"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Bestselling, award-winning author Liz Maverick is something of a romance writing outlaw, smashing the stereotypes of the genre with her, out-of-the-box, kick-ass romance novels. Liz and her books have been featured on Fox News and in USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times, Cosmopolitan Magazine, and more. She’s received many bookseller and reader awards, hitting both the Barnes & Noble and Waldens bestseller lists as well as creating the USA Today bestselling Crimson City series.
Liz has a BS in Business from UC Berkeley and an MBA from UCLA. Her writing career can only be attributed to escape fantasies conjured during early jobs as a CPA with Arthur Andersen (pre-Enron) and a project manager for Netscape and AOL (pre-disastrous merger). Free of cubicle life, she spends her time traveling the world, planting the occasional anchor; she has lived, studied, and/or worked in Antarctica, Milan, Hong Kong, and Paris.
An Interview with Liz Maverick
PNR: Welcome Liz, can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Liz M.: I was never really a “writer” before I actually decided to become a writer, if that makes any sense. I’d been a wordsmith, I guess you could say, in that I was always interested in words and in how one might put them together for different effects. It made me happy (beyond what a normal person might consider normal) to turn a phrase just so, if you know what I mean. But I never wrote stories or anything. I just imagined them. One day as I was doing the train commute to the cubicle job thing I decided I’d had enough. I wanted to travel and do crazy things and not be on someone else’s schedule. And I tried to think of a job that I would truly love that would allow me to have all that. And that’s the moment when I decided to become a writer. Of course, I had no inkling of all the things being a published author requires. Like incredible amounts of discipline, for example. Ack!
PNR: Readers are very excited about Dorchester’s new SHOMI line of speculative fiction. How were you approached to join the project?
Liz M.: After the Crimson City series, I took a long break. Marianne (she and I go way back, as they say) reminded me that SHOMI was acquiring and when I really took a look at what the line was going to be, I got incredibly excited. I ended up calling Chris with my idea for WIRED and telling him I thought I had an idea that would make a great launch book. Must have been kismet that it all worked out. So, I have Marianne to thank for getting my butt in gear, really.
PNR: Whose concept was the SHOMI line? What is your unique take on this line as it relates to your writing, book and characters?
Liz M.: SHOMI was the brainchild of Dorchester senior editor Chris Keeslar. His baby. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect project. My writing has always been out-of-the-box and that’s what this line is all about.
PNR: Were you given a specific concept to develop for the SHOMI line?
Liz M.: The guidelines were sort of vague. Well, REALLY vague, actually. They wanted noir/romance/action/science fiction/suspense...they wanted it all! I just took my biggest strengths from my paranormal action romance material and my chick lit material and created a mashup. But there was no specific concept. Actually, the first three books are really, really different from each other.
PNR: WIRED, the debut book in the line was just released in July 2007. Could you tell us about your contribution to the SHOMI line?
Liz M.: It’s a fast-paced puzzle of a novel about two men fighting for control of one girl’s fate. They’re fighting over something that hasn’t even happened yet. The heroine is put through several versions of her own reality and she has to figure out which of these guys is the true hero and which is the villain so she can be certain she allows herself to love the right one. (Phew.) Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review J
PNR: How do the characters you developed for your SHOMI release differ from other projects you have done? Would you describe the Shomi line as “female focused”?
Liz M.: I’ve always had strong heroines so that’s not different. (Although their vulnerabilities are very different.) The interesting thing about Shomi is that while there is a major emphasis on the heroine, I suspect these books will find a male audience more than more traditional romance novels do. I think it has a lot to do with the science fiction crossover potential.
PNR: World building is vitally important in speculative fiction. What were the challenges you faced in developing your “world” that were unique to the SHOMI line?
Liz M.: Actually, this wasn’t nearly as difficult from a world-building standpoint as it was developing the Crimson City series. Most of the book takes place in the present—different versions of the present, anyway.
PNR: How much of a role do the characters’ romantic relationships play vs. the plot action? Does this differ from your usual balance? How would you describe the “heat” level of your book?
Liz M.: This is a somewhat more “thinky” book than I’ve written in the past. It’s got a puzzle element and a romance element and it’s pretty evenly balanced. The sexual tension is high throughout but if by “heat” you mean sex (heh), this goes counter to the current trend and has much less sex in it.
PNR: The eye-catching Anime/Manga inspired covers are awesome; who do readers have to thank for such a striking cover? How much input did you have in the cover art concept? Do you feel the final cover has captured the essence of your book?
Liz M.: I basically begged them not to give me a lame cover, LOL. They asked me to describe my heroine and the hero(es) and then developed the cover based on the relationship triangle. I think the cover really does capture the essence of the book. Dorchester has done a fabulous job on this cover and, in fact, on all but one of my covers. (I’m still mourning the hideous Crimson Rogue cover. Sigh.)
PNR: What was the biggest challenge you faced being one of the pioneer authors for a new line? The most rewarding aspect? Would you do it again?
Liz M.: The biggest challenge was allowing myself to write what I really wanted to write even knowing that it would not be an easy sell to readers comfortable with more traditional romance novels. Not to sound cheesy (okay, this will sound cheesy), but I really just had to believe that if I wrote it the way I really wanted to, without a nod to the latest trends or what readers are “supposed” to want, I would have a great book. And that’s the biggest reward. It’s the best book I’ve ever written. Yeah, I’d do it again!
PNR: What advice would you give to an author looking to be part of a line like this?
Liz M.: “Open your mind, Roxanne.”
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months? Do you have any additional series in the works? Single titles?
Liz M.: I’m in discussions to write another Shomi book and I’ve just started doing projects for TOKYOPOP, the manga publisher. Very psyched about that. I have some other ideas in the works, but I’m trying to stay really focused. Everyone says I need to focus. <g>
PNR: Thank you Liz, for giving us a peek at the exciting new SHOMI line, where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Liz M.: Come visit me at www.lizmaverick.com
July 3, 2007
Seconds aren’t like pennies. They can’t be saved in a jar and spent later. Fate seeps through cracks and shifts like fog. Pluck a second out of time or slip an extra one in, the consequences will change your life forever. Is the man you love really the man you think you know, or is there a version of your life in which he’s your enemy? If you didn’t know who or what you were before, would you take a chance on becoming that person again?
L. Roxanne Zaborovsky is about to discover fate is comprised of an infinite number of wires, filaments that can be manipulated, and that she’s not the one at the controls. From the roguishly charming Mason Merrick—a shadow from her increasingly tenebrous past—to the dangerously seductive Leonardo Kaysar, she’s barely holding on. This isn’t a game, and the pennies are rolling all over the floor. Roxy just has to figure out which are the ones worth picking up.
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