Interview with Lisa Belcastro
About the Author
Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard. She loves time with her family and friends, running, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, chocolate, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat, Ben, who keeps her company while she creates fictional lives for the numerous characters living inside her head.
Lisa runs as an ambassador for TEAM 413 (www.team413.org), and has completed a marathon (26.2 miles) in all fifty states.
Lisa’s stories are set on the Vineyard amidst the magnificence of the ocean, the beauty of sandy beaches, rolling hills, and ancient cliffs, as well as the people and events that make the Island so very unique.
When she’s not at her desk, Lisa is living in paradise, volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, planting and weeding her numerous gardens, training to run the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge in January 2016, walking the beach looking for sea glass, or enjoying a great meal while she pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
My “professional” writings began as a journalist. After graduating with a degree in journalism and equine studies, I was hired by The Chronicle of the Horse, a weekly sport horse magazine. I LOVED my job! I traveled the States and overseas covering major equestrian competitions. I loved the travel, loved the friends I met and saw at the competitions, loved the horses. I never thought I’d give it up. Then, I got married and had a baby. I loved being a mom more than I loved travel, writing, and horses combined. I gave up the magazine job, and worked from home for years. As time went on, I got the itch to write again but knew traveling multiple weekends a month was out of the question. I went back to school, mostly online, for creative writing. A few more years passed, and I volunteered to organize and chaperone my daughter’s school trip aboard the schooner Shenandoah. Sailing across the Vineyard Sound, I imagined I was transported in time to colonial Boston. I wrote some notes, took a lot of pictures, and the Winds of Change series was born. I often chuckle that becoming a mom shifted my focus away from writing, and then being a mom brought me back to writing.
2. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I have two novels and one novella coming out in 2016. Audition for Love is the second book in the Possible Dreams trilogy.
Audition is a contemporary romance set on Martha’s Vineyard. Broadway star Felicia Jenson is on Island for a two-week performance at the Vineyard Playhouse. Eric Young attended the Community Service Possible Dreams auction fundraiser, and purchased a walk-on appearance for his niece in Felicia’s show. Felicia has had one miserable relationship after another. Her director in NYC is hitting on her, and she’s ready to quit. Eric, a NYC attorney, is struggling to get over his brother’s death four years earlier, convinced that he should’ve died instead. Buried under the weight of guilt, Eric’s sole interest in women is to take care of his niece and his brother’s widow. Eric will soon discover that he can’t afford the stunning Felicia when her name appears on a list of witnesses for his newest case. Audition for Love releases next summer.
Shenandoah Song, the sixth story in the Winds of Change series, will focus on Jonah and Ava, who we meet in A Shenandoah Family Christmas. Ava’s beautiful voice, and Jonah’s love of music, bring them together. The Revolutionary War will tear them apart. One accident will throw them together, while a second tragic event will separate them physically and emotionally. My heart breaks for them as I’m typing this.
I’ll be writing another Christmas novella for release next November. I have until March to decide whether it will be a story with Ryan, Laurel, and Gracie from A Dream for Love, or whether I’ll focus on Tess and Hawk for the Winds of Change series. Who knows, maybe I’ll write both!
3. What authors inspire your writing?
I am a book nerd, always have been. I grew up dreaming I was Laura Ingalls living in a little house on a prairie. C.S. Lewis took me away to worlds beyond my imagination, and I still read his books today. I own dozens of Karen Kingsbury books. Her love stories, especially the Baxter series, have drawn me in and kept me turning pages as I sighed, cried, laughed, mourned, and rejoiced. I discovered Sandra Orchard’s romantic suspense books a couple of years ago, and have now read all of her novels. My bookshelves are filled with well-read books by Denise Hunter, Colleen Coble, Bodie and Brock Thoene, Cynthia Riggs, Jerry Jenkins, Robert Parker’s Spenser-for-Hire series, William Sirls, Janette Oke, and the list goes on and on.
4. What period of history interests you the most? Does this influence your writing?
I love, love, love the American Revolutionary War period in history. Perhaps because I was born in Boston, and grew up surrounded by the history of that era. When I first dreamed up the idea of Shenandoah Nights, the first book in the Winds of Change series, I knew exactly where I wanted to the set the book. I love writing a series during the War, and also writing a second series, Possible Dreams, set on Martha’s Vineyard now.
5. What inspired the idea for A Shenandoah Family Christmas?
My characters in the Winds of Change series, the Roberts family and the Reed family, live on present-day Martha’s Vineyard or in colonial Boston. In 2014, I wrote A Shenandoah Christmas about the Roberts family, and set the story in present day on the Vineyard. This year I wanted to visit with the Reed family and see how they were doing during the Revolutionary War. The second smallpox outbreak in Boston added a nice bit of tension to the story, and I had fun researching the disease.
6. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I am a passionate runner. I run for TEAM413, and have completed a full marathon in every state in America. I love gardening, growing flowers and vegetables. I’m an avid reader, and total Disney fan. I’m also the person you can call and say, “Want to go to XYZ?” I’m always up for travel or adventure (as long as I can afford it!).
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