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Hi Liz! I’m glad you joined me as 2021’s first campfire guest. With so much going on in the world it’s nice to step away from it all and hunker down around a cozy flame and great company. So, what can I offer you? The camp fridge is like shooting star where all your wishes come true.
I’ll just get some coffee. Oh, good, you have hazelnut creamer.
I love hazelnut creamer so it’s a staple on every shopping trip. Tell us, have you ever camped?
I camped with a friend’s family as a kid, and it was so much fun, but it wasn’t something we did later with our own family. I do love staying in a lodge in a state park—any state, any park! That’s almost like camping, isn’t it?
Absolutely. To me, camping is just about the shelter or lack of one. It’s about time in the outdoors with family and friends. Conversation and good food. My son and his family don’t have a camper but love the experience. Each Christmas we get them a KOA gift certificate and they rent a cabin and enjoy themselves. Now, tell us about your latest project. What book are you talking about today, and what’s on the horizon?
My latest book is a complete departure. Although I’ve written contemporary romance since the late 90s, I’ve also written a column called “Window Over the Sink.” Sometimes for newspapers, a few times for magazines and often for my blog. My husband wanted me to compile a bunch of them in a book. A mere 15 years or so after he broached the subject, Window Over the Sink, the book, was published.
That’s great! I love books like that .Do you have a tagline? Life Motto? If you have both, let us have them.
My tagline is Stories from the Heart. My motto is my favorite A. A. Milne quote: “What day is it?” asked Pooh.
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
My favorite mug is a Winnie the Pooh one. So much simple wisdom from the stories. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
It took years—probably 10–at the beginning, and sometimes years between sales, too. I was published before indie became a “thing,” so my career path wasn’t unusual. While I always resented the term “hobbyist,” I suppose to some, that’s what I was. Writing was my second job, no matter how much I loved it, and the time I had for it came after the kids, the husband, and the day job. When I had the time to devote to it, I no longer had the drive. If I didn’t still love it as much as I always did, it would be a sad story; as it is, I’ve just been lucky.
I don’t know, luck? Maybe. How about adding talent and perseverance? And speaking about writing, are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
The list here is really long, so I’ll name just three. Muriel Jensen, who wrote a gazillion books, all of which I’ve read, told me never to give up and was a friend to me always. Kathleen Gilles Seidel has, for my money, the best voice in romantic or women’s fiction, and I grew as a writer just by reading her. Nan Reinhardt, who is my favorite travel buddy, is also my best writer friend. We brainstorm and have even discussed writing a book together, but decided the friendship was too important to risk.
They sound like a fantastic trio of women. Liz, what does literary success look like to you?
I’m happy in my writing life, and that’s all the success I need. I’m not sure how I’d answer that if I wrote for a living; I’m afraid I wouldn’t have recognized pleasure as success.
Life Hacks for Authors. Do you have any tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others? I’m especially interested in how you’ve dealt with COVID-19.
Have your own space. I remember reading that way back when my own space was my seat at the kitchen table. I laughed—probably derisively—but I can’t overstate its importance.
It’s easier for us than it is for many other people. We live rurally, like each other’s company, and being creative when it comes to shopping or food someone else has cooked. I miss my kids and grands a lot, but we’re all safe, so I count my blessings.