Lisa Polisar


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Introducing an exciting new author whose new book, Blackwater Tango, is guaranteed to give you chills, thrills, shocks, and unabated excitement with every page. 


A psychological thriller in the vein of Thomas Harris's "Silence of the Lambs," "Blackwater Tango" chronicles the investigation of serial killer Victor Trikonis by FBI criminal profiler, Gena Hollender. Due to be released in Hardcover and Paperback by Hilliard and Harris in October of 2002!

Spending her days and nights as a criminal profiler would seem, to most, like the more glamorous side of law enforcement. For single, thirty-four year old Gena Hollender, however, it comes with the familiar milieu of identity-loss, paranoia, lack of sleep and having to ward off constant advances from her former colleague, Detective Marcus Valenzuela. But, somehow, this dead-horse black hole still has some old appeal as she finds her intellect stimulated and blood racing rigorously through her veins. Between deciphering cryptic newspaper poetry, hunting down vanished witnesses and the emergence of haunting crime scene ‘visions,’ Gena is now closer than ever to finding the phantom serial killer that has plagued her psyche and stolen five years of her life. She’s on the right track, until… they find two other victims… she finds herself duped by the one man she always trusted... she ends up back within the jaws of the Great White... and now she’s next on his list of victims!

An interview with Lisa:

1)  When did you realize you wanted to write for a living?


I've always wanted to be a writer.  Even as a child, being a writer seemed like the ultimate adventure to me.  I grew up in a musical family and I still make part of my living as a professional flutist, but writing stories satisfies a very deep and primal urge.  I feel like I have to write in order to live.
2)  How hard has it been to get this first book published?


It took about a year to write/edit the book, I started sending it out in January and February, and I was lucky enough to sell it in May to Hilliard and Harris.
3)  Where did you get the idea for "Blackwater Tango"?


Since I'm very character driven, most of my books start with a character's name - in this case, the name Marcus Valenzuela.  I was up late watching movies and the name just popped in my head and I knew immediately that it was significant so I wrote it on a napkin on my coffeetable.  Then Gena Hollender sort of came to me, and the story snowballed from there.
4)  How do you manage to get into the mind of evil so well?:))


You're very kind to ask.  I've spent a long time studying abnormal psychology.  I've been reading mysteries and thrillers nearly all my life, but I've also done a lot of research on the criminal mind and on the relationship between how mental illness affects a person's motivations to kill.  It's forever fascinating to me. 
5)  Why did you choose Maine for your location?


Well, the book I wrote before Blackwater Tango, another mystery, also takes place in Maine, so I guess my consciousness was still rooted up there.  I grew up in New England and spent a lot of time in Maine.  It has a very haunting beauty; especially Monhegan Island.
6)  You through in some pretty neat surprises and twists along the way.  Was this planned ahead, or did you more or less make it up as you went along?


I didn't use an outline to write this book.  I have used them before, but there's a real freedom in sort of plodding forward in the darkness, not knowing what you'll find.  Readers like to be surprised, but I want to be suprised, as well.  So I try to stay open to the ideas that naturally arise through the process.  When I started this book, I pretty much knew where I wanted to end up but had no idea how I was going to get there.  And that's the whole adventure of it! 
7)  What is your greatest inspiration when you write?


The first few chapters in a book, that is if you work without an outline, are hard because you don't know your characters at all.  But once I get to know who I'm writing about, I try to think of some celebrity that they look like, find pictures of them and make a collage that I tape to the bottom of my monitor.  That way, I can see exactly who I'm writing about and it's easier to "visualize" them doing things and acting and speaking.  So I guess my characters inspire me. 
8)  Do you have any advice for new authors?

I think new authors should try to give themselves permission to write whatever they want.  It's good to work on technique and fluidity and generating ideas, but stay true to what's in your own heart and mind.  I think if you do that, there's more chance that your own "voice" will emerge from behind the words and phrases.

9)  Tell us a little about your next book......

I'm working on two books right now - I'm writing another thriller, and I'm also writing something very different, a book that takes place in Grady, Oklahoma in 1960.  It's definitely a mystery, but not a thriller.  I like the mystique of small towns.  I visited Grady this past summer and I was totally captivated by it. 

Lisa's Bio:

Lisa Polisar is a mystery writer and a professional flutist.  Her psychological thriller, “Blackwater Tango,” will be published in the fall of 2002 in hardcover and trade paperback by Hilliard and Harris Publishers, and her New Mexico mystery, “Knee Deep,” is forthcoming from Port Town Publishers in 2003.  Her mystery short stories have been published in Conundrum and Nefarious – Tales of Mystery.  Her other short stories have been published in Carve Magazine, Aileron Literary Journal, Thought Magazine, Scrawl, 12 Gauge Review, The Prose Menagerie, Kimera, Steel Caves, Moondance, and Moe Pi Toe.  Her poetry has been published in various literary journals and anthologies, and she has had numerous articles published on music, jazz, and flute playing.  She also writes monthly reviews on visual art for Crosswinds Weekly.  She is currently putting together a collection of her short stories and working on another psychological thriller.  Lisa is an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Southwest Writers Workshop.  She grew up in Boston and has lived in Albuquerque for ten years.               

To read the astonishing excerpt from Blackwater Tango, please visit Lisa's website at: