So I think, when I started writing the book, I was writing fictionally about some of my own deepest struggles with those issues.  I think I chose to pursue it in my 20s because it was the thing I was grappling with most deeply. I thought, This scares me to write about this, really scares me.” It was personally really challenging, but I think the trauma work helped me really think through various different people’s types of reactions to these events, and having them try to deal with those questions of suffering.

Which definitely lands in authenticity, instead of tying things up in a bow. 

That was one of the things that I struggled with in writing it. I wanted to have different types of reactions, but have them be as honest as possible

From the sounds of it, you’ve racked up a few frequent flyer miles recently.  Where would you travel just for pleasure?

This past year I went to Turkey just for pleasure, and that was awesome. I decided at the beginning of last year that I hadn’t travelled anywhere just for fun for quite awhile, and it would be nice to get off the plane for once and not be responsible for leading trauma workshops.  So, I went to Turkey and Greece and that was amazing. But where I would go next just for fun?  I’ve always wanted to go to South America. That’s on my Top-5 list. I want to go and see the Amazon.

Very cool.  So you have a Top-5 list?

I do.  And it changes all the time.  The list of places where I don’t want to go in the world is probably shorter than the list of places where I would really like to. 

With my job, you have some of those days where you’re like Do I really want to be living far, far away from my family, is this really worth it? I often have these moments in L.A. when I’m about to fly to Africa or Asia. I think, Why do I do this? I hate sitting on planes now, I really hate it. I think we have a limited amount of hours that we can spend on long whole flights without going insane, and I’m really reaching my limit. So those are the moments when I’m second guessing myself. But usually at the end of the day, always at the end of the day, the answer always comes out:  I’m supposed to be doing this.  This is what I’m supposed to be doing right now.

What is still left unchecked on your list of future goals?

I would like to get married and have a family at some stage, but I’m wary of making a goal because I’m not sure I have complete control over that one. It’s one of those goals so I think I would like that, but I’m also going to be happy and happily fulfilled without that. So in terms of actual goals, I have just recently committed to seeing if I can write a second book. I wasn’t sure if I would ever write another book after I finished Hands, and so…

Well, you wrote 170,00 words ... that’s nuts.

(Laughs) So, I would really like to write more.  Writing has become something that’s become a real passion in the past five years, so I would love to write more books.  So, goals?  Hmmm.  I, you know, it’s funny, a lot of my goals are fun goals. I want to swim with dolphins. That sounds ridiculous, but that’s one of the things on my goals list to do before I die. I feel really blessed professionally.  I love my job, and it’s not like I have a whole host of other jobs in mind that I really want to do, so I guess my goal is to hopefully keep moving forward in a way that feels like I’m staying on the right track and that I’m heading in the direction that I’m supposed to be heading in and that I’m doing the very best that I can to be responsibly using the opportunities and responsibilities and talents that I’ve been given.  


To find out more about Lisa McKay and her first book, My Hands Came Away Red, please visit