Hi Liana and welcome. I am so glad you could join us here at
RomanceJunkies. To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current projects?
Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here. Right now, I’m working on the re-release of my first novel, a murder mystery romance titled ASHTON’S SECRET. It will be released by The Wild Rose Press later this year. City girl photographer Megan Edwards goes to small town western New York to investigate her sister’s death. The only man who can help her is the man who was accused of killing her sister, but was never brought to trial, and he wants to leave that door firmly shut. But Meghan knows it wasn’t suicide, and so does Nick, and whether Nick likes it or not, Meghan isn’t leaving Ashton until she unravels his sleepy little town's secret - or dies trying.
I’m also working on a romantic suspense, JUSTICE IS A LADY, about Samantha Dallas, an ambitious assistant DA determined to prosecute every gang-related case she can in response to her cop husband’s gang-related murder. She ends up on the run with undercover FBI agent Alexander Caldwell when she gets framed for killing a park ranger while on a camping trip she’s practically forced into going on by her loving family to escape job burnout. Alex is investigating a car theft ring and chop shop run by the same people who are after Samantha, only neither of them know it. Samantha also doesn’t know that her uncle, Alex’s boss, has asked Alex to keep a discreet eye on her. All Samantha knows is someone is out to get her, and this entirely too compelling criminal seems to be the only person who will help her. Her attraction to him makes her wonder if she’s finally lost it.
Are you an edit-as-you-write type of author, or do you write and then edit? Do you know your ending before you begin or does it evolve along the way?
I write the first draft without stopping, so I know how it ends, and can work toward that end while I am editing. I used to edit as I wrote, wouldn’t go on to the next page until the one I was working on was perfect, but found as new ideas for plot twists arose, I would have to go back and cut those supposedly perfect paragraphs because they no longer applied to the story. So, to save myself a lot of time and frustration, I now blast through to the ending, and keep the story’s main focus in mind as I edit.
I also write in layers. First I write the dialogue, straight through, until the book is done. Then I go back and decide who has the most at stake in each scene, and write the scene from that character’s point of view. Then I add in the stage directions (who crossed the room, or gripped the glass too tightly, etc.). Then I go back and make sure I have the five senses covered, then I go back and add in clues, or foreshadowing. Last, but not least, I go in and tighten the focus, cut out every word that doesn’t need to be there, and pretty it all up.
What was the best piece of writing advice you received along your path to publication? What was the one tidbit you really wished you had ignored?
Never give up was the best piece of writing advice. The one I really wish I had ignored was to try to fit my books into current market trends, which are always changing. You can start a project, and by the time you’re done, everything will have shifted again. So the best thing to do is believe in yourself, stay true to your vision of the story (which can and quite often does change as you go along, but it’s because of how your story evolves, not fickle trends), and write the best book you can possibly write. Readers can always tell when a book is written from the heart. Then, when the time is right, it will find the right home. That’s what happened with my Golden Leaf and EPPIE award winner, THIN ICE. THIN ICE doesn’t fit any market trends, probably never will, but ended up right where it was meant to be, with The Wild Rose Press, and I couldn’t be happier with how it is doing.
What do you like most about being an author? What do you like least?
I like being able to stay home and write, make my own hours, and wear my PJs to work. What do I like least? All the grunt work that comes along with edits and proofreading the manuscript over and over again, then one or two more times in the galley stage. By then I am ready to move on to another project.
Congratulations on your EPPIE! How very exciting! Now... how did you find out you were a finalist? Who was the first person you told? Did you do anything special after finding out you'd won?
Thank you. I found out I was a finalist via email from the contest coordinator. I found out I’d won via an email from my co-winner, fellow Wild Rose Press author Paty Jagr. I wasn’t able to go to Portland for the conference, and I was home alone that night while a blizzard raged outside, and I thought about everyone in Portland having a great time, and wondered how it was going, then curled up with a good book, and fell asleep early. The next morning, when I didn’t hear anything, I figured I hadn’t won. Later that afternoon, I was totally surprised by Paty’s email. The first person I told was a fellow author friend. I don’t think I told anybody else for a few more days. I was kind of stunned by it, and kept waiting for it to sink in. To celebrate, I took my teenage son out to dinner. Any excuse to avoid cooking another meal J.
