When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I am a voracious reader of almost all genres. Back in 2008 I was pretty busy selling houses and helping a craft brewery get off the ground when I got my hands on a few really great, sexy romances (a first for me as a reader) and followed them up with some that were, frankly, not so great. After some digging around I discovered that while there were a lot of choices in that genre, many of them were in the “not that great” category for me as a reader. But I’m not the type to say “this sucks” or “you suck” to a specific author. I’d never written a book after all, so I really shouldn’t judge. So I set myself a challenge (actually my spouse did but that’s another story): write one and see for myself how hard/easy it is!
I’m nearly 30 books into this journey now, and have been published by several small houses (2 of them no longer in business). I just began a self-publishing experiment last year and was asked to contribute something to a new firefighter anthology and so…voila, FireBrew!
What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
This book was written upon a direct request for a new work to go into an anthology about fire fighters. I’d never tried that sub-genre and so I agreed to do it. I researched how fires get started and behave as well as the rankings at fire departments to make sure those bits rang true.
Where did the idea for your story come from?
Where most of mine do: my imagination! I have lots of stories swirling around in there. The challenge is capturing and corralling them and making them palatable to readers!
Why did you pick the setting you did?
I live in Ann Arbor but my daughter lives in Detroit, which is rapidly reviving in such exciting ways, I was eager to set another story there. It felt natural to have Trey want to locate one of his fund-raising brew-pubs there.
Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Completely imaginary, but no author can deny injecting a bit of themselves here or there. Jane sells real estate, as do I and she has a smart mouth—ditto.
Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
Actually, this book flowed faster than just about anything I’ve written. I tend to write in marathon sessions though—I consider anything less than 5000 words in a day’s work a “half day.” But that’s just my method. I don’t write every day because my paying job selling houses keeps me too busy. As this was the first book I ever wrote in first person POV it really just burst out of me!
What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
The story takes a turn for the tough about 2/3 through when Jane has to face a “rape culture” attitude about her choices. I made a decision to leave in a scene that some readers find offensive, and I struggled with it but after a fair number of revisions and discussions with other authors about the scope and point of the story, I decided to leave it in. I was surprised at how angry the scene made me. But it had to be included.
What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about real estate agents, firefighters, and craft beers?
Ha! Well, I have the the whole “real estate agent” thing fairly well covered having been one for 12 years. As for “Craft beers,” since I helped found a brewery and am Cicerone certified (it’s the beer equivalent of a wine sommelier) I feel like I know what I need to know about it already. What I like is crafting new worlds a bit outside the usual romance settings in order to bring new readers into my books.
Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
My writing space is wherever there is a level surface for my laptop—be it at my kitchen table, a desk in my office, a table at a coffee shop, in an empty open house, or in a pinch, my “lap.” I don’t need certain spaces or atmospherics to write. I go blind and deaf to anything around me when I’m in the zone—just ask my family!
What are some of your favorite books and why?
As I said earlier, I read across genres and have found favorite books in so many different styles and settlings it’s hard to pin down. I tend to think in terms of “the most recent great book I read” so here goes: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Bennett by Seraphina Donavan. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood.
What are you working on now?
I have 2 MAJOR projects in varying stages of submission and revision/resubmission to two of my career goal targeted publishers. Both are series starters set in the brewery world. Wish me luck!
I’m also writing in 4 different Kindle Worlds this year which has REALLY been a lot of fun. Watch for Liz Books in Susan Stoker’s Special Forces, Paige Tylers’ Dallas Fire & Rescue, Cat Johnson’s SEALS, and Desiree Holt’s Omega Force worlds.
Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why?
I have actually. I wrote and had a major (expensive but worth it) story consolut on a 110k word novel set in future Detroit. Alas, I have yet to get an agent or publisher to bite on it.
If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Hmmmm…. Because I just re-read All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot, I think I’d be a large animal vet!
What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
The part where I want to be more successful than I am! But I keep trying and hoping and writing, writing, writing and writing some more to get better!
Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Hands down: Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara
A Firefighter Romance
Jane Terrance has her life in perfect order. Great job selling commercial real estate in Detroit—0ne of the hottest markets in the U.S. Cool condo in Midtown with her best friend. Plenty of her own money plus complete control over all aspects of her active love life—Including a sexy, no-strings-attached boss.
When she meets a new client at an abandoned fire station, figuring him for one more greedy investor, she realizes just how tenuous that control truly is.
Trey Lattimer seems a little young to be retired from firefighting, and at first, he's just another guy to conquer. But the harder she tries, the more out of reach he gets until his continued presence does nothing but wreak havoc on her carefully constructed world.
WARNING: Don't Read This Book....
...If you like your firefighter romances predictable or sweet.
˃˃˃ "Liz Crowe writes intense true-to-life stories that make you feel. Whether it's anxiety, love, fear, hate, bliss, or loss woven into her plot lines, you will feel it deep down to your very soul."
#1 New York Times Best Selling Author Audrey Carlan
˃˃˃ "Liz Crowe is one of those rare authors who knows how to take the emotions of her characters and make them real for her readers, binding you to the story."
Internationally Best Selling Romance Author Desiree Holt
Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.