1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?
5. Who are you reading right now?
At the moment, I am re-reading Scott Lynch’s wonderful Gentleman Bastards series The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas under Red Skies, and The Republic of Thieves. Scott spins a great yarn, creating both romance and bromance in the midst of these intricately plotted caper/adventure stories. His descriptions are to die for. So besides really enjoying myself, I’m immersing in great writing while I polish up my own caper stories.
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
The toughest scene I ever wrote is in a currently unpublished manuscript. I had to realize my protagonist’s worst fear of loss and disfigurement and make it happen to her. Worse yet, I had to make her choose it willingly. Authors are so cruel to the people they love. I know people will say, “Why did you have to do that to her?” And the answer is, because that’s where the story was leading all along; you just didn’t know it yet. Maybe I’ll call that “the Veronica Roth defense.”
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Most of my inspiration comes from listening and reading and daydreaming. I listen to public radio, which is great for offering up stories. I listen in on conversations, as does every other author on the planet. And I make a point of talking to strangers, because some really great ideas have come out of left field that way. I read a lot of books, about fifty to sixty a year. But I also read Time magazine, Discover Magazine, Cosmos Magazine, MIT Tech Review, Seventeen, Teen Vogue, and whatever else ends up on the bathroom floor. It’s all fodder for connecting ideas from wildly different places. Daydreaming is the act that smushes it all together, bringing that AHA! moment.
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
When I first did this quiz in 2007, the answer would have been “hardly!” But I’ve been playing weekday ladies’ doubles team tennis regularly for a long time now, and I’ve been a captain numerous times, so I guess that means I’m into it! Tennis is my great social as well as physical outlet. I never considered myself coordinated or athletic as a kid, but the past eight years of tennis play have developed my skills and endurance more than I ever expected. Also, we make lunch for each other after every weekly match, so that’s a good thing! The only downside is wearing out my knees ahead of schedule, but it’s a fair tradeoff.
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
13. Celebrity crush.
I’m in the thralls of a character crush at the moment. I find myself madly, passionately, and of course, hopelessly in crush with Sidney Chambers of Granchester (Masterpiece Mystery). This is very unexpected. I’m usually not like this. I wept during the last episode of the season—like really. I miss him so much, it hurts my heart. There’s something about this wounded soldier’s passion, demeanor, sensitivity, smile, and lovely British accent (not to mention he looks great in everything from army beret to clerical collar to pullover sweater) that has captured me.
My daughter says, “Now you know what it’s like to be a teenage girl.” As if I didn’t!
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
I really admire the authors who create rich, memorable characters facing emotionally charged moments in beautifully plotted stories with a heart of adventure. I’d include Lois McMaster Bujold, Scott Lynch, and Patrick Rothfuss among these. Something they all have in common is injured heroes. (That seems to go along with my character crush as well!) Since I cut my reading teeth on seventies (and earlier) science fiction, I guess my sense of aesthetics was formed around larger than life stories. I enjoy an excellent contemporary, romance, or mystery story, but the stories that I aspire to tell take “ordinary” people into extraordinary circumstances.
15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Liz Coley has been writing long and short fiction for teens and adults for more than ten years. Her short fiction has appeared in Cosmos Magazine and several speculative fiction anthologies: The Last Man, More Scary Kisses, Strange Worlds, Flights of Fiction and Winter's Regret.
In 2013, psychological thriller Pretty Girl-13 was released by HarperCollins in the US and UK. Foreign translations have been published in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Czech, Slovakian, and Chinese (simplified and traditional).
Her independent publications include alternate history/time travel/romance Out of Xibalba and teen thrillers in the new Tor Maddox series.
Liz lives in Ohio, where she is surrounded by a fantastic community of writers, beaten regularly by better tennis players, uplifted by her choir, supported by her husband, teased by her teenaged daughter, cheered from afar by her two older sons, and adorned with hair by her cats Tiger, Pippin, and Merry.
Liz invites you to follow her as LizColeyBooks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and visit her website at LizColey.com.