After Hello Author Interview with Lisa Mangum!

Today I am featuring an interview with author Lisa Mangum here at Bookscoops. Lisa has written my top favorite time travel series, the Hourglass Door Trilogy. Please join us in celebrating her most recent novel, After Hello. Be sure to check out the links at the end of the interview for some fun opportunities!

I had the great pleasure of attending a lecture given by Lisa at the WIFYR conference this summer in Utah. I also met Lisa at the book signing and she is one awesome lady. If you ever need a hug- she’s a great hugger! Please join me in welcoming Lisa and getting a glimpse into how talented she is.

Holly with Lisa Mangum at WIFYR (sorry for the blurry cell phone picture)
Holly: Where did you get the idea for your book, After Hello? 

Lisa: It sounds cliché, but it came from a dream. I dreamed what eventually became the first scene in the book—the part where Sara sees Sam for the first time, takes his picture, and decides to follow him. The dream wandered into strange territory after that, as dreams often do, but when I woke up, I still remembered that moment of a first meeting, and the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I was about who these two people were and what they were doing and what their relationship would be like.

Holly: You are so creative to be able to take a moment from a dream and turn it into a whole novel! After Hello is a contemporary novel whereas your trilogy was not. What were the main differences between writing a contemporary novel and writing your previous Time Travel Series? (Which I loved by the way!)

 Lisa: The biggest difference was that I couldn’t rely on a magical or paranormal solution to a problem! While I loved writing my time travel series (I have always loved the fantasy and sci-fi genres), I found writing contemporary fiction to be both refreshing and challenging. With a contemporary novel, I needed to make sure I kept my characters grounded in reality, facing real problems, and finding real solutions. I also found there was a certain immediacy I liked about writing contemporary fiction that wasn’t always present in the Hourglass Door series.

Holly: Will there be a sequel to After Hello?

Lisa:  I don’t have any plans right now to revisit the story of Sam and Sara. Without giving too much away, I wanted to leave the story a little open-ended so the reader could decide what happened next. After all, people often come in our lives only to stay for varying amounts of time, and that’s okay.

Holly: I think you are very good at sequels. There should be a sequel. I hereby call for a vote. All in favor say yes! Ahem. Oh yes, back to the interview… In After Hello, there is a lot of trading going on. What is the coolest trade you’ve ever made?

Lisa: I actually traded a copy of After Hello—plus a sugar packet—for a framed movie poster of the Avengers. I then traded the poster to my friend Heidi for a stack of fashion books and coloring books, which I then traded to my nieces in exchange for a bucket of Mr. Potato Head parts that I needed for a writing conference class I was teaching. Whew! If you want to join in the fun, visit and I’ll send you an official After Hello sugar packet that you can trade.

Holly: Sure…we totally believe you about the Mr. Potato Head :). Although, I must say I never saw any Mr. Potatoe Head parts during your presentation. You just wanted to have your own set, right? j/k. When you aren’t busy with Mr. Potato Head, what project are you working on now?

Lisa: I actually have another contemporary YA novel in mind: Just June. My elevator pitch goes something like this: “May and June are as close as identical twin sisters can be. So when May commits suicide, June is left with one question: Why hadn’t she known her sister was in trouble?” I want to explore the issue of sisterhood and identity, secrets and trust. It’s kind of a scary topic for me, but exciting as well.

Cari with Lisa Mangum at WIFYR
 That does sound like a scary topic to address. It will be interesting to see how it goes. Speaking of scary and exciting things, tell us a little about your path to publication—how long did you work at becoming published before it actually happened?

Lisa: My path to publication took a decade-long detour through the editing world. Growing up, I wanted to be a writer. I loved everything about books, but somewhere in my teen years, that horrible voice of self-doubt convinced me that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say, that writing was a dream that other people had. So, I’m sad to say, I shelved that dream for a number of years. But I still loved books, so I looked into the possibility of becoming an editor. I graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in English and almost immediately was able to start work as an Editorial Assistant in a publishing house. I loved it! And it wasn’t until 2007 or 2008 before I turned my attention back to writing. When I got the idea for The Hourglass Door, it was like the floodgates opened, and all those dreams I had as a child came rushing back. I finished the draft in about 8 months and submitted it to Shadow Mountain. They said yes, and about a year later, the book was on the shelf, ready to be read. It was a whirlwind process. I haven’t looked back since.

Holly: Well, you are quite a few steps ahead of me, that’s for sure. When I got that little voice of self-doubt I went and got a degree in Business. At least you stayed in the same general field! I always kept the love of books alive though. At Bookscoops we talk a lot about memories with books. What are some memories you have of reading as a young child?

Lisa: My first book-related memory is of me—maybe only 3 or 4—taking a copy of The Secret Garden to my mom and asking her to read it to me. We curled up in the big green rocking chair and she read the entire book to me. It’s still one of my favorites. I remember discovering Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen and crying my eyes out at the end of book two. (I also wrote her a letter, which she answered! And which I still have to this day.) I remember scouring the libraries for the sequel to The Three Musketeers. I remember one birthday where I wished to spend the whole day in the bookstore; Mom and Dad bought me ten books that day. (Happy birthday, indeed!)

