Read It First

Bestselling Novelist Lisa Unger on Writing as Lisa Miscione

Writing as Lisa Miscione
by Lisa Unger

I was nineteen years old when I first met Lydia Strong. I was living in the East Village, dating a New York City police officer and attending Eugene Lang College, the undergraduate school of the New School for Social Research. I was sitting in a car, under the elevated section of the “1” line in the Bronx, waiting – for what I can’t remember. But in my mind that day, I kept seeing this woman running past a church. She was in New Mexico. And all I knew about her was that she was a damaged person, someone in great pain. Running, for her, was salve, religion, and drug. That was Lydia.

I pulled a napkin and a pen from the glove compartment and started writing the book that would become Angel Fire. It took me ten years to write that novel, mostly because the years between age nineteen and twenty-nine were, for me, years of hard work and tumultuous change. But also because during that time, I let my dreams of becoming a writer languish a bit. Lydia was faithful; she waited.

In spite of a first-rate education, a career in publishing, and a strong desire to write fiction, I didn’t know much of anything when I was writing my first novel. I don’t think you can really know anything about writing a novel until you’ve actually written one. (And then you go to school again when you sit down to write your second, and your third, and so on.) All I knew during that time was that I was truly fascinated by this woman occupying a place in my imagination, and I was deeply intrigued by her very dark appetites. I was enthralled by her past, by the mysteries in her present, and why she wouldn’t let herself love the man who loved her. There were lots of questions about Lydia Strong, and I was never happier over those ten years then when I was trying to answer them.

I was fortunate that the first novel I ever wrote was accepted by my (wonderful, brilliant) agent Elaine Markson, and that she fairly quickly brokered a deal for Angel Fire and my second, then unwritten, novel The Darkness Gathers. I spent the next few years with Lydia Strong and the very colorful cast of characters that populate her life. And I enjoyed every dark, harrowing, and complicated moment with them as I went on to write Twice, and then Smoke.

I followed Lydia from New Mexico, to New York City, to Albania, to Miami and back. We trekked through the abandoned subway tunnels under Manhattan, to a compound in the backwoods of Florida, to a mysterious church in the Bronx, to a fictional town called Haunted. It was a total thrill ride, and I wrote like my fingers were on fire.

I am delighted that these early novels, which I published under my maiden name, Lisa Miscione, have found a new life on the shelves and a new home with the stellar team at Broadway Books. And, of course, I am thrilled that they’ve found their way into your hands. I know a lot of authors wish their early books would just disappear, because they’ve come so far as writers since they first began their careers. And I understand that, because we would all go back and rewrite everything if we could.

But I have a special place in my heart for these flawed, sometimes funny, complicated characters and their wild, action-packed stories. I still think about them, and feel tremendous tenderness for even the most twisted and deranged among them. The writing of each book was pure pleasure. I hope that you enjoy your time with them as much as I have. And, thanks, as always, for reading.

lisa-unger-photoLisa Unger is an award-winning New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author. Her novels have been published in over 26 countries around the world. She now lives in Florida with her husband and daughter. Her writing has been hailed as “masterful” (St. Petersburg Times), “sensational” (Publishers Weekly) and “sophisticated” (New York Daily News) with “gripping narrative and evocative, muscular prose” (Associated Press). Her newest novel, Darkness My Old Friend, is available wherever books are sold. The paperback reissue of The Darkness Gathers will be available wherever books are sold November 1, 2011.

Visit Lisa online at LisaUnger.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @LisaUnger.

  • beckyh

    Would like to win this, sounds very good like the other things i like to read.

  • Nichole

    Looks very intriguing!

  • Nancy Campbell

    love her books!

  • Eileen Shellabarger

    Would love to get a copy of Lisa Unger’s book!

  • Michelle

    I think that ‘flawed’ characters are so much better than the picture-perfect romance characters because we can identify with them. We can really live their story instead of fantasizing about a perfect life

  • Corie

    Just giving this site a try… I am sure I will love it!

