Liz: HA! that sounds like something your dad would say, Keely.Ok, so I have a degree in English and have worked my whole life in fund raising, public relations and marketing in various environments including newspapers (in the "olden days"), non-profit powerhouses like United Way and small businesses. Finally, I got my real estate license and kind of found my element -- where I could use my innate marketing chops to make money for myself. Then, I found myself as a trailing ex-pat spouse for the next seven years. I had my 3rd child in Japan and from there we moved to Istanbul, Turkey then to London. When we returned to the states (and Ann Arbor, Michigan) I retrieved my license from escrow and jumped back in, having some killer years selling houses in a down market. Then, I met a guy named Trevor (Keely’s brother).
I have 2 full time jobs I love. I fit it all in but do not adhere
to word count targets. I am about writing the story, not meeting the word
count. I am an avowed marathon writer--the story hits me, I head write a
bit, then sit down and just open up the laptop and let it flow. Essence of Time (the 4th Stewart Realty
book and the one most fans claim as their favorite) is a little over 100,000
words. I wrote it in 3 months. Escalation
Clause (book 6) is nearly the same length and was written in 2 months.
I don't claim that this is the correct way to do this--it's just my way.
Liz: Actually, the Tap Room was not the inspiration for this book. My inspiration came from a story I read on Salon.com or HuffPo or someplace about a woman who had been brutally attacked as a teenager and not expected to survive but who ended up running her family's restaurant business thanks to her father who forced her into a healing mindset by learning the business and taking over. I just extrapolated that into the brewery business.
I don't typically take bar patrons and put them into a story. I do take
elements of peoples' lives and try and mold them into an interesting narrative.
And many of my characters are amalgams of people I know, including myself.
Liz: I will tell you, the whole social networking thing is a mixed blessing. I have learned to use it, but it is not something you can just start and then stop and hope it works. It's a 2-way street, no matter what. You cannot simply open a Twitter account, mention how hard you are working at your revision and then go away and come back hoping there are 1000 more followers. I have nearly 2500 followers, but use Twitter as a promo platform AND a place to find others interested in things that interest me. I have conversations with people, and take the time to seek them out.
But, first things first, guys. Write the book, get it beta-read,
critiqued and subbed. THEN mess around on social networks. If I had been FaceBook-
and Twitter-distracted in 2008, I would never in a million years have cranked
out the equivalent of 200,000 words that eventually became the first 3 books of
the Stewart Realty series. *shiny* *sparkly* *internet*!
I use FaceBook and Twitter for both the brewery and my reader audience but only because I know when to turn them off and focus on the engine---> getting the beer sold by getting in front of people, or, by writing the next book.
It is not easy. But if you want it bad enough, you will make it work.
Liz: My 2013 release schedule is pretty set and includes a late 2012 release called Honey Red (a brewery based story of "real" ménage--which by any true life standards is a challenge at best). Then I will release the next Stewart Realty series book Mutual Release, which will serve as a potential stand alone novel exploring a more hard-core BDSM lifestyle that serves as release for 2 wounded individuals from the first realty books, Evan Adams (who owns a brewery) and his wife, Julie. This releases on February 14th and we will host a Valentine's Day book signing event with books, beer and chocolate in conjunction with Nicola's books (the one remaining large indie book store in Ann Arbor, and a local chocolatier). The fall will bring the release of the Black Jack Gentlemen series, a soccer-based offshoot from the Stewart series that is hinted at in the 6th book (Escalation Clause). These three books are: Man On, Free Agent, and Penalty Kick.
Finally, I will wrap up the year with a novel I've already contracted
about the dark side of the "BDSM lifestyle" that is so seemingly
fascinating right now. What happens when that "Dream Dom" is
really just an abusing jerk? How do you rebuild your life and self esteem once
it's been ripped apart by such a man? In
His Shadow will be something completely different, more than a little
controversial and hopefully very compelling.
I will end the year by releasing the final official Stewart Realty book,
Good Faith, which will be a long
novel about the lives of the children of the original set of characters.
It will include a very difficult psychological exploration of addiction.
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