Lisa Mantchev

Lisa Mantchev

Lisa Mantchev is the author of the Theatre Illuminata series, including Perchance to Dream and Eyes Like Stars. She grew up in the small Northern California town of Ukiah. She wrote her first play in the fourth grade, and has been involved in theater ever since. She received two scholarships to study drama at the University of California, Irvine. She won the Chancellor's Award For Undergraduate Research in Drama her senior year while studying in the Campuswide Honors Program. After graduation, she taught English at the Lycée Internationale de Los Angeles and created their Drama After School Program. In between report cards and drafting scripts for Winter and Spring productions, she wrote fiction. Her first professional short fiction sale was in 2002, and her debut trilogy sold in 2007. Mantchev makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state with her husband Angel, her daughter Amélie and four hairy miscreant dogs. When not scribbling, she can be found on the beach, up a tree, making jam or repairing things with her trusty glue gun



  • Theatre Illuminata - Book Trailer

    Once again, Lisa Mantchev has spun a tale like no other—full of romance, magic, adventure, and fairies, too—that readers wont want to put down, even after the curtain has closed.

  • Eyes Like Stars: ALA Book Talk

    Linda Ward-Callighan talks about Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Manchev.



  • Lisa Mantchev

Q & A

1. What is your earliest memory of writing/drawing?
My first grade teacher kept a stack of paper--that was lined on the bottom half for writing and left blank at the top for illustrations--on his desk, and I was permitted to use as many of those papers as I wanted once I was finished with my class work. My first completed short story was a ten-page illustrated epic in which I went to Hollywood, starred in a movie, and won an Academy Award.

2. What inspired you to write/illustrate your first book?
I started writing a short story entitled "All Her World's A Stage" but I couldn't cram all the shiny in five thousand words. So when one of my friends casually suggested I write a novel, I thought, "Why not?" and three months later, I had the draft of EYES LIKE STARS.

3. Do you use your childhood as inspiration?
Absolutely. I started doing community theater when I was seven, so I spent almost as much time on a stage as a child as Beatrice Shakespeare Smith does.

4. What books from your childhood have most influenced your work? What about adult titles?
I loved BALLET SHOES by Noel Streatfeild and dearly wanted to be an actress like Pauline Fossil when I grew up. She played Peaseblossom in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, so there I was, about nine or ten, asking for a COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE for my birthday. I still have it--leather-bound, with gilt edges and vellum pages--and it became the inspiration for The Book in EYES LIKE STARS.  And when Bertie needed sidekicks, I instantly knew it should be the four fairies from MIDSUMMER.

5. What are your hobbies and interests besides reading and books?
Old-fashioned baking, like making bread and jam from scratch.  Treasure-hunting in antique stores where oddities are crammed higgledy-piggeldy and everything is somewhat dusty (all the better to hide the Magic.)  Visiting Disneyland, making jewelry out of old pocket watches, swing dancing to Big Band music, visiting 24-hour diners, and searching for the rabbit hole to Wonderland....

6. Who are a couple of your favorite authors? What is it about their work that inspires and interests you?
I love any book that can open the door between reality and the imagination, so authors like Lewis Carroll, Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint continually delight me. L.M. Montgomery's characterizations were absolutely brilliant. Patricia McKillip's descriptive work turns me green with envy. Terry Pratchett's humor gave me permission to crack wise.

7. What one or two words of advice would you give for young authors?
Write what makes you happy so that your passion shines through the words.

8. Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
I love being around other creative people, so going to the theater never fails to give me tens of thousands of ideas.  We recently saw a production of Cirque de Soleil's Corteo that was absolutely phenomenal.  I'm all about the costuming, really.

9. What’s your idea of the best meal ever?
French picnic food... baguette, smelly cheese, fresh fruit, and something chocolate and crumbly for dessert.

10. If you could travel in time, where would you go?
On the maiden voyage of the Titanic.  Once I'd attired myself properly, I'd grab the Captain by his beard and make sure he paid attention to the ice warnings.


All Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has ever wanted is a true family of her own. And she’s close to reuniting her parents when her father disappears. Now Bertie must deal with a  vengeful...


Following on the heels of Eyes Like Stars, the next book in Lisa Mantchev’s Theatre Illuminata trilogy is equally fantastic and original—and very romantic!


“Magical stagecraft, unmanageable fairies, and a humorous cast of classical characters form the backdrop for this imaginative coming-of-age.”—Suzanne Collins