Interview with Author Lisa Lynn Biggar
Lisa Lynn Biggar
I am thrilled to have interviewed author Lisa Lynn Biggar, who shared with us details of her writing life, her book ‘UNPASTEURIZED‘, which was released on 23rd June 2023, and answered a few fun questions. This post contains affiliate links.
Lisa Lynn Biggar received her MFA in Fiction from Vermont College. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Main Street Rag, Bluestem Magazine, The Minnesota Review, Kentucky Review, The Delmarva Review, Litro Magazine, Superstition Review and Pithead Chapel.
She’s the fiction editor for Little Patuxent Review and co-owns and operates a cut flower farm on the eastern shore of Maryland with her husband and two hard working cats. Her novella-in-flash, Unpasteurized, was published by Alien Buddha Press in June of 2023.
1) Where did the inspiration for your book come from?
Over thirty years ago, I sat down with my grandmother in the kitchen of her farmhouse in north-eastern Pennsylvania and recorded her life story on a cassette recorder. Since my grandmother passed, over fifteen years ago, I hadn’t been able to listen to those tapes, but two years ago when I started writing Unpasteurized, a novella-in-flash based on my experiences growing up on my grandparents’ dairy farm (I grew up in Maryland but spent all of my summers and most of my holidays on the farm), I dug out those tapes and the memories came flooding back. My grandmother has always been my inspiration, and her stories are interwoven with my own in my book.
2) How did you plan out the plot?
This is a coming-of-age story, so the plot came naturally, chronicling the growth and understanding of the main character, Jessie, as she finds a sense of place and purpose in the world.
3) When did you choose the title for your book?
“Unpasteurized” is the second flash fiction story in my book—it struck me that this would be the title of my novella about mid-way through writing the book. I realized that what I was writing was raw and natural.
4) How did you come up with the names for your characters?
Many of my characters are based on real people in my family. I used their real names in the first draft, then changed their names in subsequent drafts—names that fit the characters they turned into.
5) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
Listening to the tapes I recorded with my grandmother over thirty years ago. I just knew I had to record the stories she had been telling me for so long. I needed a permanent documentation of them, and I also knew I had to capture her voice, which was the voice of a true storyteller filled with joy and sadness and all those places of contemplation in between. She took the recordings so seriously. She knew that I would be writing her story one day. She always believed in me as a writer.
6) What made you choose this genre?
I had been reading a lot of novellas-in-flash when I started writing Unpasteurized, and this genre seemed a natural way for me to write about my farm memories with my grandmother’s stories as the connecting thread. What I love about flash fiction is that it relies on little epiphanies and revelations, and so with a novella-in-flash those little epiphanies build upon each other to the conclusion. I didn’t have to think so much about an overriding plot, just the little moments that mattered and shaped my main character along the way.
7) How long did it take you to complete your book?
This one materialized quickly. I began brainstorming the spring of 2022, finished the first draft that summer, revised it in the fall; it was accepted for publication by Alien Buddha Press March 2023 and published in June 2023. My grandmother was clearly my muse during this process—I felt her presence very strongly.
8) Can you describe your book in three words?
Poignant. Raw. Nostalgic.
9) What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
For me, it’s finding time and the right head space to write. The world is such an active, busy place. So much going on, so much information to process. I’ve had to tune out a lot to free up my mind for the imagination and keep my social agenda to a minimum. Unclutter my life. Unclutter my mind.
10) Why should our readers pick your book up?
They will experience the joys and heartaches of growing up on a dairy farm from two different generations and the lessons learned along the way.
Pages – 99
Release Date – 23rd June 2023
ISBN 13 – 979-8388930941
Format – Paperback
Unpasteurized is a beautiful and captivating novella by Lisa Lynn Biggar that takes you on a journey through the lives of the characters, filled with love, loss, and sacrifice. The author effortlessly weaves together the stories of the intergenerational family on a farm in Pennsylvania, creating a rich tapestry of emotions and memories.
This beautifully written novella-in-flash will leave you feeling nostalgic and longing for a simpler time. It is a must-read for anyone who appreciates great storytelling and is sure to stay with you long after you turn the final page.
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1) Do you have a writing buddy (i.e. a pet)?
My two cats are my writing buddies—Jacques, my beautiful black boy, and Juliet, my sweet little girl.
2) Do you have any writing quirks?
I like to summon a muse. I often visualize her sitting near me, red hair, green eyes, flowing purple dress. I also like to write “under the influence” of another writer, Marcel Proust being my favorite. I often read a few paragraphs from In Search of Lost Time before writing.
3) Where do you write?
My husband built me a beautiful writing studio (picture attached), but I actually write wherever and whenever I can. Be it in the car (as a passenger), on a train, by a creek, on my bed, in the garden (My husband I own and operate a cut flower farm).
4) Your book has been made into a movie, you’ve been offered a cameo role, what will you be doing?
I will be visiting with my grandmother in her kitchen (one of her neighbors) and eating her potato pancakes.
5) A talking owl has just finished reading your book, what’s the first thing he says to you?
Jessie made wise choices. One’s path is whooooo we are and whooooo we come to be.
A big thank you to Lisa Lynn Biggar for sharing her writing life with us and for a wonderful interview.