it, especially at the beginning. Like if I can start a book in a hotel, cause sometimes it’s starting as the hard part. You’re, even though, there’s so many possibilities, how do you, how do you choose? Like where am I going to go? And it’s easy to get sidetracked or walk away because I’m not sure what I want to do. And if you’re in a hotel, you’re not going to walk away, there’s nothing to do. So, um, I really like doing that.

Patricia McLinn [39:36] And, and people are bringing you food and, you know, you don’t have to—

Lisa Hughey [39:40] Yeah.

Patricia McLinn [39:41] You don’t have to clean.

Lisa Hughey [39:43] I go out pretty much like maybe once in the morning, get a cup of coffee and, uh, I might go out in the afternoon and get like an ice tea. Um, but otherwise I will, and sometimes I’ll sit in a restaurant, I’ll take my, my planner, my, you know, like my Moleskine book or my I’m using Leuchtturm now actually, and a pen and make notes while I’m eating. But besides that, I’m in my room, and I usually get up at six in the morning and I work until anywhere between like ten-thirty and midnight, go to sleep and do it all over again the next day.

Patricia McLinn [40:16] Wow.

Lisa Hughey [40:17] And I love that.

Patricia McLinn [40:18] I was stunned, I went to a writer’s conference last year or the year before where I didn’t know, I don’t think I knew anybody or I only knew a couple of people, um, which is fairly rare for the writer’s conferences I go to mostly. And, and usually for that reason, they are horrible for me trying to get any writing done because I’m out talking with people, visiting with old friends or meeting new friends.

And this conference, I was on a tough deadline and I would go to sessions and, you know, talk to people and be with people, but then I’d go back to the room. And if there wasn’t a session that interested me, then for that hour I would write. And then I go back and I go to another session and then I’d come back. And I was stunned at how productive I was.

Lisa Hughey [41:08] Yeah.

Patricia McLinn [41:09] And I think some of it was the focus for some, for me I know some of it was having the limited time. I’m very deadline responsive. But I also think it was somebody else made my bed. Somebody else—

Lisa Hughey [41:21] Right.

Patricia McLinn [41:22] —you know, dealt with the food. I was, it’s always a sign that the writing isn’t going well when my house is in really good order. When I get to the point where cleaning closets seems better than writing, I’m in deep trouble.

Lisa Hughey [41:35] Exactly. That’s funny. And then I, you know what, I’m sorry, I forgot the second half. What was the second half of the question?

Patricia McLinn [41:42] About a routine, of a routine. Do you have a routine?

Lisa Hughey [41:45] Well, I used to, I just moved. So I moved from the San Francisco area to Boston area. My whole writing life has been turned upside down by that. So my old process was I would get up and go straight to work. Try not to look at Facebook or Twitter, Instagram, anything. I just get up and work for an hour, hour and a half.

Um, I actually had to have a Keurig in my office, so I’d make myself a cup of coffee and try and get some words on the page. And then once that was done, then I might check my social media and maybe do some business stuff. And then I go back to writing, but I would, I’d put in like eight to ten hours where I just pretty much was in my office and then I’d pop out and get lunch or whatever on the days that I write regularly.

But now I moved and, um, I’m still setting up my office. It’s a good thing this is not video too, cause it’s still kind of a mess. And I actually started working out with a trainer, which I’m immensely grateful to be doing. And so that has changed my, it’s sort of changed it because that is my solid commitment three times a week. So now I don’t really have a process. As a matter of fact, today, I woke up at six-thirty and I wrote for an hour and a half before I went to my training appointment, which I normally don’t do, I’m not an early riser at all.

Patricia McLinn [43:14] I don’t know, I’ve heard six o’clock a couple of times to me, that’s a very early hour.

Lisa Hughey [43:18] Actually, since I moved to the East Coast, I get up between seven-thirty and eight most days. But the last couple days, you know I’m, I’m deep in the middle of writing this book and I’ve been waking up early cause I can’t wait to get words on the page, which is a fantastic feeling.

Patricia McLinn [43:32] Ahh. But are you offering seven-thirty to eight as being a late riser?

Lisa Hughey [43:37] I feel like it is. Yes.

Patricia McLinn [43:39] No.

Lisa Hughey [43:40] But you stay up late.

Patricia McLinn [43:42] No.

Lisa Hughey [43:43] You’ve sent me an email at two-thirty in the morning. I was like, Holy cow.

Patricia McLinn [43:46] Yeah.

Lisa Hughey [43:47] I’d been asleep for three hours at that point.

