Interview with LisaJ Lickel

Where did the idea for Innocents Pray come from?
When my kids were in school and playing sports, I heard a great new report about parents who prayed for their kids and their team, but also that their team would win. I thought, what if the other side had folks praying just as hard for a win? How does that work? At the time I first wrote the story, many years ago, now, there was a lot of news about mapping DNA and unraveling the genetic code. In my strange little leaps, I connected some imaginary dots between someone so sick she prayed for the Lord to take her home and end the suffering, and someone else who couldn’t bear to let her go and prayed for healing.
How did you research?
I’m blessed to have a science-minded family and live in Wisconsin where major genetic research is being undertaken and reported upon from the University of Wisconsin. I talked to teachers and researchers, read reports and books, and collected numerous articles. I also visited a hospice, and interviewed young people, and got information from the Alexian Brotherhood, the Catholic organization which birthed my character Brother Able, the hospice chaplain.
What is the theme of Innocents Pray?
It was an experiment at first, one I thought I could easily undo if I got too tangled. I had never written in first person before. Believe me, it’s not that easy. But as I got to know my character of Libby, the woman with recurrent cancer, I kept hearing her thoughts in my head and it became natural to write her part in the “I” voice. In fact, she became too much like me and I had to tone her down a bit. Brother Able was the calm voice, a narrator. He’s a stable character and will be the voice of the series, Stories From Paradise House, which I hope to continue writing. I liked keeping him in the role of observer which added to the tension and sense of anticipation, since we know what Libby is planning to do, but we have to wait for events to unfold for Able.
What was the most difficult aspect of the story, Innocents Pray?
Cancer is a subject that most people want to stay away from. My first agent did not want to represent an issue-laden story and felt that no one would want to give up, like Libby planned to do when her disease metastasized. But many women, and men, too, connected with me and said they either wanted to, or would have at least considered running away or choosing not to seek treatment in the same circumstance. Some people have to network, some people prefer to deal with their demons privately. So it was hard finding a way to write a character that didn’t just give up, but gave in until she found something different to live for.
How do you approach cover design?
I think about the main visual images from the book--what stands out, what represents the theme, what do I want the reader to think about when browsing for a book. I usually have to go through a couple dozen images and photos before I find something I like, and then run the idea past other writers or readers who are familiar with the book. I have a professional cover designer work with me, and consider his advice as well.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury - it's the ultimate coming of age, coming alive story
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - wonderful, mystical retelling of a magical folk tale
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart - I love the story behind Merlin
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey - I love dragons and this was the book that got me started on the series
Under the Tonto Rim by Zane Grey - yes, everything really is a love story
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have three, a Kindle, a generic for different styles, and my laptop for quick reading
You often include Reader’s Discussion Guides in your books. Do most readers take the time to go through questions?
Some do, some don’t. It’s an opportunity for us authors to share some details about the story we might not get to in the text. It also helps us steer our readers into our thought processes and offer our motives behind our work. A reader’s discussion guide doesn’t have to be personal to the reader. I love participating in book clubs both as a reader and an invited author, so it’s fun for me to hear what others think of any particular story. The more passionate responses, the more we’ve hit home.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It wasn't an easy decision, but after twenty books and some interesting response to my manuscript Innocents Pray, I wanted the story to get out to the public. I sought advice and took the leap.
What do you hope readers will take away from the book, Innocents Pray?
I hope for at least a good conversation with others or themselves about choices and their consequences. Everything we do affects someone else. Libby wanted to spare her family more pain, and while others think her actions were purely selfish, that wasn’t her intent. She got caught up in someone else’s larger-than-life plans. Able did the best he could under circumstances in his life that were truly beyond his control. He took responsibility in a way that met the needs of those he loved. What might you have done?
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I do a lot of reviews, so authors ask me to read for them, publishers ask, and so do people who just want my take on someone's story. I also love recommendations, learn about books at my book clubs, and see what's trending on line.
Published 2016-09-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Series: Forces of Nature, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 90,820. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Inspirational
A far-sighted group of humans have seen it coming and decide to do something about preserving humanity. Hidden for over three generations, members of the program will be ready to leave Earth when the time comes. Then more obstacles threaten their plans. An Air Force test pilot and his fiancé are crucial to success. If they can stay alive.
Centrifugal Force
Series: Forces of Nature, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 83,180. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Clean & wholesome, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general
With the European Union at stake, blackmail could negatively impact a crucial vote in the German Parliament unless Gervas recovers an irreplaceable relic he left in the United States on a lecture tour a lifetime ago. He knows who took the piece of history he once flaunted—the woman who had stolen his soul. He only hopes she still has the ring.
The Newspaper Code
Series: Buried Treasure Mystery Series. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 61,620. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Inspirational
Judy Wingate, a new mom, and her NOT-BFF, nosy reporter Olivia Hargrove, team up in a testy relationship to solve the murder of elderly civil servant Esme Espe who may have uncovered millions of dollars of missing city treasury money.
The Map Quilt
Series: Buried Treasure Mystery Series. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 67,410. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Christian » Mystery & detective
What do a stolen piece of revolutionary agricultural equipment, a long-buried skeleton in the yard, and an old quilt with secrets have in common?
The Last Bequest
Series: Buried Treasure Mystery Series. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 61,350. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
Judy Winters is pretty sure her environmentally-conscious great-aunt didn't die of natural causes, no matter what the tox screens say. When she discovers she can inherent the family farm if she'll live there for a year, can she give up her teaching job and move to the country?
Healing Grace
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 86,600. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Contemporary
Grace has a secret. Just like her aunt, and her grandmother before her, she could fix anyone with a touch, at a cost she never questioned—until her husband developed cancer. Then, faith wasn't enough. When she meets Ted, a man who desperately needs her power, is she willing to pay?
Requiem for the Innocents
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 87,040. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational, Fiction » Christian » Contemporary
Medical ethics, blackmail, genetic experimentation and family gone terribly will God answer prayers for life, death, and mercy?