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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Author! Author! Interview with: Liz Crowe

Today I am super excited to welcome author Liz Crowe to Breath of Life Reviews. If you haven't heard already, Liz writes "Romance for Real Life" and she'll explain what that is a little later, first, for those of you who may not know who Liz is and what she does when she's NOT writing steamy, sexy books, here's a little bit about her, courtesy of Tri Destiny Publishing:

Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town.  Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse, plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry), has prepped her for life as erotic romance author. 

When she isn't sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications. 

Her groundbreaking romance subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” has gained thousands of fans and followers who are interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)

Her beer blog a2beerwench.com is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high-powered real estate offices.  Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.


You can find Liz on the following sites:  
www.facebook.com/groups/romanceforreallife

You can also "Like" Jack Gordon (From Floor Time) and Craig Robinson (Conditional Offer) Facebook pages:  

www.facebook.com/JackGordonRealtor
www.facebook.com/CraigRobinsonMD

Hi Liz Welcome to Breath of Life Reviews! I am so excited (and nervous) to talk to you today! Thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions, especially since I'm a new fan of yours :)


But before I start I'd like to mention how impressed I was with Christine and Jessica. They are the ones who contacted me about reading and reviewing your books and of course interviewing you. They're both so friendly, helpful and very thorough. So I have to say thank you to them as well for this opportunity.

Hey there guys! Thank you so much for having me. And yeah, my editing/proofing/scheduling/ego stroking/ ass kicking One-Two punch of Jessica and Christine is something any published author yearns for: support, friendship, hand-holding and the aforementioned ass-kicking.
They rock.
I am naught but a navel-gazing scribbler without them.


So I read a little about you on your site (http://www.lizcrowe.com/) and saw that you've definitely had your share of traveling (of which I am so envious) and experience. I'm curious (see "nosey") though, why turn to writing erotic romance? Why not write, say stories losely based on your travels instead, or books about the beer brewing industry (which I now find fascinating)? You know, non-fiction?

I write what I like to read and am a fairly recent fan of (well written) erotic romance. I started reading Lauren Dane and Shayla Black about 4 years ago, and, in addition to adding some definite spice to my life, they inspired me. I am more easily classified as a mainstream fiction reader. I love Margaret Atwood, Ann Tyler, Yann Martel, Gillian Flynn, Lianne Moriarty, Barbara Kingsolver, John Irving, Jonathan Franzen and others mainly because the one thing these well-known authors have in common is an ability to craft compelling characters that make you think, and very often feel very strongly about—one way or another. They are also very visual writers, creating, in my opinion, stunning mental pictures through their words.

In my search for more and better fiction with the “naughty bits left in,” I came up pretty empty handed. Most erotic fiction, be it romance or otherwise is too heavy on the “what” (sex) as opposed to the why (motivation for sex).  That bugs me as a reader so I decided to try my hand at it.

I do have a series set in and around Istanbul though, where I lived for two years. Turkish Delights is a 5 book (ebook only) set from Decadent Publishing that many fans of the Realty series have turned to next and been very pleased. I have a down the road project in mind too, about a trailing ex-pat spouse that is going to be a bit of a murder mystery I think, once I get around to finalizing it my head.

As for non-fiction, I rarely read it and so am not really compelled to write it. The non fiction stuff I read is mostly sports related as research for my upcoming soccer series.


Okay I am DYING to talk a little about this new sub-genre you've created, "Romance for Real Life." It's what first caught my attention when I visited your site. I had never heard of that genre before and me being very curious (again, see "nosey"), started to look up your books and became intrigued. For those who may not be familiar with "Romance for Real Life," can you explain what it is and why you decided to start it in the first place?


It has a lot to do with what I mentioned above, about finding decent plots to go with the sex.  Now that “erotic fiction” (she says hooking 2 fingers in the air and rolling her eyes) is having a “renaissance” (see above parenthetical), it essentially means that everyone and their Aunt Millie is trying their hand at it.  The ease with which one can self publish also means there is a real cacophony of sexy time books all vying to be the next numbers one through three on the NYT best seller list.