Patricia McLinn [43:49] Yeah, I’m a night owl. I’m definitely a night owl. So seven-thirty or eight is early rising, way or early rising for me. I’m, I’m think, I’m, you know, up with the larks, if I’m up at ten, so very different approach. Okay. Question about how, you said you’re setting up your office now.

Lisa Hughey [44:09] Yes.

Patricia McLinn [44:10] So what, what is your office going to look out on? Or does it have any view?

Lisa Hughey [44:14] Part of the reason that we moved to the East Coast was, well, it’s a little cheaper out here, which is nice. California’s lovely, but it’s expensive. And then we really wanted to live by the ocean. So I, right now I’m actually looking out on Ipswich Bay. Now, that’s because it’s winter and all the trees in front of me don’t have leaves.

Patricia McLinn [44:32] Oh, yeah.

Lisa Hughey [44:33] There are actually two or three houses in front of my house before you get to the Bay. But, um, because of, because it’s winter, I can see a little bit of water right now. I have seasonal views.

Patricia McLinn [44:50] And are you finding that, are you finding that inspiring seeing the, the water?

Lisa Hughey [44:54] Yes. And even not, not necessarily from my house. I mean, it’s very nice that I have this little blue and I know it’s the water, but, um, I live, uh, I live kind of on a, um, so I, so I live in Gloucester, which is in theory, a little bit of an island. And so I can, depending on how I drive home, I see water constantly. If I take the long way, the long way home from training, I think it’s four miles instead of two and a half or something. The views are stunning. It’s just, it’s beautiful. And I think it, it’s very peaceful and I love it. I love it. I feel really blessed that I’m able to live here.

Patricia McLinn [45:33] And Lisa and I have talked about, it just so happens that Gloucester is my dad’s hometown and, um, we’d have family reunions there. And my second book is set there. I actually, uh, fictionally added, uh, another beach. So, which the people should be really grateful for because that property is very valuable. So I added to the beach shore, the shoreline on, uh, in Gloucester. I have to get there, we should have a writing retreat there.

Lisa Hughey [45:06] Oh, it’s so beautiful here.

Patricia McLinn [46:08] It’s a really cool area. Well, that’s going to be interesting to see how you adjust and what changes you make. Did you leave a community of writers behind in California?

Lisa Hughey [46:19] I did.

Patricia McLinn [46:21] That’s hard.

Lisa Hughey [46:22] That’s probably one of the, well, and I had a very good group of friends. I lived in California for 26 years. Great group of personal friends, and then I had a great group of writer friends, and I miss them. I FaceTimed with a few of them, which has been nice. I think that’s like, uh, technology’s amazing.

One of my goals for the beginning of next year is to branch out. There are some writers in Massachusetts, so that’s nice, but there isn’t anybody very close by. Whereas in California, I had coffee with one of my writer friends at least once every two weeks, sometimes once a week.

Patricia McLinn [46:57] That is nice, yeah.

Lisa Hughey [46:59] Just depending on her, she had kids in school, so it was, um, sort of dependent on her kids’ lives. But, and I, San Francisco has a very, very active, uh, romance community and great, great group of women. So, um, I’m going to miss them.

Patricia McLinn [47:14] Yes. And, and build up a new group now.

Lisa Hughey [47:17] I belong to Romance Writers of America and New England has a chapter that is relatively active. So I’m hoping—

Patricia McLinn [47:23] Oh, yes.

Lisa Hughey [47:24] And I have met some people who live around here, so, um, once I start going to those meetings, I’m hoping I’ll make some more connections with people here.

Patricia McLinn [47:32] Oh, I’m sure you will. That the New England chapter conference in the spring is, is really good. I’ve spoken at it a couple of times. Really enjoy those folks. But it is hard when you’ve had a great group close by to, to venture away from that. I often think a lot of my closest writing friends are far across the country and far-flung so, beyond the country too. Uh, but as you said, technology is wonderful.

Lisa Hughey [48:03] Yeah, it’s amazing. And I think, um, I’m really lucky. I, I go to, um, I think I’ve been a NInc two years, Novelists, Inc. conference, two years in a row, and that’s been amazing. I also do a conference, they call it an unconference, so there’s, it’s not really structured, and I’ve been doing that in San Francisco and I’m going back, which is nice. So I’ll see my friends.

Patricia McLinn [48:24] I want to go to that. I haven’t been able to get in on the registration.

Lisa Hughey [48:30] It’s, it’s very small. I think 40 people. It’s a, it’s a, but it’s a great sharing of information. I think it’s just, it’s great.

