Friday, June 26, 2009

Interview with Liana Laverentz

I’d like to welcome our guest today, award-winning author Liana Laverentz. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us again 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. It’s a pleasure to be here.

I understand you have a new release out called Ashton’s Secret. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Ashton’s Secret is a murder mystery romance, being
published by The Wild Rose Press Crimson Rose, or suspense line. It’s about a former socialite turned professional photographer who travels to a small town in Western New York to uncover the details behind her sister’s death, in part hushed up by her family five years earlier.

Ashton’s Secret is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Ashton is the name of the town where the story takes place, a town that houses many secrets, but the biggest one is the one Meghan has come to uncover. Was her sister’s death an accident, suicide, or murder? The only person who knows is the man who was arrested for Heather’s murder five years ago, but never charged. Why? And why did he leave town immediately afterward? Better yet, why has he suddenly returned and why doesn’t he want anything to do with Meghan? But Meghan has a few secrets of her own, which makes the unraveling all the more complicated.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Romantic suspense is my favorite genre. I grew up reading Nancy Drew
mysteries. In college I discovered Harlequin romances. For me, romantic suspense is the perfect blend of mystery and romance.

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

I had to do research on sailboats and drug use and methods of sabotage that wouldn’t be immediately detected, if at all.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I went to summer picnic a friend’s home, and while I was there, my mind started to wander, which I think any writer can relate to. Nick’s house in Ashton’s Secret is an actual home I’ve been in, and there is a silver maple out front and a barn right beside it described just as it is in the book. I was fascinated by the pulley-operated pitchfork that hung from the ceiling and started wondering, “How could I use that in a book?” The idea for The Wharf came from a similar place I used to go to when I was in college, and Lakeland came from my father’s condominium community just outside of Washington, D.C. I rearranged a few things and added what was needed to fit the story. I have to talk about the locations, because to talk about the plot would give away some of the story’s secrets.

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

In this book, it had to be Nick. A man with many secrets who is willing to let the town think him guilty of murder to flush out a killer. A man who is willing to let the woman he’s falling in love with think the worst of him to protect her and save her life. He’s torn between his feelings and needing to do the right thing. A man of integrity and honor who is determined to clear the record not for his own sake, but for the sake of a woman who didn’t deserve to die, and another woman who may well meet the same fate if she doesn’t stop asking so many questions.

Tell us about how you develop your characters.

I usually start with a primary emotional issue for each main character and build layers into the story from there. Ideally, I have their issues conflict. I try to make each scene reflect one aspect of a character’s internal issue, be it the hero, heroine, or villain. As my research uncovers the facts of a situation I’ve created, or my chosen issue--for example domestic violence in my contemporary romance Thin Ice, (again, I can’t use Ashton’s Secret as an example without giving too much away)--I find a way to make that issue work for or against the character in that particular scene. For example, in Thin Ice, my heroine Emily’s overriding issue is personal safety. The hero Eric’s issue is needing to be needed. If the woman he loves doesn’t n
eed him for anything, then what good is he? But the last thing formerly battered wife Emily needs is a man who uses his fists in his work. She’s also a single mother and a doctor, and determined to stay independent. She never wants to need to depend on anyone ever again. So you see how that conflicts. The characters then arise out of the conflict.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Eileen Dreyer, Lisa Gardner, Rachel Lee, Barbara Delinsky, and LaVyrle Spencer, to name just a few. Each of them for different reasons that would take far too long to go into in any kind of detail, but I’ll try to give you a one-liner for each, since I get something different from each of them. I like Eileen for how she shows her love of words, and how she uses all the elements of a story in her work, including at times making the setting a character, Lisa for non-stop suspense and her gritty, realistic characters, Rachel for the way she expresses different emotional issues, and Barbara and LaVyrle because I simply love the way they string their words together. I can lose myself in a story by either one of them. But I like the way all of these authors write, even though their books are very different from each other’s.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Interviews and ads in places like Long and Short Reviews, Coffee Time Romance and The Romance Studio. I have yet to take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities they offer. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. I also enjoy the yahoo loop chats, which are time consuming, but can be a lot of fun when just the right mix of people are there. It’s a nice break from writing, and something I don’t have to leave the house to do. I also think a newsletter would be a great idea, but once you start something like that you have to keep it going, and right now I just don’t have the time to take on any new projects like that.

Thanks, Liana!

Thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity to be here.

To celebrate her book release, Liana is offering a free print copy of her EPPIE and Golden Leaf Award-winning book Thin Ice to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

You can buy any of Liana’s books from The Wild Rose Press at
They’re also available in print through Amazon and by special order from your favorite book store.

For more information, go to


Anonymous said...

Good Morning Liana. Thanks for joining us again. Sorry about the late post, but Blogger is giving me the fits. This was scheduled to go up at 3:00 am, but didn't until I manually posted it. SIgh. Anyway, I'm so looking forward to reading Ashton's Secret having thoroughly enjoyed Thin Ice. Have a great day.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Liana (and hello Kim too)
Just popping in to say congratulations on your latest release Liana - aren't release days just so exciting!

I have to say that I love romantic suspense too, so I'll have to put this one on my toppling wish list. Congratulations again, and I'm sure it'll be as much a runaway success as your others! (and it's such a lovely cover too.)

Linda Andrews said...

HI Liana,

I love romantic suspense and your latest release sounds like a great mix of romance and mystery. Nick's honor code make him a wonderful hero (and I'm not in the least biased as that's my husband's name).

Can you tell us if any of the other stories are set in the same town?

BTW, Congrats on your new release.

Liana Laverentz said...

Hi, Kim, thanks again for having me here today. Lyn, congratulations on your own release, just last week! Children of the Mist is an awesome read, and has a gorgeous cover, too.

Linda, thanks for stopping by. No, all my stories are set in different towns. Different states, even. Thanks for asking!

Estella said...

I love romantic suspense! Your books sound like they would be great reading.


I love your books. Thin Ice and Jake's Return were both great. I'm looking forward to reading Ashton's Secret.

Liana Laverentz said...

Thank you, Estella and Loretta. I appreciate your kind comments. Have a great day!