Tuesday, September 23, 2008

DEBUT AUTHOR: Liane Spicer

LIANE SPICER was born in Trinidad where she taught high school for twenty-two years. In 2000 she left teaching and has led a peripatetic existence since, living in several countries and working as an assistant editor, human resource manager, and company administrator. Her book reviews have appeared in print and online newspapers in the Caribbean and North America, including the Nassau Guardian, South Florida Caribbean News, and the Trinidad Guardian.Café Au Lait is her first novel. She has recently completed a second romance as well as a memoir on raising her son, and is now working on her first mainstream novel.

Café au Lait

Londoner Shari Zamore is at the end of her rope, so the pretty professional runs away to her family's home in Trinidad in search of rest, relaxation, and maybe even a little no-strings romance. What she finds there is a stubborn, sexy man determined to make her face all of the things she desperately wants to forget. Why is Michael Chancery so intrigued by a woman whose icy attitude seems designed to discourage any man who tries to get close? Her plan is to love him and leave him, but Michael doesn't give up easily, and he'll use every tool in his sensual arsenal, every moment of each heated tropical night to convince Shari that her place is on the island…and that his heart belongs to her.

What would you like your readers to take away from your book?

The satisfied feeling you get when you've finished an entertaining story, of course, but I'd also like readers to feel optimistic about relationships, to believe in happily ever after. Since this story is set in the Caribbean, I'd like the beauty of the islands to linger for awhile, as well.

What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned that I could do it. The goal of living a writing life moved out of the realm of fantasy for me and became a tangible reality.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Business is the operative word there. Writing is the easy part, the part that comes naturally. Publishing is a business like any other, and the bottom line rules. I had to get rid of silly, romantic notions of what this business is all about.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

That fiction is just that, fiction, no matter how much it has been shaped by real people and events.

Our theme this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

The blog has established my online presence, gotten the word out 'there' that my novel exists, and has also brought the bonus of a great community of blogging writers, published and unpublished. I discovered that blogging writers are very generous and supportive, and they help each other to promote by interviewing each other, featuring new releases on their blogs, facilitating review exchanges, participating in online contests and giveaways - which all help provide a platform, and to bring writers and readers together.

What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?

The entire journey has been a learning process, one I've enjoyed immensely. I wish I'd known earlier about the fantastic community of writers in existence online. I was very much alone, feeling my way for years. Not any more. I wish I'd known how little beginning writers are paid, and how l-o-n-g the publication process takes.

Was there ever a time in your writing career you thought of quitting?

Never. I'm stubborn that way. Setbacks just make me more determined.

How long did it take from first word to sale? What were some of the steps along the journey?

Oh, it's been years. After I wrote the first draft I left the book alone for four years! Then I wrote five more chapters and began polishing. I started looking for an agent in 2005, got one in 2006, sold the book in 2007, and it was just published this month. Here's hoping things pick up some momentum now!

How did it feel to hold your first book?

I think I'm still dazed. Writers have enriched my life so much with their words that I'm a bit awed at joining their fraternity, at the thought of my words doing the same for other readers.

What was the most embarrassing thing you've ever done or stupidest mistake you've ever made with writing?

When I first started marketing the book, right after I finished the first draft, I knew nothing about the business. Karen Thomas, who was then editor of the Arabesque line at Kensington Publishing, requested the manuscript and I sent it off to her although it was 10,000 words short of their requirements. She also requested a synopsis and I hadn't done one, so I sent off the package without it, and included a cute little bio on pretty paper. Unknowingly, I committed three submission felonies! Needless to say, I didn't hear from Ms. Thomas again!

How do you feel about critique groups?

I know some people swear by them but I am resistant. I have one writer friend who critiques my work and for whom I do the same. I have had an offer from an online buddy and I think I'll take him up on it with my next book, which is in the final edit stage.

What are your main concerns as a writer?

Paying the bills! LOL! I'd like to support myself this way but I'm aware that writers who can do this are the exception rather than the norm.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

These pretty much sum things up: "Writing is an art, but publishing is a business", and "Writers write".

Are you part of a writer's organization and if you are, tell us about the benefits?

I belong to a writers' group based in the UK, The Novel Racers. We pool our knowledge, share success stories and disappointments, discuss the art and business realities, and generally encourage each other..

Five questions about books:

One book you've read more than once.

I read widely across genres, so my responses will reflect that. I re-read most of my favorite books so it's hard to pick one. A romance novel I remember reading several times is The Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer.

One book you couldn't put down until you finished.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

One book that made you laugh.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I'll never forget: "Preach it, I say!"

One book that made you cry.

The most recent was Fade, a thriller by Kyle Mills. The protagonist is an assassin, and Mr. Mills had me in tears over the fate of his anti-hero.

One book you wish you'd written.

The God of Small Things by Arundathi Roy. The writing is exquisite

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

LaShaunda, thank you so much for featuring me on SORMAG! It's been a real pleasure!


LaShaunda said...


Congrats on your new book. Sounds like something I'm going to enjoy reading.

I wish you many blessings as you start your new career.

wordtryst said...

LaShaunda, thank you so much!

I enjoyed doing this, and very much appreciate the opportunity you've given me to be featured as your debut author for September.

Hope you enjoy the story!

KeVin K. said...

Not just a published author, but a published and interviewed author.
How cool is that?

Congratulations again, kid. You're an inspiration to writers everywhere.

PBW said...

Congratulations on your debut!

I've already bought it and can hardly wait to start reading!!!!

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