Patricia McLinn [48:36] So, well, I hope I can get there in the future. Hope I can fit in among the 40. Maybe they’ll take 41.

Lisa Hughey [48:44] I hope so.

Patricia McLinn [48:45] Okay. Before you wanted to be a writer, what did you want to do? Or did you always want to be a writer?

Lisa Hughey [48:50] I don’t know that I really aspired to be a writer per se, but I wrote a lot when I was younger. I was a French major in college, which is not particularly employable. I actually was going back to school. When I started writing, I was going back to school to be an interior designer. Because I love, I love like furniture and colors and I love like putting together a room. I think it’s really a fun thing to do and messing our, I change things around and, you know, new pillows or whatever I love doing that.

This is funny cause I, and I hadn’t really thought about it, but I was reading through your questions and you ask about that. I have a really hard time setting a scene when I’m, I have to force myself to add the setting later. I frequently don’t put any setting details in, which I find—

Patricia McLinn [49:36] Huh.

Lisa Hughey [49:37] —really funny because I love interiors.

Patricia McLinn [49:40] Yeah.

Lisa Hughey [49:41] And I love color. I think color can affect your mood. I like all this stuff, and I thought, I love doing all that stuff and I never write settings, not through first pass, unless I’m struggling with the book.

Patricia McLinn [49:53] That’s interesting.

Lisa Hughey [49:54] And if I’m really mad, I’ll write a whole bunch about the setting and then add those details in later. Otherwise that’s a third or fourth pass.

Patricia McLinn [50:00] Huh.

Lisa Hughey [50:01] I know. Isn’t that funny?

Patricia McLinn [50:03] That is really interesting. Do you think it, is it so, like, are you writing, setting, like if it’s a really ugly room, you just don’t want to deal with that or, or is it any kind of setting?

Lisa Hughey [50:15] So, I actually, what I find is that if the, if like, if it’s an ugly room or, um, you know, I wrote a, I wrote a scene, like in a nasty, like motel room, You know, dirty seventies, carpeting and things like that. Like if, if it has some impact on the characters, then yes, but like, I, that stuff goes in right away. But if it’s just sort of a generic like room or restaurant, I find that I don’t put any details in, and then I have to layer those in later.

Patricia McLinn [50:44] I have a question that sort of touches on that, that comes from a reader that it has to do with the visual aspect. And she says, um, When the cover image doesn’t match the character description, and this reader says that’s a pet peeve of hers, how does it feel for the author?

Cover for Dangerous Game in the Black Cipher Files trilogy

Lisa Hughey [51:01] Really bothers me. I do my own covers. I don’t design my own covers, but I typically pick the couple. And I actually have a, um, book that I wrote called Dangerous Game. It’s a follow-on to, um, the Black Cipher Files trilogy that features a secondary character who I loved and I, she needed a happy, happily ever after.

The hero is Korean. So it’s a Korean hero and an African-American heroine. And I searched for days for a couple. And I could, I couldn’t, I could not find a Korean man and a black woman. I looked for days. I looked, uh, I was hitting websites. I, I looked at like seven websites could not find it. So I finally had to pick a, um, I picked a dark-haired Caucasian guy who was not looking at the, you know, his face is not forward. So you could sort of like—

Patricia McLinn [52:00] Uh huh.

Lisa Hughey [52:01] If you squinted in a dark room, pretend that he’s Korean. And it was really disappointing. And I got reader to push back on that cover. And I, and I said, I’m really sorry. Like I wanted, there’s a, I kind of based the hero on this Korean actor named Won Bin, uh, who’s in a Korean action-adventure called The Man from Nowhere and he’s, he’s gorgeous. And that was the, he’s who was in my head as I was writing this character and to have to settle for this, you know, perfectly attractive Caucasian guy was really frustrating. So I, I told—

Patricia McLinn [52:36] But not the right guy. Yeah.

Lisa Hughey [52:38] Yeah, yeah. There’s nothing wrong with him, but I couldn’t, I could not, uh, I couldn’t find that couple. I still like to think about, I think I should keep looking and if I ever find a good couple, then redo that cover. Cause I, it bothers me.

Patricia McLinn [52:54] And that’s one of the joys of being an indie author that we can do that we have the control of being able to go back and change things. And—

Lisa Hughey [53:02] Yes.

Patricia McLinn [53:03] Yes. So keep, keep looking.

Lisa Hughey [53:06] I am. I am. I’m looking.

