Photo Courtesy of L.S. Gagnon
Originally from California, L.S. Gagnon moved to Massachusetts to marry the love of her life. With little education, L.S. Gagnon worked in the fields most of her young adult life. Giving her mother a better life always gave her the drive to keep fighting to better herself. She escaped into her dreams from childhood, unknowingly giving her a peek at what she would be creating one day. When she lost her mother, her death sent L.S. into darkness. It was the most heartbreaking thing she’s ever had to live through. “I’ve never felt pain like that before,” she said. “I felt my heart would fall apart.”
She credits her husband, and a visit to Salem for bringing her back to life. He gave her the idea for writing, “We were in a book store one day,” she began, “And I couldn’t find a book I liked. My husband turned to me and said, “so why don’t you write your own book?’ and those words changed my life forever.” On a visit to Salem, she says the town set her heart racing. “Salem was filled with magic,” she said, “Something in my heart woke up. It was then I realized I wasn’t honoring my mother by being the person she always wanted me to be. The idea for the books came to me that same day. I know in my heart, it was her talking to me.”
L.S. Gagnon lives in Massachusetts with her husband and four dogs who she calls ‘her children.’ She earns a living as an executive chef and pastry chef, but hopes to one day write full-time. “There’s so many stories in my head,” she says, “I just don’t have time to write them all down.”
Mark Leitao: How old where you the first time you were bullied? By whom, and what kind of bullying did you endure?
L.S. Gagnon: I was actually in my early 40’s when the bullying began. Bullies come in all ages and sizes. The moment I decided to better myself and write a book, the bullies came out of nowhere. I was called stupid, and too dumb to write a book. My life became a living hell as I tried to understand why my dream would affect them like that. I even feared losing my job at one point. I went through so much pain during that time.
ML: Where you bullied by multiple people? How long did the bullying last?
LSG: Multiple people at first. But then just one stood out; the “one” who couldn’t understand my dream. The bullying went on about two years; the whole time I was writing my first two books. There were days I almost gave up. I couldn’t understand the hate that was being thrown my way.
ML: What is your definition of bullying?
LSG: Bullying comes with many faces. Some people bully others because of who they love, and others because of the color of their skin; however, I have one word to define bullying, and that word is “hate.” I was called, “stupid Mexican” many times. I was too brown, too Hispanic. I wasn’t supposed to have dreams. My place was in the fields or cleaning someone’s house.
ML: How did you cope with bullying? How did you get through it?
LSG: I was angry and hurt at first. I was mad at myself for shedding tears over them. One day, I realized I was writing about a strong woman, a woman that took every challenge thrown at her and fought through it. “Why can’t I do that?” I asked myself. So I turned my anger into what drove me. The more they laughed, the more I wrote. I was fueled by my need to succeed. I was determined to become that strong woman I had written into my books. I began to get stronger. I learned to mute the cruel words in my head. After some time, the only thing I would hear was, “succeed, Lisi.”
ML: What advice do you give someone who is being bullied?
LSG: I feel the best revenge against a bully is to succeed in life. It will also show you that the power over you are not cruel words, but you. I almost gave up on myself and accepted what they said about me, but when I realized the power that lived inside of me, I discovered just how strong I was. It surprised me just how much fight there was inside of me.
ML: What would you say to someone who is doing the bullying?
LSG: I would tell them that I feel sorry for them. That I can’t imagine what kind of pain they must be feeling that they feel the need to bestow it on others.
ML: What are some of the things you have done or continue to do today that makes you such a strong person?
LSG: I stopped trying to please others. The only person that has to live with what I’m doing is me. And I refuse to live as a coward. I try to encourage others to follow their dreams; to look inside themselves and find what makes them strong.
ML: Knowing you personally, tell me a little about your husband Steven and how he has made a difference in your life because of the bullying?
LSG: It’s hard to find the words to talk about my husband. He was and is, the loudest voice in my corner. “You can do this,” he said the whole time. He was my light when darkness filled my days.
ML: What does your writing mean to you?
LSG: When I write, I escape into another world. I can take that bully and make them the villain, and do whatever I want to them. Writing has become my therapy. I’m free to express myself and release my anger.
ML: What is synopsis or premise of your witch series?
LSG: Don’t let the title fool you. The Witch Series is a love story. A story about a girl who is unhappy with herself. Although she’s a powerful witch, it’s done nothing to make her confident. In the end, she realizes she never needed anyone to save her; she had the power inside of her all along. She endures torture and heartbreak, only to find herself in the end.
ML: You just released your first children’s novel. Can you tell me a little about your children’s series?
LSG: The Little Witch Series was born from my need to reach out to others. The message in the books is that just because we’re different, it doesn’t mean we don’t feel pain. Thea is a witch, and hunted because of that. Humans don’t realize that her heart is the biggest part of her. She teaches them to look past what she is, and except her for how she was born.
ML: So, you have any up and coming projects?
LSG: I’m working on two more series, ‘The Warlock Series,’ and ‘The Salem Series.’ I’m very excited about the two. I plan to keep reaching out through my stories.
ML: Anything else you would like to share, any final thoughts?
LSG: I would like to say something to anyone out there that is being bullied. You’ve done nothing wrong. The problem isn’t you, it’s them. Walk out of that darkness and into the light. Reach deep inside yourself and find your strength. They can’t take that away from you. Dare to dream, dare to reach. The higher you reach, the more you’ll want it. Soon, those cruel words will fuel the power that lives inside of you.
Check up Lisi’s video showing that you can triumph over bullies!
If interested in reading any of the amazing books written by the talented L.S. Gagnon, follow the link to her website!! I read the entire series, once you start book one, you will be hooked and wanting more!
Interview by: Mark Leitao