Q1: You’re retiring to recharge and do a lot more writing. What projects are on your desk for 2019?
Lisa: There are a few short pieces I owe to various venues, and we may be spinning off the “Ghost Reports” I do for Bridget Marquardt‘s “Ghost Magnet” podcast into a separate show about ghost stories. Beyond that … well, I’d love to say “new novel,” but it looks like I’ll be diving right into a large nonfiction book that I was approached about last month. Of course, now that I don’t have to wrestle with that HWA President thing anymore, dare I try both?
Q2: Recently you posted that you have 150 stories in print. Can you discuss your commitment to short work while producing novels?
Lisa: My novel output hasn’t exactly been stellar—there are only four on my resume. I hope to change that soon, but short stories are my Achilles’ heel because I really love writing them (novels, on the other hand, are really, Really, REALLY HARD!).
Q3: Your collaborative effort with Stephen Jones on his new Lovecraft Squad is fascinating. How did this project come together?
Lisa: Steve is both the editor I’ve worked with most often (my first horror fiction sale was to him) and a dear friend. When he’s putting together one of these “mosaic novel” series (as he calls both the Zombie Apocalypse! books and The Lovecraft Squad series), he needs writers who can work within his vision of the overall story but still put their own distinctive stamp on the work, so he’s gathered a core group of writers who he knows can deliver. I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to be a part of that group because I love writing for these series and working with Steve.
Q4: Five years as President of the HWA. If you were putting together a memory album of greatest hits, what would they be?
Lisa: Working with Rocky Wood (the President who preceded me) was fantastic; we were like great fiction collaborators because one of us would get an idea that would spark something off in the other, and before we knew it we had something like StokerCon™! However, certainly December 1, 2014, will go down as one of the most unforgettable days for me because that was the day that Rocky lost his battle against ALS and I realized I’d just become HWA’s President. Fortunately, many of the other memories associated with the job are far happier, like getting to tell Dennis Etchison (whom I consider a mentor) that he’d just received the Lifetime Achievement Award, or being the one who got to give the good news to a new scholarship winner.
There’s one capper to it all, though, that will be one of the best memories of my life, and that was at this last StokerCon (held in Grand Rapids), where, after I delivered the Opening Ceremonies speech, Robert McCammon—not only a legendary writer but also one of the three founders of HWA—told me how he could never have imagined how the organization had grown, and how much of that he thought was due to me. It just doesn’t get any better than that!
Q5: Tell us one thing that no one knows about Lisa Morton.
Lisa: My first published piece was a poem about my pet turtle, Tucker. I was five. It was in some L.A. County school district magazine or something.