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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Lisa Unger

Bill DeYoung

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Novelist Lisa Unger has sold more than two million books, and her work has been translated into 26 languages. She is a multiple award-winner, a fan favorite of those who like their crime novels psychologically taut … and a resident of Tampa Bay.

“I actually live for the blank page,” Unger said Thursday on The Catalyst Sessions. With the exception of her husband and daughter, she explained, “There is nothing in my life that gives me more joy than writing. It was my first love, and it continues to be something that I not only love, but I’m always in the beginner’s mind with: Always believe that today I can be better than I was yesterday.”

Unger, who has 18 books to her credit – the next is due in October – explained her writing process, her daily routine and the dedication to craft that’s kept her on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly 20 years.

She’d always wanted to be a writer, Unger explained, despite her dad’s insistence she get a “real job.” The turning point came during an intense period of self-examination, while she was working as a literary publicist in New York City.

“I had this moment in my life where I was like, ‘OK … everything is wrong’ … I was devoting a hundred and ten percent of myself to a job that I didn’t love,” she said. “And the only thing I ever wanted in my life, I was just kind of letting it fade to nothing.

“I figured I could live with spectacular crash-and-burn failure, but I wasn’t going to be able to live with a slow fade to black. So that was the day that I started to get serious about my writing.”

Catalyst Sessions episodes are archived on our YouTube page.

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