Patricia McLinn [53:09] You said you got to reader push back on that. Have you had other encounters with readers? Have you had the, if you have good stories about talking with readers?

Lisa Hughey [53:20] Yeah, so this is kind of fun. I, uh, on my most recent book, uh, Diego is this, His Semi-Charmed Life. And, um, Diego is Puerto Rican. He basically starts out kind of a rough beginning. And after this encounter with Penny, um, he sort of expands his horizons of what he, is possible for him. And he ends up becoming a very successful businessman, which is when they meet again. And, um, I had a reader send me a really lovely note. Um, Diego reminded her of her father, who had passed away.

Patricia McLinn [53:55] Oh.

Lisa Hughey [53:56] And his story was he came from, uh, Puerto Rico and, uh, started his own business and ended up being very successful. And she just said, you know, Thank you for reminding me of my dad. I admired him. And it was just, it was a really, really touching letter. It was nice, so…

Patricia McLinn [54:13] Oh, that’s wonderful. That’s wonderful.

Lisa Hughey [54:17] It was really neat.

Patricia McLinn [54:19] And how, uh, how generous of her to take the time to, to let you know that. If somebody has not read any of your books, they’re new to you, which book would be the best starting place do you think?

Lisa Hughey [54:32] So I would say one of two places. If you like longer, more intricate plots, Blowback, which is the first book in the Black Cipher Files series, is a good place to start. And, um, if you like Kindle books, that book is free right now. Um, it’s not always free, but it so happens to free right now.

If you like shorter, um, shorter, little bit shorter books, um, that are a little bit lighter, there’s definitely a suspense plot, but it’s not super involved or convoluted. My Family Stone series is, um, the first book is Stone Cold Heart, and that is always free on Kindle. And then if that is not a standalone, I don’t have that as a standalone paperback. It’s a, like anthology the first five books. So that would be a little more expensive.

Lisa Hughey [55:23] But if you, um, if you like Kindle books, the Stone Cold Heart is free. And that book features the sister, the youngest sister, Jess, who is a former FBI sniper. And the hero is, um, an SAS officer, he’s British, and they’re working on a, um, tropical island that’s had an earthquake. They’re doing disaster relief and a few other little things on the side. But it’s a fun book. It’s an interesting book.

Patricia McLinn [55:48] That’s great. And really helpful to readers. And if, Readers, if you’re interested in the print books, you can also always ask your library to get them to order them, and then they would be available to you and other readers too. I love libraries. So put a little plug there.

Do you have any of your books, so you’ve got loyal readers, people who’ve read everything you’ve written, but maybe they’ve missed one. Do you have a book that’s kind of a hidden gem?

Lisa Hughey [56:19] The sixth book in the Family Stone series is Queen of Hearts. And that is actually the story of the mother, who, she’s, she’s only 45. So she’s a little older for typical romance heroines, and she’s raised four kids. When she comes into the house she’s 25 and, um, her stepson, if you will, is 14. So she’s, you know, she’s, she was, had kind of a tough life.

She has her own book is the sixth book of the Family Stone series. And I love that book. It’s really fun. You know, she’s been a mom for so long, and everybody thinks of her as a mom and she like, she wants passionate romance and a sex life, and she ends up getting together with a former, um, commanding officer of the, um, Jack, the oldest brother. So there’s actually some really funny scenes in that book because, you know, they think of her as their mother and, uh, you know, when he finds out they’re together, that—

Patricia McLinn [57:18] Yeah.

Lisa Hughey [57:19] And the way he finds out is somewhat amusing. So I, I had a lot of fun writing that book. And a lot of times people will say, I don’t really want to read an older heroine, but it’s a really fun, funny book. And I, I love that she’s sort of rediscovering her own sexuality after suppressing it for years. So…

Patricia McLinn [57:36] That’s terrific. That sounds like a great book. I hope people will search it out. So, what have I not asked you that I should have or that you would like to answer?

Lisa Hughey [57:50] You didn’t ask what I like to read and I love to read. I mean, I think most writers do, although I could be wrong. So I read a lot of romantic suspense, um, when I’m not writing it. And then I read contemporary romance. Um, actually love dystopian romance too, with the, you know, futuristic, the world’s in a horrible place. Uh, and, um, then I also, I read a decent amount of non-fiction. I like non-fiction that’s inspiring.

