When asked what has inspired her to write more than 50 novels brimming with adventure, intrigue, hot passion, and high emotion, bestselling Oregon author, Lisa Jackson gets a mischievous smile on her face. Then the words flow as fast as her fingers fly on her computer keyboard when she writes. Her eyes sparkling with memories, she tells stories of her youth, stories of a Huckleberry Finn childhood in the small lumber town of Molalla and on her grandparents’ nearby farm in the hilly region of western Oregon.
There in the old growth timber, Lisa rode bareback and raced along the ages-old sheep, cattle and deer trails. In the nearby river, she skinnydipped and caught crawdads in her bare hands. An inventive child, she sneaked out of the house and rode her bicycle or horse in the moonlight and dreamed up childish pranks that would have done Tom Sawyer proud.
"Nobody could have had a better childhood," Lisa remarks, her twinkling eyes and got-away-with-something-grin giving her a youthful appearance that defies the fact that she is in her mid-40s and the mother of two college-age sons. "My childhood was enchanted. We were a small, tightly knit family. My mum and dad were and still are my greatest supporters."
Why then does Lisa write lousy dads and conniving relatives into the plots of books that regularly earn berths on such national bestseller lists as USA Today’s and Waldenbooks’?
"I think the deepest angst people can experience is what can develop among family members, because our emotions run so deep there," Lisa replied. "Deep down, we care about these people, but being related doesn’t mean we think alike or want the same things. I also think manipulative people are fascinating. Characters like those help me to keep the readers’ interest. I love it when readers write me to complain that they didn’t get any sleep the night before because they had to finish my book."
Lisa studied English Literature at Oregon State University for two years before she married. In 1981, when her younger son was a year old, she began writing novels. But she decided she needed a steady income and landed a nine-dollar-per-hour bank job. Before she could begin work, however, her supervisor was arrested for embezzling. "About then I sold my first book, A Twist of Fate, which — guess what! — was about a woman suspected of bank embezzling. It was purely coincidental. The story came out of my background in banking," Lisa provided. "But I guess you could say, if not for a bank embezzler, I might not have made it as an author."
In addition to suspenseful contemporary page-turners, Lisa also delivers medieval romances set in eleventh and twelfth century Wales. "I enjoy doing these medieval period pieces, because women were so trod upon then. By nature of their lot in life, I can generate empathy or sympathy for the medieval heroines. They’re underdogs from the get-go. Tell me what woman doesn’t root for the underdog!"
Britannia Roads, a creative Lansing, Michigan tour packager, read the first in Lisa’s medieval trilogy and loved her writing so much that she designed a tour of Wales, with Lisa as the featured guest. Tour members will visit some of Princess Diana’s favourite places to stay in Ruthin Castle. They’ll be in for a treat when Lisa regales them with author stories during the tour, for she is as talented at public speaking as she is at writing novels.
When not writing, Lisa enjoys spectator sports, reading, watching The X-Files and socialising now that she’s a single mum. Her favourite authors include Pat Conroy, Nelson DeMille, Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell, Dick Francis, and other authors who also write compelling page-turners.