Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Armchair BEA Interview: Author and Editor Lisa Bergren


Lisa Bergren is a mom, wife, traveler, learner, freelance editor and writer (of books for people age 1-100, but most recently for the 13-24 crowd). As part of Armchair BEA's round-robin interviews, I've had the pleasure of getting to know Lisa a little bit this week. 

I'm so impressed both by how prolific a writer you are, and also by the range with which you write. You write for many different audiences and explore many different subjects. From what do you draw your inspiration? Which audience and/or subject matter is your favorite to write/write for, and why?

Boy, I'm having a BLAST with YA [Young Adult]. I love the enthusiastic audience, the book blogging community (it was the YA book bloggers that made me consider posting reviews on stuff I read too), and the pacing of this genre. So I might hang out here for a while. But yes, it kind of just depends on what I'm inspired to write next. I began with contemporary romance, moved on to women's historical fiction, then did a couple of general market fiction titles, more women's historical, medieval supernatural suspense...and now I'm back writing romance--but for a YA audience. Mostly because I have two teen girls in the house! I also write what feels fun to write--that way it doesn't feel like work to me and I'll be fired up to complete what I started.

Faith and overcoming personal hardship are prominent themes in your work. Can you speak a little bit about how you came to write Christian fiction, and what about these themes call you, how/why they resonate for your readers?

When I first started writing, it was after a pretty significant spiritual event in my life--I was bar-tending on Sunday mornings in Park City, Utah, doing the ski bum thing, and life was feeling empty and shallow. I felt lost, drifting...and discovered I was missing God as part of my life. I took off for Israel and Egypt for a month and came home wanting to write...and to incorporate my faith into my writing. A year later, I had a book published, and from then on, God has opened door after door. Some of my novels have a very deep spiritual element and theme; others have very little. It just depends on the characters and what they're going through. And since faith is such a part of my life, it's bound to impact different aspects of my novels and characters, particularly when they're going through hard times. I never want to come across as preachy or soap-boxy. Just real. Authentic. And above all, true to the characters.

You are part of the team that has started Waterbrook, a Christian division within Random House. How do you compare the experience of being on the editorial side versus the writing side of the business? What new projects are you particularly excited about?

It was so hard to leave my publishing career (to write full time). I still do some freelance editorial work, because I love corporate creativity, the process of bringing a project together with others. It's very gratifying. But as publishing tips from print to electronic, I'm very happy to be on this side of the biz. There will always be a place for storytellers in society--there has been since the dawn of time--while publishers are scrambling to redefine their role in the process.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?

Hanging out with friends and family, reading, traveling, exploring, watching TV/movies.

If you could recommend one top, absolutely must-read, don't miss it book from those you've read recently, what would it be and why?

I adored THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY last year. Totally a fun read, with rich characters, and written in such a unique format. Loved it and mourned the fact I was done. Along with everyone else, I was captivated by the Hunger Games trilogy--because it was such a wake-up call for our reality-show-loving-nothing-shocks-me culture, as well as hot, page-turnin' reads. But I wasn't wild about the conclusion. I know as an author how hard it is to end a series, but I left that one depressed, instead of hopeful. For the heroine to not see her goal met that started her whole epic journey--agonizing. I'm pretty drawn to the epic goal met/happily ever after ending, though I try to not always cave to that impulse. Books don't have to be all tied up with neat and tidy bows for me--but I want to be able to imagine peace, satisfaction, and love in those characters' lives. Otherwise I fret over them! Guess it's the mother in me...

Speaking of motherhood, you are a mom, writer, and now, editor....  the rest of us moms are just dying to know .... how DO you do it all? Please share your very best survival tips!

Ahh, yes. The juggling can become overwhelming. But it really has worked best for me when I take one season at a time, figuring out my priorities, and letting the work settle where it can fit after those priorities are met. That doesn't always work out and I slip, but then life becomes chaotic and untenable. Sometimes work has to move to the back burner; sometimes it has to be up front. I'm constantly shifting. It's not like I've figured out the magic formula! I'm negotiating it, day by day, just like every other woman out there. But more and more, trying to give myself grace during the shifting, rather than chastising myself for not figuring it all out yet.

That sounds like very good advice, and thanks for a great conversation!  
You can find Lisa online at, on twitter @LisaTBergren, and on Facebook: River of Time Series.

Jen at A Book and A Latte was kind enough to interview me! You can read our conversation here.


  1. Great interview! I enjoyed getting to know her more. I absolutely LOVE Lisa's new YA series - I've read the first two, Waterfall and Cascade and they are both FANTASTIC! SO glad she ventured into YA.

  2. Awesome interview! I especially like part of her answer to the second-to-last question, "Books don't have to be all tied up with neat and tidy bows for me--but I want to be able to imagine peace, satisfaction, and love in those characters' lives. Otherwise I fret over them! Guess it's the mother in me..."

    Thanks for sharing!
    All the best,

  3. Thanks for taking the time to interview me and for posting to read YOUR interview now. Love this process of getting to know other bookies. :-)

  4. Fantastic interview. I just discovered Lisa about a month ago and am so glad that I did!

  5. Thanks, Lisa- so glad to have had the opportunity to talk with you! and thanks everyone for the visits & wonderful comments - Becky, I agree with you.

  6. So nice to get to know Lisa a little! Great job!

  7. I bought WATERFALL when it came out because Brodie and Small Review were super gushy, but since they're coming out so close together, I thought I'd wait and read all three at once. I can't wait to get CASCADE next month. I have to cave and read them both, though! I want to read these so badly.

    Thanks for the great review!!

  8. Thanks Chris and Backwards Story for visiting & for the wonderful enthusiasm!


Thanks for visiting - thoughts welcome.