Friday, September 2, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Author Liz Schulte + a Giveaway!

Guess what people? We have a winner for Liz's book Dark Corners!!!!
Congrats Mary Belle! I am going to go out on a limb and say you will love this book:)

I was sent a book a few weeks back to review. DARK CORNERS, written by Liz Schulte. Here is what it’s about:

Ella Reynolds knew from the first moment she walked into the old house someone or something was watching her. Waiting. Her husband's violent murder sent her spiraling into a world of grief and isolation, but Ella isn't alone. Who or what is responsible for her husband's death is still with her. Darkness has engulfed the past year of Ella's life. Everyday reality slips a little more between her fingers as she struggles to break free from her memories.

She must look deeper into her past as well as the present to discover truth of her husband's homicide. A string of uncanny events takes place and practical explanations run thin as Ella follows the terrifying road to closure. As the past and present come to a head, Ella must decipher who or what the murderer is before it takes her as well.
Here is what I loved about the book:  

-Once I started reading I couldn’t put the book down. Ella is raw and hurt and sensitive but there is a part of her that causes the reader to wonder about her. I love a flawed MC. She pulled flawed off to a tee.
-The creep factor. Let’s just say I moved into an old house recently and there were a couple nights that I lay awake biting my nails. Can we say night light anyone?

-Real life mixed in with craziness. For me I need a book to feel real, but if it’s too real I’m not pulled out of my own life enough. I was very nicely wrapped in this world until the end.
-The guessing. It is a fun guessing game until the very end. Who doesn’t love games?

Would I recommend this book? A big resounding YES! And you will have a chance to win a copy here by commenting about Liz or her killer (no pun intended) book. I will announce the winner next Friday. Good luck!
WAIT…do you want more chances to win? Go here to get details. Winner will receive a Signed copy of Dark Corners, a Signed Copy of Secrets - Guardian Trilogy Book one (Coming out in Nov), a $20 Amazon Gift card, AND a $20 Barnes and Noble Gift card.

With that being said, Liz wrote a pretty fabulous book and it’s her first to be published. So guess who our Firsts Fridays victim is today? Yep. Liz.
While putting this interview together I found that she is just as mysterious as her book. This is what I can give you from her blog, BAT COUNTRY, about her: The True Story of an Average Everyday Sane Psycho.
Now let us here from the sane psycho herselfJ

DB: Hi Liz! Thanks so much for letting me be a part of your book tour! I also have to tell you, you’ve visited my blog on a special day called Firsts Fridays. So while we learn a bit about your book, hopefully we can also learn about you as a writer, your experience as a first time published author and basically, what makes Liz Schulte tick.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer?

LS: I am just a girl with a wild imagination really. I have always enjoyed making things up and telling stories, but writing wasn’t something I ever seriously considered doing. I was pretty focused on being a lawyer through junior high, high school, and college. I used to read constantly. My mom would take me to the library and I would check out the maximum allowed and devour the books in two weeks—I think I read every YA book our library had. In junior high I wrote short stories very much influenced by RL Stine’s series, Fear Street, but those were mainly just for fun. It wasn’t until I graduated college that law no longer seemed as appealing. My mom encouraged me to write so I thought I would take a shot and Dark Corners was born.  
DB: I am noticing a common thread to writers and lawyers. You aren’t the first. Very interestingJ

What would you like those who haven’t read Dark Corners to know about it?
LS: Dark Corners is the sort of story that I have to be very careful when answering questions that I do not give too much away. Writing the blurb was harder than writing the entire book. It is a mystery about a woman who is being pushed towards the edge of sanity after her husband’s murder where everyone is a suspect and reader has to determine what is real and who to believe. I also like to warn people that Ella, the main character, is a tad grumpy and self-involved at the beginning.

DB: You aren’t kidding…on all points.
What is something you have learned through the publishing process that may help new writers and up and coming authors?

LS: I think the major lesson I learned with Dark Corners is that you don’t have to do this alone. I did Dark Corners completely alone and always saw writing as a solitary endeavor. I didn’t realize that there was such a tremendous and helpful writing community out there. Had I found them sooner, I would have published two years ago.
DB: That is so true. When I found the community it was like looking through glasses. I saw so much more!

 I love hearing about the journey. Can you tell us about yours from the start of writing Dark Corners to the moment you held the actual book in your hands?
LS: Dark Corners began with the first line of chapter one. I had decided I would try to write a book and then it was about finding story. I mulled over several options and made a list of possible story lines. I decided I would stick to my comfort zone which is mystery horror (my favorite type of movies). Then one day the first line popped into my head. I went to write it down and the next thing I knew I had a first scene then a chapter then a book. It really happened that fast. Once I opened the gates the story poured out. Of course the story that poured out isn’t exactly the story you read. Dark Corners had scenes added and cut and moved around for the end result, but that is pretty much how it got there.

