Lisa Teasley. Courtesy of Lisa Teasley
Author Lisa Teasley, the third in this season’s Idyllwild Author Series, has been called fearless, unafraid to inhabit and explore her characters’ dark psyches and discover what each of us has in common with those whose wounds are gruesome and raw.

She’ll discuss her debut novel, “Dive,” the story of a love affair between two lost souls, a construction worker and a Hollywood animator, with an accompanying cast of oddball outcasts. It is a journey set in place after the animator, Ruby Falls, witnesses a murder and sets out for Alaska as a rite of personal purification.

“I write from a perspective of a wondering naiveté,” said Teasley. “When a person does something awful, the only act left to them, I wonder how everyone around them missed the opportunity to love them, and to see and understand.

“We are all this particular person,” she said. “That’s what I want in my writing to demonstrate — how this seed of separation in an individual becomes larger and larger until it becomes a gaping wound that the person can only address through some negative action. We could all do this.”

Teasley began her exploration of what’s wondrous and wicked in everyday life very early. Asked how she became a writer, she recounted that in kindergarten her class would be taken to the library. She routinely checked out 10 books, not eight, not seven, always 10. And each week she read them. “I could get into anyone’s mind through the pages in a book,” she remembered. “I began writing stories and stapling them together. I have always wanted to be a storyteller.”

Teasley tells stories in many ways — short stories, poems, novels and painting, for which she receives commissions. “I paint portraits,” she said. “My painting is an extension of my fascination with human nature, the rendering of relationships.” She described how she is often commissioned to paint two people — brothers, lovers, friends — and how the painting is also writing, just in a different medium.

Asked about her novel and short-story writing process (some write the ending first, some begin with the details of surroundings and space in which the action happens), Teasley said she begins with the central character.

“I picture and then begin to feel him or her until they become the one making the choices that drive the action. It feels like an act of channeling — how does this person enters and takes a room, who are their parents, what does their environment look and feel like?” Teasley said it can take a week to a month getting to know the character that will determine what happens in the book. Then she begins, the character makes choices, encounters others and the story unfolds.

Teasley is known as an accomplished performer who reads her own work compellingly, so completely inhabiting her characters that listeners are swept up and enthralled. “When I’m reading from my work, I get swallowed up by the character.”

Next for her is a novel written in first person from a man who has committed suicide, his experience of those in his life, what drove him to do what he did, his pain. “I started writing in third person, as an observer, but it did not work. It began working when I made the change to first person, but it also became more emotionally difficult to write,” she explained.

Teasley appears at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 2, on the upper deck of Café Aroma. Admission is free.