Friday, March 14, 2008

Interview with EPPIE Winner Liana Laverentz


I’d like to welcome our guest today, Liana Laverentz. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here. Oh, goodness, are those Godivas you have over there? Please pass that little gold box my way, and some of that wonderful smelling mocha coffee, too. [wiggles around in seat, gets comfortable, accepts coffee and chocolate] Thank you so much. [tastes chocolate, smiles beatifically and sighs] There, now I’m settled.

Congratulations! I understand you have a release out that just won the EPPIES called Thin Ice. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous book?

I’d love to. Thin Ice, also known to friends and family as “my beloved hockey book” is the book of my heart. I first wrote it seventeen years ago, and it went through three complete revisions and two rounds of submissions with traditional publishing houses, before it was published by The Wild Rose Press last year. I was thrilled when it won the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf award last fall, and had a blast going to New Jersey and meeting the great and very gracious people in that super-classy organization, as well as several of my fellow Wild Rose Press authors. It was so nice to finally be able to put some faces to names I see regularly on the loops.

Thin Ice is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I have a quote here by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says, “In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.” I took that to mean that Eric’s courtship of Emily had to move very slowly, due to the demons of her past. I also thought it fit because Eric is a professional hockey player.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Oh, I did a ton of research. For one, I didn’t know the first thing about hockey when I started the book. You might say I learned right along with Emily, who also knows nothing about hockey at the beginning of the book, only she’s predisposed to hating the sport because of its more violent aspects. I subscribed to The Hockey News (even wrote a letter to the editor once, I got so into reading it!), read books by former hockey players, watched and went to countless games. I would take a pair of binoculars and choose one player to focus on for the entire game, taking notes all the while. Most often it was Raymond Bourque. Fortunately, he scored a lot of goals, so I was able to just watch the magic happen. In later years, my son, who wasn’t even born when I first wrote Thin Ice, started playing hockey, and I got to experience first hand the very chilly environment where the embryonic hopes and dreams of playing in the NHL are born.

I also read countless books written by emergency room doctors, describing their experiences, and I have a two-inch-thick folder on domestic violence issues. I had to research cars, because Emily needed a certain type of car for a special reason, and when time passed and my first choice went out of production—a Crown Victoria Station Wagon, I had to go shopping online for another big car, her Suburban. That was fun, including a friendly disagreement with a car aficionado friend, who insisted she needed a Jeep Grand Cherokee, because it was classier. The NHL reorganized several times over those seventeen years, and each time I had to re-write the book to reflect the addition of new teams and re-structuring of the conference divisions. For instance, Eric’s team was originally named the St. Paul Saints, because the Minnesota North Stars were based in Minneapolis. Then the North Stars moved to Dallas, and I had to re-write the book to reflect that. Then the Minnesota Wild moved into St. Paul, and I had to move the Saints over to Minneapolis. External circumstances were constantly changing, and each one entailed a start-to-finish reading and revision due to the ripple effect of changes in a manuscript.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Definitely Eric. He’s my idea hero. There’s no doubt he’s alpha male strong, inside and out--but his greatest strength is in his capacity for compassion and gentleness. He seems to resonate with readers, as well. I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “I want my own Eric.” (me, too! KW)

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

Oh, gosh, I have no clue. It would have to be someone in his thirties, and I don’t watch enough TV or movies anymore to know who the choices would be.

How about we toss that one out to the readers, for a chance to win an autographed copy of either Thin Ice, or Jake’s Return, my other release with the Wild Rose Press, and I’ll choose a winner? Send your recommendations to liana[at]lianalaverentz.com. I’d love to hear what you think. If you’ve already read Thin Ice, you can leave your recommendation on the blog here today. If not, I’ll keep the voting open until April 15, and announce a winner on my website.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

LaVryle Spencer, Lisa Gardner, suspense author Eileen Dreyer, who also writes romances as Kathleen Korbel, is probably my all-time favorite. I like to read Nora Roberts for pacing. When I finish a manuscript and am getting ready to do a final read-through, I will read a Nora Roberts book to put me in the mindset of making sure the story moves quickly.

What do we have to look forward next?

