Saturday, 29 June 2013

The PINK SOFA welcome Liz Harris, Writer


Liz Harris

Liz Harris is another of the talented RNA writers I have met on Twitter. At first I was a bit in awe of her ... which I subsequently realised was because she used to be, like me, an English teacher. I soon discovered that she is a warmhearted fun-loving individual  - as all English teachers are! To mark Liz's visit, the PINK SOFA has been boning up on its Lit, and for reasons that will quickly become apparent, there are cocktails and chocolates on the coffee table. So Liz, over to you:

''As I lean against this luxurious sofa, Carol, I'm working on presenting myself with gravitas and as a person who's wanted to write since her moment of conception. Alas, I can't because I'm not. The gravitas is there - oh yes - but while I've always loved writing essays and letters, it was years before I connected the books I read avidly with the process of writing. Books just happened, I would have thought, if I'd thought at all.

Years passed by in which I devoured books of every kind, especially those by my favourite authors: first Enid Blyton - The Famous Five were Six when I read her stories - and then Jane Austen. Eventually, I left university with a Law degree, tucked Pride & Prejudice under my arm and set off to see the world.

I began in California, and ended there.

It was brilliant. I tried everything from cocktail waitressing on Sunset Strip to returning hired cars to their home location (imagine being paid to drive convertibles across the State, the radio blaring out, the wind in one's hair ... bliss!); from secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company to 'resident starlet' at MGM. This would make a good novel, I mused at times, but I never thought of myself as being the person to write it.

Six years later, real life intervened and I returned to the UK, did a degree in English and went into teaching. During the following years, I wrote voluminous letters to friends until one day, a friend in desperation suggested that I write a novel. I took the hint. I'm now jumping almost eight years of writing steadily, trying to get published, to the publication by Choc Lit of my debut novel, The Road Back in 2012.

Liz's first novel
Nothing from the past is ever wasted. Patricia in The Road Back grows up in Belsize Park. Guess where I grew up? Ladakh, though, was new to me, but thanks to the internet, youtube and excellent books, I can close my eyes and see Kalden's village, the monastery suspended above the white houses, the distant mountains.

The second novel
My second novel, Evie Undercover, also published in 2012, and out on kindle, is set in Umbria, an area I know well. This time I used my local knowledge of the Law, and the novel stars a sex-on-two-legs libel lawyer, Tom Hadleigh, along with feisty Evie Shaw, the newest staff member of the gossip magazine Pure Dirt.

New novel
For A Bargain Struck, out in September, I dragged my heat-hating husband to Wyoming in order to complete my research into how a second generation homesteader would live in Wyoming 1887. It tells the story of Conn Maguire, who sent for a mail-order bride. On paper, Ellen O'Sullivan is everything Conn needs in a wife ...

To spend all day giving birth to new characters and situations makes for a
wonderful life. I can't imagine anything better than being an author. Many thanks for allowing me to share my pleasure in it with you and your readers, Carol.''
Wyoming Trails: Liz and bucking bronco! Yee-haa!

Liz can be contacted on Facebook, or @lizharrisauthor. All Liz's books are available on Amazon, kindle, Apple iTunes, Kobo and Nook

The Pink Sofa is truly inspired, Liz, and is thinking seriously, after your visit ends, of packing its copy of Upholstery for Beginners and setting off to see the world, following your example. In the meantime, it needs you to mix the cocktails and open the chocolates  ... there is a queue of eager people with probing questions forming on the landing.



31 comments:

  1. Great to catch up with Liz on your blog Carol - fun as always!

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    1. It's lovely to 'see' you again, Chris. I'm so glad you enjoyed the blog. It was a fun blog to write.

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    2. It's lovely to 'see' you again here, Chris. I'm so glad you enjoyed the posting.

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  2. Great to meet Liz on your blog, Carol.

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  3. Your CV must be very interesting! So nice to meet the person behind the book. Did Carol eat all the cake?

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    1. Jo and Amanda - it's lovely to meet you here, all of us clustered around that mega comfortable pink sofa.

      My CV is another illustration of my creativity, Amanada - remember my desire to appear with gravitas! Cocktail waitress on Sunset Strip - strike!!

      I'm so sorry that Carol and I didn't leave you any cake.

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  4. Nice to meet you Liz...You certainly have an interesting background, I'm quite envious and I shall certainly be adding you to my 'To Read' list!...Oh...by the way...regarding the 'luxurious Sofa'..*leans in conspiratorially*..Carol hired that in honour of your visit...her usual Sofa's in the process of being de-flead by 'Pest Control'...:)
    Thanks again for a great post!..


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    1. Dead-flea-ed, Lynn!! Now I come to think of it. That hired pink sofa .... I shall be having (even more) words with Carol!!! *scratches herself*

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  5. Hi, Liz, another English teacher to keep the owner of the Pink Sofa in check! Great interview.

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    1. Many thanks, Rosalind.

      I love your name - it's so ethereal. And if you're anything like your Shakespearean namesake, you must also be fun and extremely inventive.

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  6. And my buttocks once graced (or disgraced) the Pink Sofa too, though only a lowly history and sociology teacher. And I want to know more about the MGM starlet thing. Poke her, Carol until she spills! x

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    1. Aha! Now that would be telling.