Holly: I love the Secret Garden too! The Three Musketeers I didn’t read until I was in 9th grade French. I wasn’t super fluent (I’m still not) so my appreciation and understanding of that great piece of writing was spotty at best. On another note, I love your birthday memory! I’ve never heard of celebrating a birthday at the bookstore. Wouldn’t it be great if they had party rooms at bookstores? Maybe that’s what I’ll ask for on my next birthday. (Not the party room- the whole day at the bookstore, and ten books. Minimum.)
Thanks for the interview Lisa! It was great to hear more about you. Now, dear readers, please go check out Lisa Mangum’s new book, After Hello. And check out the sugar packet trading site We all have some serious trading to do!
After Hello by Lisa Mangum

After Hello by Lisa Mangum Review by Holly Papa

After Hello by Lisa Mangum


So, I met Lisa Mangum and she is awesome. Which explains how her books became the same way. I was excited to meet Lisa when I realized she would be at the writer’s conference I went to last summer. I had recently discovered her Hourglass trilogy and couldn’t wait to meet the person behind that great story. I was not disappointed. Lisa is very friendly and easy to get along with.

But, this is not a review of Lisa, it’s a review of her most recent book, After Hello. I wasn’t expecting anything like the Hourglass Trilogy, although I think a small part of me was hoping for some magic anyway. Which, now that I think about I still got. After Hello is set in New York City and is filled with the hustle and bustle and craziness that is the magic of New York. I went there once (to New York) and I was actually the same age as the protagonist in the story. I could relate in a zany way- as in an I once was there and I was way too naive and dependent on my Aunt to take me around to possibly be this character sort of way. There’s some suspension of disbelief that I had to employ in reading because there was no way on my bravest teenage day that I would have acted anything like Sara or Sam, the two main characters. And yet, I still enjoyed the story and found myself wishing I’d been that brave and bold  at the same time that I was glad I wasn’t so blind and trusting. Perhaps that is a clue to creating lovable characters- make your readers love them and hate them and not be able to set the book down because they want to know what crazy thing they’ll do next and you think that by reading faster maybe you can make sure they don’t get strangled by some crazy psycho lurking in the alley.

After Hello covers such a short period of time that it is amazing the depth and character development taking place. Sara and Sam are both in very different places by the end of the book. A 24-ish hour difference. I was left hanging at the end of the book and would love a sequel even though that’s not in the plans. You can read all about it in my author interview with Lisa Mangum where she tells us her upcoming plans here.

Now, what are you waiting for? Time’s awasting! Check out the great sugar packet trading contest with awesome prizes and you have way more than 24 hours to see what kind of trading master you are. I’m thinking I want to trade my sugar packet for a trip to France… but that would take some serious trading skills so we’ll see.  If you could trade for anything, what would you trade for?

Poopendous! by Artie Bennett

I have to admit I was excited to get this book to review courtesy of Author Artie Bennett. I know it sounds rather odd that a book like this would excite me so much. But not really, when you consider that I am the mother to four boys. We once spent a whole dinner discussing the finer points of passing gas- yes, everyone- well actually, everything that has a digestive tract does this (we had to do our research after we came to a draw). Your possible next book idea Mr. Bennett?

After reading other reviews, I was prepared for much laughter and hilarity. I was not prepared, however, for what we actually got. My two year old has a new bible. Poopendous is his potty training, all about poop bible. He holds this book and studies it like it is the be all-end all book about poop. I only wish it had a picture of a kid actually sitting on the potty instead of running for the bathroom door in desperation. He knows now that pooping is normal (I’m not sure he was wondering, but just in case) and that there are many different animals that do it in many different places. So, he’s decided he is a puppy and needs to poop like a puppy outside. He ran outside with no pants on just yesterday in a serious attempt to prove to me that he is in charge of where he goes to the bathroom. All the characters in his ‘bible’ poop in different places, so why should he be restricted to the toilet?  I just hope he doesn’t take any cues from the monkey in the book, “Monkeys fling when ender stress it helps the monkey decompress.” Over all though it has encouraged him to make all kinds of poops in his potty. Thank goodness!

A big thumbs up goes to this book about the finer facts of Professor Pip Poopdeck’s favorite subject. And just so you know there was no laughter, just quiet internalizing and digesting of these exhaustive facts. By all four of my boys. I was rather surprised. The other children who have been in our home and looked at this book have all gotten a silly grin on their faces. There’s just something special about a whole book devoted to poop- and in rhyme no less. It deserves our utmost respect and hallowed devotion. Kudos to Mr. Bennett and thanks again for the book!

Announcement! Holly’s new Author/Illustrator Site

One of Holly's Illustrations from WIFYR Workshop

As many of you know, we (Cari and Holly) are both aspiring to be genuine published authors. Tack on illustrator to Holly’s goals and you have the whole picture. As part of the journey to publication, I (Holly) have created my  own website where I will be posting insights about writing and illustrating and chronicling my journey to success. I will still be posting here at Bookscoops and hope that you will follow along with me in both places.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” Stephen King

Here’s to a great ride. Cheers!