Lisa is the winner of the 9th American Gem Novel Writing Contest 2012/2013.
Lisa also scooped 4th prize with another novel.
Lisa received an honourable mention for her play Holly Leaves in the Writers Digest Annual Awards.
Lisa Jacqueline Gordon was born and brought up in in Johannesburg. She studied BCom Law at Witwatersrand University before going to the UK to complete a BSc. Industrial Economics Hons. She now lives in the UK countryside. Lisa studied with the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London and later became a regular guest on BBC WM and BBC Shropshire doing to monthly stars and forecasts for the Birmingham footie teams. Lisa has guested on BBC Coventry and Warks, BBC Cambridge, BBC Northants, TalkSport and Fox FM. Lisa also campaigns against injustice and unfair trials abroad.
A Sealed Fate
A chain of tragic deaths across Dubai spanning two decades, only Valda knows they were not accidents, but murders. Her name is next on that list. Spunky singer Valda ditches her old life in Cape Town for a new start in glittering Dubai. Armed with just her cigarettes and some attitude she sets about reigniting her career and putting to bed the heartache over her former boyfriend Richard.
Valda does indeed find success and to her astonishment love, but all is threatened when she is introduced to a billionaire Sheikh. Her clandestine liaison with the Sheikh, propels her into a murky web of deceit and when newspaper clippings of seemingly accidental deaths across Dubai are posted anonymously to her it is clear she is rushing headlong into the same fate. No one dare cross the Sheikh and she can hardly hardly turn to the law, so with few options open she confides in Larissa. As an astrologer, Larissa predicts that Valda and the Sheikh's destinies were sealed from the moment of their first meeting; however she keeps the dire fate that she reads in the charts a secret. Lara resolves to help Valda flee Dubai and the ever tightening grip of the Sheikh; but should Valda be putting all her faith in her new friend and guru of the grimoires.
Together, Valda and Larissa take a gamble in a game of cosmic Russian Roulette where the stakes are their lives and their adversary, Fate itself.A thoroughly modern cocktail of intrigue, passion and suspense set against the exotic locales of Cape Town and Dubai with an eclectic mix of characters, a perfect beverage if you like a tangy lemon peel in your drink as this one has a twist at the end too, but you'll have to read it to discover it.
Who are your influences?
I always enjoyed Sidney Sheldon and I loved the way every one of his books was slightly different; there was no formula and like me, he did not rely on a cop or detective as a main character and books were story more than body count/evidence lead.
Sheldon had strong female characters who were never whiter than white - I steer clear of books which take a good versus evil stance. We can all be good and evil according to what we are faced with.
I love Robert Ludlum as I think his plots are complex and exiting and I love the conspiracy angles.
When did you begin writing?
It was right after I had a tarot reading and the psychic said, "Do you know you are a very good writer." I had never thought of writing before, in fact I was studying accounting and yearning to be an actress.
Writing was actually my saviour as it came at a time when I needed a direction and a goal I cared about. I started writing A Sealed Fate right away and was amazed when I found myself nine chapters in - it came so naturally and suddenly I realised that this was way better than acting as it was my own words, I was not just speaking someone else's.
My grandfather passed away, leaving a huge gap in my life as he had been like my father and I stopped writing for a few months, but I soon began again as he had said how happy he was for me to follow a career as an author as he knew I would do well at it.
How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
I tend to write from inspiration I get an idea and go with it; it was only after I had some publishing experts read over A Sealed Fate that I saw where I had gone wrong in terms of mixing genres and not getting the pace right. A Sealed Fate is more a story than a thriller per se as it is not packed with bodies, detectives and forensic detail.
I find I need to love my main character. Valda is a lot like me, expect where I tend to be a people pleaser she is the more wild side of me and so writing about her allowed me to access another part of my personality. So if the main character is a little like you or someone you care about that is a big help.
I chose Dubai as a locale as I had been there on a short trip and I felt it made a good backdrop for the story - it does help if you know your location well and feel it contributes to the story.
It helps to have a premise you want to explore: In A Sealed Fate it was fate versus freewill; which is more powerful; in Next of Sin it was Blood is NOT thicker than water and in Not Guilty Not Innocent it was Not Guilty does not mean innocent.
I always stay with things I know and are interested in - for me it is psychology/philosophy (human nature) and also law..but there are many other subtle literary elements that I seem to throw in.
I like original characters that are non PC or a little eccentric.
Valda was a character in a girl's comic called Mandy, that I read when I was 8-10. It means spirited warrior.
I choose names I like and sometimes names of kids I knew at school and liked.
I try to go for less cliched names. Names are often age and era specific ie who under 30 is called Sheila, Pam or Carol, those names are my Mom's era. Names like Chantelle, Sophie, Chloe are very popular in the UK for under 30's. In my era it was Lisa, Jackie, Nicki, Debbie, Michelle - names go in cycles and so I think you should think of which names were trendy in which decade and match the characters age. In the UK: Catherine, Fiona, Phillipa and Caroline are seen as POSH names - so I think as well about which names come over as posh or more down to earth.
Clinton was my first boyfriend. Brett and Richard were names that I thought sounded cool.
Do you work from an outline?
I have a basic plot and outline of main events mapped out, but I find that sub plots, twists and new characters emerge as if by magic as I write. I don't plan things in too much detail, I just get stuck right it. I worked on the plot in my head at night and I wrote when I should have been studying for my audit exam. I guess when the alternative is audit, you'll do anything including scrub an oven. I am not even a big reader, I am however very imaginative and making up stories in my head was always the way I dealt with worry, hurt, disappointment and stress all throughout my life from the age of 4. So the plotting was great fun and the main character was one I felt very attached to and so I relished the writing process.
Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
In A Sealed Fate my favourite scene was right at the end...but can I say what it is without revealing the plot.
Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
Write for love!!
Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
I have written chicklit and I write astrology books and also alternate health books. I am passionate about a number of issues and enjoy writing about these subjects too.
I want to write loads more in the thriller genre, as that is where my heart is.
Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?
When I wrote my first book I was so excited when it arrived at the book store that I told all my friends at my tennis club about it. Of course I was hoping they would rush along and buy copies. Next week when I saw them again they all said the same thing, "We went to the bookstore in town and we looked at your book."
And I was thinking, "What? It's a book you buy it, you don't visit it like a sick patient in hospital?"
Lisa's website is lisalazuli.wix.com/
lisajgordon, and her books, A Sealed Fate and Next of Sin are available on Amazon.