  • Christy M

    I have never read anything published by Lisa Unger, however I can relate to her desire to become a writer while dealing with the everyday constraints of life. It can be very difficult to keep one’s dreams in focus. For that I am both intrigued and inspired!

  • Sandra Johnson

    I love to read. I become so engrossed everything around me disappears.
    I would love to win a free book :)

  • Sandra

    Fan of Lisa Unger’s writing

  • Kelly Wade

    This books looks very intriguing–kind of like opening the “wardrobe door” to a whole different world… Would love to read it.

  • Sharon Guist

    I just finished Darkness my old friend & loved the book keep my interest the whole way through the book. I am looking forward to this book

  • mechele

    I would love to find out where Lydia Fox takes us in this book!

  • Lynn

    Reading Lisa’s comments made me want to read her even more. Growing up in the Bronx has made me a City girl at heart. You can move me to Connecticut but you can’t take the Bronx out of me. Her characters bring out that same type of city girl strong grit!

  • toni

    I want to read more please

  • Elizabeth Smith

    Love Lisa Unger….looks like a good one!

  • D

    This is a book I am really looking forward to reading.

  • Rachel

    Would like to read this book!

  • Maridy

    Sounds good, can’t wait to read it.

  • Terra Bellegarde

    I am really looking forward to this new book. I am a bug fan of Lisa Unger. My favorite so far is Beautiful Lies.

  • Sue Hamilton

    I love to read, even though I work part time and try to run a household, I would never go to sleep with out reading a chapter or two of a book.in fact if its good I am up to late. I cannot believe I have not have read this author before, but I would love to see if I like her books.

  • Sherry Fisher

    It is refreshing to know that the author is not ashamed of her earlier works.

  • Laura Presley

    This sounds like such a great story, I can’t wait to read more!

  • Tamara Mitchell

    I’ve heard she’s a great author. Would love to read this. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Heather Francis

    I need a new good read, this one looks like a good one!

  • Raquel

    I’m intriged by the events that will unfold in this new book and can’t wait to start reading it. I would love to win it. I’m an avid reader and go to the library once a week and I’m known to have read 600 pages books in 2 days. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read!!

  • Judy Carter

    Lisa Unger’s “flawed” character sounds like an intriquing read. She caught my interest just by talking about the woman running past the church in NM. To be able to take this single event and turn it into a book character shows you that Ms. Unger has a great mind and imagination. I have not read any of Ms. Unger’s book, but am looking forward to doing so, including this book. Winning a free copy would be thrilling.

  • Maureen C McDonald

    This book looks like a great read!! I would LOVE to read this book and follow it up with positive feedback on all the book-selling sites!!!!

  • Joann Acantilado

    I love to read! I think this book would be a great addition to my library or to share with friends!

  • Angie

    Always looking for a good read!!!!

  • Janelle

    Looking for a good new read…

  • bess

    I would like to get a chance to read this it sounds intrigue.

  • Bridget

    I would love to readyour book.

  • liz

    yah, sounds great!

  • Paige Carpenter

    Would love to read!

  • Michele Cashen

    Would like to win this book. Thank you.

  • Kim Johnston

    I will look for this one.

  • Lisa Hickman

    Irecently read “Darkness My Old Friend” and would love to read Lisa’s newest novel.

  • Cindi

    How wonderful that you intriguing books made a
    resurgence. Your characters sounds fascinating and
    they go to places that I would enjoy visiting!
    Many thanks, Cindi

  • Kevin Calme

    Ready to dive into another great read!

  • Rosa maria pacheco

    just looking at the cover, this book looks interesting.

  • Sarah Cartwright

    Lisa Unger cannot fail to deliver a great read. She has got the gift.
    Can’t wait to read this!

  • samantha wagner

    love to read, wouldn’t mind winning this

  • YiChen

    I hope to get to read this book