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Interview: Author Liz Lipperman, Author of the Clueless Cook Series

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Liz Roth Lipperman was raised in a small town in Ohio, number eight of nine children, she graduated from nursing school and worked as a registered nurse for many years.  Liz started off thinking she was a romance writer, but those evil villains kept pushing their way into her stories. Liz discovered she loved killing off people, then tricking everyone into believing it was the wrong guy.  She gave in and let the mystery inside her soul take over, although she still loves romance and sneaks it into every story.

Liz didn’t get her happy ending right away just because she wrote the kind of books she adored.  Eight years after completing her first book, she finally sold.   Liz is represented by Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary, LLC, who challenges Liz to take her writing to the next level.

Liz is married to her high school sweetheart and has lived in the Dallas area over twenty years and now considers herself a Texan. (The Yankee blazing within still demands to be recognized every now and then.)

Liz was gracious enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to be interviewed once again by moi!  With a surprise.

*Drum roll, please*

I am honored to have the opportunity for the exclusive cover reveal of Beef Stolen-Off, the second book in Liz’s Clueless Cook Mystery series.

What was the most memorable research trip you’ve made?

I took a cruise last year to research the third book of my Clueless Cook series. Murder for the Halibut, is set on a cruise ship with my clueless cook judging a cooking competition. Think clueless cook meets Chopped! Anyway, when I told one of the chefs what I was doing, he and four others met me at the coffee shop on board and helped me plot out the murder. Can you imagine the faces on the other passengers in the coffee shop as these guys (all still dressed as chefs — hats included — talked about putting poison in the food?? One chef even gave me his recipe for halibut with the killer ingredient in it.

Please share with us the most interesting stories law enforcement professionals have told you.

Since I don’t write police procedurals, I really don’t have one. With the exception of two of my heroes in two separate books, my characters are not cops, either. In Mortal Deception, my heroine is an ex cop who quits the force when her dead husband is accused of being a dirty cop. That’s as close as I get with my characters.  I do remember hearing a Dallas cop speaking at a Mystery Writers meeting, and he showed us a picture of a murder scene — a woman dead in a lounge chair with a fifth of whiskey, a bottle of pills, and a half empty glass of water on the end table. Then he went over the clues and told us how they knew this was  a murder and not a suicide.

Are there any stories that have made you cry, laugh, stunned you or rendered you speechless when you heard it, that you had to incorporate them in your fiction?

I get all my funny lines from my Bunko Babes, a group of women — all grandmas — with whom I’ve been friends for over twenty-five years. We vacation every year together, leaving hubbies and grandkids at home. These are some of the funniest women I know. For the original plot in Mortal Deception, I saw a story on 20/20 about a dying child that inspired me to say “what if.” For Beef Stolen-Off, I noticed I was seeing more and more stories about cattle rustling becoming the new carjacking in Texas, and my imagination immediately went to work.

What is the most disgusting fact you’ve woven a story around?

In my ghost paranormal series (with an editor as we speak) one of my secondary characters is married to an ex porn star. Don’t ask me why, but I had a blast writing their kinky sex scenes. What does that say about me???

How would you say you have evolved as a writer over time?

I used to chase the market in hopes of selling. The problem is that it takes so long from finished book to publication. By the time I had a completed manuscript, the market had moved on to something else. (Example — chick lit, soft paranormal.) It seems everything nowadays is dark paranormal (witches, shape shifters, vampires, werewolves, etc) and I don’t read that, so there is no way I can write it. Hubby and I went to the movies yesterday and four out of the five previews were for upcoming dark paranormal.

When you’re not writing, what are your favorite ways to relax and have some fun?

I mentioned my Bunko Babes. They always make me laugh. Then there’s my grandkids who put a smile on my face just thinking about them I had to give up my pleasure reading — at least while I’m writing on a deadline. It seems I can’t keep my characters active in my head if I have someone else’s trying to take over. And I love Sudoku.

Of the books you have written, do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why?

My favorite is the very first book I ever wrote — Shattered Dreams. It’s the story of a young nurse who gets caught in the middle of a botched kidnapping attempt in Costa Rica and ends up being smuggled into Colombia in the heart of a rebel camp. I still cry every time I read it. That one is also in the hands of a publisher, and, one way or another, it will be released this year.

Do you have plans to write other genres in the future?

Not really. Mystery/suspense is what I like to read and write. I do have Young Adult under the bed, but even that one is a suspense.

Has your life changed since you’ve become a published author? If so, how?

It has gotten way busier. In today’s economy, unless you’re Evanovich or Roberts, you have to do most of the promotion yourself. I did a guest blog every single day in October when LLD came out. I also have to laugh at the number of people who think I’m rich now that I have a published book. Seriously??

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment at a booksigning?

At a group book signing I was placed between Kerrelyn Sparks and Sophie Jordan. Guess who twitted their pen looking at the long lines on either side of her?? One of these days, I hope to have fans like that.

I have found that some authors listen to music while they write. Do you listen to music or is it something that is distracting to you?

