About Lisa McMann

Here’s where you find answers to your questions for that book report. Or, maybe you’re just bored and it’s Saturday and you’re at a sleepover and you’re the first one awake, or everybody’s being mean to you at the moment – this is the kind of weird stuff to read during those times.

The short bio:

Lisa McMann lives and writes in Phoenix, Arizona. She’s happily married to her husband Matt and has two awesome kids, Kilian and Kennedy. She’s a native of Holland, Michigan and lived there from her birth on February 27, 1968 until 2004. She then moved to Arizona, where she can admire the desert and the scary mountain lion her daughter spotted in the backyard one time. Lisa likes to unwind by watching HGTV or any cooking show ever. She shares her writing space with two obnoxious yet well-loved cats, and wakes up at 5:30am so she can climb the mountain in the back of her neighborhood before it gets too hot outside. Finally, Lisa would like you to know that she enjoys Mexican food of any variety as well as pistachios, avocados, and bacon.

Still curious? Here’s more:


1.    Where were you born?

Lisa McMann I was born in Holland, Michigan, a fine little Dutch-type city on the shore of Lake Michigan. If you hold your right hand in front of your face so you can see your palm, look on the left edge. About halfway between the base of your pinky and your wrist is where Holland is. Michigan rocks.

2.    Do you still live there?

No. I moved to Arizona in 2004 with my husband, Matt, and my two kids, Kilian and Kennedy. No, I am not a snowbird. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

3.    What’s a snowbird?

Snowbird is the term for retired people who spend their winters at Applebee’s® in Arizona.

4.    Isn’t it hot in Arizona?

Yes, in the summer it’s extremely hot unless you’re in the mountains. The first summer we lived here, we totally tried frying an egg on the sidewalk. Basically, it made a mess. We try to go on vacation during the summer to get out of Phoenix, and I usually do a conference or two if it’s in a nice-weather city in order to escape the heat. In the fall, winter and spring, the weather here suits me just fine.

5.    What do your parents do?

My father worked in a factory for 47 years before he retired. My mother is a hairdresser and she used to play the organ at church.

6.    Do you have brothers and sisters?

Yes, I have two older brothers and a younger sister, and my husband Matt has two older sisters. They are all married. I have a bunch of nieces and nephews as well.

7.    What are your hobbies?

I like to cook, swim, read, and hang out with my husband and kids. I also love watching reality TV shows, even the sappy ones that make me cry.

8.    Did you always want to be a writer?

Since 4th grade, yes.

9.    When is your birthday?

February 27.

10.  I need more information from you.  Can you answer more of my questions by e-mail?

Unfortunately, I’m not able to answer individual questions. However, if you Google a question with my name in it, chances are you’ll stumble upon the answer, because I’ve done lots of interviews. Additionally, some incredibly nice people have set up a Wikipedia page about me. There’s some more info there.


1.    Is there a sequel to WAKE?

There are three books in the series: WAKE, FADE, and GONE.  All books are now out in hardcover, paperback, audiobook, and ebook. You can also find all three in one paperback bind-up under the title Don’t Close Your Eyes, or in a boxed set.

2.    How did you come up with the idea of a girl getting sucked into other people’s dreams?

I had a dream about it. True story. I dreamed that I was in my husband’s dream, watching what he was dreaming about.

3.    What was he dreaming about?

I’d say that’s up to you.

4.    What inspired your other books?

CRYER’S CROSS: This one came from a dream as well, of someone sitting at a desk and disappearing.

DEAD TO YOU: Ethan’s story was inspired by a true story in The New Yorker called “The Chameleon.”

THE VISIONS TRILOGY: The Visions Trilogy was sparked by an interest in narcolepsy, which never actually made it into the final version. Instead it’s about visions, and I included a food truck, hoarding, and Romeo & Juliet to make things really interesting.

THE UNWANTEDS: My kids have always been very artistic and creative, and when they came home from school one day and announced that their school arts programs were being cut, they felt like they were being punished for their creativity. I pitched the idea of a world where children really were punished for being creative to my son, Kilian, who was 12 at the time. His response? “Not just punished, Mom. Sent to their deaths.”

5.    Will there be a Sequel to CRYER’S CROSS or DEAD TO YOU?

No, they are both stand-alones.

6.  How many UNWANTEDS books will there be?

At least seven.

7. Who are your favorite characters from your books?

I love Captain from the WAKE trilogy (in fact, I named one of my cats after her) and Trey and Rowan from the VISIONS trilogy. From the UNWANTEDS, I’d say Simber, Sky and Aaron. Also Florence, which reminds me—if there ever is an UNWANTEDS movie, I’m looking at you, Lupita N’yongo.

8.    Where do you get your ideas?

I’d like to tell you, but I can’t. Top secret.

9.    How long does it take you to write a novel?

It depends. The rough draft of WAKE was written very quickly. GONE took several months. I normally write fast and furious, but the editing process takes longer. The UNWANTEDS series is an entirely different beast—I am always working on an Unwanteds book.

10.    What’s your writing schedule like?

Mostly I write during the day after my morning mountain-climb with my husband, Matt. My work time also consists of other author business, like answering interview questions, editing, figuring out what kind of contests to have, updating my various web pages... stuff like that. 

11.    Can you come to my school or city?

I’d love to! Someone in charge of things has to invite me. Have them contact my assistant at lisa.mcmann@gmail.com for rates and information about my presentation. My visits are geared for 3rd grade and up.

12.    You should totally make movies out of your books!

I wish I could! Too bad I don’t know how to make a movie. Luckily, people in Hollywood know how to do that.

The WAKE trilogy has been optioned for a movie by Paramount/MTV Films. This doesn’t mean a movie will happen – I’ll keep you posted on Twitter and Facebook just as soon as I hear anything more.

If you’re a professional director, producer, or studio, and you want to inquire about film/TV rights for any of my books, please contact my agent Michael Bourret at mbourret@dystel.com.

15.    Do you have any advice for aspiring teen writers?

Sure. If you can possibly do another job instead of writing and still enjoy your life, do that instead.  I mean that sort of jokingly, and sort of not. Because writing is hard. There are a lot of disappointments and no guarantees. Be prepared to write a second or third or fifteenth novel if the first ones don’t sell. Be prepared to put the words you love in a drawer for a long time while you work and work to get better at writing. Once you’ve focused on WRITING instead of GETTING PUBLISHED, you’re doing the right thing. Then, go find a writing message board where you can learn how this business works—it’s pretty complicated. There’s a lot of research you need to do to figure it out. But remember, you won’t get anything published if you don’t put all your effort into simply writing first.

Connect with Lisa

Next appearance

April 26-27, 2019
Normal Public Library events: Friday 5-7pm, Sat 10-12, 1-3pm. Various locations. See link to sign up.

Hope you can make it!

More appearances
Sidebar bottom