Liz McMullen

 

Bio: I’ve had a passion for history and world religions since I was a little girl looking up at my Dad as he told me stories. I fed my addiction to politics, history, mythology, and religion while at Mount Holyoke College and during my junior year abroad at Trinity College in Dublin. I spent six weeks as a turtle (aka backpacking) around Europe, visiting all the places I had been reading about. Although my title as the Traveling Where’s Waldo of the family has been retired, my wanderlust lives on in my writing.

 



Welcome, Liz. Tell me about your books. 

 

Hard Rock Candy is an erotic eStory with a twist. Usually lesbian erotica has a butch/femme pairing or a sultry mix of femmes. Hard Rock Candy features two butches who own their sexuality and are unapologetically bold in their passionate clashing. I wrote the story to create erotic space for two butch women to connect, to make visible what is often left in the shadows.My novel took six years to write. If I Die Before I Wake came to me on many sleepless nights. I’ve always had a hard time falling asleep, so I often create stories in my head to distract myself until I finally lose consciousness. The concept for the novel came to me on one of those nights.

 

How long did it take to write your first book?

 

The first draft took only a month, like NaNoWriMo.Though instead of having a website and online buddies, I had my best friend. Each time she finished one chapter, she was eager for the next. That kept me going. I worked on it for several months, then submitted it for publication. I wasn’t signed, but I got a lot of great advice and used it to revise my novel. The book was not quite ready for readers, and it took me many years of work, off and on to come up with a truly compelling story. So, all told, about five years.

 

 Describe yourself in one sentence.

 A fun-loving free spirit who likes to support those around her and pay it forward.

 

 You write erotica and paranormal. How did you choose the genre you write in?

 

I’m interested in several genres, so I usually go with where the story is taking me. Hard Rocky Candy was driven by a conversation I had with a friend. She told me about a pool party where a guest revealed a most unusual piercing. For days I couldn’t get that image out of my mind. One afternoon I went to my favorite coffee shop and spent six hours writing the story. Even though the story is hard-core erotica, the political is as important to me as the intense sexual exploration.

 

Magic and spirits have always been a part of my life: from my mother, whom I teasingly call the conjuror to my Grandma Clara, who is my guardian angel. Grandma Briar in If I Die Before I Wake was modeled after my own beloved departed grandmother. I’m an empath, and this story gave me a chance to share how intense and deep an empathic connection can be.

 

Mirror’s Edge, the sequel to If I Die Before I Wake, is a suspense thriller with a serial killer for whom magic is their weapon of choice. Even though the character uses ice magic to kill her victims, this novel will read more like a mystery than a paranormal romance. I’m still in the early stages of this work-in-progress, but I really love the tone and texture of this plot. I hope my readers do too.

 

 Tell me about the Liz McMullen show. How did it come about?

 

I was a guest host with Andy on the Cocktail Hour while Cheri was on sabbatical. When she returned I knew I wanted to continue interviewing authors. Super Storm Sandy hit and my partner and I were stranded in our home for days. No electricity meant no internet or phone service, so I had plenty of time to think. I decided that I wanted to create my own show, where I could not only continue doing book reviews, but I could create other content, like current events and topical episodes. The first episode of my show was on Super Storm Sandy. I invited authors Nell Stark and Trinity Tam, co-authors of the Everafter Series, to talk about their experience with the storm that rocked the eastern seaboard. They live in the Village and I live on the Jersey Shore, so you can imagine how different our experiences were, but there was also a lot of common ground. The slideshow for this interview includes our own images taken during and after the storm. I did a follow up with Ali Vali and JM Redmann to chat about Katrina v. Sandy.

 

I continue to interview authors from indie presses, self-publishers, along with established publishing houses. My goal is to put quality books in the hands of lesfic readers. I’ve also created a series on Gender and Sexuality to discuss the social and political aspects of identity and personal expression.

 

 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to interview on your show and why?

 

 P!NK, she’s an incredible artist and her unapologetic androgyny speaks to me. I also respect her activism and how she is constantly challenging herself professionally, both with the songs that she writes and her high flying acrobatics. P!NK is a feminist and a role model. I’d love to her have her on and let the conversation take it’s own path.

 

 Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?

 

 My dream is to be an educator, speaking to schools and organizations about the things that matter to me…including the craft of writing. I’m hoping to have several novels under the belt and to have the time to write compelling, heartfelt stories.

 

 What advice would you give your younger self?

 

I wish I would have discovered my love of writing and teaching when was younger. I wish I had more direction. I guess I would tell her to give it a go, rather than floating like a leaf downstream. That said, all the random jobs I have had along the way have provided me with the skills I needed to do the work I do: talk show host, documentarian, author, self-publisher, and mentor.

 

 What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a novel?

 

 Read a lot, read critically and study how your favorite authors craft compelling stories. Brainstorm and get organized, planning and plotting are your friends. I’m not a linear thinker, so without outlines, character profiles and plot sketches I would be all over the place.

