The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Welcome Carina Press author, Liz Flaherty...

 Hi Liz! So great to meet you and invite you to spend some time on my blog - As a newHarlequin author, I am hearing more and more about their digital publisher, Carina Press. I know you have some fabulous editors over there and the covers speak for themselves. I wish you all the luck in the world with your latest release...let's get started!

1)   What is your writing routine?

I’m a morning person, so wherever I am, I write in the morning. Sometimes most of the day, but more often for only a couple of hours. My muse is on the lazy side.

2)   Which author/s inspire you to write?

Cheryl Reavis, Pamela Morsi, and Cheryl St. John are constant inspirations, because their voices had changed and grown right along with publishing. Not only do they inspire me to write, they also inspire great envy! J

3)   Which is your favorite romance subgenre to read? To write?

Contemporary is my favorite to write—it’s just comfortable for me. I love to read Regency and Americana historical.

4)   How do you deal with criticism/rejection?

Not well, quite honestly, but rather than make an idiot of myself, I try to stay quiet about it. Usually, once I get done sulking, I’m able to take something of value from a criticism. Rejection? Well, I’m a writer—there is no dirtier word! J

5)   What do you expect from an editor?

Communication. Support. Willingness to compromise. I’ve been so blessed by having some of the best editors in the business.

6)   Tell me about your latest release

Jar of  Dreams is new from Carina Press. Lucy Dolan comes to Taft, Indiana in a rusty blue van. Before she knows it, she’s part-owner in a tearoom and having really interesting thoughts about Boone Brennan, her partner’s nephew.

7)   Tease us with a blurb or short excerpt

“Tell me about the pickle jar,” Boone requested as they walked along the river on the scenic path. “I’ve seen tip jars before—my wife even kept a big brandy snifter on top of her piano and I used to put money in it to tease her. But yours has more business cards and pieces of paper in it than it does money.” When their hands bumped between them, he took hers. She thought about pulling away, but only for a moment. The truth was, she liked it when Boone Brennan touched her and so did those girl muscles that were already tightening and loosening in reaction.
This was, she decided, a truth she didn’t want to examine too closely. The question he asked, though, was one that was fun to respond to because the answer was fun to remember.
“When I started waiting tables at Dolan’s—that was Dad’s restaurant—I wanted things, normal things like a car and cool clothes, but Dad said the only way I could get them was to help pay for them. Whatever I saved, he said, he’d match. While he was telling me this, standing there in the kitchen with the whole restaurant staff as witnesses, he rinsed out the pickle jar—the same one I still have back at the tearoom—and handed it to me. ‘Here you go, kid,’ he said, and I’ve been saving tips and wishes and dreams in it ever since.” It was one of her best memories of her father, and she smiled with the telling of it. “Only problem is, no one gives me matching funds anymore.”
“Business cards?” He reminded her of his original question. “Slips of paper?” He sat on a park bench and drew her down beside him. “Is that where the wishes and dreams come in?”
She left her hand in his. “A busboy named Andy started it. When I started scoping out cars when I was sixteen, he cut a picture of a used Camaro out of the paper and dropped it in the jar. Before the prom, I was waxing dramatic about what kind of dress I wanted and one of the waitresses put a magazine picture of this gorgeous black and white dress in there. My guidance counselor from high school, Mrs. Seaforth, came in one day and talked to Dad about me going to college and she left her business card.” Lucy’s smile faded. All these years later, the loss of that particular dream still hurt. “I put it in the jar.”
“Did you go?” he asked. “To college, I mean.”
“No. Every time it started to seem possible, something would happen to prove it wasn’t. A few times, I even signed up.” She brightened. “I’ve taken tons of classes, though. I almost have an associate’s degree in the most extremely general of general studies you’ve ever seen.”
He laughed. “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“That’s the nice part.” She beamed at him. “Just what I am. I love restaurants, cooking, being with people. I want the education because I like knowing things. Some of the pieces of paper are about things like that. A lady came in one time and we got to talking about the dreams in the jar and she asked for an empty one of her own. I taught her to make foolproof piecrust and she taught me to decorate cakes. We each got to cross off one of our wishes, but the paper’s still in the jar so I don’t forget her.”
As she warmed to what she was saying, heat from his arm sent tingles of awareness up the length of her. “A man from Italy who had immigrated here to be with his family taught me about pasta and I gave him English lessons,” she went on a little breathlessly. It’s hot out here—that’s all. And muggy. Sheesh, yeah, muggy. “I got to be in the courtroom with him the day he became an American citizen. I never want to forget that, so I still have his business card with all the details of that day written on the back.” She smiled with the sweetness of the memory, then felt herself blush. “Like the napkin from the bar today. That was fun, and I don’t want to forget that, either.”
He’d wanted to kiss her while they were sipping beer and talking. He hadn’t said so, but she’d known. Another memory for the cache she kept behind her heart. Another wish for the jar. That was something she hadn’t told him—or anyone else—that some dreams were both unspoken and unwritten. She just kept them close and didn’t forget.