I am a complete silence kind of writer. For Shattered Dreams, I made a sound track, but I could only listen to it when I wasn’t actually writing.. I used one song for every one of the major scenes. For instance, when a boat is taking away my hero and heroine and three orphaned Colombian children, it’s Whitney Houston singing “I Will Always Love You” as the children cry because they are leaving all the people they love. Did I mention I cry every time I hear that song now? Something about a child in pain kills me.

Is there anything you would like to add to this interview?

Just that I am forever grateful that you have taken the time to review my books. You get me. I’d also like to encourage anyone who reads a book and likes it to post a review somewhere. Like so many other things in life, we tend to only comment when we don’t like something. Personally, every time I read where someone shares that he/she got  a little enjoyment out of my written words, I am ecstatic. I appreciate every review, good, bad, or indifferent, but you can guess which ones I like the best.

Do you ever fear writer’s block or that you’ll let your audience down?

Constantly, as most other authors do. We are an insecure bunch. Because reading tastes are so subjective, I know I won’t please everyone. I always dread hearing that someone didn’t like my story since it is so much a part of me. I guess it goes down to wanting everyone to like me and my books. For a lot of my writing years I didn’t let anyone read my stuff for exactly those reasons. I’ve had to grow a thicker skin and now realize different strokes are what make the world go around.

Do you belong to any writers groups and what do you feel you have gained from the social sites?

I am a long standing member of RWA (Romance Writers of America), SinC (Sisters in Crime, a chapter of RWA,) DARA (my Dallas RWA chapter) and MWA (Mystery Writers’ of America.) Recently, I hooked up with IRI (Indie Writers Ink.) I am active on FaceBook with a personal page and two separate author pages (Liz Lipperman and Liz Roth,) I have a Twitter and a LINKED IN account and a website.  I absolutely love interacting with readers and getting personal emails. I answer every single one of them. Your readers can go to my website and connect with me on the Contact page. I am a people person (daughter’s favorite thing to say – “Mother, do you have to talk to everyone??) and I love meeting new people.

Are there any characters in your books that represent you?

I’m a little of every one of my heroines. They’re feisty, independent and don’t take themselves too seriously. Okay, what I’m not is thin, sexy or young, but I do get a taste of that when I write these women. And for the record, I am a wonderful casserole cook, unlike Jordan, my clueless one. Most of the recipes in the back of the books are mine and yummy.

How much of the characters and story lines come from people you know and your own experiences versus your imagination?

I would have to say the personalities are from people I know. I have always had a great relationship with my women friends (Liver Let Die) have always been best friends with my sisters (paranormal ghost story.) I’m a nurse (Shattered Dreams,) and I would do anything for my sisters (Mortal Deception.) Of course, a good story has to have a lot of imagination to keep it from becoming boring. And anyone who has ever crossed me ends up dead in my stories.

How do you keep your characters fresh and the plot exciting?

I am an OCD plotter. I am forever trying to come up with new and different things to throw at my heroine (tied to a tree with feral hogs all around her in LLD, a potty mouthed ghost, an absolute ridiculous scheme to save a dying child (Mortal Deception,)  etc.

Can you tell us one thing about yourself that most of your fans don’t already know?

I run a fantasy football league. I LOVE all sports, especially football. I played soccer in an over-thirty league and coached my daughter’s teams. Don’t call me on Sundays during the NFL season, as I am watching every game and won’t answer the phone.

What do you feel are the benefits of electronic readers to the environment?

You gotta love anything that saves a tree. I have to be honest. I fought hard not to get one. I love holding a book in my hands and saving it to read again. But I gave in and got a kindle and now have an iPad. I love the convenience of both of them. I am never without a book when I find myself delayed for whatever reason.

What impact do electronic readers create on the bottom line for authors in the end? Do you feel they have a negative impact or positive, or no impact at all that you can see?

Although authors do get a little more per book for the e-versions, I think the biggest impact will be on books that authors choose to self publish. Most of us have books that New York might have loved but had no idea how to market. (My ghost story is a good example. My Berkley editor absolutely loves that one, but she doesn’t know how to fit it into her line.) If the editor who has it now passes on it, it will go up on Amazon where I can set the price. More and more authors are getting their rights back on earlier books and putting them up on Amazon at reduced prices, much to the delight of their fans. Truthfully, I see mass market paperbacks going away, to be replaced by trade paperback (the slightly bigger ones that sell for more,) and hardbacks being used only for a “big” author with a huge following. In order to keep up with the digital revolution, publishers are beginning to lean toward creating their own inhouse publishing departments to compete with Amazon. I think readers will see a significant drop in prices in a few years which is a plus. As for writers, there will be more piracy with ebooks, but like the music industry did a few years back, they will eventually figure out a way to combat that. Most writers will agree that they write because they love it since only 1 % of all writers ever make enough to quit their day jobs. Moral of this story — take your Christmas money and go out and buy a good book. Somewhere out there a writer will thank you.

Thank you, Liz, for the faboo interview!

Thanks, Diane for this interview. I enjoyed the questions.

You are welcome, my friend!

Read my reviews for Liver Let Die and Mortal Deception.

Click here for Liz’s Winter Holiday Fireside Moments Interview.

Click here for Liz’s Thanksgiving Memories.

Click here for Liz’s Halloween Fright Bites.

Visit Liz’s website and blog.

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About Diane Morasco