But what I write are stories that combine the best of worlds: well written sex scenes as part of a complex story arc that includes secondary characters that are at times as compelling as the main ones (see: Essence of Time: Book 4 and Conditional Offer: Book 5).  I really don’t like books that have hero/heroines operating in a vacuum without friends or family so I keep all my stories rich with side stories and potential “hey what about that guy?” moments for readers.

Romance for Real Life was a phrase a reader/reviewer coined that I liked a lot. It’s less about the “HEA” and more about the “WHA?” as in What Happens AFTER….the white wedding, the commitment ceremony, the Holy Shit You Are The Love Of My Life moments…

Layers of emotion, humor, erotic moments, humility, bad choices and good are all part of real life….I just try to translate it to my books.


I fell in love with your writing style when I read Paradise Hops and now Floor Time. I loved the characters and the raw and sometimes gut wrenching emotions that were present in almost every page as well as the very erotic and sensual scenes between the characters. Because you have so many books out and each one is different from the last, how do keep storylines and those steamy scenes from becoming repetitive?

So far I have not had that problem, I don’t think.  I keep it fresh by reading my favorite erotica writers combined with my favorite mainstream ones. And every time a new character leaps into my head he or she is very independent of other ones. The hardest part for me? Finding time to sit and write all the stories currently whirling around in my head.
 

You seem like such a busy woman, you're a wife, mother, microbrewery owner, former real estate agent and an award winning author. First of all, how do you manage it all and second, what do you do when you have down time, if you even have it at all?

Many days I wonder that myself. Luckily in my beer business there are never two days exactly the same in a row.  Many weekends I’m busy, start to finish between on and off-site events so I will take a Monday/Tuesday away from it to write or edit. But I’m a pretty classic rise early or stay up late to get writing projects done sort of author.

I rarely have down time and am a straight up type A so I seek out activity. One thing I have learned to do is practice Bikram Yoga, which is 90 minutes in a 105 degree room to force myself OUT of my head and into a “down time” space.
 

Because you write erotic romance that is more realistic, does that mean that you don't watch any romantice movies? Because I confess, while I love the usual, run of the mill romance novels to get away from my at times frustrating life, I can't stand romantic movies (I'm more of an action movie kinda girl). What kind of movies/tv shows do you watch when you get the chance?

I’m a bit of a hard core cynic at heart but love a well-crafted/written/acted movie or tv show no matter the genre.
The last movie I paid money to see was: Magic Mike and I did it 3 times and already have my Blu Ray DVD on order.
The last movie I rented on Demand: the 5 Year Engagement, because it has so many killer Ann Arbor location shots but it ended with a giant argument with my significant other over the overarching theme of sad sack dude because his girlfriend is successful and he’s not. It pissed me the F%$# off.
I avoid action/adventure BUT plan to watch the next Bond movie because I flipping adore Daniel Craig.
The next movie I plan to pay money for after Bond: The Life of Pi based on my favorite book ever written by Yann Martel.
The last TV show I watched: BoardWalk Empire. I am a sucker for a great historical and this amazing series has me wanting to write something about Detroit’s role in bootlegging during prohibition. 
The only TV shows I record and watch with regularity:
BoardWalk Empire
Mad Men
Weeds (see: inner cynic)
The Tudors
Spartacus (man flesh but I don’t care for all the violence)
Game of Thrones (awesome with sauce on top)
The Borgias
But maintain that Deadwood is the epitome of creative perfection—pure Shakespeare with a ton of f-bombs? Yeah.


What are you currently working on now?

A lot of stuff actually.  I’m continuing my top selling Stewart Realty series with a new book in early 2013: Mutual Release (Evan’s story) and have a final novel head plotted (Good Faith will be a challenging novel of addiction and recovery, redemption and recognition that only the addicted can truly save themselves).  The first 3 books of the Black Jack Gentlemen books (an offshoot of the Stewart Realty series) will release in 2013 as well.  And I have 2 intriguing stand along projects clanging around in my noggin. I’m trying to fight off Hans (my well-known, 6 foot 5 inch blond-haired, blue-eyed, beer bringing muse in lederhosen) but when he is on a roll, he is not easily derailed. 
 

