Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Guest Post: Lia Mack, Author of Waiting for Paint to Dry

It's my pleasure to introduce you to Lia Mack. We're publishing twins: both of us have novels coming out in April! I met Lia through the Women's Fiction Writers Association and she's written a great book that you should check out!  So, dear reader, here's Lia Mack. -SB

To write a novel based on true life events, or not… That is a good question… guest post by Lia Mack, author of Waiting for Paint to Dry

While in the shower this morning, I had a thought. Years ago I wrote a snippy little blog post about whether or not one should write a novel based on true life events. In it I asked four of the best questions writers should ask themselves before even thinking about typing that first word....

But there’s an even more important question you should ask yourself. One I never thought to ask myself until today.

Of course by now, with my book only months away from being published, this question is too late. For me, that is.

But it’s not too late for you.

While you ask yourself those 4 solid Q’s I postulated long ago (you can find them here), you should also remember to pointedly ask yourself this:

Do you, dear writer, want to endure, dredge up and relive this event over and over and over again, while you write your book?

Then relive it again and again and again while you edit and re-edit your book?

And then again when you have to go through the edits from your editor/publisher?

And then again while you’re answering questions about your book in interviews?

And again and again and again????

I think you get the logic here.

Is this an event – from your life – that you want to relive over and over and over again?

My book is a Roman e’ clef. That means it’s a fictional novel with real life elements. My life elements. I wrote my novel Waiting for Paint to Dry as a cathartic movement of sorts. The fact that it turned into a novel worth publishing is a testament to years of sweat, tears and – most recently – blood. (Publishing is a laborious journey.) And I’m excited to see it finally come full circle. I’m overjoyed about my first step out into the publishing world. As an author. And at the opportunity for my characters to breathe their first breath…

Only, I wish I had somehow been aware of the effects of reliving something that I healed from over and over again, through the eyes and life of my character. No matter that by the end of the book she’s a healed, lovely woman, ready to take on the world. Going back over the beginning parts where she’s a bruised and battered wreck was painful for me. I’ll admit it. Sometimes I felt as though I was back there, unhealed and all.

But then again, my book is a Roman e’ clef.

Not all of what my character lives through is from that one event. Rather, 90% of my book is fictional and fun. It was an adventure to create characters and lives that will soon live on in my readers imaginations.

And that helped. By having to read through the entire book over and over again, no matter how down I felt from the hard parts, I was lifted up – again and again – as I went through the motions, dreams and passions of my character. It’s a hard ride at first, but it turns out to be one soothing smooth ride in the end.
And its effect reaffirms just why I wrote this book in the first place.

I wrote it a purpose: to help survivors of sexual abuse find life again. Find love again. Find themselves again.

And, after finding my way out of the darkness again and again with all the edits to make it a publishable piece of art, I’ve accomplished just that.

A way up and out, and into life.

Now, that’s an ‘event’ I can live through over and over, again and again.


As a born and raised military brat – Go Air Force! – I was born in Kansas and had the unique experience of growing up in many places such as Michigan, Texas, Colorado, Italy, and Maryland. I currently reside in Baltimore with my husband, two children and three American Rat Terriers. I graduated with a BS in Psychology from UMBC and have a severe passion/craving/need for real food. Good food. Local, organic, know-your-farmer kind of food.

And writing. I love writing.

A ceaseless cheerleader of the underdog, I write fiction that travels the line between everyday life and the extreme challenges we must face. I enjoy diving into the minutia of our human existence and finding those key moments when the turns of life can either make or break us.

That, and I’m a sucker for the ‘happily ever after.’ I’ll admit it. I’m a love junkie.

In addition to my debut novel Waiting for Paint to Dry, my creative non-fiction has been seen in such publications as The Washington Post, Nickelodeon Jr. Magazine, Advances in Bereavement Magazine and Nesting Magazine. I am also honored to be a guest blogger at author/activist Angela Shelton’s Survivor Manual, a blog dedicated to inspiring and empowering sexual abuse survivors.

Contact me anytime!


  1. Great post. Thank you Samantha and Lia.
    As a survivor too, I asked that question when writing my novel, Flying Free. I asked it, and decided I would live through the telling, the editing, the marketing, the promotion, everything because I believed my novel, a fiction based on some real, some fictional events, might help other women to be survivors too. So far, the feedback I have had has made the experience worth while. I hope it does for you too, Lia.
    Flying Free is available on Amazon :
    I shall check your book out right now.
    All the best,

  2. My poems tackle everything, real and imagined but my fiction deals with fabrication only. I don't know if it was a conscious decision, at first.