Another week and another writer to meet! What I’ve been loving so far with the answers different authors have given is how similar yet different they are. There’s a thread of unity, yet so many unique perspectives!
Today we welcome Liana Brooks!
With all the thousands of quotes and advice on writing–what one stands out the most for you?
“Write dangerously.” Never be afraid to kill off a character or make the scene messy. Take risks with your writing. Write a new genre. Write a different kind of character. When you sit down to write, leave your fears somewhere else.
Where does inspiration hit you? Anything specific trigger it?
I’ve had a love affair with stories since I was a child. There were always books. There were always stories. I don’t know if I could go through my day and not start spinning things into a story, at this point it’s as natural as breathing. I see something, hear a phrase, feel a breeze and it becomes part of a story.
That’s a terrible answer, isn’t it? Not at all scientific. I guess… Life inspires me. Other people inspire me. I’m a curious person, I want answers, and when I tell a story I can answer the eternal question of WHY and WHAT IF.
When you’re riding on that inspiration and creating characters, it’s easy to get attached. Do you have a favorite, or one you could write about forever?
That’s a hard one. When I’m writing a book I always think, “This is the one! I love this character. There will never be a fictional person as perfect as this person right here!” And inevitably there is. I’m an unfaithful author. A plot whore. I’ll chase any complex character that comes along.
I did really enjoy writing Mac in THE DAY BEFORE, though. He’s broken and cynical, really at the end of his rope and fed up with life. He’s a fun character to write because he’s stopped caring what anyone thinks, and he really doesn’t care if he gets hurt. And he has a dark sense of humor. Anyone who can make jokes over corpses is fun to write. There’s no limits on him, and that’s a lot of fun.
Sam, by comparison, is very rigid in what she’ll allow herself to do. Writing her was harder because I had to stop and think about whether or not she’d even think about certain options. She starts with a very narrow definition of acceptable behavior and throughout the series we’re going to see her change. Her morals don’t shift as much as her willingness to think outside the box.
Sometimes our settings are just things we dream up, but traveling can help flesh those out. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I would love to be somewhere tropical with beaches, big flowers, and free childcare. I’m living in Alaska right now and there’s still ice on my driveway! It’s May! We have fifteen hours of daylight! And there’s snow!!!
I’d love to get away to a quiet tropical island. Not somewhere touristy or busy, but a nice little place with friendly locals, a couple small shops that have everything you need, maybe an ice cream parlor… I’d sit out by the beach writing my next book and watching the waves. That would be heaven.
What’s next on the horizon? Anything you’re really excited about?
JANE’S SHADOW is the second book in the Jane Doe series and it’s coming out in November. It’s my entire focus right now, and I am excited about how the readers will react. We get some answers to a few of the questions left at the end of THE DAY BEFORE and it gets Sam back with her favorite man.
When you’re not working on writing, what’s your favorite show on air to veg out to?
Oooo… on air? I’m still catching up on a decade’s worth of TV viewing with Netflix. Let’s see, I’m enjoying iZombie. Rob Thomas writes fun female characters. It’s a little dark and morbid and I don’t know if I’ll keep liking it if they kill off some of the characters I like, but I’m enjoying it right now.
I’m with you on that train–I love Liv from I-Zombie! What about in the book-o-sphere? Any recommendations?
My To Be Read pile has the latest books from Devon Monk and Kelley Grant. I’m planning on getting the new Jack Campbell book in May, and maybe the Ken Liu book. It looked intriguing.
I do have recommendations for books: Read The Books With Words.
If you want something more specific, come find me on Twitter and tell me what you like. I’m pretty good at finding people a great sci-fi book to love.
And the best question: what’s your zodiac sign?
I’m a Leo! And an extrovert! And an ENTJ! Which means I have a huge ego, I’m super outgoing, and I will probably take over the conversation when we get together.
Oooh, I should ask for people’s Myers-Briggs, because I’m definitely curious about that too! So, when you’re reading, are there any huge pet peeves that might make you put down a book?
Too Dumb to Live characters, or weak conflict that revolves around someone ignoring an obvious choice. If the characters could have resolved the problem by sitting down and talking for five minutes, or making a phone calls, or checking a computer log it isn’t a good plot. It’s an easy trap for an author to fall into, because they have it set in their head the THIS MUST HAPPEN, but hopefully the crit partners and editors will catch it.
And for some reason I can’t get into first-person-present-tense books. I’ve tried, but I find it so jarring I usually don’t get far. That’s a Reader Error rather than a problem with the book. I’m not smart enough to adapt to that style of language.
Where can readers find you and your books?
I am all over the web, and so are my books. I love talking to people on Twitter so if you’re there, come say hello!
HarperCollins – http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062407658/the-day-before
Is it a human corpse … or is it just a piece of discarded property?
Agent Samantha Rose has been exiled to a backwater assignment for the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, a death knell for her career. But then Sam catches a break—a murder—that could give her the boost she needs to get her life back on track. There’s a snag, though: the body is a clone, and technically that means it’s not a homicide. And yet, something about the body raises questions, not only for her, but for coroner Linsey Mackenzie.
The more they dig, the more they realize nothing about this case is what it seems … and for Sam, nothing about Mac is what it seems, either.
This case might be the way out for her, but that way could be in a bodybag.
A thrilling new mystery from Liana Brooks, The Day Before will have you looking over your shoulder and questioning what it means to be human.