The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

Sunday, March 1, 2009



I’ve heard that when starting something new, it’s best to start with a joke, if only to set the audience at ease. So here you go: “I shot an elephant in my pajamas. What he was doing in my pajamas, I’ll never know.”—Groucho Marx. Not only is the idea of an elephant in pajamas funny, but so is the dangling participle.

And now you know the sad truth: I’m a word nerd. A person who finds jokes about the English language funny; who corrects (if only mentally) the incorrect usage of “it’s” in advertisements; who is thrilled to see punctuation in the wild.

Example: My husband was shooting video for a wedding and I tagged along to keep him company and shoot some candid photos. The couple cut the cake—a beautiful, three-tiered affair with fresh flowers and black ribbons around each tier—and then moved to the dance floor. After a few songs had played, I wandered up to the table where the cake had stood and glanced down. There, to my wonder and amazement, was one of the black ribbons from the cake, casually discarded . . . in a perfect ampersand! It was the highlight of the evening for me.

As a word nerd, my whole life has been about books. I’d been writing since I was a child and loved to read. My first paying job was even at the public library shelving books as a “Page.” (I’d hoped to one day be promoted to a “Chapter” or even a “Book.”) I worked in a bookstore to pay for college. Four months to the day from my college graduation, I was hired as an Editorial Assistant at a publishing house. I’ve been working as an editor ever since. I suppose it was inevitable that one day I would write a book.

I’m so glad that book turned out to be The Hourglass Door.

Writing the love story of Dante and Abby was so much fun. I loved spending time with the characters and seeing how the story developed. I wrote on the weekends, at night, on the train as I commuted to work. I thought about it all the time. They say time flies when you’re having fun, and the cliché turned out to be true for me. From the day I got the idea to write the story to the day I finished and turned in the manuscript to my publisher was almost exactly one year. (And that includes the three months I spent ill with blood clots and two separate hospitalizations—a story for another blog, another day.)

And almost exactly one year after that, the book will be out in stores, ready for people to read. The official on-sale date for The Hourglass Door is May 13, though, since it’s not a hard street date, books may start showing up on shelves a little earlier than that. (Shameless plug: you can buy the book at,, or, or wherever fabulous books are sold.)

I hope that other people have as much fun reading about Abby and Dante as I did writing about them. I hope that you’ll come back often to see how book two and book three are coming along, to ask me questions, and to celebrate our status as “word nerds” together.

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