EM: Welcome to My World, Liza. It is lovely to have you here today. :-)
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in Denville, NJ with my dog, Jess. We hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, I 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. I’m an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through my entire life, my first love has and always will be writing novels. I love to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.
1. How long have you been writing for?
I’ve been writing most of my life. Even as a little girl, before I could write, I would entertain the other children with stories I would swear to be true, and then make up giant spiders and alligators that would eat all my invented siblings. I was so convincing in my detail and delivery that despite their parents having declared all my past stories fabrications, they would sit for hours as I shared a new tale, believing it to be true...until they shared it with their parents. I’ll admit, I wasn’t exactly popular with the parents and eventually stopped with the oral storytelling and began to writing my stories down instead.
Still, one of my imaginative emails to a friend during summer vacation cost me all seventeen friends in my posse. One mother intercepted what I meant to be a funny short story about my wild, out of control stuffed poodle, Archie. Sadly, she concluded I had a pot smoking fellow sleeping in my bed. (I was 14 at the time) and warned all the other parents about this threat to their children. In one fell swoop, I lost every friend I had in school.
That was a hard year. I made new friends, but it wasn’t the same, so I convinced my mother to return me to my prior school, where I still had friends. I flourished there, and I continued to write stories, but I never shared them with friends. I couldn’t risk losing them.
Then I grew up and took a highly influential job. During these years I couldn’t risk publishing, worried it might undermine my professional credibility.
Only when I chose quality of life over my job, and quit working, could I finally risk publishing. And even then, I delayed publishing while I enjoyed doing just the fun part: writing drafts.
2. Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
I always knew I needed to write. Nothing gives me as much joy and peace as writing does.
3. What is your favourite genre to read? Humorous mysteries.
To write? Sci Fiction
And why? I love writing sci-fi because I’m not constrained with reality as we know it, but merely constrained at what might be reality.
4. Who is your favourite author?
Of all time: Jane Austen. She loved to peel back the shallow veneer of society. Fave book? Pride and Prejudice And why? The writing is so witty yet insightful.
5. How do you get your ideas?
My brain tells me stories while I sleep.
6. In your opinion what is the hardest part of the writing process?
Moving it from a book I love to a book everyone will love. Evidently, I am not normal. (Who would have thought?) and thus, what seems perfectly clear to me will baffle the average reader. Thus, I have to rely on excellent editors, who I trust to challenge me to reach in deep and force my characters to reveal more about themselves so their actions make sense, or to cut the scene entirely. Sometimes the right answer is to cut and that’s always hard.
7. In your opinion what is the best part of the writing process?
Writing the first draft where my characters surprise me at every turn and constantly challenge my attempts to lead them to a happy ending.
8. Are you a planner or a panster?
100 percent by the seat of my pants. I have tried planning, but my characters rebel and go off on their own.
9. Do you prefer to concentrate on one story, or juggle a few?
I prefer to immerse myself into a single story, but I haven’t been able to do that since I got published. Now my time is torn between marketing Saving Casey, getting my other finished stories ready for future publication and writing new ones.
10. Tell us about one of the most favourable scene you have written.
That’s a tough one, because every book I write has a scene that I love. For Saving Casey: it’s the last chapter when everything goes from miserable to wonderful, but I can’t tell you why, since that will ruin your fun. So let me talk about the three other books I hope to publish this year. In Guardian Angel, it’s when we meet all those 16 adorable boys, each one identical, except in age. I had to keep a chart to keep them all straight. For GhostLover, its when Senna meets her fiancé’s brother at the airport. After admitting she doesn’t love Brendon, she asks Gar to verify he really does have a half million dollars in a trust account. Gar is astounded. He knew Americans were obsessed with money, but this seems excessively mercenary. In Worst Week Ever, it’s when file cabinets rain from the sky and kills the bomb sniffing robots.
11. Out of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite and why?
I probably shouldn’t reply to this question, because I’m going to hurt a lot of characters’ feelings. But it’s hands down, Victor Hamilton in Xavier Thorn series.... (You can read the series on http://www.BloodyGoodRead.com )
Victor is a young Victorian woman who decides at the age of 13 that she’d rather grow up as young man, because men have far more interesting lives than women. Vic joins Xavier Investigation firm, initially as his male secretary, but soon he promotes her to assistant and eventually partner. Always seen by the world as a man, she is brilliant, clever, amazingly intuitive, and very mouthy. Everyone concurs her manners are worse than Xavier’s.
12. If you could meet any fictional character, who would you meet and why?
Oh, Vic for sure. We would get in so much trouble and have so much fun.
Are you working on anything at the moment?
I’ve recently finished the rough drafts on two books: One is about a young woman who smiles too much. The other book is about a self-centered playboy author who finds a baby in his garbage...alive, but hungry. He concludes the boy has to be his and decides to raise it...not bothering to notify any officials of his find. It’s called Raising Hellion. While I love the book and premise, my mother critters don’t really like it because he’s a very bad father at first.
Do you have any current release?
My debut release, which came out in mid-November is Saving Casey.
Having been diagnosed with cancer, Cass Goldman decides to opt out of any futile medical care and end her life. While she has some thoughts on afterlife, she never expects to reincarnate into the body of a seventeen-year-old girl named Casey Davidson.
When she awakens in a hospital, Cass discovers two disturbing facts: One, she is now inside the body of a troubled teenager, and two, the former owner of this body committed suicide, but only Cass knows that. Everyone else believes Casey has survived, but suffered a complete memory loss. Cass has two choices: to take on Casey’s life and turn it around, or to confess the truth about her reincarnation and end up in a mental asylum. Given this second chance to life, Cass decides to take on the future life of Casey—the frightening ghoul-faced teen with short, black, spiky hair.
Every person around Cass has an ulterior motive and discovering the truth of Old Casey’s life is more complicated than the “new math” she is forced to learn in school. In addition, Cass has to contend with raging teenage hormones and the prior crimes of Old Casey, which she might not remember, but everyone else certainly does. However, her biggest frustration concerns her feelings for her father’s rugged security specialist who sees her only as a teenager and doesn’t want to explore the mutual attraction between them.
As determined as Cass is to turn this life around, Old Casey’s enemies are just as determined to end her life. She has no idea whom she can trust, but she knows she’ll never survive going it alone.
SAVING CASEY BY LIZA O'CONNOR IS AVAILABLE AT THESE SITES
Any upcoming releases?
Only in my dreams
Where can readers find you on the internet?
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT
LIZA O'CONNOR &
Any advice you would like to give aspiring writers?
Write what inspires you, not what’s currently trending. Trends change faster than toilet paper rolls. However, if you write from your heart, you can write a story that soars above the massive quantity of new books arriving on Amazon each day.
EM: Thank you so much for joining me!
LO: It was fun for a change. I’m normally the interrogator.