Lisa Tillinger Johansen Interview
Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I’m a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science. I went back to school in my mid-forties to earn my master’s and become a dietitian because I want to help people live healthier lives.
I primarily do community nutrition with senior adults. I teach nutrition classes in senior centers, conduct hypertension and diabetes clinics, demonstrate healthy cooking and do in-home nutrition assessments for house bound adults.
I’m also a speaker and give health presentations at colleges and corporate and community events. And, of course, I’m a writer. STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF! Is my second book.
You’ve got 20 words to sell your work. Tempt us.
Been on a diet? More than one? Has frustration and more weight crept in? Then my book is for you.
Where do you like to write?
I like to write on my couch with the TV on with my two dogs snuggled up next to me.
Is there anything you must have in order to write?
Not really. I’m pretty flexible.
What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
The first book that greatly impacted me and made me an avid reader at a very young age was The Phantom Tollbooth. I loved it! It opened up the world of imagination for me. In my adult years I switched to mystery/thrillers and other than health related books, that’s all I read. I have to say that my husband’s books, particularly Beyond Belief because he so sweetly dedicated it to me, have greatly inspired me to try my hand at writing books. He’s such a good writer and has been a huge help to me.
What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
Experience in my field. I’ve worked with thousands of patients and clients and have a real good feel of their questions, concerns and needs. I know how to help them and do so through my books.
What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
I want to help people.
Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
I work with my editor very closely and ask for complete honesty. And he does that. I’m not offended by criticism, I think it only helps me to learn and get better. Before turning in the final draft, I then ask my husband to take a look at it. I trust his opinion more than anything.
What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
Honesty. I don’t want to be told what I want to hear. I want to be told what I need to hear.
If you had a direct line to someone who loves your writing, what would you say?
Was I helpful? Is there more that I can do?
If you had a direct line to someone who hates your writing, what would you say?
Why wasn’t I helpful? What more can I do?
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Write about something you’re passionate about. Be thorough. Take your time. And when the going gets tough, hang in there.
What does your writing future hold for you?
I have several more book ideas, all nutrition based. Once my promotional tour is over, I’ll start writing.
How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
I’m so lucky to live in Los Angeles and have friends who are so talented. One of my friends is a highly regarded graphic artist. His company Fishbrain does my book covers for me.
How often do you read? What genre?
There’s always a book near me. I read almost daily. To me reading is the most entertaining escape. My genre is mystery/thrillers with maybe a little horror from time to time.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
For more on Lisa and her writing visit her at: