Author Interview with Lisa Lane of ‘Jane, Volume 1: Revival’

| October 1, 2016

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There was no respectable place left in this world for vampires, not at least that she’d found, and it was not in the least bit hospitable to a burned-out flower child who couldn’t seem to pull her head out of the ’60s.
In today’s interview I’m chatting with Lisa Lane, the author of the ‘Jane the Hippie Vampire’ books. Lisa, thank you for setting side time aside for us to discuss your books today. Currently Volume 1: Revival, of the Jane the Hippie Vampire books is being featured on ItsWriteNow.com. This volume contains three novellas and a novelette. To whet the appetite of our readers, can you walk us through each of these tales starting at with ‘Love Beads’.

LOVE BEADS: Jane crosses paths with a middle-aged man who’s encountered her kind before–but he seems happy just to have the company. Of course, appearances can be deceiving, and his secret might just prove to be the end of her.

FLASHBACKS: Jane must face demons from her past when she encounters a long-lost friend and a homeless Vietnam veteran with lingering demons of his own.

HAIR: Jane goes south for the winter, hoping to find reprieve in the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A supernatural stalker of the shape-shifting variety has different plans, however. Will her new-found ally–a park ranger with a painful secret–be enough to help her avoid a fate worse than undeath?

FLOWER POWER: Jane teams up with an astral traveler in order to banish a dreamwalker from her past–and in the process, she must confront her greatest nightmare. About the series: Jane has had one hell of a time ever since she happened upon the wrong guy during the Summer of Love, but she’s taken it all in stride. Wandering from town to town, she seeks out the needy and the broken in hopes of breaking the curse that’s left her bloodthirsty and forever seventeen.

 
I just love the idea of a hippie vampire. What was the genesis for this?
The name came first. In high school, there was a girl who hung out with the Goths but dressed like a hippie, so everyone called her the hippie vampire. I’d always thought the contrast was neat. A few years back, I was thinking about all those interesting people from high school, and “Jane, the hippie vampire” popped into my head. I knew immediately that I needed to develop that title.

 

Once you had the seed for Jane, where did you go next. Had you spent much time with hippies to make sure that you got her ideals correct?
Not a whole lot, although I have pulled from what I saw of the 70’s dwindling hippie culture. My mom was a hippie. Her boyfriends were hippies. One was on the run from a religious cult, a couple of them had burned out their brains from when coke had become popular, and another had PTSD from his tour in Viet Nam and flipped out every time a car backfired. Most of them, though, were just young people still finding their way–they just happened to have a habit of skipping baths and (oh, I was so naive) rolling their own “cigarettes.”

 
*Laughs*. And where does Jane fit into this?
Jane is an amalgamation of all of them, I suppose. I did draw on one actual life experience for FLASHBACKS, the second novella in REVIVAL. The homeless man, Old Man Kevin, is based on a real man. He didn’t live in an abandoned subway project, but he did live on the streets. My sister and I befriended him one day at a coffee shop, and we got to know him. I remember one day accidentally catching him off guard, and he stuffed his “Will work for food” sign into his bag with such embarrassment. The system had let Old Man Kevin down. He was a neat guy, but the war had ruined him. I think it’s sad that, when most people looked at him, all they saw was just another dirty, old bum. He was so much more than that. I’d vowed to honor him by writing him into a story one day; FLASHBACKS was the perfect story.

 
That’s a wonderful way to pay tribute to him. Outside of Jane and Old Man Kevin, were your characters inspired by people you had previously met?
Very rarely does a character come to me developed, so I spend a lot of time working on character sketches: specs, likes/dislikes, disposition, occupation, hobbies, flaws, social status/circle(s), etc. I try to make a character vivid enough in my head to “method write” him/her, so once I start writing, the full personality begins to show.

 
Whose personality connects best with you? Do you have any characters that you think Jane should revisit?
Since Jane is episodic–the backdrop, plot, and characters changing with each novella–she’s encountered several interesting people. I’m hoping she has another chance to see the nice family featured in HAIR, although I’m not sure she will be passing through the Blue Ridge Mountains again anytime soon. I had fun making up the Astral Plane in FLOWER POWER, and the adversary in that one was pretty horrific. Jane herself is a fun character to write; she has one of those personalities that permeates into the writing style, adding a quirky character to the narrative.

 
What is your approach when you drop Jane into new environments? Do you research the environments or eras to make sure Jane can interact smoothly?
I do quite a bit of research when I’m writing JANE. Since she’s a genuine hippie from the ’60s and part of the structure I’d established involves Jane flashing back to her younger years, I’ve had to do an immense amount of reading to make sure I keep both the character and her memories genuine. Also, every novella takes place somewhere different, so sometimes I have to research locations to make sure I have at least some idea as to how to write the characters and what kinds of lifestyles Jane might witness while passing through. I’ll be researching Woodstock and tent revivals for Jane’s next dark adventures.

 
Are you currently working on Jane’s next outing?
I’m currently writing a cyberpunk novel.

 
Sounds intriguing. Do you use the same approach for writing cyberpunk as you do Jane?
I don’t write every day, but I try to set aside time for it. I tend to outline for novels and novellas, although my novel outlines are usually much more detailed. I try to use plot points as writing prompts, with a goal of 2 000 words (give or take) per prompt. When I’m on a roll, I average 1 000 – 2 000 words per day. When I’m on a writing binge, as I call it, I’ll write circles around that. I do, however, go weeks without writing. Some people might scoff at such a practice, repeating what they’ve been told about a writer absolutely needing to write every day, but I’ve written twenty novels in less than a decade, so I must be doing something right.

 
That trail of completed books is hard to disagree with. When you are writing each prompt, do you like to weave in themes to tie the plot points together?
Yes, I’m a big fan of literary devices. I love how they allow the reader to “decode” the various clues and piece together a story’s deeper meaning — figure out what really drove the author to write what s/he did. While I try to keep the literary devices minimized in my more mainstream works (I write speculative fiction that falls on the more literary end under Leigh M. Lane), I do use them to some extent in all of my writing.

 
With your extensive body of written work, you must have picked up a good insight as to what makes a good story or author. Do you have a single tip that authors can take on board when writing?
Just like with all creative endeavors, there is talent and there is skill. Talent is innate. Skill is acquired. You need both in order to write well.

 
Very true. And what novels do you think have been written well? What was your favourite book when you were young?
My favorite book was Roald Dahl’s JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. I remember it being as fascinating as it was haunting, and Dahl became a favorite of mine throughout my youth. Come to find out, many years later, Dahl also wrote works for adults–and if you think his children’s books are creepy….

 
I think I’ve got the chills from just thinking about how creepy they could be! Do you have a book that you wish you had written?
I would have to say Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. Neat story, and with such broad appeal. Or maybe Stephen King’s THE SHINING….

 
Both good creepy choices. What do you use own powers for thinking about the creepy for? For instance could you think of a suitability creepy animal hybrid that should be created?
I think a winged horse would be pretty cool. Not sure if it would actually be able to fly….

 
I don’t see why not as long as the weight and wings are balanced correctly. Finally, do you have a favourite quote or life philosophy that you love or live by?
Philosophy, Be kind.

 
Direct and simple. And it does work. And a quote?
“So it goes.” –Kurt Vonnegut, SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE

 
And I think that sums up today’s interview for us. Lisa, thank you for generously setting your time aside for me today and I wish you the best of luck with your promotion of ‘Jane the Vampire Hippie’.

 

Want to connect with Lisa?  You can find her here:

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