What is your favorite room in your home? What one would you love to change?
My favorite is my living room. Actually, the living room, dining room and kitchen are all one wide open space. I designed it that way, using Feng Shui, and I love to spend time there, especially with friends. I don’t like to cook, but I love to make soup, and so I always have a pot on hand, and can put together a quick soup and salad or sandwich on the spot. I’m into feeding people, be it physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. My friends know that if they show up on my doorstep in need, I’ll drop everything and feed them. I also try to keep that part of the house free of clutter, so it’s a peaceful haven for myself and others to relax and look out at the woods behind the house and watch the seasons change.
I’d love to change my office. It’s a disaster. When I go to the computer, all I think about is writing, and while my desk is neat and organized, if a bit dusty, on the worktable behind me it looks like a tornado blew through.
What is your culinary specialty?
Soup, definitely. I don’t consider that cooking. Just chopping. I never make the same soup twice. I use leftover ingredients and mix and match to create theme soups. Sloppy Joe soup, southwestern rice and beans soup, all kinds of Italian soups, with pasta and beans or without, garden vegetable soup, beef vegetable barley is a favorite. Cream soups, cheese-based soups, soups with sour cream or dips in them. One of my favorites was with sour cream and potatoes and Bavarian spices and it tasted exactly like sour cream potato chips. I don’t know how I did it and have not been able to repeat it. I usually make a pot of soup every week and give half of it away to friends, because after about the third bowl, I am ready to create something new - but that potato chip one I kept and ate it all, myself.
What about your favorite fast food?
It used to be tacos, but I have gotten away from fast foods because with eating so much soup and whole foods, I’m not used to the salt and grease. The only time I eat fast foods anymore is on road trips. Then I like Egg McMuffins and subs.
What is this romance writer's idea of the "ideal romantic evening"?
Going out to dinner at a quiet restaurant, then to an equally quiet place for dancing, and wanting to go home with my husband, but agreeing not to, while we drive each other crazy knowing what will happen when we finally do go home. It’s all about taking time and savoring the moment.
How do you describe Liana Laverentz? How do Liana Laverentz's family and friends describe her?
I describe myself as quiet, compassionate, considerate, and a deep thinker. A real introvert .
My family and friends describe me as loyal, honest, kind and compassionate, persistent, determined, dedicated to self-improvement, optimistic, and more tolerant than most. I know this because my faith-sharing group did this thing one night where we each had to write down three things that struck us about everybody in the group, and that’s what they came up with. My family would add stubborn as a mule to that list.
Spring is in the air! What signals spring for you? Do you do the annual spring-cleaning-thing?
I try the spring cleaning thing. I usually get started, then last about three days and lose interest. I have writing projects I want to get back to. I also do the fall cleaning thing and that lasts about as long. My big effort at cleaning is at the end of the year. For some reason, I grew up thinking how your house is when the new year begins is how it will be all year, and so right after Christmas I go into this cleaning spree, which without fail tends to grow to closet-emptying and furniture-moving proportions, and by New Year’s Eve, the house is in total disarray.
What is your favorite type of bird? What do you enjoy about it?
I would have to say the Eagle, for the strength, courage and freedom it symbolizes.
If you were a dessert, which would you be, and why?
I answered this one on one of those internet personality surveys. I am a brownie J. Here’s what it said: “You are adventurous, love new ideas, and are a champion of underdogs and slayer of Dragons. When tempers flare up you whip out your Saber. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal.” I think they got it dead on. For more information, go to http://www.youthink.com/quiz.cfm
Do you prefer sunsets or sunrises?
Sunsets. Definitely. Especially over a lake. I have one on my website, www.lianalaverentz.com, and live near a lake, and every summer I go in search of the perfect sunset. Sunset over the lake is also the cover of ASHTON’S SECRET. But it’s a dark sunset, and like the water below, the story holds dark secrets.
And lastly, no interview of a writer would be complete without this question: what is your favorite comfort food?
Lasagna, hands down. You can always tell when I’m having a bad day - which are few and far between - because I’ll go down to the local pizza place, order a take-out lasagna dinner, come home and eat myself into a carb coma, and fall asleep happy.
LOL! Too funny!!! Thank you, Liana for spending time with us! It has been a lot of fun. Continued good luck with all your writing pursuits.