About the author
I was born Lisa Renee Guy on Sept. 19, 1955 in Ft. Campbell, KY. On that day I became an "Army Brat." By the time I was five, my parents George & Nancy Lynn Guy, were stationed in KY, TN, GA, & CA. With my younger brothers, Colin & Roland, my school years included living in Italy, Germany, MO, FL, OK, KS, & VA. Three separate times our family experienced 'hardship years' as my dad was on active duty in Korea, Viet Nam, & Laos.
I established roots by reading children's books & writing letters to family & friends. I loved nursery rhymes, Dr. Seuss books, Charlotte's Web, & A Wrinkle in Time. One summer I read the entire Nancy Drew series.
I graduated from Fairfax High School in Fairfax, VA in 1973 and then received a BS degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1977. My favorite course at UT, Children's Literature, planted a seed of desire to write children's books.
Family Life & the Light Bulb Moment:
In 1977, my high school "sweetheart,' Jerry Mallen & I were married. Three children later, Tommy (1981), Cayce (1983), & Tara (1986), my time was devoted to our family. I read constantly to them and enjoyed volunteering in their schools. Whenever children's authors & illustrators visited their schools, I went to see them, too. In 1988, author & illustrator Megan Lloyd came to Tommy's 2nd grade class at Green Ridge Elementary, in Mechanicsburg, PA to show how she illustrated "Farmer Mack Measures His Pig." That was my light bulb moment! The seed that laid dormant since college suddenly sprouted! I vowed to learn & do everything I could to get published.
My Journey to Publication:
I wrote my stories, researched the children's book industry & submitted dozens of manuscripts yearly to publishers. In 1990, I taught preschool while my youngest, Tara attended.
As VP of my children's elementary school PTO, in 1991 I organized a visit by my high school classmate, Astronaut Pierre Thuot to visit our school district. His space shuttle flights included Atlantis, Endeavour, & Columbia. Our family watched the liftoff of the maiden voyage of Endeavour and the return of Columbia at the Kennedy Space Center. That PR work helped me in the future with promoting myself.
In 1993, Tara's 1st grade teachers asked me to write a story for their students. I came in weekly to read it while the kids illustrated their own versions of 'The Little Lost Leprechaun,' which was then bound for each one.
in 1994 I was a storyteller in the children's section of a local bookstore with the sole purpose of seeing what books were out there & where there was a need. That was the year R.L. Stine's 'Goosebumps' books flew off the shelves. I thought, "Aha! He found a 'hole' in children's literature and is filling a 'scary' need." I wrote & performed puppet stories for the bookstore & once again organized another astronaut visit to the schools.
Between 1996 & 1998 I freelanced for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette & North Hills News Record, in Pittsburgh, PA.
In 1999 I freelanced for Beanie Mania Magazine & The Naperville Sun, in Naperville, IL. I was delighted to also meet & interview R.L. Stine for an article I wrote for the Naperville, Sun.
Twelve years after my light bulb moment & hundreds of rejection letters, in 2000 I received a letter from a publisher in Canada informing me that they wanted to publish my story, the Little Lost Leprechaun, from 800 submissions. Through revisions a Canadian softcover 'Elton the Elf' was published in 2000 & a hardcover U.S. version was published in 2001. Since publication, I visited many schools, libraries & bookstores in Chicagoland & nationwide.
The publishing industry struggled for years with bookstores like Borders closing, the expansion of technology with Kindle's, IPads, Nooks & Ebooks, & publishing companies going out of business.
I self published a chapter book, "Joining Forces with Glory," in 2011 and in 2012 and a picture book, "Paige Persnickety's Purr-Fect Pet."