I was lucky enough to meet Lisa online through the Crested Butte Writers Group.
What a doll. She is the sweetest person. But don't let that fool you.
She researched and wrote Sweet Glory in all its Civil War truth.
Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Lisa. Tell us, what inspired you to write your book, Sweet Glory?
"Dear Reader, I hate history!"
That’s how my “Author Note” in Sweet Glory begins. And it sums up how I felt about it, until well into my adulthood when ghosts of colonial-era past came out to play with me while I was touring a period home and they showed me the fun side of history. Afterward, I found myself gobbling up all fiction and non-fiction, especially around Civil War times, that crossed my path. This led me to the little-known fact that around 250 women, from both sides of the American Civil War, disguised themselves as soldiers to fight for their respective cause. One amongst them kept calling out to me from the graveyard of records to tell her story as a soldier, nurse, and spy, and the rest is, as they say, history. Get it? Sorry. I hope I’m much better at writing stories than jokes. LOL!
What were your experiences as a child that contributed to you becoming a writer?
From the moment I could read and write I was a kid in a candy shop around books. I especially felt the magic in their words, frolicking on the pages between their covers. I dreamed of someday writing a story that would entertain someone somewhere. If you’ve seen the scene in Miss Potter (2006, starring Renee Zellweger) in which Beatrix Potter first sees her Peter Rabbit displayed in the front window of a Mom-and-Pop bookshop, then you’ve witnessed my range of emotions when Sweet Glory debuted in this way; if you haven’t seen the scene, I’m sure that through some great accomplishment of your own, you can imagine my joy, gratification, and relief to have my brain child out in the world.
Do day-to-day life experiences influence your stories?
From my day-to-day experiences, I might pluck something unique in the description or mannerism of a family member, friend, or acquaintance for one of my characters; draw upon an emotion that I felt during some significant event, such as the loss of a loved one; or use a familiar activity, such as bread-making (which I love to do—can’t make a pie crust to save my life—but I can whip up a loaf of braided bread or rosette-shaped rolls). But. . .I think my past experiences influence my storytelling more. Some glaring examples: 1. My love of horses growing up guaranteed that my heroine would enlist in the cavalry versus infantry or artillery; 2. One of my secondary characters is patterned after my younger brother in his youth (his big ears, coke-bottle-thick glasses, and naivete were so cute); and 3. My heroine had to meet her love interest in some spectacular fashion as I did my hubby.
What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?
Research, research, research! To get a lay of the historical land and bring exciting morsels of Civil War times to my readers, I visit the battlefields and cities/towns in my story, including combing through archives and interviewing experts and even relatives of Civil War persons, and I read a ton of fiction and non-fiction. I can’t possibly use every detail that I exhume, but I hope readers of Sweet Glory are entertained by those that I have fleshed out. I’m awestruck every time a reader tells me how much they appreciate the research that went into the making of Sweet Glory—based upon their having additionally read my “Acknowledgements” and “Fact or Fiction” sections.
If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be? And why?
Nancy Drew—all the way! I love her wit, adventuresome spirit, tomboyish ways, desire to travel, and love of family and friends. Not to mention, she gets to solve some pretty cool mysteries—one of my favorite reads besides historical fiction. A side bar: My mom feared that my fourth-to-sixth-grade obsession with reading would make me an introvert; she has mostly Nancy Drew to thank for cultivating my love of socialization, exploration, and being a tomboy,—all of which you should find in my heroine and her journey. Would I ever have had the guts to dress up as a soldier to fight in the American Civil War? I think not! But, then again, I didn’t live in those times when war was so highly romanticized.
Give us a brief summary of Sweet Glory:
Reluctant to shed her riding trousers, sixteen-year-old tomboy Jana Brady trims her auburn tresses and rides off as Cavalryman Johnnie to fight as a soldier, nurse, and spy in the American Civil War. Ironically, dressed as a man, she comes to appreciate her womanhood as she ages to nineteen in the service of the Union army.
Bio: Lisa Potocar lives in Upstate New York with her hubby and two cuddly keeshonds. Her passion for writing and research stems from her former work in healthcare administration and as a professor. When not tracking some morsel of history to shape into a story, she’s a tomboy at heart who would still climb trees if she could.