I’m back from my May hiatus and I’m eager to get back to my special guests. Each Wednesday I post interviews with authors across all romance genres and beyond. Although I’m primarily an historical romance writer, I do read outside my genre and suspect a lot of you do as well. And what’s more fascinating than finding out more about either your favorite authors or new ones?
So now gather round the tea table, grab a scone or cookies, and a cup of tea or coffee and discover a new friend in the writing world.
This week on Be My Guest, I’m sitting down with Liza O’Connor, long-time friend and author of contemporary, historical, and sci-fi romances. She’s here to share a little more about her very eclectic and dare-devil life and career. I’m truly excited to sit down and grill…er, um chat with Liza. She’s a sweetheart!
Author Bio :
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.
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And now heeeeere’s Liza!
- Who was the first romance author and book you read?
My older sister let me read a book about a young woman who had three lovers, one of them being a cat burglar who would crawl in through the window and make love to her. She also had two other lovers. None of them filled all her needs, but each one filled some of her needs. I thought it most shocking at the time. (I was probably 8 yrs old at the time.) I really liked it, but I don’t remember the name or author. Still, it had a major impact on me by making me believe that anything goes!
Wow! Talk about the power of reading!
- Are you a pantser or plotter? What is your process?
Pantser all the way. In the garden, I plot. When writing, I’m all pants. I give my characters something to kick matters off (usually pulled from a life experience), then let them take it where they want. If matters start to slow, I’ll throw in a new character to get matters moving again.
Just so you know, this sometimes doesn’t work well. I’ve many stories that I wrote that will never be published because they even disturb me. Sometimes what my characters naturally do just doesn’t work for me. Since I wasn’t publishing at the time, I’d just move on to a new story.
I think all pantsers are brave.
- Who or what inspires your writing?
My crazy life and the life of people I’ve known are a main inspiration for me.
I can see that in the books of yours I’ve read. 🙂
- Which of your own books is your favorite and why?
My favorite book and series, is The Adventures of Xavier & Vic. Book one is The Troublesome Apprentice. It’s a Victorian Sleuth series. When Xavier Thorn hires a young man, the fellow turns out to be a 21 yr old young woman in disguise, but it takes him awhile to discover that. All he knows at first is the young man has amazing intuitive skills and for the first time in his life, Xavier feels the odd emotion of love. This is my favorite series because the characters are clever, outrageous and often over the top. Xavier is a bellower at first and Vic is determined to break his bad habits (and he has a ton of bad habits in book one.) However, be warned that one of the cases in book one concerns homosexuals, so if you are homophobic, then skip book one and start with book two.
- What is your favorite holiday and why?
I ignore all holidays. Their sole purpose seems to sell something, be it eggs, candy, chocolate, or expensive toys.
- What is the most exciting/daredevil thing you’ve ever done?
In New Zealand I rafted down a 23 foot waterfall. In Australia I learned to hang glide off a mountain. My instructor had promised me the sheep would move out of my when landing. They didn’t and they weren’t nearly as soft as they appear. And in some state, I don’t remember now, I jumped out of a plane and my toggles were tangled so I had to untangle them before I could control the parachute. (Actually, that was a very calming moment.)
- What is the first thing you do when you get a story idea?
I wake up, hurry downstairs and type quickly. (I dream my stories. If they are really good, they’ll wake me up.)
- Do you have any hobbies/passions outside of writing?
I garden, I sing, I paint, I scuba dive, I hike with my dog Jess every day. I used to fly planes, but I don’t now (too expensive and stopped being fun). Currently, I start the day out gardening about four hours and then sit in a chair publishing and marketing my books that I’ve written in the ten years where I did nothing but write (and go on adventures in which I would then write novels about).
Thus far, I’ve written and published about 34 novels. I’m trying to publish a book a month. That turns out to be really hard. I’ve got all the books for this year lined up through November (I refuse to publish in Dec.) But I’ve no idea how long I can keep this up. It’s exhausting!
I cannot imagine! I put out maybe 3-4 during a good year, and that is exhausting. You truly are an Energizer bunny!
- Who is your favorite non-romance genre author? What is your favorite book of theirs?
That’s easy: Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I love to laugh and this may be the funniest book ever written.
I loved it when I read it in school. My daughters adore the movie (which I haven’t seen).
- What is your favorite cuisine?
Now, tell us a little bit about your book Proud Mary.
- What was your inspiration for Proud Mary?