Once I had this completed MS I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it. I entered into a contest and didn’t win. I queried about ten agents because I read somewhere I was supposed to query. I flat out disliked the querying process. It seemed ridiculous that people would judge my work without ever having read a word of it. So I shelved the story and began writing another book. That was when I started exploring other publishing options. I became very interested in self-publishing and I found a self-published author I liked and Facebook messaged her. She gave me the rundown of the process and a few weeks later she started a writers group. It was joining the writers group and getting involved in the community that gave me the confidence to seriously pursue publication. I hired an editor and started a publishing company with five other writer friends and we are currently publishing our own work and someday we want to be able to fairly help authors in the same position we were in.
 DB: So you are one of the founders of 4 Corners Press. Very neat!

Can you tell us a little about what 4 Corners Press is all about for others interested in this route?
LS: We are a small company that is interested in helping to encourage and nurture new authors with unique stories to tell. The Guardian Trilogy will also be published through 4 Corners Press.

DB: Dark Corners is a spooky, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of book. How do you come up with these creepy ideas?
LS: They are in part imagination and real life experiences. I find with any writing I do, part of me and my experiences always seem to make it into the story. No one character I write is completely me, but they are all a little bit me. And sometimes reality can be much scarier than imagination. I would say Dark Corners is a healthy mix of both. I will leave it up to you to determine what is based in reality or imagination.

DB: Where do you go from here? With your writing, your books, etc.
LS: That is an excellent question. My plan is to write in two genres. I will publish the Guardian Trilogy, which are urban fantasy novels, in pretty quick succession (November, February, and May) and then by late summer early fall I should publish another mystery horror novel. Those will be my main two focal points though there is a fictional drama period piece that has a start and will be completed someday. 

DB: Sound like you are one buys lady!
Last question...

Can you give us any parting words, be it advice, teasers about Dark Corners, fun facts about you? The ball is in your court for this one.
LS: Hmmm I will give you a teaser for Dark Corners because they are so much fun. Thank you for having me on the blog. I loved your questions and I hope my answers did them justice.

I sat up, drenched in sweat and tangled in the sheets, tears filling my eyes. Why did that dream still hurt so damn much? The pain hadn't eased over the last year; it was still a knife, twisting away at my soul. My entire body ached for Danny, for just a moment of once more feeling the safety and security I had with him—

My fresh mourning was cut short. A shadow blocked out the light beneath my bedroom door as something moved passed. My insides went cold and my eyes dried. Mustering up all my courage, I climbed out of bed.

There was no noise from the hallway when I pressed my ear to the door. I opened it just a crack so I could see if anything was immediately on the other side. There appeared to be nothing. I opened the door far enough to stick my head out to look down both sides of the hallway.  Again, I saw nothing. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door all the way and tiptoed in the direction the shadow moved. There was only one room that direction, the master bedroom.  I had not been able to go into our bedroom since the morning I found Danny. The door was shut, just as it always was.  I put my shaking hand on the doorknob. There was definitely something on the other side. I listened more intently, but couldn’t tell what it was: perhaps some sort of scratching or sliding.

Fear locked my legs and choked out any sound I would make. I couldn’t move.  I could only listen to whatever was in the room. My heart thudded so loudly in my ears that I worried whatever was there would hear it. Whatever was on the other side moved closer; a whimper escaped me. Everything went very quiet. I could hear what sounded like someone breathing on the opposite side of the door. I knew I should open it and see it once and for all. The handle rattled beneath my hand unfreezing my body and mind.
DB: Oooo, pick it up and read it folks!

Liz, thanks so much and good luck with every thing!


Rachel said...

Liz started her own publishing company? How cool is that.

Unknown said...

Great interview, the book sounds intriguing I may have to go pick it :D Thanks for sharing!


Unknown said...

Great interview!!

creativitylost at me dot com

Liz Schulte's Blog said...

Thank you so much so having me! The interview was so much fun to do. I am glad you enjoyed the book!

Unknown said...

Wonderful interview with a talented author. I've already had the pleasure of reading Dark Corners and I loved it. It made me read with all the lights on in the house :D

alexia said...

Sounds like a cool book! Old houses can definitely be super creepy...

Deana said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone. It really is a fabulous book and come on...Liz is nothing but since she not only wrote the book but helped start a publishing company too!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Wow. Liz is a busy writer!

Charmaine Clancy said...

Sounds like a spooky read!
Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

Leslie S. Rose said...

Dark Corners sounds like a great ride. The combo of creep factor and flawed character is a winner. Thanks, Deana for putting the book on our radar.

The Writing Well said...

Deana as usual great job on the interview. Liz it is so nice to read about you on Deana's blog. Love the creepy factor!

Kerri Cuev said...

The book sounds great Liz! Thanks for a great interview Deana :)

Mary Preston said...

Great interview & I Loved the excerpt.


Deana said...

Donna- I agree!

Charmaine- It really is!

Leslie- You are very welcome:)

Writing Well- You are welcome!

Kerri- Anytime:)

marybell- It seriously gets even better:)

Lmbrunken said...

Great interview! Great book...

Leann said...

Sounds like a great book.. I like spooky.