Sunday, November 24, 2013

Meet Romance Author Liza O'Connor

I've just had the great pleasure of being interviewed by romance author, Liza O’Connor, and today I’m thrilled to have the chance to interview her on my site. First Liza, could you tell us about your latest book, Ghost Lover?

This is a humorous contemporary romance with an ancestral ghost as one of the main characters. Two British brothers fall in love with the same young woman, only she’s engaged to the one she doesn’t love.  The ancestral ghost, Lassier, has no option but to intervene. And in trying to fix matters, he convinces Gar to bring home a young artist from the States to distract Brendon.

Here, I have a placard to help you keep them all straight.

So here’s the low down: 

Brendon loves Senna and Cat, but hates Gar.

Senna loves Gar but is engaged to Brendon, whom she has grown to like. Her feelings for Lassier are complex, but she adores Mr. Finch (the ghost cat). She also likes the very strange young woman named Cat whom Gar brought back from the states.

Gar is usually annoyed with his brother, and despite a rocky first introduction, soon falls in love with Senna. He finds Cat a bit frightening, but if she can pry Brendon from Senna, she’ll be worth the uproar her presence causes. He doesn’t want to discuss the ghosts. However, Lassier has strict orders to leave Senna alone. Gar doesn’t even try to give Mr. Finch orders. The damnable ocelot does whatever it wants.

Mr. Finch, the ghost ocelot, adores Senna and would spend all day in her lap if only she’d be still. He also like Gar...likes to annoy him, that is.

Lassier normally spends his time outside of the castle making love to women since Gar won’t allow him to dally with the servants. However, when Gar refuses to tell Senna he loves her and she contemplates leaving, Lassier has no choice but to materialize in the form of Gar and convince Senna to stay. And during all his convincing, he falls in love with her.

It’s a bloody mess, I tell you.

Why did you choose this genre?

I have to be honest. I’ve never chosen a genre in my life. I write novels and then ponder what genre they might be. But because I don’t write to a genre, they never fit quite right. For example: Ghost Lover is a humorous, Contemporary, Romance with two ghosts in the main list of characters. So why don’t I call it a paranormal romance? Because I don’t think ghosts are paranormal. Unlike werewolves and vampires, ghosts really exist. (48% of people believe in ghosts, so I’m not alone in claiming this.)

Because I begin with the premise ghosts are real, which I must, given one lives in my house. I treat them like normal characters. Thus, my books with ghosts really don’t read like paranormals. Take another gander at Lassier. He doesn’t look anything like a ghost. He’s three dimensional, seemingly solid, and is warm to the touch. (He takes great pride in that.) (By the way, my real ghost is none of those things.)

Now let’s review the first book of the series of A Long Road to Love, Worst Week Ever.

This is the funniest book I’ve ever written. It’s about a fabulous young woman who succeeds at everything except love. She’s smart, she’s competent, she can move mountains, but she cannot make her relationships work. In Worst Week Ever, she not only has an insanely catastrophic week, but her billionaire boss decides to be nice to her and God help her, she falls in love with him.

Here’s my best genre classification for the book: Humorous Disaster Romance. Unfortunately, no one has a clue what that is.

The next book of the series, Oh Stupid Heart, nudges closer to a proper romance, Trent improves, and they work out some of the barriers that a cross species relationships has. (Uber rich and middle class are different species of humans.)

I call this a humorous Contemporary Romance.

And finally, the first book I published was classified as a Young Adult Suspense Thriller. The first half is mostly funny and the second half is mostly disturbing.

Saving Casey begins with Cass, an old woman, killing herself (not funny). Then Cass wakes up and discovers she’s in the body of a troubled teen (funny). Casey takes on the task of turning her new life around, but it’s far harder than she imagined. Lots of laughs in the first 90 pages, then matters turn serious as she begins to investigate what happened to the real Cassie and from there it turns into a suspense thriller.

So you see, my writing books without any consideration to the genre is a major problem for me.

What do you currently have in the works?