What is one thing about you that your fans would be surprised to know?

Wow.  I’m so “out there” I don’t have a ton of things that will surprise people.  I am an a-typical author I guess…not a shy bone in my body, not uneasy about going to conventions, meeting new people, drinking, socializing or chatting in any way shape or form. While I treasure my time alone at the computer, creating, crafting, plotting and writing I balance it with plenty of time in the public eye, being interviewed, attending fund raising events, schmoozing and working crowds. 


I actually get a fair bit of questions from other authors about it—how do I do it? I have always worked in sales and marketing, had the lead in every play in high school, was social director for my sorority in college.   I’m not saying I’m perfect or even that great to look at, but I love being out there, center of attention at times, as it were.  And given that I had to move with my family to 3 different countries and “start over” every time, it’s a damn good thing really.


So far, what has been the most memorable fan encounter you've had?

The first “romance writer convention” I attended was in Gatlinburg, the “RomFest” which is kick ass and I recommend you ALL attend.  This past June I was there in a seminar given by another author, and looked over to see 3 different reader attendees reading Essence of Time, the 4th Stewart Realty book that had released that week. The rest of the time was a sort of casual Liz Book Club meeting at every meal.  That was cool as hell.
  

Totally, not so random question (because I'm nosey), a lot of people would consider the brewing industry to be a man's world, what's it like to be a woman in that world and have to work side by side with them day in and day out? Was it difficult for you to be taken seriously in the beginning?

No, because they needed a marketing person and I was that person. They taught me the beer stuff and I started a blog (www.a2beerwench.com) to chronicle how little I knew and how I learned about craft beer and opening a small business in the middle of a recession. 

I am energetic and know my shit when it comes to marketing in general.  I got respect because of that and because I have an embarrassingly high tolerance for alcohol.  This is a job that more or less requires it, and because I have it I got some serious cred right away. 

I’ve always been comfortable around men I guess. I’m not intimidated by them, or (again) shy in the slightest.  And to be completely honest, my time working in a nearly 99% male dominated business has been inspiring, on many levels.

I was tested, believe me, both locally and on a national level (read CHEEKY BLONDE, my stand alone brewery based novel, which sprang from a fun “Great American Beer Festival” weekend).  And passed. 


Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you or your books?

Just that they understand my style---there is no flowery prose, no prince charmings, no pat characters or plots, and no easy happy endings in my books.  There are, however, challenging, sexy, real people living their lives and making mistakes and finding happiness by the end of it all.


Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me Liz and I look forward to catching up on all your current books as well as anticipating your next release!

Thanks again for having me!  As we say when new folks start my Stewart Realty series or any of the other books: Enjoy The Ride!



That's not all! Liz and Tri Destiny Publishing are graciously giving TWO readers a chance to win either Liz's just released stand alone Paradise Hops (my review can be found here) or the first book in her Stewart Realty series, Floor Time (which I also reviewed here). And guess what? They're SIGNED!!!! So don't waste time and enter both giveaways for your chance to win!! 

Winners get a choice of Kindle, Epub or PDF format.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

9 comments:

  1. thanks for having me!
    cheers
    Liz

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  2. I like the interview and the books do seem very interesting. I like to go from one blog to another checking out reviews. I'll have to look into this series, you've made me curious!

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  3. I enjoyed the interview. You sound very busy. Looking forward to the books.

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  4. Loved the interview. Thanks so much for the chance to win and thanks so much for introducing me to a new-to-me author. This book sounds so good and I can't wait to read. I will definitely be checking out more from Liz Crowe. Thanks again and have a great day!! :)

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  5. Hey, I found your awesome blog via Blogaholic. I am now following you. Please follow me back: http://thesweetspotblog.com. Thanks!

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  6. What an awesome interview! Ive been excited about this giveaway since you announced it on gr!

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  7. The interview was awesome! Lix Crowe it's amazing!
    I hope win!

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  8. I WON!!!!! YES YES YES!!! I was coming by to do my daily tweet and saw my name!! EPPP!!!

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