8)   Which is your favorite character in the book?  Why?

Aunt Gert. She’s 75 or so—no one knows for sure, including me. She wears Birkenstalks with bobby socks and does and says exactly what she wants, when she wants. She’s also loving and funny. I want to be her when I grow up.

9)   What are you working on right now?

A sequel of sorts to One More Summer. I get so attached to the little towns in my stories (and the people who live in them) that I keep going back. Jar of Dreams returned to Taft, the town where The Debutante’s Second Chance took place, and I got to visit some old friends while I was writing it.

10)                  Your biggest piece of advice to aspiring novelists?

The same one they’ve heard 100 times before, but it’s as right as it always was. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

11)                  Where can readers find you?

Thanks for having me today, Rachel. I’d like to give a teacup and saucer to a commenter who leaves an email and answers the following question.  (Actually, you don’t even have to answer the question if you don’t want to—you’ll be entered anyway—but I’m nosy!) Have you ever kept a napkin or a business card because of a special memory? Tell us about it.

Liz is waiting to chat....Questions?? Comments??


  1. Thanks for having me here today, Rachel!

  2. Terrific interview ladies...and as usual, even though it's been said a 100 plus times, your advice to writers is spot on. Definitely don't give up. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen.

    Congrats on your latest Liz...sounds like a wonderful read :)

  3. I'm with you, Liz, my favorite character was Aunt Gert too, although I really liked Sims--I'm a sucker for a curmudgeon. ;) I think there's a chance we'll be back to Taft, but I won't say why I think that because it might be a spoiler--however, I'm thrilled if that's the case!

    I have a napkin from A La Tour Eiffel, the brasserie around the corner from the apartment we stayed in when we were in Paris. We went there every morning for cafe au lait and a croissant, and that was where we had dinner our last night in the city. Sitting outside and watching the neighborhood wake up was my favorite thing about being in Paris.

  4. Great interview! Morning person??? I'm so jealous! I can barely roll out of bed in the morning, and I'm always about 7-1/2 minutes late for work...even on the days I actually get up at a decent time (as in, not 25 minutes before I need to be there!) Loved the excerpt, Liz :) And GREAT job putting together this interview, Rachel! Loved, loved, loved it :)

    1. Thanks, Niecey. I didn't mention the part about being comatose by 8:00 PM!

  5. Love the way you write. Your characters come to life with real emotions, feelings, and life problems. Looking forward to hearing more about your work in progress.
    My mementos of life are kept in a drawer. My grandsons love to go through it with me and listen to stories from my past.

    1. Hi, Brenda! Thank you so much. I have some things in a drawer, in a box, not nearly as in order as I wish they were.

  6. Great interview! Liz, you are an inspiring person! Right now, I don't believe I have kept a napkin or a business card for sentimental reasons.

    1. Thanks, Arsoleen. I do still carry a florist card in my purse that was on the roses I got for my 25th wedding anniversary--16 years ago! :-)

  7. I love this story! It's a great one! I have one of those, too, Liz, on my mirror!

    1. Good place for it, D. It's more than a memory that way--it's tactile!