Thanks so much for joining me on Sunnybank Secrets, Lisa.
Lisa Lawmaster Hess is a Jersey girl who moved to Pennsylvania for college, then stayed.
The author of three nonfiction books
- Acting Assertively, Diverse Divorce and Know Thyself
- Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance
NOW, on to the interview:
Is there a story behind your books?/What started you on your writing journey?
Know Thyself is my fifth book, but I’ve been working on novels, so it’s been over a decade between non-fiction books! This one (which took every bit of that decade to get from idea to completion) arose out of my own desire to get sustainably organized in a way that worked for me. An unexpected move that I didn’t initially want to make was the catalyst for working on my own organizational skills, and the ensuing research and journey led me to the conclusion that organization is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!)
I enjoy a good novel but, lately, I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction. Last summer, I downloaded Audible and I’ve found that I love listening to audiobooks even though my commute is short. My recent favorites include Becoming by Michelle Obama, Still Foolin’ ’Em by Billy Crystal and Jodi Piccoult’s Small Great Things. I’m currently reading Biased by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt and listening to Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before. I’m also reading an advance copy of Clarice G. James’s The Girl He Knew. Think I can finish them all before the semester starts at the end of August??
Which character in your newest release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Since Know Thyself is non-fiction, I’m going to take the liberty of changing the question a bit, and share the styles that best describe me. In Know Thyself, I share three personal styles (I need to see it, I love to be busy and I love stuff) and three organizational styles (cram and jam, drop and run and I know I put it somewhere) that influence our organizational success. I most identify with the I need to see it personal style and the drop and run organizational style, so I plan my organizational systems around those styles.
Why do you write in the genre you do?
I write both fiction and non-fiction. For fiction, the draw for me is the characters. I’m a total pantser, but I have to sketch out my characters and their backstories before I sit down to write. Once I know who the people are, I introduce them to each other and take it from there.
With non-fiction, I like that I can write about topics I find interesting and relevant. Know Thyself is my first non-fiction book with a spiritual aspect to it, written primarily for adults. Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce were both written for the educational market and while the concepts transferred to adults, they were written for adults to use with children.
How much research do you do for each book?
Because I write contemporary fiction and my non-fiction is within my wheelhouse as a psychology instructor, I don’t usually do a lot of research. If I come up against a topic that’s important to the story that I want to know more about, that’s when I dig in. My goal is not to become an expert but, rather, to write accurately and knowledgeably about the topic.
Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)
Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This verse hangs in a place of prominence in my office – in fact, I purchased a ceramic cross with this verse on it so I could see it daily. Seven years ago, I took advantage of an early retirement incentive and retired from my career as a school counselor. My daughter had just finished middle school and college loomed in four years. I knew the early retirement was the right choice – most days, anyway – but leaving behind a job with a great salary and benefits was a scary proposition. I read this verse a lot that first year until my next steps became clear and, to this day, it sustains me when things are hard.
About the book:
Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff, is meant for anyone who has ever struggled to get organized. So often, people who’ve struggled with this life skill have also lost faith in themselves, which is more demoralizing than any amount of clutter. Know Thyself takes a light-hearted approach to a serious topic, with the aim of building confidence alongside organizational skills by building on what we do naturally. This strengths-based approach helps readers to organize in a sustainable way, rather than merely clearing the clutter and hoping for the best.
Lisa on social media:
Facebook: Lisa Lawmaster Hess, Writer
Pinterest: Lisa Lawmaster Hess
Organizing by STYLE blog: www.orgbystyle.blogspot.com
Thanks for visiting, Lisa, and readers, check out her book on Amazon!