Author Lisa Mangum has been outlining obsessively as of late. Not for her Hourglass Door Trilogy — as of a few days ago, that was officially complete — but for a new project, though she’s not sure what that project is just yet.
Lisa finished the final book in the trilogy, “The Forgotten Locket,” a few months ago, and it hit bookstores at the beginning of the month. After taking some time off, Lisa is ready for a new project. “I have three new ideas, and now I’m at the point where I get to pick which one I’m going to do first,” the award-winning author told me during a phone interview. “They’re all three really exciting ideas. All three are clamoring for my attention, so it’s going to be a matter of which one grabs me and doesn’t let go.”
Two of Lisa’s ideas are contemporary young adult; the other is about fairies. They’re at two ends of the spectrum, but that excites Lisa, who wants to continue growing as a writer. “I think either idea will give me a new playground to go to and play and develop some new talents for my writing,” she said.
That’s in the future, however, and Lisa is definitely in the now, right now, promoting “The Forgotten Locket,” which is the culmination of four years of work.
“What I wasn’t expecting when I started the journey was that it would be so all consuming,” Lisa said of writing the Hourglass Door Trilogy. “Maybe that was naïve of me to think that it wouldn’t be like that, but all I’ve done for the last four years is think about this one story. From the readers’ perspective, they get to read the book and then they can read like 90 other books that year. For me, this was THE book that I spent all my time on, the story I thought about all the time.”
“I’m really proud of Book 3. It was the hardest of the three books to write,” Lisa continued. “I feel really proud of myself having stepped up to the challenge to produce a book that I’m really proud of and that so far the readers are really responding to positively, which makes me super happy.”
“The Forgotten Locket” is the conclusion of a time-traveling romance trilogy centered on Abby, a girl from modern times, and Dante, an Italian hottie from a different time. In this final installment, it’s up to Abby to not only save Dante and her family, but also the fabric of time. What’s asked of her is more than what she might have the courage to do, but only she can do it.
“It’s a great chance for Abby to step up as a main character,” Lisa said. “I wanted to keep the Abby and Dante romance thread strong through the whole book, but I was also really interested in pushing Abby’s boundaries as much as I could. To see what she would do and to see how much she’s grown from the first book.”
Part of the appeal behind Lisa’s trilogy is that it’s so different from anything else recently published. Making the Hourglass world different was something Lisa thought about from the beginning, but it’s a combination of things, she says that makes people want to read more.
“I think it finds acceptance and a great home in the cannon of young adult literature because at the heart, it still is about a young adult girl trying to find her place in the world and find out who she wants to be and what kind of person she wants to be, which is a very dominant theme in all kinds of young adult literature,” she said. “I think people resonate to that quite naturally, and then the details about time travel and maybe the Italian flavors and a few other things I put in the book, sort of help set it apart as something unique and different.”
By following her own formula, Lisa ended up creating the kind of books that she would want to read. That’s always the best sign for an author, she said, “that you’re working on a book that excites you as reader as much as it does as a writer.”
Not only is Lisa’s work exciting for her, it’s also exciting for her fans, who range from middle readers to grown adults. That crossover appeal is something Lisa secretly hoped for when she began writing the trilogy.
“What I really wanted was to have a book that mothers and daughters could read together because that kind of experience was so important for me,” she said. “When I was younger, I would read with my mom, and we would read the same books together, or I would read to her, or she would recommend things to me.”
Lisa loved the ability to bond with her mom and really become friends with her through the books that they read. “I secretly really wanted my book to provide that kind of bridge to mothers and daughters as well,” Lisa said. “So I’ve been extremely happy and gratified when I hear stories of that very thing happening. … It’s been really an unexpectedly happy bonus for me.”
The Hourglass trilogy has become a source of inspiration for many, and Lisa hopes that it helps readers continue to build their own passion for reading and books in general. “I think that is one of the best things about books, is how much they make you love books and how much they make you love reading and even how much they make you want to start writing and telling your own story,” she said. “I’ve heard that a lot from people. That reading my books has given them the courage or the desire to start writing something of their own, which makes me so extremely happy to hear that. So I would love for my readers to take that away, that passion to read more and writer more and make those stories that are inside of them come alive in some fashion. That would be great.”
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