Friday, April 2

Five Questions, Episode Two by Liz Flaherty

Welcome to the second episode of Five Questions. Nan's answers are here. I always think Q & A is fun. It's like when you're doing revisions for a publisher--you have a road map of where to go. Questions give you a road map, too. Not that I intend to stay between the berm and the center line (which explains why one of my questions is different) we go...

1. Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?

Have someone to talk to. Not just about writing, but about everything. Someone you trust implicitly with what's going on, all those things that are draining and stressing you. Not only will you end up being able to use your emotions in your writing (but keep it oblique--you don't want to hurt anyone), burdens are so much lighter when they're shared. Nan and I talk virtually every day. My friend Deb, the sister of my soul, knows everything there is to know about my life and me. Those relationships are valuable beyond words. 

2. If you could be mentored by a famous author, who would it be and why?

Three of them. Actually there are many more than that, but three whose prose has given me some of the best reading days in my whole life. Surely they'd do as much for my writing ones. Kathleen Gilles Seidel, Jennifer Crusie, and Kristan Higgins. Their voices are so smart and yet so relatable. In my mind, that is the perfect combination. If we're doing metaphors--don't we always?--I think they've all mastered the one-two punch. 

3. What period of your life do you find you write about most often?

I have found that I like best to write about whatever period I'm in. For years, I wrote women with kids, because that's what I was and what I loved being. Then I wrote about ones whose nests had emptied and they were facing reinvention. 

I'm 70 years old, so I'd love to write about people who are around my age, but the truth is that's a hard sell. People don't want to think people their grandparents' age fall in love, have sex, suffer unimaginable angst, or think about things other than doctors' appointments and retirement checks. (We do, in case you'd wondered...)

Reinvention is the magic word for me. Although I'm not interested in writing about people in their 20s, if they're being forced to reinvent themselves because of life's circumstances, I think I could still do it. 

4. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

This is a hard one for me, but here goes. I'm nice. I'm a pleaser. I'm loyal. I sound a whole hell of a lot like a puppy, except that I hardly ever slobber and I'm housebroken. (I'm also, to use Nan's words, "old, round, and wrinkled," but we're not doing that.) 

5. You're the publisher and the choice is yours--what is your new romance imprint going to be?

I'd revive Next, arguably the best imprint ever produced by Harlequin. I'd release four of them a month with kickass covers, pay writers an amount guaranteed to haul them out of retirement, charge reasonable prices for the books, and honor the demographic that knows all about happy endings because they've been working toward them for a long time. 

Since Harlequin probably won't listen to me, my new imprint would be Been There. It would be basically the same thing as Next. No protagonists under 40. Romantic women's fiction. With some rules which might be unreasonable but would make me happy. No billionaires unless they're giving the money away, no dumb titles, no use of the word "feisty," no 60-year-old heroines whose bodies look like they're 20. What rules would you add to my imprint, while we're at it?



  1. Love your answers!! You are so right on!

    1. Thank you, ma'am. With age comes wisdom? :-)

  2. I loved, loved the Next line. I hope someone at Harlequin figures it out. LOL Great answers!

    1. I wish they would. They've certainly heard it often enough, haven't they?

  3. I loved the Next line, too. I still have some of them in my book stash.

    Liz, you are so right. There is definitely life and love after twenty!

    1. Thanks, Jana! I hope you write for "Been There." :-)