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LAist Interview: Lisa Teasley

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Lisa Teasley is a successful fiction writer living in Los Angeles. Her first book, "Glow in the Dark," won the 2002 Gold Pen Award for Best Short Story Collection and the 2002 Pacificus Literary Foundation Best Short Story Writer award for fiction. Bloomsbury USA published her first novel "Dive" in 2004. The novel is a romantic thriller set in Los Angeles and Alaska. Bloomsbury will publish her latest novel "Heat Signature" in 2006.

Age and Occupation:
42, writer

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?

I live in Laurel Canyon. I’m an L.A. native and have been here for most of my life, except for the twelve years I spent in Durham, N. Carolina and New York City.

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Why do you live in Los Angeles?

You make your own magic in this city. It’s not in your face like New York. The getaways—beach, desert, mountains—are heartbeats away. All of my family is here, and it’s home.

Why did you write your latest book, "Heat Signature"?

I’m intrigued by the many ways in which we thwart our own happiness. The ghosts and phantoms we give weight and validity to. We all tend to be haunted by something, in most cases, the other lives we think we might be leading or could have led. The main character in Heat Signature is literally haunted by his dead mother, and with his story I get to explore faith through religion, philosophy, and the supernatural. I wanted to try and illustrate how we create our own realities. While writing the novel, a number of strange occurrences happened which further drove me to believe that there is no such thing as coincidence. The book is also set in Joshua Tree, as well as LA and the Northern California coast all the way up to Newport, Oregon. My characters tend to travel as I love that on the road feeling of vulnerability, being utterly yourself, and lost in thought.

Why did you make one of your characters an animator in your last book, "Dive"?

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I’m also a painter, and so the visual is part of my language. When I have something to work out with someone, I tend to draw cartoons about it. The animator character in Dive gets to do full time what I do only in fits and starts.

As a mom raising a child in Los Angeles, what are some kid-friendly places in Los Angeles?

My daughter Imogen is very sporty so we play basketball at West Hollywood Park, go skateboarding by the L.A. River, go to the beach, where she boogie-boards and I watch.

How do you manage to write and raise a child? What arrangements work best for you and your child?

During the school year, she’s in an incredible afterschool program called Star, where she takes classes like chess, karate, magic, drumming, and woodworking. Because she’s in an accelerated program, it keeps her pretty busy with homework at the end of the day. During the summer, spring and winter breaks, we spend mornings together and then I work in the afternoon—or sometimes it’s the other way around, I’m very flexible. Her father is also a very attentive and generous one, and my live-in boyfriend as well as my family is extremely supportive. It’s an idyllic situation.

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Where is the best place to write in Los Angeles?

I have a closet-size office at home, where I write. Outside I’m too distracted, and a café can be worse.

Where is the worst place to write in Los Angeles? Any LA café where you had a bad experience writing?

No bad experiences, because 99 percent of the time I write at home. My daughter and I worked on a story together once at Anastasia’s Asylum, where we will probably return to finish it.

What's your preferred mode of transportation?

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My skateboard, though that doesn’t work too well in the hills.