Interview with Liza O’Connor

SAVING CASEY
By Liza O’Connor
Having been diagnosed with cancer, Cass Goldman decides to opt out of any futile medical care and end her life. While she has some thoughts on afterlife, she never expects to reincarnate into the body of a seventeen-year-old girl named Casey Davidson. 
When she awakens in a hospital, Cass discovers two disturbing facts: One, she is now inside the body of a troubled teenager, and two, the former owner of this body committed suicide, but only Cass knows that. Everyone else believes Casey has survived, but suffered a complete memory loss. Cass has two choices: to take on Casey’s life and turn it around, or to confess the truth about her reincarnation and end up in a mental asylum. Given this second chance at life, Cass decides to take on the future life of Casey—the frightening ghoul-faced teen with short, black, spiky hair. 
Every person around Cass has an ulterior motive and discovering the truth of Old Casey’s life is more complicated than the “new math” she is forced to learn in school. In addition, Cass has to contend with raging teenage hormones and the prior crimes of Old Casey, which she might not remember, but everyone else certainly does. However, her biggest frustration concerns her feelings for her father’s rugged security specialist who sees her only as a teenager and doesn’t want to explore the mutual attraction between them. 
As determined as Cass is to turn this life around, Old Casey’s enemies are just as determined to end her life. She has no idea whom she can trust, but she knows she’ll never survive going it alone.
Excerpt

Upon settling down on the toilet, Cass noticed the floor to ceiling mirror facing her and screamed at the sight of the creature within it. Short black hair spouted about its head, black circles surrounded both eyes and fell like triangular knives down the cheeks. Black lips, stretched in horror as if in a nightmare. Pulling up her pants, she moved closer to the mirror.

She was a ghoul, an honest to God ghoul! 

The door crashed open and her father stared at her, fear and panic clear in his eyes.

She touched her face. “Please tell me these aren’t permanent.”

His panic remained a second longer as her words filtered into his brain and then he pulled her into his arms. 

“Don’t worry, we will get them removed—if you want to…”

“If? Oh, I definitely want them removed,” she said. 

How can I turn around my life if I look like the walking dead from a low-grade monster movie?
SAVING CASEY is available on the following sites:

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.

Thank you so much for interviewing me. I had fun.

Tricia: Thank you for coming! For anyone interested in learning more about Liza or Saving Casey, please visit the following links:
BIO:

Liza lives in Denville, NJ with her dog, Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she 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. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels. She loves to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.
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19 thoughts on “Interview with Liza O’Connor

  1. Wonderful interview Liza. And heartbreaking. I agree that so many kids back when we were growing up would never have reported that. I would HOPE that now, our kids would have the courage to step forward and do the right thing. Saving Casey is a wonderful book. I just re-read it yesterday

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  2. Thanks for having me on your wonderful site. I'll be dropping by all day long, so leave me comments, ask me questions, tell me a joke, I don't care. I just love hearing from you.

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  3. I hope you're right, but I don't think you are. In fact, my concern is the opposite: that rape has been downgraded to an act of aggressive consensual sex. OMO the life of a teen isn't getting easier, it's getting harder. And the reason they don't talk about this to adults is that a) their moms will freak out and make things worse for them at school and b) it happens to everyone. It's just one of those things they have to deal with.

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  4. Everything you said about teens was true- taught high school 20 yrs – see it all – heard it all.

    So true that teens won't report stuff- strange how that little 7r years old who tells the teacher every time some one does something wrong – turns 16 and don't say a word.

    Will tweet in just a sec.

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  5. What a heartbreaking story. I do believe that people still do not tell anybody. It is a sheer instinct of self survival, believing that life could only be harder if faced with dealing with the truth. I hope that your friend finally found peace. Without it, life is very hard…..

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  6. It's so true. It's like high school has this secret code that what happens in highschool stays in highschool.

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  7. You nailed it exactly. Telling seems to have no upside. No one saved them from being raped, why would they think people could save them from the fallout from telling which will be even worse, because now they will have pissed everyone at school off for breaking the code of silence.

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  8. Wonderful interview.
    Liza, your story made me cry. Cry because it happened in the first place, but also because as sad as it is, it's true that no one–even adults–would do anything about it.

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  9. Your interview, like your book, mixes the seemingly unmixable: great humor and great sadness. I enjoyed both.

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  10. I hadn't realized how odd that was when I was a teen, almost adults in my life failed me big time. I imagine the two adults on the bus were afraid. The 3 guys were scary, and not in a wimpy kid way, but in a full grown men way. At least I hope that was their excuse. I do wonder how they deal with the guilt of doing nothing to stop it while it was happening. But even for them it evidently seemed safer to ignore what was going on in the back of the bus.

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  11. I think I'm a mix of the two as well. I want to be funny, but life isn't always so funny. But you gotta try and laugh.

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  12. Thanks for talking about your book, Liza. I really enjoyed having you.

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  13. Thanks for stopping by, Nancy. I hope kids would stop forward and do the right thing, but that isn't usually the case. Teenagers are so used to be mistrusted and treated as liars by society in general, they tend to keep things to themselves.

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  14. Hi, Daryl! Thanks for your comment. People tend to believe seven-year-olds over a sixteen year old, or at least that seems to be the case in the community where I live. I hear lots of derogatory things about teens–they're hooligans, lazy, liars–no wonder they don't want to go to adults.

    Liza is right. Teens have developed their own sense of justice. Crimes are tried in the courts of text messages, Twitter, and Facebook. If someone is wronged, they turn to social media and rally their friends. Certainly a different world from when I grew up before the internet and cell phones.

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  15. Thank you Michelle, Brenda, Marianne and everyone else who stopped by and left a comment. This is one of the most popular posts I've had in some time. Thank you, Liza.

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  16. Thank you Tricia. I enjoyed stopping by.

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  17. I finally got the site to load. Liza that was a powerful interview. I'm so sorry, you and other children had to witness such a violent act. It boggles my mind that the adults did nothing. They should all have been tried as accessories to rape.

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  18. I love your interview, Liza.
    And your humor.
    It's really sad reading that adults would look the other way.
    thanks Liza

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  19. Thanks Lyn. I guess survival instincts kick in for adults as much as children.

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