I am going to be hosting a number of cozy mystery authors on my blog for the next two months. If you have not had the pleasure of enjoying a cozy mystery I encourage you to do so. The cozy mystery industry as a whole is in danger of being lost as the publishers are ending a number of series. Please note that not all series I will be sharing are in danger. There are many that will be continuting on as normal. I just wanted to do my part to make everyone aware of this genre as a whole.
Today I will be showcasing Liz Lipperman
About the author:
Liz Lipperman started writing many years ago, even before she retired from the medical field. Wasting many years thinking she was a romance writer but always having to deal with the pesky villains who kept popping up in all her stories, she finally gave up and decided since she read mysteries and obviously wrote them, why fight it? She's currently working on two mystery series--the Jordan McAllister Mysteries (formerly the Clueless Cook Series) and The Garcia Girls Mysteries (formerly A Dead Sister Talking Series.) Look for book #6 of the Clueless Cook/Jordan McAllister Series, titled ENCHI-LOTTA BODIES coming in 2017, along with #4 of the Garcia Girls Mysteries, ROCK AROUND THE CORPSE. You might also want to check out her romantic thrillers, MORTAL DECEPTION and SHATTERED and a romantic short titled CAN’T BUY ME LOVE. Also, be watching for the debut of a new romantic suspense series titled SWEEPERS coming sometime next year. She wants readers to know that her G rated cozies are written as Liz Lipperman and her R rated, grittier mysteries as Lizbeth Lipperman.
She lives north of Dallas with her HS sweetheart hubby. When she's not writing she spends her time doting on her four wonderful grandchildren.
Where to follow this author:
When did your love of writing begin?
Believe it or not, I was never an avid reader in my early years. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that someone gave me a copy of Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers, that I fell in love with reading. I went back to school when my kids were teenagers and took a Creative Writing class as an elective, just for the heck of it. On the final exam, the professor mentioned that I should consider a career in fiction writing. So, I gave it a shot.
Do you have a scheduled writing time, place and/or routine?
I wish I did. I am the most undisciplined writer out there. I find everything in the world to do instead of writing—no dust bunnies under my bed, etc. Then I might be thinking about my characters one day and get an inspiration and sit down and write an entire chapter.
What do you do to get over writer's block?
That’s a good one. I think I stay in writers’ block most of the time. I am a plotter and must have the whole story outlined in my head before I even write a single word. Of course, the story never follows my outline, so I guess in that aspect, you could say I am also a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants.) I call myself a plotser. Anyway, to answer your question, I have no tricks. I just keep thinking about my characters, and sooner or later, one of them will talk to me.
What was it like to get y our first publishing contract?
OMG! You have no idea. My first book was called SHATTERED DREAMS, written back when I thought I was a romance writer. It’s a story about a young nurse who falls for a hot cop, only to have her heart broken. To get away from it all, she goes to Costa Rica for a bachelorette party for a friend and finds herself right in the middle of a botched political kidnapping. She’s taken hostage and smuggled into Colombia when the head of the rebel/vigilante group is wounded and they need her to keep him alive. Long story short, she ends up in a remote jungle camp with a group of mostly women and children fighting the cartel. I tell you this so that you can see how absurd it was for me to try to market this as a romance. There were drugs, murders, kidnappings, guns, etc. My rejection letters said the same thing—“You can’t have a romance in Colombia.” But it was a romance, I thought, since the bad boy cop came looking for my girl and ended up fighting with her alongside the Colombian people. Ha! I remember how excited I was when an agent from a brand, spanking, new agency called and said, “I love this story.” I literally cried that someone loved my ugly, unsellable baby. Truthfully, that was more exciting to me than the day I found out that Berkley wanted me to write a series for them. Back to my story. When the first agent tried to sell SD she was met with the same comments on the rejection letters. Then she had to leave for personal reasons, and I was handed over to the owner of the agency, Christine Witthohn. She took two days to read SD and then called. “You’re not a romance writer.” she said. “Yes, I am,”I argued. “No, you’re a mystery writer, and I want you to write me a mystery.” So I wrote MORTAL DECEPTION and was told by editors that it had too much romance in it. Sheesh! I couldn’t win. So, I wrote HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE and Christine submitted it to Berkley Prime Crime. The editor loved it but said she’d have to take out all the good stuff to make it a cozy. She asked if I could write her a cozy series, specifically, a foodie. “Absolutely,” I said. “What’s a cozy?” And that’s how my career began. Neither of those first two books ever sold since they didn’t fit the exact mold editors were looking for, but I self pubbed them. They remain my two favorites of all my books. As a side note, before I published SHATTERED, I took out the first 125 pages (basically, the romance) and started the book with the kidnapping. When Amazon was looking for short romances, I changed the names and backstories, and those first 125 pages are now CAN’T BUY ME LOVE.