      Maybe one day, at one of the many RNA events, I will be gracious enough (ahem) to allow you to ply me with wine (Malbec is my favourite) and then I might - just might - spill the beans. :-)

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  7. Great post, Liz and Carol. Love the photo of you on the horse, Liz :-)
    Laura xx

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    1. Many thanks, Laura.

      I was lucky that they were able to take a photo. Up until the moment that the camera lens clicked shut, the horse had been snorting, rearing, bucking, trying to throw me off. It was only by the skin of my Colgate-white/electric toothbrushed teeth that I was able to hang on.

      Yes, I know it looks like a docile mare, but believe me, looks can be deceptive!

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  8. I second your opinion, Carol, Liz is lovely! And it's great to read about her 'beginnings' in the world of writing...

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    1. Thank you for that, Jane. You're lovely, too!!

      Out of a sensitive deference to the tenderness of the ears of some of the readers, this is the expurgated version of the early years.

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  9. Ah, Liz, is it a coincidence that English teachers often turn to writing? I wonder. Your life sounds as if it has been enormous fun, and I can't imagine anything better than doing research actually at the location of your fictional world, grumpy husbands notwithstanding. Great to meet you here!

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    1. It's great to meet you, too, Val.

      My life has been fantastic and it still is. I can't wait to get up in the morning, and I hate going to bed at night. I'm very lucky. I can't imagine a more wonderful life than that of a writer.

      And if I have to exercise super-human ingenuity in handling of said grumpy husband (loosely translated: plying him with alcohol before the revelation), so be it. *picks up a bottle of wine and two glasses*

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  10. So.... it's on to cocktails and chockies now is it. Tea and bibickies for me. OK I gave my guest champagne yesterday, but she was special. She'd have killed me otherwise!
    You obviously write from experience and do considerable research, Liz. You're right, that's why being an author is so great! Good luck with your 3rd book when it come out.
    Richard

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    1. Champagne! Your lucky guest, Richard!!

      Having said that, Carol's cocktails and chocs certainly hit the spot. I enjoyed them very much, Carol, and I only hope that I didn't take all of your favourites or you might never invite me again!

      Many thanks for your good wishes for my next book, Richard.

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  11. English teachers and lawyers make great writers. First, because of their excellent communication skills. Second, because get to know people so well. How people think. How they behave. Elizabeth Harris--having skill sets of English teacher AND lawyer in her creative arsenal--well, it's no surprise the results are books that seem to feature unique characters in interesting environments and situations. I'm looking forward to exploring her work, starting with EVIE UNDERCOVER. How can I resist a book featuring a libel lawyer and a staffer at a magazine called PURE DIRT?

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  12. What a lovely comment, Carrie Ann. Thank you.

    I, too, think English/writing and Law is a marriage made in Heaven (Oh, yes. Always thinking as a romantic novelist ...).

    Law is both precise and logical. Writing, too, benefits from precision and logic. Even though a novel may appear to be artlessly informal, the relationship between plot and character should have been structured with precision and should have a logical progression. Yay, gravitas at last!!

    I hope you enjoy reading Evie's story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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  13. Gosh, but I did enjoy your Pink Sofa musings, Liz.

    After spending six days with you in Kansas City at the Romantic Times Convention I thought I knew you a little. Well, I only scratched the surface!

    What an amazing lot of adventures you've had!

    After being totally enthralled reading The Road Back I can't wait to read A Bargain Struck.

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    1. Many thanks for your comment, Beverley, and for your lovely words about The Road Back.

      Yes, the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Kansas City was great fun, wasn't it? And it was fabulous to put a face to your name.

      And I predict that the RT Convention in New Orleans is going to be even more fun. Roll on May 2014!!

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  14. Gosh, but I did enjoy your Pink Sofa musings, Liz.

    After spending six days with you in Kansas City at the Romantic Times Convention I thought I knew you a little. Well, I only scratched the surface!

    What an amazing lot of adventures you've had!

    After being totally enthralled reading The Road Back I can't wait to read A Bargain Struck.

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  15. I can't imagine anything better than being an author either. :)

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    1. It's a wonderful life, isn't it, Kelly.

      Having been a teacher, I appreciate an extra dimension in being an author - your characters don't answer you back unless you want them to!

      Happy writing!

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  16. Carol another lovely blog and Liz Harris is the perfect author to be on your pink sofa as her book cover for EVIE UNDERCOVER looks like it really belongs there.

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    1. Clever, weren't we, Ian, when Choc Lit and I planned the cover for Evie Undercover?

      We had THE PINK SOFA in mind. As you do. And we found a cover that would make a real statement when the cover and my sequinned self were sitting on the sofa, and we went for it!

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  17. Hi Liz, sorry to arrive so late - great to see you on Carol's sofa and, as always, I love your writing. Maybe you should rewrite legal briefs in the style of a romantic novelist?

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  18. Now there's a thought, Juliet ...

    *removes black straw concoction from head, so suitable for knees-crossed pose on The Pink Sofa, and puts on (considerably less flattering so seldom donned)thinking cap*

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