Meet author Lisa Bain and know her magical story about transition from surviving to thriving. She is the author of ‘Heart of a Kingdom’ novel, a blogger, and the contributing poet of the ‘Perspective to Pen’ poetry anthology.
Lisa Bain says her inspiration has come from widows who remind her that there is strength, beauty, and grace in the ugliness of our bereavement.
Read on as she talks about her novel, life as a writer, favorite authors & poets, the new anthology, her blog, and much more.
Suggested reading: “Write every day. It’s that simple and it’s that hard!” – Samantha Goodwin
1. Let’s begin with a brief introduction of yours and an overview of your book— Heart of a Kingdom.
I’m an American author based in Boise, Idaho. I lost my husband to cancer in 2016. Like many of the bereaved, I was encouraged to write to help me cope and process my grief. I journalled, I wrote angsty poetry (which you can find on Instagram at @LisaBainWrites), and I described my husband’s death in as many ways as my nightmares made me relive it.
In one of my grief counseling assignments, I had to describe my future. It was a time I could barely breathe, let alone think about what the future may hold. Enter the fairy tale and its magical ability to help us suspend disbelief, even if it’s about a future that might include a happy ending. That assignment evolved into this fantasy novel.
I didn’t set out to write a magical tale about grief recovery. Instead, I created the heroine I desperately needed, one who was real, grieving, funny, and who successfully (albeit messily) transitioned from surviving to thriving. I was inspired by the many widows in my life who remind me daily that there is strength, beauty, and grace to be found in the ugliness of our bereavement.
Heart of a Kingdom
“Heart of a Kingdom” is a modern fairy tale with an edge, one that begins with the happy ending and then everything falls apart. It follows the trials of its heroine, Queen Libby, as she survives a horrific loss, learns to pick up the pieces and put her life back together through a series of adventures.
The Kingdom of the Talking Trees survives on the hearts of its rulers, Queen Libby and King Dale. Each has half the other’s heart grafted to theirs, and their magical kingdom is kept safe and separate from the Normals’ realm by this bond.
The Kingdom has had two rulers bearing the burden for as long as they have known. When Dale is fatally wounded, the half of his heart within Libby dies as well. To stay alive and keep her kingdom safe, she must do the impossible and regrow her heart. Her weakened state brings trials and danger to her Kingdom, so Queen Libby travels with her loyal knights and advisors to defend her people. But will she be able to save her kingdom and herself amidst the devastating loss of her husband?
2. From where did you get the idea behind your story? Do the characters come from real-life incidents or from your own imaginations?
I had the opportunity to take a break from my career and travel. I thought it would be a good way to “heal” and wrote almost every day while I was on the road. Most of the characters and scenarios in the book are inspired by friends and family, people I met in my travels, places I visited, and actual things that happened to me. Those threads of truth are all woven together with a healthy dose of fiction.
3. How much time did you take to finish the Heart of a Kingdom book? Did you follow any writing routine?
I wish I could say I followed a writing routine. I didn’t. It took me about nine months to write the first draft. The editing process took a lot longer, mostly due to delays on my part. My only routine was writing every day, even if it was just jotting down something I’d seen or experienced and wanted to remember in great detail. Those days were balanced by the all-day binge-writing sessions.
4. When did you think of writing something? And what was your first piece of writing?
Heart of a Kingdom is my first written piece. I’d never thought about writing outside of the technical writing related to my previous career. About the time I started working on Heart of a Kingdom, I began writing poetry on Instagram.
At first, I wrote my poetry under a pseudonym, but this year went public as part of the release of the poetry anthology Perspective to Pen, released recently in December 2020.
5. Whom do you consider your icons when it comes to writing? Any favorite authors?
Shakespeare, Frost, and Yeats will always be three of my favorites from the classics. Toni Morrison and Alice Walker are powerful American authors I admire for their female characters’ strength. And despite my disapproval of the author’s political views, Harry Potter will always be one of my favorites.
For modern day poetry, I love Robert Cozzi, whom you have featured, and all of my fellow poets in Perspective to Pen. They inspire me daily to stretch and try new things.
6. Please share with our readers some of your favorite lines from the Heart of a Kingdom?
It’s hard to narrow it down, but here are two that stand out:
“Your black hair was blowing in the light breeze and the snow covered it like white lace. The sun had come out behind you, and you were glowing with a pink halo like a warrior Goddess in one of those comic books I liked to read. I already loved you…”
Fynnigan Van der Linden has spoken this line about a childhood memory he has of Queen Libby. And while I’m proud of the finished product, this is the scene I’d hoped would make the cover of the book.
“I’d punch you in the face right now if you could feel it.” This line makes me laugh. Queen Libby is speaking to her husband’s ghost and expresses the frustration so many of us feel at being left behind.
7. I checked out your blog and found a lot of useful content related to coping with grief, health, friends and family, and mostly widowhood. What is the core aim of your blog and who is your target audience?
My blog is a way for me to share my journey from the early days of widowhood filled with raw pain to where I am today: happy, healthy, and still learning how to incorporate my loss into a life that I love and am grateful for. I write for myself, for other widows, and for the friends and family of widows and other bereaved people.
8. You recently write a blog post about the life lessons widowhood has taught you. Could you please brief those lessons for our readers?
Ah, yes. That post was from the fourth anniversary of my husband’s death. Each year I take stock in the lessons I’ve learned that year.
First: Sometimes you have to go back to where it all began. I left town the year after his death and spent almost two years on the road. But running away denied me parts of healing I both needed and deserved. Grief is full of layers, and as we peel them away we see things with fresh eyes.
Second: Family is who we choose. It’s a sad reality that many widows lose their friends and family who can’t deal with their grief, which is profound and life changing. That secondary loss is brutal. But we find new people to become our chosen family in this unchosen chapter.
Third: Life is short, take the chance. If we learn one thing from our widowhood, it’s that life is short and not to wait for “someday” to happen. Sometimes our best days are ahead of us, no matter how dark today may be. What’s the worst that can happen? What’s the best that can happen?
Last: Live in THIS moment. Don’t get trapped in the past or obsess about the future. Each moment is full of life and beauty if we remember to look for it.
9. A quick-fire round (answer in up to 50 words):
– Books that have influenced your life?
Harry Potter by JK Rowling, kaleidoscope of colors by Robert Cozzi, Beloved by Toni Morrison.
– What are your other passions in life?
I love traveling, gardening, cooking, photography, and hiking.
What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?
I’d like to see the aurora borealis with my own eyes, hike Machu Picchu, and visit all the beautiful places in India I’ve read about in books since I was a child.
– If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
My very comedic autobiography would be titled, “That’s Not How I Thought That Was Going To Go.”
10. What’s next in the roadmap for author Lisa Bain?
I’m currently working on a new adventure trilogy that is less fantasy and more spiritually focused. I’m also continuing to write poetry and am thrilled to be included in the Perspective to Pen anthology released recently.
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