How has the publishing/writing world changed since you first started writing?
It’s like we’re in a different world. It was already getting harder to sell to NY when I first started, but now it’s almost impossible unless you’re a bestselling author. I walked away from the Berkley contract and also a Midnight Ink contract when I worried that they weren’t promoting my career as an author. The exciting news is that in today’s world, anyone can be published. It’s so easy to get your book out there for the world to read. The bad news is that because of that, there is a glut of books out there, and you’re competing with a lot of free ones. Just like you would if you had a NY contract, the responsibility for marketing falls on you. Most of us would much rather be writing.
And one word of caution, if you decide to self publish, hire a fantastic editor and cover designer. The reading world is unforgiving of mistakes and plots with holes in them.
You write about strong female characters. Are they modeled after anyone?
I’d like to think they were modeled after me since I’ve always had to be strong and independent. However, all my characters are tall, gorgeous and skinny with great hair. I am not tall, a little chunky, and average looking with crappy hair. So there goes that theory!! I featured my four sisters as the main characters in my Dead Sister Talking/Garcia Girls Mysteries. Of course, the ghost is nothing like my sister Theresa, who died way too young. She married her HS sweetheart and was a wonderful mother to 4 beautiful children, but that would have been too boring to write about. Instead, I made her a potty-mouthed ghost who says and does the most outrageous things. That series is written as Lizbeth Lipperman and is “R” rated, by the way.
When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I am retired from nursing (my main career) and I live in a wonderful community with lots of activities. I play water volleyball twice a week, love all sports, am really close to both my children and their families, and dote on my 4 wonderful grandchildren.
Do you have any advice for beginning authors?
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not a writer if you don’t (fill in the blank here –write everyday, read everyday, eat, sleep and breathe writing, etc.) Everyone does it their own way, and if that works for you, blow the naysayers off (and that includes those who rejected you.) And I would be remiss not to tell how important it is to join a group of authors somewhere who understand exactly what you’re going through. It’s easy nowadays with internet. My younger sister has always been my best friend, and one day she overheard me telling her journalism major daughter about my latest plot. My sister whined that I never tell her anything like that. So, I went into a ten-minute, detailed plot outline. At he end, she looked at me and said, “Oh,” and walked away. I knew then how important it was to have authors for friends and critique partners. And that’s another thing. You must find someone whom you trust that will give you constructive criticism about your writing. I had one critique partner whose criticism was anything but constructive. I had to move on from this “toxic” person or quit writing.
Do you have a favorite author or book you would like to recommend to your readers?
I love mysteries and thrillers. I’ve been told I write like Evanovich (I wish!) but the truth is I’ve never even read her. (Met her at a conference once.)The only time I can read when I’m on deadline is when I go on vacation. Otherwise, I get caught up in someone else’s characters, and since I’ve already admitted to chronic writers’ block, you can see why I don’t need one more distraction. I have a bookcase full of all the Stephanie Plum books and lots of others just waiting for when I retire from yet another career. But if I had to name one author I love, it would have to be James Lee Burke. I have never been a descriptive writer—basically, I suck at it. So I write a lot of action and dialogue. Burke’s novels are full of wonderful descriptions, and when he tells me about the dew on a leaf, I can close my eyes and picture it. Normally, I skim all the descriptive stuff, but not his. Check him out.
Please tell us five random things about yourself
1. I got suspended from a Catholic High School for three days for smoking in the boys’ locker room. (Many years ago. I have not smoked for over 40 years.)
2. I run a fantasy football league every year.
3. I played a saxophone in my HS band.
4. I write long hand and then dictate (Dragon) to the computer. My typing skills leave a lot to be desired.
5.I flew to Taiwan 8 months pregnant to join my husband on a remote tour (Air Force.) They nearly freaked out over there. My daughter was born in Taipai and has dual citizenship.
What did I learn about this author:
Liz did not get into reading until she was an adult. Also she suffers from chronic writer's block. She modeled the characters in her Dead Sister Talking book after her own sisters. Liz is a retired nurse who loves to play water volleyball. What are some things you learned?
This giveaway is for the US only. The winner will be drawn randomly via rafflecopter. Once the winner has been drawn they will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond. If you do not respond a new winner will be chosen. It is mandatory that you leave a comment on this post. This will be verfied and if you do not leave a comment then your entry will be thrown out. Thank you and good luck.
Prize: There will be two winners for this giveaway. The winner will get their choice of one of Liz's books.