My favorite book that I read last year, that was non-fiction or this year, I guess you would say, was the Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, who’s the showrunner for Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder. Can’t remember she, she’s showrunner for four shows, I think, something crazy. She’s yeah, she’s an amazing writer, but that book is phenomenal. A big plug for it. I think it’s a, if you’re ever thinking that you’re afraid of doing something, then reading that book will inspire you to just go for it. So I think that’s, that’s probably it.

Patricia McLinn [58:55] Tell everybody what your, um, how they can find out more about you and your books.

Lisa Hughey [59:00] Okay. So, um, if you go to my website, www.lisa, L I S A, Hughey, H U G H E Y.com. And all my books are on there. There’s a fun little 20 things you didn’t know about me and—

Patricia McLinn [59:18] Oh, cool.

Lisa Hughey [59:19] And some other stuff.

Patricia McLinn [59:21] I’ll have to go look at that. See what I don’t know about you. We can do another, we can do another interview and I can ask nosy questions about those things. And we will, we will have the URL in the show notes for folks. So that will be much easier to get to. Although if you are smart, you wrote it down really fast.

Okay. Now my very favorite part is the, what I think of as the epilogue, and these are either or questions. I’ve had many people try to cheat, but they’re either or. So, you can have cake or ice cream?

Lisa Hughey [59:59] Cake, no question.

Patricia McLinn [1:00:01] Cowboy boots or hiking boots?

Lisa Hughey [1:00:04] Hiking boots.

Patricia McLinn [1:00:06] So I think I might know the answer to this one, mountains or beach?

Lisa Hughey [1:00:10] Beach.

Patricia McLinn [1:00:11] You don’t want those, those heights, right?

Lisa Hughey [1:00:15] Yeah. Yeah. That was pretty, that’s pretty clear from where I moved and what I’m afraid of.

Patricia McLinn [1:00:20] Day or night?

Lisa Hughey [1:00:22] Uh, day.

Patricia McLinn [1:00:24] Toenail polish or bare toenails?

Lisa Hughey [1:00:27] Toenail polish. I had a pedicure yesterday.

Patricia McLinn [1:00:30] Leggings or sweats?

Lisa Hughey [1:00:32] Leggings.

Patricia McLinn [1:00:34] Dog or cat?

Lisa Hughey [1:00:36] Cat. But only because I’m allergic to dogs.

Patricia McLinn [1:00:39] Oh, oh, I feel so sorry for you. Sorry.

Lisa Hughey [1:00:44] Oh, you know what, I love my cats. My cats have been fun, so it’s fine, but I love dogs too.

Patricia McLinn [1:00:49] Um, okay. Which is eerier to you, an owl hooting or coyotes howling?

Lisa Hughey [1:00:55] Coyotes. As a side note, I have coyotes in my yard now.

Patricia McLinn [1:01:00] Oh.

Lisa Hughey [1:01:01] So we’ll hear them at night sometimes.

Patricia McLinn [1:01:03] It’s a very disconcerting sound, but I think the howling can— Okay. Whoops, we can, the owl hooting, net the howl looting. Um, okay. Sailboat or motorboat?

Lisa Hughey [1:01:13] Sailboat. Can you tell that iffy? I’m not sure. I think I like the idea of sailing.

Patricia McLinn [1:01:23] Have you not been?

Lisa Hughey [1:01:25] I have never been sailing. I’ve been on motorboats, but I’ve never been sailing.

Patricia McLinn [1:01:28] Oh, so you’re going to have to do that in Gloucester.

Lisa Hughey [1:01:33] Yes, but my husband wants motorboat and he’ll probably get his way on that one.

Patricia McLinn [1:01:38] Okay. Gardening or house decorating?

Lisa Hughey [1:01:40] House decorating.

Patricia McLinn [1:01:42] Paint or wallpaper?

Lisa Hughey [1:01:44] Paint.

Patricia McLinn [1:01:45] Good china or paper plates?

Lisa Hughey [1:01:47] Good china.

Patricia McLinn [1:01:48] And this is the last one. Save the best for last or grab the best first?

Lisa Hughey [1:01:54] Grab the best first.

Patricia McLinn [1:01:56] This has been a lot of fun, Lisa. Thank you so much for joining us and we hope all of you will come back next week for a new author and their stories behind the stories. Have a great week of reading, happy reading.

That’s the show for this week. Hope you enjoyed it. And thank you for joining Authors Love Readers podcast.

Remember, you can always find out more about our guest authors in the show notes, and you can find out more about me at www.patriciamclinn.com. You can also send in questions to be asked of future authors at podcastatauthorslovereaders.com

Until next week. Wishing you lots of happy reading. Bye.


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