Interview with Lis Anna-Langston

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a story titled He & She about the first man and woman on earth. Very sparse style of writing. About the same time I was writing a book about a girl who buys an old house and begins renovating it. As the walls come down around her, so do the walls she's built up emotionally. I also started a story that later became "The Descent" about a woman having an affair. I tossed this idea around for awhile and once I wrote it, it won 2nd Place in the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Awards.
What is your writing process?
Go deep into the madness. Come out changed. Write it all down. Edit it. Rinse. Repeat.
How do you approach cover design?
Well, I had a friend who gave me a copy of Photoshop a long time ago. Then, I had a co-worker who taught me to use it. Once I started making short films I had a limited budget. I had to wear a lot of hats. One of those was set photographer, the other was graphic designer. I had to produce all of the key art for all of my films. It made me look at what was important, what image encompassed the story. What was I trying to say or sell with a single image? I really enjoy cover design. It's one of my favorite parts of the process.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I LOVED Peter and the Wolf. The little children's book that had the music by Sergei Prokofiev. OMG. I carried it EVERYWHERE. Whenever we went to someone's house I immediately asked the host where the stereo was located. I must have listened to and read the book a thousand times. Literally.

And Mary Poppins. I wanted that bag of hers. The one you could cram a house into. Yeah, that one.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
At Play in the Fields of the Lord
The Size of the World
Fight Club
The Great Gatsby
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Different Seasons
Last Night at the Lobster

I love At Play in the Fields of the Lord because, to me, it is just a perfect book. A tale of flawed people. A deep, engaging story about digging deep for answers. I loved it the first time I read it and every time after.

The Size of the World is lush. The prose is perfect. I love how all of the stories are different but feed into one another. It was a recommendation by a friend and is now one of my favorites.

The first rule of Fight Club is that you don't talk about Fight Club.

The Great Gatsby. {Sigh} Next to Romeo and Juilet it is my favorite tale of unrequited love. F. Scott captured more than a story. He captured the feeling of an era. A hopeless love, yet so full of hope. Probably what I love most though is that it is Jay Gatsby's story but it is told by Nick.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is such an amazing tale of how people destroy one another by pretending to love. That unbearable lightness of our being that leads people to weigh themselves down with desires that destroy. Sabine is a great character.

Different Seasons is amazing and for Stephen King fans like me that don't necessarily read horror, I highly recommend this book with four novellas inside. It is some of the best writing you'll ever read.

Last Night at the Lobster is perfect. I read it in two sittings. The premise is simple. The last night at a Red Lobster about to close. I loved how O'Nan made us hold onto the hopes of the main character. Perfect, simple story.
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything. Poetry by Billy Collins. I am a Raymond Carver nut. I have read his entire collected works. I will read magazines and short story collections. I read labels for god's sake. I read everything, especially in-between the lines.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I really love my Kindle. I love the ease and how I can carry something like 300 books with me everywhere I go. I also love the innovation. Kindle was a game changer.
Describe your desk
My desk is a perfect blue desk with towers of notebooks balanced precariously on the edge. And a pig and a robot and thinking putty and a cup full of pens. It's a hot mess.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the South. I grew up in Northern Mississippi and Tennessee. It influenced my writing tremendously. I grew up near Rowan Oak, the house of William Faulkner. The South is full of stories, dark and haunting, yet always with cracks, so the light can get in.
When did you first start writing?
Five years old.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing to me is being so swept up in the story that even I am surprised by the twists and turns. I also love the fact that at the end of every story, there is the beginning of the next. I get to wipe the slate clean. I get to travel to new places. I find a new obsession.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are everything to me. They are my audience. They are the ones I entertain.
Published 2016-08-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Tolstoy & the Checkout Girl
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 48,550. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » Female authors, Fiction » Literature » Literary
This collection of award winning short stories delves into the consequences of owning a feeling, the hard won life of growing up neglected, the complexities of roommates, dirty nickels, Tolstoy time traveling to find true love and what happens the day you find out your uncle was gunned down by police.
Tupelo Honey
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 63,700. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age
A loveable, engaging, original voice. ~ Publishers Weekly When you read more than a hundred books per year, it’s exciting to find one that surprises you. "Tupelo Honey" by Lis Anna Langston is one of those, sneaking up quietly to bust expectations and leaves you thinking about the story long after closing the book. ~ Chanticleer Book Reviews ~