today, I’m finally sitting here with Liza O’Connor to have a chat. Full disclosure: we both suffer from TMI. What is that? Read on, my friends.
HI Liza, and thank you for being here. What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your books?
A positive, can do attitude!
I see so many ‘sad’ teens and college students. I don’t know if that is because life is harder now, or because our current youth is focused on the negative rather than positive moments in their life.
When I was young, I was happy, despite the fact my brother wished to be an only child (leading to many of my injuries), my mother was an alcoholic and would wake me up from my sleep to rant at me, and I incurred a trauma so serious that my brain refused to record it.
But none of those things defined me. I had a loving older sister and I had puppies, lots of puppies. That was more than enough to keep me happy.
Later, my amoral husband would try to kill me three times, so I made him go live with his brother while I filed for divorce. The day after he left was the happiest day of my life to date. A couple of years later, I would fall in love with a ‘nice’ but controlling guy and when that went south, I headed off to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji for two months. By the time I returned, I had reached a new level of happiness.
Now, I just write novels about love and its many flavors. (Sometimes a jerk shows up in my novels, but his bad behavior is not tolerated for long. If he cannot be reformed, he must either go to jail or die.)
I can relate to many things that happened to you, and none of them are the reasons why I write. I do it because of the overload of feelings I have, which are not mine. They come from outside–people, happenings, life. And I know my past defines me only as far as knowing first hand how emotions work, because I have experienced so many of them and all so extreme. So, why would you say you write, and romance, in particular? Is it a ‘screw the bad, I know there can be good’, or ‘screw the bad, I want to believe there’s good somewhere’. Or is it a form of therapy, a way of unloading of feelings? Or nothing at all?
I believe I born a bard. Before I even could write, I would entertain the other kids with grand tales, which I would swear were true. That, of course, got me classified as an ‘outrageous liar’ by most parents.
Once I learned how to read, I became an avarice reader. While no books were bought for me, my mother was also a reader and our home had thousands of books in it. Because I was un-supervised, even at a young age, I would read my mother’s romance novels and her R-rated magazine stories. I remember once interrupting my mother and her latest creepy boyfriend and asking her what a ‘lesbian’ was, because I couldn’t make sense of the story and I was convinced if I knew what that word meant, I would understand the story.
Mother told me to read something else. I stood my ground and demanded to know what it meant. So she told me. Then I turned around and returned to my room and continued reading the lovely romance story, which now made sense.
I began writing my own books when I was about fourteen. I would then send them in the mail to my friends to read during the summer when school was out. Sadly, a parent read one of them and ALL my friends were banned from associating with me. I still remember the story. Alfie a French poodle was imbibing in drugs and keeping me up all night with his music. I changed schools and made new friend, and while I still wrote stories, I never shared them with anyone. It wasn’t until I became a Rom-Critter that I shared my stories with others.
Did you always have the reins of the story or do the people in it try to take over?
I NEVER have control of my characters. I usually start with two of them, and for a chapter or two, I can at least pretend I have control, but then other people start wandering into my story and all pretense of control is gone. My characters behave differently, given whoever is in the room. If they get stuck into a corner, I have to discover which character sent the matter astray and erase everything from that point and try again.
In one of my The Adventures of Xavier & Vic Sleuth stories, Vic let Tubs, her protector, die before I realized where we were going. Instead of stopping, I continued typing, sobbing hysterically, because fabulous Tubs was dead.
That put me into mourning for three months! I couldn’t write anything. Finally, I realized unlike the recent deaths of my grandmother, my dad, my mother, my brother, my neighbor, and my step sister, this death could be undone. I had the power!
So I erased the last three chapters and now, while seriously injured, Tubs lives, which meant I could write again. Still, I had to make Vic bully him back to health in the next book or he still would have died. (I have to watch my characters every second!)
Do you get a little depressed when you finish a story, even with the HEA? Because I do. I cry every time. Nothing dramatic, just a sniffle here and there, but still.
With the exception of Tubs dying, which sent me into true mourning, I am normally exuberantly proud of my books when they are all shiny and polished.
You’re one of the busiest people I know. What are you working on now?
I’m publishing a book a month this year, so my answer could be different every day. Before you fall off your chair at that claim, let me explain that for ten years I did nothing but write. No socializing on the internet, no publishing, just writing over 130 books.
Now, I might write one or two new novels in a year, but mostly, I’m culling from my huge back log of books in desperate need of editors.
Publishing and promoting a book a month is no minor feat…at least not for me. To keep me from stressing over deadlines, I try very hard to keep ahead of my deadlines. Thus, as I write this, I have gone through all my edits for Slammed (New Adult uplifting story). I now need to get it ready to publish in August. Then 10 of my stories will be edited, formatted and ready to publish, or have already been published this year. One novel still needs to be edited. I don’t publish in December. It’s my rest month.
There’s also promotions to be bought for each book, blogs to be created, copyrights to be paid, newsletters to be sent, etc.
If I didn’t have a detailed schedule that tells me what to do each day, I would crumble in a heap on the floor. Generally speaking, I try to stay two months to a month in advance, depending on the item.
