Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Walnut Springs Press Month: Spotlight and Interview with Liz Adair

Spotlight on
Author Liz Adair
A native of New Mexico and mother of seven, Liz Adair lives in northwest Washington with Derrill, her husband of 47 years. A late bloomer, Liz published her first Spider Latham Mystery just as AARP started sending invitations to join. After writing three books in the Spider Latham series, Liz moved into romantic suspense with The Mist of Quarry Harbor.

Liz took a break from suspense to write Counting the Cost, a novel based on family history. The book won the 2009 Whitney Award and was a finalist for the Willa Award and the Arizona Publisher Association’s Glyph Award.

Liz is back writing romantic suspense with Cold River and feels that’s where she belongs. “I remember when I was a young mother with all those kids and a slender budget,” she says. “I was so grateful for books that let me go places and meet people who carried on adult conversations. That’s what I want to write—cheap vacations.”

Heeding advice given to writers not to quit their day jobs, Liz works as a forensic scheduler on schedule delay analyses. She also serves on LDStorymakers’ board of directors, is a member of American Night Writers Association, and chairs the annual Northwest Writers Retreat.


Book Bug: Welcome to The Book Bug, Liz!
When and why did you begin writing?

Liz: I had dabbled in writing for years, but the press of family, work, and ignorance kept me from doing anything more than wish to write. My mother died when I was in my late forties, and I wrote Counting the Cost as a part of my grieving process, I think. It wasn’t a conscious decision. I couldn’t keep from writing the story that welled up inside me and poured out my fingers. I will say that I was still ignorant and had to wait until I had learned the craft before it was published. Counting the Cost won the 2009 Whitney Award.

Book Bug: What book(s)/author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

Liz: I think any author you read and love influences you. When I was in college, I wanted to write like William Faulkner. Later, as a young mother reading regencies, I wanted to write like Georgette Heyer. My heroes have a bit of C. S. Forester in them—they’re all a little flawed, like Horatio Hornblower. I’ve been told that my Spider Latham mysteries are reminiscent of Tony Hillerman. I like that.
Book Bug: What is your favorite genre to read/write?

Liz: I like to write romantic suspense, and if it’s well written, I like to read it, too. I like a puzzle, but not something that’s going to make me bite my fingernails down to the quick and look over my shoulder for days after I finish it. I love good dialog, too.

Book Bug: What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?

Liz: No. regular routines don’t work for me. If I lived in an ideal world, I’d get up early and spend the entire morning writing. However, I still work part time, and I have children and grandchildren to pull me away. I’m Chairman of the Board for LDStorymakers this year, too, so that often takes precedence over keyboard time. The beautiful thing about writing is that you can work on it wherever you are: in the shower, before you fall asleep, in the car, during the Super Bowl.

Book Bug: I bet you get some interesting ideas during the Super Bowl! :)

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Liz: I don’t think I ever have suffered from writer’s block. What I suffer from is other stuff keeping me from writing. But, maybe I let that happen because I don’t have anything to say right at that time. When I’m ready, I’m able to write.

Book Bug: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Liz: The hardest part of writing any book is just finishing the darn thing. By the time you’re working on the last few chapters, you’re so sick of it you don’t care if you finish it or not. That’s when you have to marshal all your self-discipline and simply sit your center of gravity in the chair and grind it out.

Book Bug: A lot of authors say the same thing! (I'll remember that when I write a novel !:)

What do you think are the most important elements of good writing?

Liz: I can think of two important elements in becoming a good writer, and they both have to do with rewriting. First, you have to be able to let other people read what you’ve written, and you have to be able to listen to what they say without being defensive. I’m talking here about someone you trust to have your best interest at heart who also has the ability to be a critic. You’ve got to know if you’ve been able to tell the story you were trying to. To do that, you have to have someone else read and critique.

Secondly, you have to be willing to cut words or passages—even if the writing is brilliant—if they don’t move the plot along. That’s really hard to do.

I guess I’m saying that the most important element of good writing is that you tell the story without a lot of padding. If it’s not part of the story, it doesn’t belong in the book.

Book Bug: That is some great advice that is probably hard to accept and implement.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Liz: That’s an interesting question—and I’ve got an interesting answer—interesting to me, anyway. I’ve just discovered I like to do housework. I’ve had someone come in and help out for years because I’ve been so busy, but we’ve just moved, and I find I enjoy cleaning the house. I’m even hanging out clothes.

I also enjoy my day job. I do scheduling for construction projects, both for new projects and for projects that have been finished but were delayed. One of the things I do is look through the documents to find out why and build a schedule that reflects the delay. It’s kind of like solving a mystery.

Book Bug: Do you want to come and clean my house? I HATE housework!

What book are you reading now?

Liz: I just finished Tudor Parfitt’s The Lost Ark of the Covenant. Before that, I read Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. I really enjoyed both of them.

Book Bug: What are your current/future projects?

Liz: I’m working on another contemporary romantic suspense set in the mining district of Nevada—in Spider Latham territory.

Book Bug: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Liz: I think it’s really important for a writer to join a writer’s group. It’s a way to find support and to learn the craft. Plus, it spurs you on if you have someone to ‘report’ to, like Weight Watchers. If there’s not an active writers group in your area, you can always start one. You’d be surprised how many people there are out there who have the desire to be a writer.

Book Bug: Thanks so much for the interview Liz! Looking forward to reading more of your books!

Walnut Springs Press Book
by Liz Adair

Title: Cold River
Author: Liz Adair
Release Date: 2011
Publisher: Walnut Springs Press (Facebook | Twitter)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Someone wants Mandy dead...Mandy Steenburg thinks her doctorate in education has prepared her to run a school district--until she tangles with the moonshine-making, coon-dog-owning denizens of a tiny district in Pacific Northweswt timber country. She's determined to make a difference, but the local populace still looks to the former superintendent for leadership. When Mandy lands in the middle of an old feud and someone keeps trying to kill her, instinct tells her to run. And though she has to literally swim through perilous waters, she finds a reason to stay and chance the odds.
Purchase the Book

1 comment:

  1. I love how she said she wants to write cheap vacations. :)