Life events and curiosity. When I was 17, I worked the night shift at a chicken processing plant as the security guard in the summer (to earn money for college). It was in a dangerous part of town, so except when it was time to make the rounds with my big metal clock, I would stay in my locked guard room. One of the drivers would often stop by and flirt though the window. He was constantly asking me out for dates. Just as he was about to convince me to go out with him, one night, I get a phone call from his wife asking if he was there. He wasn’t, but I promised to let him know she called the minute he arrived.
He was so embarrassed when I informed him his wife needed him to call her at once. That was the moment I learned men lie and not to trust them.
In my book, Proud Mary, my heroine had no clue her fiancé is already married. The jerk has even bought her an engagement ring, but claims, because he’s Catholic and can only marry once, he needs to know for certain she can have children before they get married. So Mary goes off the pill.
Not one person at work shared with Mary that Danny was already married, just like none of the other truckers warned me the jerk driver had a wife. Fortunately, my guardian angel made his wife call me before I ever went out with him.
But in Mary’s case, Danny laced her drink then took her out the back alley and had her against a wall. Then their boss came out and told Danny his wife was expecting him at home. Once Danny runs off, (Mary is a bit outraged to discover her so called fiancé already had a wife!) her boss, Charles, takes advantage of Mary’s inebriated state, and in a single night, she’s gets pregnant with two babies from different fathers.
I researched and made certain that could happen. It can and does happen.
I learned that too from an episode of Grey’s Anatomy! (Statistics say that 1 in 12 women who have multiple partners and get pregnant can have this happen.)
There is a reason why they got Mary pregnant. It was planned, only Danny never got his wife’s permission and she is livid and looking for blood. That’s just the start of the book, the plot continues to thicken. My editor, for this book, thinks it should be made into a movie.
I do too!
- Are the character names special in any way?
Proud Mary could only be that, even knowing that when published, she’ll be stuck with a bunch of other Proud Mary books. The only time I care about names is if I realize the character’s name was used by a different character in one of my other books. Then I will research names and what they mean to try to find a better name for my character.
I now have the Ike and Tina Turner song stuck in my head. LOL
- How long did it take you to write this book?
Proud Mary was a fast bloomer. I think I wrote the first draft in about two months. Then it went through rom-critters and many changes, then finally, ten years later, I sent it to an editor, created a cover, and now I’m publishing it. To be honest, I delayed publishing anything for ten years because I was having too much fun writing novels. Finally, a very talented author, Rebecca Royce, demanded I publish something! So I began publishing. It took me two books to realize that I enjoyed self-publishing over the slow process and poor pay of going through publishers.
Now, the Infamous Lightning Round:
- Chocolate or vanilla?
Dark Chocolate for sure.
- How many states have you lived in?
Seven, I think.
AK, NC, MN, CT, NY, NJ, CA
- Would you rather skydive or scuba dive?
I do both, but I’ll give preference to scuba diving now.
- Cat person or dog person?
My dog is annoying me these days, so I’m declaring myself a cat person.
Yay! A convert! LOL
- What’s the one thing you would never do?
Swallow the worm in a tequila bottle.
Honestly, there are many things I won’t do..
- Who is your favorite cartoon character?
Road Runner. He was always going someplace…mostly off cliffs, but he never dies.
This was great fun. Thanks for having me over!
Mary Mason may have lost her job and reputation, but she has too much pride to allow vengeful women and their manipulative husbands to destroy her life and steal her new born babies. Unfortunately, pride alone isn’t going to save her. When Captain Chad Danton answers a call about a prostitute soliciting at the local library, he discovers a determined woman in desperate need of medical care. Upon hearing Mary’s story, he resolves to help her, not realizing her enemies will join those who wish to destroy his career.
Mary shook her head. “Charles may not have signed anything, but I’m positive he took her.”
“As am I,” Lexi said. “But he didn’t want this traced to him, so somehow he got this hospital to release her without proper authority from either parent. I’m hoping this national coverage will make the hospital come forward about Lott’s part in this abduction, but that’s secondary to the possibility that when this plays all over the nation, some neo-natal nurse, or hospital official is going to see it and say, ‘Oh shit, we’ve got that baby,’ and call either Lott or us.”
Mary’s stomach roiled with concern. “But if they call Lott…”
“His lines are tapped. John will alert whatever police force in whatever state he needs to secure your daughter before they have a chance to move her again.”
NOTE: EACH BOOK OF THIS SERIES STANDS ALONE.
Thank you so much for being my guest this week, Liza! I always love chatting with you. Proud Mary sounds like a fantastic read!
Next Wednesday my special guest will be contemporary romance author Jennifer Lowery. Hope you return to you favorite Wednesday spot to meet her!