Lisa Gayle is the author of “Emerald Spirit”, a new book exploring themes around gender and life transition, immortality and facing realities as a woman. Yesterday, in part 1, we covered a little about “Emerald Spirit’s” main character and a little about Lisa herself. In part 2, Lisa and I will be chatting about Lisa’s favorite scenes from her book, how her friend got her motivated, and what’s next for Lisa?
Becki: Lisa, can you give us one or two of your favorite scenes from your book?
Lisa: (laughs) Wouldn’t that be giving away too much? I think my favorite is the awakening. Another one that was fun to write was when she meets her old neighbor in San Diego and learns about her former life. I also like the playful stuff that happens as Susan grows accustomed to being a woman and finds she likes men.
Becki: Why write a transgender fiction book now? And since you wrote it some time ago, why publish now?
Lisa: Actually this is in the past. I started this book probably ten years ago and never finished until last year. I had gotten just so far and got distracted from the project for a long time. I put it aside and didn’t think much about it. Besides I really didn’t know how I wanted it to end. It was my friend, Carollyn Olson, who pushed me to finish it.
Carollyn had just published her first novel, “Deception” and I mentioned that I had this thing I was working on. I sent her the unfinished manuscript and she wrote back Shouting at me “OH MY GOD!!!! YOU HAVE TO FINISH THIS!” She got me to write the ending and have it published.
Becki: How does the theme of death and re-birth play into your main characters life and does that mirror or relate to the experience of other transpeople (or other people in other life transitions all of them not necessarily transgender).
Lisa: You know, I hadn’t really thought of it in such allegorical terms but I suppose it really does because transitioning is really a death and rebirth. You leave one life behind and start a new one.. Initially it was just an exploration of feelings and speculations but it does work on that level as well.
It also has some element of everyone’s wish for immortality, or at least longer life or a second try at getting life right. OK, I’m no longer 60 years old and winding down. Suddenly, I’m 20 and I have a chance to not make those stupid mistakes I made all my life. I have the wisdom of my 60 years and a new fresh body. Of course if’s female now but hey, won’t that be an interesting kick?
Becki: Besides Gordon, can you give our readers any description and insight into another important character in your book and how you came to bring this person to life in your book?
Lisa: Here’s the romance novel reader/writer showing up. Greg is her knight in shining armor. Susan is a smart, capable and strong woman, but she has to face some realities that she never considered as a male. Primary is that she is discriminated against and harassed because she is a woman. This was something she never saw even in her own company until it was directed at her. It was going on when she was a man but she was too involved in other things to see it. She also realizes that while she has skills and is not a tiny woman, she has physical limitations simply because most of these bad people she encounters are so much larger and more physically powerful than she is. She needs someone like Greg to fill that need. Doesn’t hurt that he’s a handsome hunk either. I made Greg kind of an ideal but gave him a past that he doesn’t talk about and that might be something she really doesn’t want to know about. He’s done some things that might not be suitable for all audiences. That’s his mystery.
And every story needs a villain. It’s more interesting when that villain is someone the hero/heroine knows and doesn’t suspect. I had fun making that character pretty slimy. I confess to have modeled him after someone I know. So he’s kind of a real person. That part was a vicarious giggle for me.
Becki: Your smart, gorgeous, a great friend, and devoted parent and spouse, so now a published author, what’s up next on the horizon for you Lisa?
Lisa: Flattery will get you a free copy of the book! (laughs) I really don’t know what’s next. I’m working on a new story that will feature a detective who crossdresses, very convincingly, to work on a big case. I’ve also agreed to allow Carollyn to use the characters in my book in her new novel “Breaking Point”. I’ve been an advisor and consultant on that project as well as writing a chapter or so for it.
Right now, I’m being Dad to my teenage daughter who is smart, talented and beautiful (Can’t tell I’m proud of her, can you?), and trying to stay afloat in the recession. I’ve been appointed Assistant PostMistress for the Vanity Club, which is a wonderful online sorority that counts some of the most beautiful trans-women in the world as members. I’ll be going to the Lake Erie Gala this November.
I’ll let you know when the newest book becomes available.
Becki: Lisa I hope you do! And thanks so much for taking the time to visit with us at Beck’s Cafe