Author Lissa Price loves to go shopping. Upon arriving in Manila for her book signing events with National Book Store, she figured the best way to beat jet lag was to head out to the nearest mall.
When the hotel concierge at Raffles Makati told her that The Landmark department store was just across the street, she found herself in retail heaven.
“I love Landmark, I don’t know (if) we have an equivalent store (in the United States). It’s a mixture of nice things and good buys and other departments. We really have no equivalent, and I could’ve spent hours in there but I didn’t,” she says with a laugh.
In this interview, Lissa talks about her charm collection, her Manila shopping haul, and why “Enders” might not be the end of her best-selling series.
What did you end up buying at Landmark?
I bought souvenirs for my friends. I went to the Filipiniana section and bought some wonderful things like a little carving of a rabbit with a carrot in dark wood that my husband will like because we have a running joke about rabbits. A friend of mine, whose wife is Filipino, told me to get something called “chica corn.” I bought some to bring home and some for them. There were so many charming things that were so easy to buy for friends.
Speaking of charming, tell us about your charm bracelet collection.
I’m mad about charm bracelets. I try to collect them in every country. My favorites are the old ones from the ’20s ’30s and ’40s from England, and they make three-dimensional charms. So it’ll be like a glass case and you open it and there’d be tiny silver glasses inside. I love them because they tell a story. I have some that I wear but most of them stay on display.
Did you have a special charm to commemorate the day you first got published?
Yes! A friend’s mom used to work in publishing and she gave me this special charm of a book that when you open it up, says “Bestseller,” and it has my name on the book title. I wear that more as a necklace.
“Enders” just ended. What’s keeping you busy?
A lot of the fans are asking for a third book, which I didn’t anticipate. But the way I ended “Enders,” I closed it out, answered all the questions, but you also see a new door has opened. These characters wouldn’t let me go and I had some ideas, so I am playing with those and moving forward. It’s all secret right now.
How do you interact with your Filipino fans?
They are fantastic. They have tweeted me pictures of the billboards and that’s wonderful. My first billboard, I’m so excited about that. They tweet me the big banners in front of the bookstore; they made me feel so welcome before I ever got here. I can’t wait to meet them face to face.
Did you always want to become an author?
I’ve always wanted to write. I always did on and off, but I was also interested in art and photography and visual things; so I did other things but the writing always pulled me back because it gives me a chance to be inside a character’s head and it’s a very personal experience with the reader, and that’s why I know they connect with me so much.
How does your visual background influence your writing?
I write as a visual writer. I see the scene happening and I also feel like I’m in the character, so it’s almost like there’s acting going on for me as I move through the scene.
What is the coolest part of your job?
I just finished something called the “Writer’s Police Academy,” which is something that authors can do where we are taught by real policemen and FBI, and they give us all the details. They’re really brilliant people, and so one instructor for self-defense, she calls this self-protection, she taught me how to use a “cop voice.” It has to come from your belly, from your diaphragm, and it’s loud! I can’t do it in the hotel because it’s too loud, but if somebody is approaching you, and he’s a stranger out in the street or something, that’s how you put your hand up and say stop in this deep, loud voice. Any author can do the Academy, and (character) Callie had to use a gun and I felt like I just wanted more detail. It’s fabulous because it gives you ideas.
Was getting published a surprise among your friends?
Yes, but they were like, “We knew you had it in you, and it’s about time and we’re so happy for you.” There was just so much support I think any author is going to get that thing, though some will go, “Oh, I don’t know if I can be your friend anymore.” Every author goes through this, and that’s fine because it wasn’t meant to be.
It’s strange sometimes, it brings out their own disappointments in their own creative career, which is a shame because all you want do is to help people feel the gratification you got to feel from
this process. But the majority, 99.9 percent, were thrilled for me. It was a dream come true.
How has your life changed since getting published?
The first book, I did in nine months. I had no schedule except my own self-imposed “when I get published” kind of thing. But now it’s deadlines, it’s expectations. I thought a lot about the reader when I wrote “Enders,” and it was a battle because your readers are divided. You have to ultimately go with what you know is right because you’re the one telling that story.
Best fan reaction?
The best one was when a girl from Brazil said how she loved my book, and she had a younger brother that she was trying to get to love reading. He was about 13 and she was 15. She said that she’d tried everything—“Harry Potter,” “Twilight”—and he just couldn’t get into it. He came into her room, saw “Starters,” and asked if it was any good, and she said yes. He read that book and he read the whole thing, complete with the flashlight under the covers. And she said, “My whole family is thanking you because now he wants to read more books.” That just moved me.
Catch Lissa Price today, Sept. 20, 2 p.m. at SM Aura Premier; tomorrow, Sept. 21, 2 p.m. at the National Book Store booth, Manila International Book Fair in SMX Convention Center.
Her books are available at National Book Store. Shop online and buy eBooks at www.nationalbookstore.com, and earn reward points for online purchases. Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @nbsalert.