I’m so excited to have Liz Lipperman on the blog today! I adore local authors, and Liz and I happen to share the same doctor, so when she left some bookmarks for her new mystery, Liver Let Die, our doc was kind enough to pass one on to me, and here we are! This is one of the most fun interviews I’ve done, and am so thrilled that Liz agreed to answer my questions! Also, Liz is giving away a copy of Liver Let Die to one lucky winner (as well as a killer giveaway on her site), so please check out the details at the end of the post!
Please welcome Liz to the blog!
Liz, you worked as a Registered Nurse for years, then went back to school and got a professional arts degree! What made you decide to go back to school (I think it’s amazing that you did that, by the way)?
When I graduated from high school, the majority of nurses were trained at hospital nursing schools, and although we had to go to school just as long as a 4 year college grad, took the same state board exams and got the same salaries, we didn’t get a college degree. For some reason– that seems utterly ridiculous to me now– I decided I wanted BA after my name. At the time, I would have had to go back and take the entire 4 years over—this after working so many years already as an RN. But I discovered I could get a Bachelor of Arts Degree in less time since they gave me credit for my nursing courses and my work experience. When I took a creative writing class as an elective, and the instructor told me I was one of her most talented students, I was hooked on writing.
Can you tell us a bit about your brand new novel, Liver Let Die?
Liver Let Die is the debut of The Clueless Cook Mystery Series. Normally I write mainstream mysteries, which as you know have sex, language and gruesome murder scenes. Cozies are more of a PG version, and although there can be sex, it’s behind closed doors. I have this great paranormal manuscript abut 5 sisters, one of whom comes back at her wake and helps the other 4 solve her murder. She’s irreverent and trash-talking. Anyway, my agent submitted that to my editor who loved it but said she couldn’t use it. She was looking for a cozy series and she would have had to “ruin” the book by taking all that other stuff out. She wanted to know if I could write a cozy. That’s the first time I’d ever heard of one. Needless to say, I did a lot of research and ended up with a three book deal after writing three chapters of LLD.
Back to your question. Here’s the blurb. You can go to my website to read an excerpt.
Jordan McAllister, a wannabe sports reporter who follows her boyfriend to Dallas, gets dumped, and ends up in a small Texas town where she lands a job writing personals. When she’s offered an opportunity to fill in for the culinary reporter who’s rehabbing a broken hip, she jumps on it, thinking it’s one step closer to writing that sports column she wants so badly. The problem is she was raised in West Texas, the only girl with three brothers who needed her outside every day to even up the sides for football games, and although she can throw a razor-sharp touchdown pass from 50 yards, she can’t cook her way out of a box of macaroni and cheese
Her first assignment is reviewing the new steakhouse in town where she inadvertently orders foie gras (fatty duck liver) that ends up untouched and shoved into a borrowed purse. Back home she discovers that she has ruined her friends beautiful handbag, but that’s nothing compared to finding her waiter from the steakhouse murdered outside her door along with her name and number in his pockets. Now she’s the prime suspect as well as the main course on the murder menu.
In your bio, you talk about how tough it was to juggle a family with writing. What’s the best bit of advice you can give to struggling writers, especially those with busy family lives?
I’ll probably get in trouble with some writers here, but my way of thinking has always been family first. I have great kids and adorable grandkids, and whenever I get a chance to spend time with them, I take it, no matter how stressed I am about a deadline. I am fortunate that I no longer have a day job and can write when I want. That said I can also tell you that I am a habitual procrastinator and probably get less writing done than some who work a forty hour week. My advice – go at your own pace and even when you don’t think there’s even one creative juice left in you-write anyway. As the great Nora Roberts likes to say, “Unlike a blank page, even crap can be turned into something brilliant.” I’m paraphrasing here.
How did you celebrate when you got the news that Liver Let Die had sold?
I screamed! I’ve been at this a long time and I’ve been beaten down so much, I didn’t believe it. I kept asking my agent if she was sure. After calling my kids and my sisters, hubby and I went out to dinner. Truthfully, I still have a hard time believing it even today, and I’m so afraid of my bubble bursting.
What are some of your biggest literary influences?