I’m working on the last two books of the A Long Road to Love series. Coming To Reason (coming out in February 2014) was supposed to be the last of the series, but my readers have let me know they want Trent’s life resolved as well, so I am presently writing Trent’s ending and I’ll try my hardest to get it out in 2014.

Originally, I had planned to release the Sci-Fi series that a character in A Long Road to Love writes. My problem is they aren’t funny, so I’ve decided to hold off and publish instead another funny series. This one is a late Victorian Sleuth series about a famous investigator, Xavier Thorn, reputed to be the real Sherlock Holmes, and his newly hired assistant, Victor Hamilton, who turns out to be a female who has chosen to live the life of a young gentleman.  Good thing, since Xavier falls in love with the pup.

Where does the inspiration for your stories and characters come from?

My plots form either in my sleep or from some strange, real life news story I’ve read. For example, Iowa recently passed a law allowing blind people to carry and shoot guns in public. That potential fiasco is going to show up in Trent’s story.

I believe you used to be traditionally published. Why did you switch to self-publishing?

I can’t claim I’ve switched at the moment, since my current book, Ghost Lover, is a traditionally published book. However, since I finished my edits with it almost half a year ago, I’ve gone on to edit and independently publish the first two books of A Long Road to Love. I had offered Worst Week Ever to a publisher, but they felt the book was too long to make them money, so I self-published it. It turned out to be, by far, my bestselling book. If I combine the books I gave away for free during a 3 day event and those sold, I've put over 22,000 books into the hands of readers, many of whom would not have discovered me otherwise. It also raised the sales of my other books. So I am very happy I got it out there. It also gave me a chance to compare independent to traditional publishing.

There are several things I like about inde-publishing:

1) I love having a say on how to market my books in a manner to serve my long-term success, vs. a publisher’s need to maximize their profit upfront. In particular, I’m talking about the price of the book and short term drops in the price to extend my reach to new readers. With Worst Week Ever, I can get them addicted to my strange sense of humour with short-term discounted price promotions and I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission.

2) Given the importance of a cover, I like having input into the making of my covers. I had a very gifted book cover and trailer maker. Unfortunately, she decided to cease serving the inde-market so I’ve begun to learn the skill myself. Let me say, 10 days into my classes, Photoshop is not a tool you can figure out on your own. It requires lessons. However, in the end I expect I will make strange, yet intriguing covers. That is my plan.

3) You can get books out in a more timely and coordinated manner. I don’t like my books overlapping each other. I want to give each book its time in the sun so readers can find it.

What are you reading at the moment?

I just finished Seductive Powers by Rebecca Royce. Delightful take on what I thought was a worn-out topic, but Royce brings such a fresh perspective to the whole matter that I really loved it.

Who is your all time favourite author?

Jane Austen. Her writing is quite witty. I politely chuckle all the way through the book. Also, reading her words calms my soul. I enjoy a well phrased 'tell' (rather than 'showing') and the occasional 'passive verb' where appropriate (the rules require breaking at times).

What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not reading and writing?

I hike with my dog three hours a day and I try to get at least six hours of sleep a night. All in all, I work 14 to 15 hours a day. Being an author is the hardest, but best job I’ve ever had.

Where can readers buy your books?

(Paperback version available now)
(Ebook version-Dec 2)
(Book 1 of A Long Road to Love)
(Book 2 of A Long Road to Love)

Where can readers find our more about you?

Thank you Liza! It’s been a lot of fun chatting with you.


  1. I love that your storiesdon't fit into any category, but leave a lasting impression after you read them. All the best with your new release, Liza! :)

    1. Thanks Jessica! I hope others love it too,because I cannot change the way I write. My characters run amuck. Nothing I can do about it.

  2. Great Interview - I love you don't write genre - you write what you write. :-)

    1. I write what my characters let me write, and they are headstrong and willful.

  3. Great interview. I can't wait to read Ghost Lover. Tweeted & Google+

  4. I love that you are so passionate about your writing. The stories have a sense of humor and the characters tell the story that fits them! All the best!!

  5. They do, but it means I don't always color within the lines.

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