 

 Schedule time to write daily, even if it’s only a thousand words. They don’t even need to be words you keep, getting into the habit of writing is the key. When you are stuck or discouraged talk to your friends, especially if they are writers and/or avid readers. Some say writing is a solitary and lonely task. I find it’s the opposite. It takes a village to write great fiction. Check out my acknowledgements sections, even for the eStory, to see what I mean.

 

The most important thing you need to do is sit down and write. I also recommend writing the first draft with abandon, rather than constantly second guessing yourself. Get the first draft down, and that’s when the real crafting begins. Editing is your friend.

 

Editing is my least favorite part of the process…I’m always eager to be onto the next story, and editing makes me obsessive. It’s never done, as I’m always finding things I’d change every time I reread my story.

 

 Where do you see publishing going in the future?

 

I see more authors deciding to publish their own work, rather than going with publishers. I also see books going mostly digital. The lion’s share of my royalties come from eBook sales. Though nothing beats holding a paperback in your hand as you sit on the beach or in your favorite chair at home.

 

 Do you have a day job?

 

In addition to writing and publishing my own work, most of my time is taking up with activities centered around lesbian fiction. My talk show is only part of that. I am doing a documentary series for GCLS on notable and trailblazing authors. So far I have interviewed Ann Bannon, Ann McMan, Jae, Karin Kallmaker, Kate Clinton, Lynn Ames, Lee Lynch, Georgia Beers and Radclyffe. The Author’s Salon interviews are content for the Writing Academy Students, and will become available to GCLS Members in 2015. I also manage the GCLS Mentoring Program and am a member of the GCLS Writing Academy. 

 

 What do you like to do when you are not writing?

 

 

I love traveling; one of my favorite things to do in every city we travel to is to go on historical and ghost tours. As you can guess I am a big reader. I like spending time with my family, especially my boxer puppy Quinn.

 

When did you start writing and when did you publish your first book?

 

I started writing about eight years ago. Hard Rock Candy was published in December of 2013 and If I Die Before I Wake in June on 2014.

 

Where do you get your ideas?

 

 It can be sparked from a conversation or sometimes while running errands. There is lots of time to think while driving or standing in line at the grocery store. I sort out a lot of details and even shape plots while exercising.

 

 How do you research for your books?

 

I talk to experts in the field, internet searches when questions pop up, and I read within my genre (lesfic and mainstream). My most recent search was for honorifics for the Goddess Artemis. Each name indicates how she overlooks an aspect of life. I needed a name for a coven that runs a school for the gifted and talented. Brauron (Caretaker of Girls) was the best fit.

 

 What does your family think of your writing?

 

They are very supportive and are proud of what I’ve accomplished. My Dad has even sold copies of my book to fellow church members, not bad considering the book’s main characters are lesbian witches.

 

 Do you write from an outline?

 

I have graphic organizers. My character profiles that contain details regarding physical appearance, profession, family upbringing, where they live and key relationships in their lives. I have forms for character arcs, more detailed sections on appearance (self-image, how they are seen by others, how they see themselves). I do plot free writes, then create outlines with the details culled from there. I don’t have a hard and fast traditional outline from the jump, but I often create one when I am revising my novel.

 

 What is your writing process?

 

A combination of planning and writing. I also like to do writing blitzes (writers agree to start writing at the same time, with 1K words as their goal). Brainstorming with content experts and fellow writers helps me shape my story, especially when I am at a loss as to how to continue.

 

 What is one need, and one want you’d like to achieve in the next year?

 

I want to grow as a writer and connect with fellow readers.

 

 How do you market your work and what have you found to be the best techniques for your genre?

 

I’m still learning. I’ve been consigning my work at indie bookshops. My show has given me a network of friends who like lesbian fiction, so a lot of it is word of mouth. I promote my work on social media, go to conferences and next week I am going to Women’s Week to do reading and signing events.

 

 Thank you for this opportunity to get to know you a bit better, Liz. Readers, you can learn more about Liz by clicking on the link below. Contact information follows.

 

Links to books (both pages have paperback and eBook versions):
Amazon Author PageBella Books 


Contact Info The Liz McMullen Show PublicationsWebsite: www.thelizmcmullenshow.com

Email: thelizmcmullenshow@gmail.com

 

 
TwitterThe Liz McMullen Show: https://twitter.com/lizmcmullenshow

Liz McMullen: https://twitter.com/LizMcMullen

 

   Facebook

Liz McMullen: https://www.facebook.com/lizfireair
The Liz McMullen Show fan page: https://www.facebook.com/TheLizMcMullenShowLiz McMullen Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Liz.McMullen.Author

 

 

                                                  

Book Cover: Boulevard Photografica/Patty G. Henderson www.boulevardphotografica.yolasite.co  

© JEN 2014