I started off thinking I was a romance writer and got my first tingling that I wanted to write after reading Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Then I found Nora and devoured her books until I discovered I loved Romantic Suspense. That meant Sandra Brown, Lisa Jackson, Karen Rose, Karen Robards, and a whole lot of others. I love any kind of suspense and gobble up James Lee Burke, Clive Cussler, Richard North Patterson, and too many more to name. I try to read all my friends’ books, too.
What’s on your nightstand right now?
My kindle with way too many books TBR. It opens to chapter one of Roast Mortem by my friend and BS cozy author, Cleo Coyle. I wish there were more hours in the day.
Is there a book that you’ve “faked” reading?
I hope I don’t get “outed” here, but sometimes, I read only a few chapters before I put a book down. Since a lot of my friends write in genres I really don’t read, I read just enough to tell them what I think, pretending to have read the entire book.
If you could pack your bags and travel anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go, and why?
Without a doubt—Hawaii. I think it’s the most gorgeous place ion this earth–bar none. It’s so serene, and I almost feel like I’m in the Garden of Eden.
What’s one of the most daring things you’ve ever done (that you’re willing to admit to)?
As a Senior student nurse at a Catholic Hospital (class president, no doubt!) 4 of us decided we wanted to go to the Jesuit College’s Rugby match and Homecoming dance. Since we were working the weekend, and the dorm was nearly deserted, we decided to take a chance that the back door of the dorm did not have an alarm (we had never heard of it going off) that rang in the head nun’s and the house mother’s room. The head nun was in Ireland at the time, and the house mother said she was going to spend the night at her daughter’s house nearby. So, we arranged it with one of our friends who was engaged and couldn’t go to set her alarm for 2 AM and open the door when we came home at . We all signed out to spend the night at my house as an added precaution.
The plan went off like clockwork—we thought.
We heard all this noise on the floor above us (the nuns’ floor,) and I ended up sleeping under my bed just in case someone investigated. As it turned out, another nun was in the room and the dorm mother had come back for whatever reason. And worse–the alarm did go off in BOTH rooms. Fortunately for us, the sleepy-eyed occupants looked out the window and said they saw a boy running from the building to a waiting car in the alley. It was a boy—one who had walked us to the door. So, the poor girls who were asleep in their rooms were blamed (remember, the 4 of us had signed out to spend the night at my house,) and no one squealed. It wasn’t until years later that I saw one of my instructors at the grocery store and confessed. We had a good laugh over it.
Is there any news of upcoming projects and events you’d like to share with us?
I am hoping by the time you read this, I will have my mainstream mystery, MORTAL DECEPTION, live on Amazon. I am offering it the entire month of October for the bargain price of $.99 for the download. Remember, though, it is not a cozy and MATURE AUDIENCES ADVISED. It’s a great story and may even bring a tear to your eyes in places.
Book #2 of The Clueless Cook series BEEF STOLEN-OFF, is being edited, and I should have a cover soon. I am a third of the way into Book #3, MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT.
In the meantime, my agent should hear back from Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer’s line on whether they want to buy my paranormal ghost series. That’s also not a cozy, as I mentioned earlier. And if that isn’t enough, I have a Romantic Suspense, SHATTERED DREAMS, which is the first book I ever wrote, also coming to Amazon, and a RS series proposal about a special ops team in the works. Oh, and I do have a non-fiction project on the back burner, and I’m hoping for another contract from Berkley. This is retirement?? Are you sorry you asked?
**I would also like to take time here to tell your readers about a great contest I’m sponsoring with Liver Let Die’s release. I’m giving away a Pandigital Kitchen Technology Center, retail value $399.) It has an HD TV, a digital recipe file, a digital photo album and wireless internet connection. Check it out the details and how to enter here!
1. Giveaway is for one copy of LIVER LET DIE to one winner!
2. Giveaway is open to US addresses ONLY!
3. To enter, please leave a comment or question for Liz, along with your email address. Following the blog is not necessary, but is ALWAYS appreciated!
4. Must be at least 13 to enter.
5. Giveaway ENDS 10/25/11.
6. Giveaway book kindly provided by Berkley.