Q&A With Liz Talley
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Q&A With Liz Talley
Liz Talley was kind enough to reply back to my email and agree to do this Q&A with me tonight. Liz Talley is the author of emotional women’s fiction and small town southern romance. Liz’s novels are on the USA Today Bestseller Lists. Some of her novels include If The Dress Fits, Deconstructed, Charmingly Yours, & Perfectly Charming.
Q: What is your advice to anyone wanting to write great romance and emotional womens fiction? What is your advice to anyone dealing with writers block?
A: My first piece of advice is to read in the genre you are targeting as a writer. Understanding the elements of a genre is important if you want to bend to rules or fit neatly within the parameters of the definition. So if you write suspense, make sure you read plenty of top-rated suspense authors. Note what works for you as a reader, note their character development, the twists, the surprises, the authenticity. And then use what you learn to craft your own stories, using your unique voice.
As for writer’s block, I find talking to trusted writer friends about your plot works well. Also, sometimes a plot needs time to marinate, time for your brain to figure out what works. I usually try to get five chapters written before I do serious structure and scene work. I like to wallow about in the story and get to know the characters first. If I encounter block, I know I have something wrong or I’m pulling in a direction that’s not working. And sometimes, I’m just avoiding the story. The only way you work through a block is to get into the story and work within it, stretching it, examining, talking it out, figuring what adjustments you need, what needs to be tossed, what needs to bloom.
Q: What fascinates you about writing romance and women’s fiction? When did you realize that your calling was to become an author?
A: I have always been a reader first, taking comfort in the escape of a story. So I read like crazy as a teen, and as an adult, my favorite indulgence was a book. Sometimes a friend would say, “You should write a book,” and I supposed those remarks stuck and took root. The first book I wrote was a historical romance, and it was for funsies. I really just wanted something to take me away from being a mother of two toddlers. So I worked on a story idea while they napped. After three years, I finished the book. And I thought it was beautiful and wonderful and should be shared with the world. Turns out, it did not need to be shared with anyone. But I was bitten by the writing bug, so it was too late for me. I joined up with other writers locally and found my people. I find wonder in creating a story. On some levels it’s very practical. You’re connecting dots or building a structure, but within the building, there is magic. I’m addicted to that magic.
Q: What is your advice to new authors on how to deal with negative feedback whether its online trolls, negative reviews and friends and family members who aren’t supportive of their writing goals?
A: Well, we’re never everyone’s cup of tea. You’re not going to please everyone with your stories. That’s just a fact. So accept that your stories will rankle some people. They won’t like your characters. They will think your writing is amateurish. They will say your books is nothing special. That’s okay. Your book wasn’t written for them. It was written for the people who say “oh, my gosh! I feel seen! I am this character! I feel just like he does! I love this book!”
I have some friends who look at their reviews objectively. Like marketing information. I tend to do this. If I see a similar complaint in negative reviews, I consider that aspect. For example, if a bunch of people say “It took me a while to get into this one,” then I have to wonder if I started in the wrong place. Can I take that knowledge and get better at beginnings? It’s something to consider. Conversely, if good review say things like “Her writing is so real, so fresh, so fun” then how can I use that? Maybe in marketing? Maybe it cements in my head what is working for readers so I continue to deliver that.
Q: If you were to write in another genre which genre would that be and why?
A: I’m not sure I could say. I would love to write mysteries, and I’m sliding into that genre a little with Deconstructed. My main character is a part-time PI and so there is sleuthing.
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to any of your novels?
A: I sold the rights to The Wedding War but it didn’t pan out. I really thought that one would make a good film. Right now, there’s been some interested in the Cricket Crosby series. I really think that would make a great television series, a Designing Women meets Moonlighting. I would love to see southern women in a humorous, heartfelt series. I need someone to make that happen! LOL.
Q: Is it fair to say that any of the characters and places you’ve created in your novels is based off of people you know and places you’ve been? I love it when authors can create people and places based off of people they knew or places they’ve seen.
A: Of course! I’m influenced by people around me. For my last books set in my hometown of Shreveport, I borrow from my friends a lot. So it’s not just one person in particular but more of an amalgam of their characteristics and idiosyncrasies. Writers always borrow. But I make sure that none of my characters would be hurtful to my friends or family. And though I might use a false name for a restaurant or store, I use the elements of real places as the scenes in my book.
Q: If you’re writing a new novel now, are you allowed to reveal any details?
A: Sure, I’m writing book three in the Cricket Crosby series right now. It’s called Hanging by a Thread and will release in early summer. In this one Cricket goes undercover as an activity director for a local retirement community in order to figure out who is trying to kill Annabelle Dilworth, a nasty wealthy woman. She finds out real quick that the suspect list is long. Ruby’s grandmother has another stroke and does rehab at the retirement community’s rehab center so Ruby is there to help Cricket. But soon we learn Gran has her own secret and her own beef with Annabelle. Could Gran be a suspect, too! It’s going to be lots of fun!