Author to Author with Lisa Fantino

A look at my interview with fellow author Lisa Fantino:

Career journalist and editor Georgette Gouveia has ink running through her veins, as blue and black as any true writer. To say she’s well-trained is an understatement, having received both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Critical Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, the suburban New York bastion of the creative arts. To say she’s experienced is also an understatement, having served as the senior cultural writer for the Gannett newspapers prior to becoming Editor at WAG Magazine, the glossy magazine of luxury living. To say she’s inexperienced in the world of gay male athletes is the supreme understatement but that hasn’t stopped her from creating a believable world of lust, love and domination in her new book “Water Music,” the first in a series, The Games Men Play.

You are a woman author venturing inside the psyche of gay male athletes. How did you make the decision to explore this subject?

“When I injured my shoulder, I spent a lot of time exercising, with sports droning on in the background on TV. I began to notice that how players reacted to one another after a match or a meet depended on who won and who lost. So I started thinking about rivalry, particularly among players who appeared to be friendly. Then I thought, What if the players were also lovers? I chose men, because I thought it would give my readers – whom I presumed to be female – an opportunity to explore issues of power, dominance and submission safely without projecting themselves into the scenarios.”

You have said that you wanted to create truly fictional characters but in developing these four men, what, if any, research did you do into the sports world and into the psychology?

“I drew on my own experience writing about sports and watching sports as a cultural writer and as a fan. I didn’t want to do too much research, because I wanted the characters to be fresh.”

You are the editor of the successful glossy cultural and society magazine, WAG. Yet, you yielded to another editor to review your book. Was that difficult, listening to the creative input?

“Yes and no. Frankly, no one wants to be edited. We all like to think we turn in perfect prose, and there are editors who only gum up the works. But I learned a long time ago that an editor is also a reader. If your writing makes no sense to him or her, then it probably makes no sense.”

Since you have a full-time day job, what are your writing habits/quirks?

“I write in the evenings and weekends, really whenever I have free time – even once on my way into a surgical procedure. Talk about making the most of your spare time.”

Is it easy or difficult to make the transition from career journalist to author?

“For me, making the transition to being a novelist was easy. It just feels right and totally natural. Plus, as E.L. Doctorow once said, the fiction writer has a tremendous advantage over the nonfiction writer in that he can just make stuff up.”

Water Music is the first of a series, so how do you plot the next few books or have you yet?

“I’m already writing the second book in “The Games Men Play” series, “In This Place You Hold Me,” about a quarterback’s search for identity – racial, sexual, familial, national and personal – in the brutal, beautiful world of the NFL. The third book, “Criterion,” is about a tragic horse-racing family told partly from the viewpoint of the prize thoroughbred trying to become the first racehorse since Affirmed to win the Triple Crown. The fourth book, “The Magnus Effect,” revisits the characters in “Water Music.” But this is a contained world. Characters flow from one book to the next as do the colors deep blue and tennis-ball green. They’re also the colors of my website, The Games Men Play.

 What three foods do you indulge in while in the “writing zone” to get you through?

The New York Times writer Mark Bittman said in a pinch, coffee and Snickers will get you through anything. I quite agree.