We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Morton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
For a writer, risk taking is a major part of the gig. This applies not just to the business side of it (where the risk can involve everything from the expense of new software or tools to taking the ultimate huge leap of losing your day job), but also to the art. The number one piece of advice I give to new writers is, “BE BOLD.” This applies even more to women, who may have to overcome not only societal conditioning to step back and be demure, but also endure sexism in the marketplace. Find your own voice; be well-versed enough in literature that you can avoid cliches and overused plots. Strike out into bold new territory that will excite readers.
And then there’s the psychological aspect: every time you submit a piece of work, your ego is taking a risk – what if it’s rejected? What if it’s accepted…and then generates controversy after publication? How thick is your skin?
I can offer only this from my own experience: the pieces I’ve written that made me the most nervous to put out there were usually the ones that garnered me the best sales and reviews. In other words…GO FOR IT.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Lisa Morton is a screenwriter, author of non-fiction books, and prose writer whose work was described by the American Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror as “consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening.” She is a six-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, the author of four novels and over 150 short stories, and a world-class Halloween and paranormal expert. Her latest releases include Night Terrors & Other Tales, Weird Women 2 (co-edited with Leslie S. Klinger), and Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances; recent short stories appeared in Best American Mystery Stories 2020, Final Cuts: New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles, and Classic Monsters Unleashed. Forthcoming in August 2022 is Haunted Tales: Classic Stories of Ghosts and the Supernatural. Lisa lives in Los Angeles and online at www.lisamorton.com.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I always take visiting friends to Griffith Park and give them some of the extraordinary history of the park (which includes tales of hauntings and curses!). We’d probably hit Hollywood Boulevard, with a stop to shop at Amoeba and a meal at the legendary Musso and Frank’s. A drive along Sunset is fun, since it takes you from the city to the suburbs to the sea. A margarita and green corn tamales at El Coyote would be on the agenda. And of course a two-bookstore-trip to Dark Delicacies in Burbank and the Iliad Bookshop in NoHo!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Thanks for the wonderful community at the Horror Writers Association, and to the Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood.
For main headshot (me with my arm tattoo), please credit Seth Ryan. For photo of me with Frankenstein, please credit Rob Cohen. For all others, credit Ricky Grove.