However, for this interview, I’m a wee bit concerned that I have gone overboard on the sharing bit. (I do that often and it freaks people out!) In college people were often TMI (Too Much Information)ing me
What was your job before you started writing full time?
I began on Wall Street, then became a financial analyst, grew into a strategist, then went out on my own as a consultant to various businesses, helping them to improve the way they operated.
Sounds very stressful.
The last job paid well, but wasn’t fun, so once I raised enough money to be poor all my life, I quit and began writing full-time.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I wake whenever I wake (7-8 am usually).
I turn on my computers, fix breakfast, and eat while I chisel away at the emails.
Then I check my infamous schedule, then I check my sales of the prior night. (I kept track of my sales on a program I created.)
Work until 2 pm, then take Jess for a hike or walk depending on many factors. (1-3 hours) I then fix lunch.
Are you sure you’re walking Jess, and it’s not the other way around? Because I had a Westie, Mac, and I walked him a lot. A lot. Now, he would have been the happiest dog just laying on the carpet in front of the heater (we lived in the UK back then), but I needed to be outside. So he was the perfect excuse. These long hikes you girls take? Sound too familiar for not making me wonder.
Good point, it’s hard to say who is walking/hiking the other. However, since I hold the leash and Jess does not pull, I’m declaring myself Alpha!
Now back to my normal routine: After walking or hiking Jess, I return and work until 9-12 at night, depending on how tired I am.
On rare occasion, I’ll wash dishes or vacuum the floor, but Jess knows to stay off the carpet, and I just sit in a recliner all day, so it doesn’t get very dirty.
Has your environment /upbringing colored your writing?
Absolutely. Every person who has ever annoyed me has shown up in one of my stories, disguised in one way or another. Also, I’ve had a great many near deaths, and they tend to show up a lot in scenes.
Honestly, some of the craziest things in my stories are actually based on true events, because at least in my life, Truth is stranger than Fiction.
Hidden or uncommon talent that helps/makes it harder to write the story?
I used to sing and act during my youth and teenage years.
I belonged to 5 choirs, and performed in 4-5 plays a year, usually taking a lead role. I even won an award for acting somewhere along the way. I also played the trumpet. In fact, I wanted to be a musician for a while. Then I came to my senses. Oddly, of all the books I’ve published so far, none of my stories have touch on these talents. Weird, right?
We need to stop now, or this will be made into a disturbing novel. Thank you, Liza!
Liza’s last story is Rana the Teenage Queen.
Rana is only sixteen when she becomes queen. Her first challenge is to quell an internal coup while a massive army storms the gates of her castle. Her enemies believe her to be a child, but she has powers they’ve never suspected. She also has great dreams for her people, and she will do whatever is necessary to make them happen, even marrying a prince she does not want.
Here’s the excerpt.
Rana had not realized how frustrating and difficult finding truly good workers was until she tried to do it without using her ability to read the heart.
She thought the first candidate interviewed for Public Works quite excellent until they walked him to the door and she placed her hand over his heart.
He only wanted the position to make himself rich as his predecessor.
Once he left, Seren closed the door and smiled. “I believe we have found a very good minister.”
She sighed heavily.
“You don’t agree?”
She shook her head.
“What did I miss?” he asked. She could hear the disappointment in his voice. He was already losing faith in himself.
She led him to the table and sat down beside him. “Seren, I have to tell you something.”
“You cannot tell him you’re a fairy,” Ditter warned.
“I have to tell him something.”
“He hates witches, as well.”
She sighed. “Will you just trust me?”
Ditter stared at her a long moment and then returned time to its normal speed.
“Go ahead,” Seren stated, looking as if he stood before a firing squad.
“God has given me a gift. It’s why I knew which ministers to remove, which to keep, and which to hire as replacements.”
“What is it?”
“If I place my hand upon a heart, I can tell what the person feels. The candidate who just left did everything right, said just what we wanted to hear, but when I touched his heart, I discovered he wanted the job to make himself rich like the one before him.”
Seren’s eyes narrowed. Then he grabbed her hand and placed it upon his heart. “What am I feeling right now?”
“Doubt…You don’t believe I have a gift…You think I’ve changed my mind and want to break the engagement and return to Stronghold…shock that maybe I do have a gift…”
She then pulled her hand away from him and stood up from a shock of her own. “You still love me!”
He remained seated so they were nearly the same height. “With all my heart. And I am now convinced you do have a gift. My only concern is what will you do with your newfound knowledge? Before you run in fear, I should remind you that I still need a new minister.”
She continued to stare at him, trying to make sense of this new information.
His hands shook and he met her gaze. “I wish I had your gift, because I need to know what you are thinking right now.”
Rana threw her arms about his neck. “I love you. I love the man you’ve been this week.”
His arms tentatively, then determinedly wrapped around her small body. “Really?”
“Really, really, really!”
“Then let’s find our ministers so we can get onto more romantic issues.”
If you want to read Rana’s adventure, you can find her on Amazon.
Following, are some of the other books from Liza for you to check out.
The Multiverse Series
Sci-Fi Soap Opera with humor, romance, and science
Artificial Intelligence Series
The SkyRyders Series
Find Liza here:
I hope you enjoyed the chat with Liza, thank you for coming by!