Friday, November 9, 2012

Character Interview with Author Lisa Nowak

Today I am excited to have Alex, main character from author Lisa Nowak's "Dead Heat". stop by the blog for a little chat! 

Alex is a machine whisperer. He can tell what’s wrong with a broken-down car with a touch. But his gift can’t save him from the brutality of his meth-addict father. For two years, Alex experienced kindness through Cole, his mentor. Now Cole’s dead, and the violence in Alex’s life is escalating.

When Cole reappears as a ghost, Alex clings to the tenuous link. Then he learns Cole might’ve sacrificed his chance to cross over. Jade, the first girl to look beyond Alex’s past, assures him Cole can reach the Other Side—if Alex escapes from his dad. But a previous terrifying attempt has convinced Alex it’s impossible. Unless he can find the courage to try, his friend may be earthbound forever.

What makes you happy? When and where were you the happiest?

Working on machines. Any kind. It’s like I can understand what they’d say if they could talk. Sounds stupid, I know. But when something’s messed up inside of ’em, I can sort of feel what it is. I was happiest at Cole’s place. But that ain’t never gonna happen again.

Describe how you look.

Brown hair, sorta long. Green eyes. Lots of scars, but those are mostly where they don’t show ’cept when I’m not wearing a shirt. Which is never. I got two fingers that are crooked and don’t bend right cuz my old man slammed the hood of his truck on ’em when I didn’t fix it fast enough.

How do you think your friends and family see you?

Cole would say I’m smart and brave and kind-hearted, but he’s a dreamer. He don’t know the real me, the one who steals metal and snagged the tags off someone else’s motorcycle then stuck ’em on mine.

What is your biggest fear? Who have you told this to?

My old man—he’s crazy. I don’t tell nobody cuz if I do, someone’s gonna get hurt. I was always afraid if I told Cole, it’d be him, and if I told anyone else, it’d be Momma. Now that Cole’s dead, I’m scared his ghost’ll get stuck here. I don’t want him to be gone for good, but I want him to be happy, you know?

Do you have a secret?

Yeah, where I live and what my last name is. I ain’t even gonna tell you.

Sound like you’ve had to deal with a lot of violence from your dad. How has that affected how you feel about discipline?

Putting out cigarettes your kids is a lousy way to teach ’em stuff. But I gotta say, it sure keeps ’em from doing bad things again.

How would you spend a typical day?

Back before Cole died, I’d go to school ’cause he wanted me to, even though it was a waste. Then I’d work on his car as much as I could. I’d spend the rest of my time at my job at Ivan’s shop. And maybe I’d deposit Momma’s disability check and buy her some groceries and yarn.

What is the worst thing that could happen to you?

It already happened. Cole died.

Who depends on you? Why?

Momma. Her back’s messed up and my old man will steal her check or her pain pills if I don’t hide ’em. She ain’t got no way to get out of the house, ’cept the bus that takes her to her doctor appointments. I gotta buy her groceries and all that. I gotta make sure the old man don’t hurt her.

Describe your bedroom.

I got a mattress on the floor, an old broken dresser with the paint chipping off, boxes of parts and broken machines I’m gonna fix. My room’s got one window and the walls are this dirty white. There’s some holes in them where my old man threw stuff at me and missed. The carpet’s this old nasty gray thing.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

This is a stupid question. If I die, I sure as hell ain’t coming back. I’d just be glad to have it over.

About the Author: In addition to being a YA author, Lisa is a retired amateur stock car racer, an accomplished cat whisperer, and a professional smartass. She writes coming-of-age books about kids in hard luck situations who learn to appreciate their own value after finding mentors who love them for who they are.



  1. Thanks for featuring Alex and me, Avery! :)

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