Interview with Author, Liza O’Connor
Tricia: Hi, Liza, and welcome! Tell us a little about yourself.
Liza: I live in Denville, NJ with my dog, Jess. We hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, I learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. I’m an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through my entire life, my first love has and always will be writing novels. I love to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.
Tricia: When did you begin writing?
Liza: I began writing when I learned how to write. Before learning to write, I would gather my friends around and tell them stories of siblings eaten by alligators and giant spiders.
Tricia: What audience does your book seem to appeal to?
Liza: Because my heroine is 17 going on 80, this was naturally classified as an Young Adult, but my reviews have been from women of all ages, and even stranger, men seem to like it as well.
Tricia: Does this surprise you?
Liza: I expected women of all ages to like this, because let’s be honest. Once we reach our adult stage, we…or at least I…stop aging mentally. As far as I can tell, the only thing that makes old people feel old is their bodies. Put them in a teen’s body and they’d perk right up. A couple of reviewers note that Cass doesn’t seem like a teen nor an old person, but more like someone in their 30”s. I think that’s about right. The life experience grounds her too much to be an ‘authentic’ teen, but having a healthy young body makes a huge difference in her mental attitude, causing her to think and behave far younger than her mental years, but not quite a teen.
Tricia: What was your greatest challenge when writing this book?
Liza: Typing fast enough to keep up with my characters.
This became a serious problem when I’d got to the traumatic part. Typing when blinded by tears is really hard. But otherwise, this book was a pure joy to write. Many reviewers say it’s twists and turns are unpredictable and they couldn’t put the book down. Well, I felt the same when writing it. I let the story go where my characters felt it should. I guess you could say I created the characters and they wrote the book.
Tricia: You touch on serious topics in this story. Are any based on real life experiences?
Liza: Yes, and oddly, it is that real event that gets mentioned most for being unrealistic and could never happen in real life.
Some readers don’t believe a rape could occur on a school bus and nothing happens to the perpetrators for four years because no one reported it. (In my book, Casey did report it, but then took back her accusation, thus preventing others from speaking up.)
In real life, no one ever spoke up.
We’d like to believe if teens witness a crime they will tell an adult. But I know an entire bus load of teens who didn’t. Nor did the chaperone, nor did the bus driver, nor did the friends the victims confided in. (I was a victim’s confident.)
I assure you, to a teen, it is much easier NOT to speak up than to speak out and make yourself a target. The rapists were scary thugs, teens the size of men, that you did not want to cross. Self-survival strongly encouraged you to shut up, especially when your friend just wants to forget it ever happened.
Nor did I believe telling anyone would help. Two adults were on that bus and did nothing to stop what happened. A third adult, in charge of the outing, learned of the incident after the fact, but kept quiet to save his job. If the adults were too afraid to talk, why would any teen speak up? We had to go to school with these guys, and even if they were arrested, they had friends.
I know parents want to believe teens will confide into them if the situation were truly serious, but from my experience, they are more likely to confide in minor issues than major ones. And if the event is very serious and the perpetrators ‘run’ the school, your brain will push the event into the darkest corner where it will stay forever
…or until you become a writer and it tumbles out in a book.
Tricia: What other books have you written? Are they published or pending publication?
Liza: During the last 8 years, I’ve done nothing but write. I made no submission, no queries. I just worked on the craft of writing.) As a result, I have an impressive backlog of books. But we’d be here for a month if I spoke about all of them.
So let’s talk about the books I’ll be publishing in 2013:
Worst Week Ever is a New Adult/Coming to Reason/ humorous disaster-packed story. Hard-working Carrie works for Trent an ego-centric billionaire boss, who has decided he needs her not just to help run his company, but for his personal happiness. Add to that, Carrie has the worst luck! It’s a crazy ride and while you’ll probably want to strangle Trent frequently, you’ll fall in love with Carrie. This is book one of Carrie’s three book journey to find true love.
Worst Week Ever will be coming out in July 2013.
Ghost Lover is a romance with a paranormal twist. Senna Smith goes to England with the intent of marrying one brother and falls in love with the other. Nevertheless, she intends to keep her promise to marry the first brother. Horrible idea right? Well, the lascivious, ancestral ghost agrees with you and does whatever is necessary to turn matters around.
Ghost Lover will be coming out in December 2013.