Interview: Lisa Mangum + Giveaway: After Hello by Lisa Mangum (US Only)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Today, I have an interview with Lisa Mangum, author of After Hello, which I dubbed my sweetest contemporary YA read in 2012. You can read my review HERE. Plus, I have a giveaway for a printed copy of After Hello to celebrate 200 followers! Weee! Hop on and read Lisa's winning interview!

How did the idea for After Hello came to you?

Well, it started with a dream…. I know that sounds terribly cliché, but in this case it’s true. The funny thing is that there was only one little moment in the dream that made it into the book—the very first scene where Sara sees Sam outside the bookstore. I remember waking up and thinking, “Hm, I wonder what happened after that?” And then I started writing.

Does dreaming of scenes and/or plots always happen to you?

Very rarely, actually. I tend to outline obsessively and plan and plot my stories within an inch of their lives. But I also tend to leave a little bit of room to “play” with the story in case something interesting comes up and I need to revise my outline to include a new (and often better) storyline.

Why did you choose New York for After Hello's setting?

My husband and I had visited New York for the first time a few months before I started writing After Hello. I totally and completely fell in love with the city. And when I knew I wanted to have the story take place in 24 hours, I knew I needed to set it in a place where something interesting could happen at any hour of the day. New York seemed like the perfect place.

Why did you name the characters Sam and Sara? How do you name your characters?

Sam is one of my favorite names for a guy. (I think some of it stems from my admiration of the character Sam from The Lord of the Rings.) As far as Sara’s name…well, when she showed up in my head, she just introduced herself as “Sara—without the H.” I think names are very important because they can communicate a lot about a character’s personality. I love researching what names mean, too.

In After Hello, Sara is a photographer. I actually admire how you described the photographs she took. They felt real and I totally saw them in my mind when I was reading. Are you also a photographer? How did you come up with the photos used in the novel?

While I’m not a serious photographer, I do enjoy taking pictures—as does the rest of my family (Mom, Dad, older brother, husband, etc.). I appreciate photography as an art form, so it was natural to include it in the story. To be honest, I didn’t give much thought to the pictures Sara took in the book; I just tried to have her take a picture wherever she went with Sam. When I was nearing the end of the book, I made a list of all the pictures I’d mentioned in the book, and they sort of naturally fell into place.

Did you put in something of yourself in the characterization of any of the characters? To whom are you most alike?

I think most authors put a little bit of themselves—or someone they know—into their characters. I’m a little like Sara in that I like to see a project through all the way to the end (no matter what), and I’m a little like Sam in that I try to find out what people need and then try to find a way to fulfill that.

Is there a song that inspired you while writing After Hello?

I don’t listen to a lot of music while I’m actively writing on a project, but I tend to listen to a lot of music while I’m planning and thinking about the story. There were a number of songs that inspired me, but the main one was “Heart on Fire” by Scars on 45. I listened to their music a lot while I was working on the book. I also listened to Modern Love by Matt Nathanson.

Your Hourglass Door series is a young adult time travel series. How different was writing contemporary YA from sci-fi YA?

It was both vastly different and wildly similar. Writing contemporary YA meant that I had to keep the story grounded in reality—no wandering off into unknown realms or introducing fantasy or sci-fi elements to help my characters get out of a bind. That part of the process took a little bit of practice on my part. But overall, I felt like the stories were similar because both my Hourglass Door series and After Hello are about relationships, and falling in love, and finding the courage to share your self and your story with someone else.

Are you interested in writing for a different genre or audience?

I’m interested in writing awesome stories. J I really like writing for the YA market, but I have a couple of epic fantasy novels saved on my hard drive. I’ve also tried my hand at some short stories, which was entertaining and educational.

Do you read reviews of your book?

Not really. I’ll check out a review if someone sends me a link, but I don’t really actively seek out reviews and read them. And I mostly just check the overall summaries on sites like or I find that if I read too many reviews—good or bad—then I tend to think about them when I should be thinking about writing my next book. Not obsessively reading my reviews helps keep my head clear.

What's next for Lisa Mangum?

Up next is another contemporary YA novel, actually. I’m calling it Just June, and it’s about two sisters and how one sister copes when the other one commits suicide. It’s a more dramatic story than my other books, and one that scares me a little bit, but I figure a little fear in your storytelling is a good thing.

Thank you so much Lisa for that wonderful interview! Ever since I read After Hello, I wanted to ask her these things and now it came true! For those who've read After Hello, I hope you think this interview is insightful (I hope I asked the right questions!) and for those who haven't, I hope you were intrigued enough to go pick it up and read it. If you need further convincing, I gave it 5 out of 5 stars!

After Hello
Title: After Hello
Author: Lisa Mangum
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Date of Publication: September 4, 2012

What if the first day of your relationship was the only day you had? 

Seventeen-year-old Sara is a seeker. She’s always on the lookout for the perfect moment to capture with her ever-present, point-and-shoot camera, especially on her first trip to New York City. 

Sam is a finder. He has a knack for finding what other people can’t—a first-edition book or the last two tickets to a sold-out Broadway show. In New York, there is always something interesting to find. 

When Sam and Sara’s paths cross, neither one of them is prepared for what they will find out about each other—and about themselves when they form an unlikely partnership in search of a seemingly elusive work of art. They have one day to find the impossible. Fate brought their talents together, but what happens when time runs out? Will love be able to overcome fate? This new novel from award-winning author Lisa Mangum explores what happens after hello.


Read my glowing review of After Hello here. Five stars are not enough!


To celebrate 200 followers (eeeeppp!), I'm giving away a printed copy of After Hello to one lucky US resident! Sorry dear international followers but I promise to have one international soon. Really soon, actually. :) So come on and join!

Thank you to Ashley of Shadow Mountain Publishing for sponsoring this giveaway!


  1. Thank you for the giveaway. This book sounds awesome! Im a sucker for these types of romance novels.

  2. Thank you for this giveaway. My daughter and I would both love it if I won. She mentioned the other day how much she wants Lisa's book, and since we know Lisa, it would be great.

  3. Thanks for this fantastic giveaway! I'm so thrilled to have won...will link back as soon as I've read and reviewed it :D


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By the way, this is an awards-free blog. I appreciate it though, really. :D

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