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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Someday Stars: Meet Lisa Ann Chickos


What’s your name, and where are you from?

My name is Lisa Ann Chickos. I am originally from Florida, but I've also lived in California, Australia, and Alaska. I'm currently Rocky Mountain High on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado.

How long have you been writing?

My mother would tell you I’ve been “writing” since before I could write: scrawling complicated picture books and reciting them verbatim to anyone and everyone who would listen. I wrote stories through elementary and middle school, but I put writing on the back burner until I completed college.

What genre(s) do you write?

I'm addicted to high-concept YA. I love the intensity and passion of that period in our lives—the drama, the relationships, and the ever-present quest to "find yourself." I also love the way high-concept situations force you to dig deep and realize you're capable of more than you've ever imagined.

I tend to write novels with a fairly strong grounding in nature. I'm incredibly drawn to the complexity and power of the natural world, so it only makes sense my characters would be as well.

What’s your current WIP? Can you tell us about it?

I just completed my second novel—a YA adventure called ESSENCE about a girl who was raised by a very controlling cult in near-future San Francisco. She stumbles upon a group of free-spirited wanderers living in the abandoned remains of Yosemite National Park, and she must struggle to stay true to herself while realigning her values and pushing herself to become one of them.

What’s your current day job? How does it help or hinder your writing?

I have pursued a variety of random careers through the years, including animator, apprentice chef, wanna-be surfer, camp counselor, rock climbing instructor, kayak guide, environmental educator, animal trainer, and zookeeper. Right now, I am the Director of Education at a nature center in Denver, so I get to enjoy a little bit of (almost) everything.

I rely on my experiences a lot while writing. Right now, I'm particularly drawing off the summer I spent living in a tent and working in Yosemite National Park. Without this background knowledge, I don't think my novels would feel nearly as grounded.

That being said, it's incredibly difficult to balance a full-time job, an 80-mile daily commute, and a productive writing life, so my creativity is definitely a bit of a balancing act right now. I also get a lot of brainstorming done in my car.

Who is your favorite author? Favorite book?

I have so many favorites that it would truly be impossible to pick. During the writing of ESSENCE, however, I felt particularly inspired by Alex Garland's THE BEACH and Maurice Sendak's WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. (Both books have cameo appearances!)

What other hobbies or activities do you do outside of writing?

My latest adventure has been learning how to snowboard (starting to rip a little bit!). My husband and I are also big hikers and backpackers, and we disappear into the mountains as often as we can. Whenever I'm home in Florida, I try my best to strap on a scuba tank or explore the Gulf of Mexico with my family. When I'm not being active, I can often be found relaxing in my hammock with a good book. I will also never turn down a micro-brewed beer.

What is something unique about yourself?

While I attended college in Orlando, one of my dreams was to become a Disney princess at Walt Disney World. Utilizing the behind-the-scenes knowledge of some acquaintances, I actually managed to maneuver my way into a casting session. Upon my arrival, I was floored to learn how specific Disney’s princess requirements are. Princesses, apparently, should be between 5’4” and 5’7”, and their feet should be no larger than a size 9. (Sad news for my 5’8” and size 9.5 self!) Although I tried unsuccessfully to slouch and scrunch in my toes, I was quickly dismissed, and that was the end of my Disney princess dream. As a parting gift, however, I was cast as a dancer in Epcot’s Tapestry of Dreams parade, and I spent the next year and a half dancing, sweating, and smiling my gold-painted face off!

Do you have a blog, Twitter, and/or Web site we can link to?

Absolutely! My blog "KICKED, CORNERED, BITTEN AND CHASED" can be found here: http://lisachickos.blogspot.com. I'm also on Twitter @LisaAnnChickos.

Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me! I can't wait to meet more "Someday Stars!"

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for the interview, Lisa Ann and Charlie. I enjoy learning new things about fellow writers, especially the "someday stars!" :)

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  2. Yay! So excited for the chance to be interviewed. Thanks again for the opportunity, Charlie, and I'm so glad you liked the post, Linda! :)

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  3. Fun interview! I have a 60 mile commute, so I also brainstorm a lot in the car. LOL about the princess thing! Yeah, I would flunk as well - I'm 5'10" with size 9 or sometimes 10 in shoe size.

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  4. That was fun - A Disney princess, eh? Who knew!

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  5. I had the chance to work with Lisa for a few months and she has an enthusiasm for life, nature, people, and education that brightens the lives of those around her. I'm excited to see her featured here and to read her books!

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  6. I enjoyed learning about Lisa. Her current WIP sounds fascinating! And I loved her Disney princess dream. Just went to Disneyland two months ago and had some girlish pangs myself to be a princess!

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  7. I'm still reeling a bit over the 80 mile a day commute thing, but awesome interview! I always wanted to be a real princess, but the closest I came was being born to a drama queen. Didn't work out for me, either. ^_^

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  8. Sorry the Disney Princess dream didn't work out!

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  9. This is awesome! I want to swim with dolphins! I keep telling my husband I'm going to try it at SeaWorld one day. And your current WIP sounds wonderful!!! Great interview ladies!

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  10. Charlie, what a thoughtful idea. Good luck with your writing. Lisa Ann, you're my hero, and a hero is much better than a princess, for starters you get a cape and a super power.

    Cheers!

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  11. @Alexia: Right? You'd think they would want princesses to be tall... Guess they are afraid we'd upstage Prince Charming!

    @Jaye: Hahaha, I set my sights high--and failed gloriously!

    @Random: OMG, you are way too good to me.

    @Leslie: The only thing that makes me feel better about this failed dream is the amount of pancake makeup we would have been require to wear!

    @Angelina: LOL. Well played!

    @Alex: Maybe in another life...

    @Leigh: You should totally do it! An experience of a lifetime, seriously. Worth every single penny.

    @Bethany: Yay! You are AWESOME! Hmm, maybe my super power could be looking like a Disney princess! ;)

    @Charlie: Thanks again for this! I've had a blast!!

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