I am currently working on revising my first novel, a murder-mystery romance titled Ashton’s Secret, for re-release with The Wild Rose Press in late 2008. I also have a suspense title I am working on, Justice is a Lady, about Samantha Dallas, an assistant DA who goes on the run with Alexander Caldwell, an undercover FBI agent, when Samantha is framed for murder. Part of the suspense is Samantha doesn’t know Alex is one of the good guys. The people who framed her are the same people he is investigating.

Thanks, Liana!

Thank you! And thank you for the coffee and chocolate. (Our pleasure)

Liana will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio: Liana Laverentz is the author of two contemporary romances with The Wild Rose Press, Thin Ice and Jake’s Return. Thin Ice is a 2007 New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Award winner, a 2008 EPPIE Winner, and was a nominee for Best Romance of 2007 at Long and Short Reviews. Her next release, a re-release of her first novel, Ashton’s Secret, a murder mystery romance, will be available from The Wild Rose Press in late 2008.

Liana is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Washington Romance Writers, and Pennwriters, Inc. In 1998, she won the Pennwriters Meritorious Service Award.
Liana also hosts a monthly chat on the Long and Short Reviews Yahoo Group the first Thursday of each month, where we discuss ways to find our balance between writing and Life, which tends to get in the way of our writing more often than not. Read Liana’s articles on Finding Your Balance at http://longandshortarchives.blogspot.com/2008/01/article-finding-your-balance-pt-1.html then mark your calendar to join us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LongAndShortRomanceReviews/?yguid=306787988

Check out the author’s website at http://www.lianalaverentz.com/. You can buy Thin Ice at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=350

13 comments:

Carol Webb said...

Thin Ice sounds like a wonderful book. I can't wait to read it. I love hockey! I should, I'm Canadian. :)

Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Liana! So nice to meet you through your interview.:} I'm so impressed with all the research you did for your book. My very best wishes!

Shelley Mosley said...

Liana,

I love the title of your book, especially after reading the words in the context of the quote. There aren't that many hockey romances. Congratulations on a unique project--those aren't so easy to find!

Shelley

Carolyn Matkowsky said...

Liana,

Great interview. I loved Thin Ice and I'm so happy that the Eppie judges loved it too. I can't wait to read Jake's Return. I look forward to your new books too. You're a wonderful writer. I enjoyed meeting you at the New Jersey RWA conference.

Anonymous said...

See, I wasn't kidding...Carolyn was one of the wonderful TWRP authors I met at the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference! We had so much fun dancing...Numbers aren't my thing, but it looked like there were about 100 women and only 6 men in the room...you get the idea!

Nice to meet you, Carol, and Kathryne, too. Nice hair! Both of you, actually. I have a thing for nice hair. Mine rarely looks good.

Hi, Shelley, and you're right. There aren't that many hockey romances. So this one should be a treat!

Thank you everyone for your congratulations and well wishes. Good luck in the drawing!

P.S. I'm anonymous because I can never remember my password.

Liana Laverentz
Thin Ice (NJRW Golden Leaf and EPPIE Award Winner)
Jake's Return (Five Angels and A Recommended Read from FAR)
Available in e-book, print, and on Kindle
Ashton's Secret (coming in 2008)
www.thewildrosepress.com
www.lianalaverentz.com
www.myspace.com/authorlianalaverentz

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your EPPIE!
Tina LaVon

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Tina! I see you're anonymous, too!

Liana Laverentz

LASR Admin - Romance Reviews said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marianne Arkins said...

I'm so tickled "Thin Ice" has done so well for you :-)

I'm a hockey freak (go AVS!) and loved when Ray Borque joined up with the Avs to finally get his much deserved Stanley Cup. (16W)

**sigh**

Who would play Eric? I'll have to give it some thought.

Tina said...

jakes return looks really really yummmy!!!!! and thin ice.... whew hot hot hot

Sheryl said...

Anyone who's read Thin Ice should read Jake's Return. Anyone who hasn't read Thin Ice should read, etc. In short, they are both excellent.

In regard to Thin Ice, Liana, I couldn't believe you weren't a mum before you wrote it. Robbie was so real.

Good luck, hun. Can't wait for your next.

Katie Reus said...

I love watching hockey, maybe it's b/c I'm from Florida and we don't really have a big following here! Something about men beating the crap out of each other tunes in to my primitive side! Congrats on your EPPIE win!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, everyone! I'm busily collecting names for who should play Eric in the movie, and will announce the winner after April 15 on my website.

Liana Laverentz
www.lianalaverentz.com