Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Interview with Lisa Maggiore, author of 'Home From Within'

Lisa Maggiore is the author of a children’s picture book, Ava the Monster Slayer: A Warrior Who Wears Glasses and a fiction short story, Pinterest Saved My Marriage. Lisa is currently working on other writing projects and practicing her storytelling skills during Live Lit performances. Lisa resides in Chicago with her husband and four children. Lisa loves to travel, watch da Bears during the NFL season and be silly with her family.

Her latest book is the women’s fiction, Home From Within.

For More Information

Title: Home From Within
Author: Lisa Maggiore
Publisher: Vagabond Publishing
Pages: 253
Genre: Women’s Fiction

It’s the fall of ’82, and Jessica Turner has finally been set free, entering a public high school after being homeschooled. But her mother wears a frown and her father wears his Colt .45s, with a warning: no dating allowed. Seeking warmth, Jessica finds herself in a secret relationship with bad boy Paul Peterson. When the relationship–and Jessica’s pregnancy–are discovered, Paul will be dead by nightfall.

Seventeen years later Jessica and her daughter live a quiet life with horse farmer, Matt Johnson. Marriage is on the table but Jessica’s remorseful heart will not comply. When an unexpected death brings Jessica back home, she uncovers her father’s secrets and discovers that her true path in life, and love, are just a choice away.

For More Information

  • Home From Within is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thank you for this interview! I’d like to know more about you as a person first. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I love spending time with my husband and four children: riding bikes, cuddling on the couch to watch a movie, playing board games on Sunday night. I also love to read, hike, travel, and watch football (go Bears!). And once a month I try to hit a brunch spot or a late-night bar spinning throwback ’80s music with girlfriends.

When did you start writing?

When I was ten I wrote short stories about events that happened in my life (with lots of embellishments.) When I was fourteen, I wrote what would now be considered fan fiction about S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. It was two hundred pages and included an older sister. Although I never finished it, it was so much fun to write!  I wrote many short stories in my creative writing classes in college but after changing my major to social work, I stopped. I rekindled my love of writing many years later with penning, Home from Within.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

When I leaped from a twenty-year career as a social worker to a full-time writer, pursuing my dream of being published.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I went to Vietnam in 2013 and that inspired me to write a YA novel that is currently in the process of revisions. I would really like to return to Vietnam to smell more flowers, taste more food (which was fantastic!), explore more areas, and listen to locals share stories about their lives in Vietnam. I love listening to people’s stories. That’s what I did as a career for twenty years and it continues to be a strong desire in me now. Most of the stories I have listened to have been tragic, however many have also been redemptive and full of resiliency and grace.

If you had four hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Sleep! Then read! Ah, a book by Diana Gabaldon with a cup of hot apple cider and glances outside at the changing autumn leaves sounds great right about now!

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

I have two ideas for stories that would be set in Chicago, where I’m from and continue to live with my family. There is such richness in Chicago, from the diversity of people to the Midwest friendliness to my fond memories of childhood to the memories I am making right now with my family. I have so much I want to share right here where I am.

Back to your present book, Home from Within, how did you publish it?

I decided to self-publish to have more control over the entire process. It has been a learning experience but also really exciting.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

Luckily, the two places the book is set in: Chicago and the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan, are very familiar to me since I live in Chicago and my grandparents lived in the UP where I spent many weeks in the summer and winter. My family and my mother continue to vacation in the UP for a week every August. In fact, the UP State Fair, which is where my protagonist Jessica meets Matt, is a place I’ve been taking my children to for over twenty years (my oldest is twenty-six!). 

Why was writing Home from Within so important to you?

I love a great love story. I’m drawn to the hard choices that love triangles present, navigating between the head and the heart. But I’m also coming from the perspective of a social worker: a bad moment does not define a person; often decisions being made are the best that could be offered at that moment, based on where someone is at in their life; love motivates people to do better, be better; and loving yourself is the most important love of all.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

Usually my best ideas pop in my head suddenly, like when I see someone of interest or overhear a conversation. Then, I let the images or words play out in my head like scenes from a movie, usually while I’m driving or when I wake early in the morning or before I fall asleep late at night. Then, after many days of that idea getting stronger in my head, I start writing it down. If I don’t write ideas and ground them into a possible story, they scatter like leaves in the wind. I also know that my twenty years as a social worker, meeting people and hearing their stories, gives me an advantage. I ALWAYS have a story inside of me. I am the keeper of stories.

Any final words?

In the beginning of my writing career, it helped to write in a setting I was familiar with and about people that have been in my social circle. As I have matured as a writer, I have pushed outside the comfort zone, doing research and learning about cultures that I knew little about. I’m always reading and learning from other writers on how to fine-tune the voice inside me. It has been a great journey in so many ways and I love growing as a writer.


  1. Thank you I'm Shelfish, for posting my interview!

  2. Thank you so much for hosting Lisa today!

  3. Your persistence and passion are admirable, Lisa. I wish you great success and congratulate you on accomplishing your lifetime dream of getting published. This is just the beginning! Susan