Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Lis Anna-Langston whose book Tupelo Honey moved and charmed me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love books that take you on a journey but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Lis Anna-Langston, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Lis Anna-Langston will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Lis Anna-Langston!
Lis Anna-Langston is a Parents’ Choice Gold Book Award winner, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award winner and the Dante Rossetti First Place Award winner for YA Fiction. She is the author of Tupelo Honey, Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond and the short story collection, Tolstoy & the Checkout Girl. Born in the South she loves writing about misfits, screw ups, outlaws and people who generally don’t fit into nicely labeled boxes. She loves zany, wild rides and is the recipient of tons of fancy awards and over forty publications.
Now, how wonderful does Lis Anna-Langston sound?! Lis Anna-Langston is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of Lis Anna-Langston’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and Lis Anna-Langston, I hope that you enjoy Lis Anna-Langston’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
When I arrived in North Carolina I immediately started signing up for writing classes. I’d been there about a year when I found one I really liked. It was a Creative Autobiography class. I’d never written about my life. Ever. I wasn’t really comfortable with it, either. Even though I’d spent a fair amount of time reading authors like Henry Miller and Anais Nin and Hunter S. Thompson they were the exceptions. I still thought people who wrote about their lives were self indulgent. Who cares about life when you have fiction?
The class was the only one available and I was not comfortable lying and just making up fiction so I wrote about my life. There were a couple of points that stood out in my mind. One, my parents were drug dealers and we used to do things like drive to Mexico City. The other was that my uncles were mentally ill with diagnoses that ranged from psychotic to paranoid schizophrenic. None of these were ever discussed with me because I was a child, but it was pretty obvious that my family was different. One of my favorite memories was going to the safe deposit box at the bank. I was little, maybe seven, and my mother’s boyfriend would take the box out and set it on a table right under the sign that read: No guns or cash may be stored in safe. And then he proceeded to fill his box with a gun and cash.
They peddled in dope and I knew it because while I was at my grandmother’s house I heard her on the phone with her best friend talking about how much she didn’t like it. One of my uncles used to threaten to kill everyone in the house and we’d have to sleep outside on the porch. I started writing about these events because that was the class. I wasn’t particularly thrilled about it but I was workshopping, and that was important to me. I was totally stunned when my classmates loved these stories. I didn’t find these tales interesting. I found them exhausting. But people loved them so I branched out and started letting friends read them. I will never forget the day that I was driving across the French Broad River bridge and a close friend of mine, reading my stories from class said, “You have to finish this. You have to publish these stories. Promise me you’ll do that.”
In the meantime I’d written a short story about a little girl named Tupelo Honey and it was published in Steel Toe Review. It was titled “Tips”. I liked the character a lot. So I combined all of the memoir with this character, Tupelo Honey. I fictionalized my life which pleased me. It is the very best of both worlds. Taking the truth and moving parts around to create a narrative. This is the story of triumph and finding your place in the world. It is a year in a girl’s life where she changes forever. You know the rest.
Find something you’re obsessed with. The way tea leaves scatter on a cracked counter. The way light bends into a blue shimmer every afternoon. The scent of a person one aisle over. Find one thing that fascinates you. Build up. Let go. Surrender to the process. Write. Stop what you’re doing and write. Right now. Bend into that blue shimmer. Really stretch. Learn your craft. Learn your craft. Hone your craft. Plot Theme Character Rising Action. Climb. Ugh. It will be hard. You won’t like the hard. You will try and wiggle out from under all that hard. It will irk you, tempt you. Keep you up late at night. Make you want to sleep all day. Grab your pen and plow through. Dig. Dig deep. Hone that craft. Hone that craft. Keep going. Feel the pressure of not enough. Feel the confusion of standing in the middle of story. Be squeezed by the sensation that you’ll never get it done. Buried deep in stories that may never see the light. Be quiet and go. Follow that story. Follow it into all of the places you don’t want to go. The ones that make you want to run. Stand firm. Or sit. But wrangle all of that darkness & light and begin to shape it. Hone that craft. Live a little. Have a chat. Make dinner. If you’re doing it right then the essentials of staying alive will become mere distractions. Go now into these worlds. Go now into the story. Go now into destiny. Story is destiny. Remember that. When you are weary and obsessed and falling apart remember that the ones who tell the stories rule the world. The words come. The words come. Greet them. Let them in now. You are ready. You may never be ready. Put on your tattered robe and look around. Your world will never be the same. Pick up your pen/pencil/quill/sword/dagger/crayon/magic glitter colored pencil. Go deep into the center of the story. Go. You will never be the same. Go anyway.
The obsession. The most important thing about a book is that I cannot put it down, cannot forget, it is a story that changes me, an elusive ride to an unknown world I will remember forever. Tall order, I know. To this day I read James Baldwin aloud. Every single time I pick up a copy of Go Tell it on the Mountain or Giovanni’s Room. It is the Lo lee tah and how the tah taps against my tongue. The brilliant interwoven stories that make up The Size of the World. The Southern Gothic of Other Voices, Other Rooms. The chilling truth of In Cold Blood. The vast sweeping language, urgency of longing and poetry of The English Patient. It is passages of Albert Camus I remember late at night. The Stranger is no stranger to me. The lines I underline and return to again and again in A River Runs Through It. The fact that One Stab is my favorite character from Legends of the Fall. A great book changes me and by extension, it changes the world around me. At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Fight Club, The Great Gatsby, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Different Seasons, Last Night at the Lobster. I imagine the stories of our lives can be told in the trees we have known and the books we have loved.
I have so many great things in the work. Check back with my website often or send me an email through the contact form on my site and request to be on a private mailing list that I send out with updates and new publications. I have lots of great Middle Grade and New Adult/Young Adult coming out. If you’re on the Lis(t) then you’ll get short story publication updates and other product updates as well.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Lis Anna-Langston! If you have liked what you have read about Lis Anna-Langston and are interested in learning more about Lis Anna-Langston and reading Lis Anna-Langston’s work, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.