The Twelve(ish) Days of Authors – Day 4, Liz Fountain

20 Dec

Next up on this author showcase is Liz Fountain – yet another Burst Author who’s here to tell us about her upcoming novel. Without Further ado, here’s Liz everybody!

Liz 20110917

Tell us about Completely Absurd and Nearly Impossible and who you think would like it.

My first novel is due to be published in April, 2013. Its current working title is “Completely Absurd and Nearly Impossible” – and yes, we are tossing around ideas for a better one. Louise Armstrong Holliday is the last person on Earth you’d expect to try to save the human race. But when she uncovers proof that her boss is an alien the color of lime Jell-O ™ gone horribly wrong, and is at the center of a plot to destroy humanity, Louie decides to do exactly that. She begins a journey from her company’s suburban Seattle office park to the old cities and castles of Eastern Europe. Along the way, Louie is attacked by flying books, overly-sensitive bat-crow monsters, and her own self-doubts. She must learn the truth about her closest friend, stand up to her boss, confront her oldest enemy, and make peace with her Aunt Emma, who annoys her in the way only true family can. She also has to rely on Buddy, the little blind mini-Schnauzer who saves her life twice – and really is from Mars.

I like to say this book is for anyone who has ever looked at her boss and thought: “you must be from another planet!” Come on, you know you’ve done it, more than once.

 

 

Do you have any other projects in the works that we should know about?

Since completing the manuscript for CANI, I’ve drafted three more novels. You, Jane tells the story of a woman whose talent for writing fables that come true in the real world wreaks havoc with her friends and her love life; The Life and Death of Saint Guinevere brings together God, religion, Death, early retirement, guilt, redemption, a greyhound, and an old Dodge van. Most recently, I completed my first story for middle-grade readers, The Law of Immediate Forgiveness, which follows young Amy June Pilgrim on an adventure to complete the mathematical formula her missing grandfather began, a formula that will bring about immediate forgiveness and love, and therefore must be destroyed by the powers that be.

 I also have a short story about to be released in a compilation that includes works by other terrific Champagne Books authors. It’s called Heaven, and it’s my first romance with a bit of sex, and a happy ending!

 

 

In the spirit of sharing, tell us about a book by another author you adore, and who you think would like it.

The book that made me believe I could write a publishable novel was Lost in a Good Book, the first of the Thursday Next series by British author Jasper Fforde. It’s a ripping good yarn, first and foremost; and it combines satire, humor, and tenacious optimism in a fantastic world where the characters in beloved books are real and mischievous; and even the “real world” isn’t entirely like the one we know now.  Anyone who loves books, and especially those of us who often wished we could live in the worlds we read about, will enjoy this tale.

 

Tell us a bit about your writing style – is there anything you find really easy or, really hard?

I love to write in dialogue, the back-and-forth between two people. In fact, I love it so much that one of my most common editing directives is “break up the dialogue – you have two talking heads here.” And that’s also the part I find really hard: getting dialogue just right, so that it makes sense to a reader and still embodies the conversation I hear my characters having. Because I do “hear” these conversations in my head as I write, and sometimes it’s a challenge to keep up with them for me, too!

 

 

For you, what makes the difference between a ‘good’ book and a ‘great’ book?

A good book is one that is enjoyable to read, with an interesting story, intriguing characters, and well-chosen language. A great book is one that creates an entire world, a world so seductive I don’t notice things like “this is enjoyable to read” or “this is an intriguing character.” I just become lost in the story, and when I look up, hours have passed. A great book is one that makes me lose sleep, skip meals, and avoid friends, because I need to read “one more page.”

 

 

In Completely Absurd and Nearly Impossible, do you have a favorite character? How about least favorite?

I think my favorite character in CANI is the dog, Buddy. He is modeled on my own mini-Schnauzer, Charlie, who we adopted years ago. Charlie was blind, but indefatigable; he would go anywhere and learn how to do anything. It’s no accident that Buddy plays a pivotal part in saving humanity in the novel; I believe firmly that dogs (and critters of all kinds) are here to save humans from our worst selves, if we’ll let them.

 Just an FYI – your humble host here had a dog named Buddy – he however was a bichon frise and acted like he came from royalty!

 My least favorite character? Without a doubt, it’s the nasty shelter volunteer, Rusty. He tries to stop Louie from adopting her two cats, because he’s a control freak and wants her to take his “chosen” kitties home. I’ve met people like Rusty. I don’t like them. I even prefer the villain, Sergio, to Rusty: at least Sergio has a reason for behaving the way he does. 

 

 

Have you ever been surprised during your writing?

Constantly. That’s one reason I love first drafts best – they are full of surprises. Each story I’ve written has surprised me with new characters, situations, places, and even endings that I didn’t anticipate when I started writing. In the first draft I just finished, the middle-grade book about Amy June Pilgrim, I had no idea there would be a sub plot involving the tragic death of her grandmother. It just poured out one day, and became a major element of the story.

 That story also surprised me with the ending to a critical scene – I didn’t know how to end it, so the dog in the scene farts. Yes, I stooped to a dog fart. But it was funny!

 Of course the biggest surprise of all for me is always the response of the readers – what they love, hate, laugh at, cry at; it’s almost never what I predict. I love reading out loud for that reason. Hearing the response of an audience is the best high I know.

 

 

Do you have any special ways to celebrate the holidays?

A long time ago, I gave up on the impossible task of getting the “right” gift for everyone on my list. Now I make up a big batch of something in the kitchen – currently homemade granola is a favorite – and give bags of it away to everyone at Christmas. Instead of grueling days in shopping malls, I spend a day making my kitchen smell great, and people love it. And, I get more time with family and friends, which is the best gift of all.

 

 

Is there a Christmas Carol you can’t stand?

So many to choose from… the one that will absolutely send me running from the room, screaming like a little girl, is “Little Drummer Boy.” (Just writing the name of it makes it start to play in my head… nooooo… make it stop! )

 The best Christmas song, on the other hand, is “Happy Xmas, War is Over,” by John Lennon. I could listen to that song all season. 

 

 

Would you like to leave a shout-out to anyone?

I have to thank J. Ellen Smith and Judy Gill at Champagne Books, who saw something in my novel they thought other people would want to read; and to the special people in my life who encouraged me to keep writing. They know who they are, I hope, and if not, I need to go tell them in person!

 

You an check out more about Liz at her blog or on facebook. Until tomorrow, everybody!

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