I had the amazing opportunity to meet and hang out with local Wisconsin writer, Liza Wiemer. Check out the interview below!
Title of Book: Hello?
A short description of book:
One HELLO can change a life. One HELLO can save a life.
Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma's death.
Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical.
Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry.
Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past.
Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both.
Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens' stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope.
Told from all five viewpoints: narration (Tricia), narration (Emerson), free verse poetry (Angie), screenplay format (Brenda), narration and drawings (Brian).
What inspired you to write? And what was the inspiration for this book?
I love people’s stories, so writing became a byproduct of that passion. I’m fascinated by what others have experienced. There are no ordinary people. Each one of us has something interesting to share, unique. I apply this to my characters. I love to uncover their secrets.
Hello? was born out of frustration. I was working on another novel and it just wasn’t going right. As I was pacing my living room, the idea came to me: Wouldn’t it be amazing to see how one action could form a chain reaction and impact the lives of teens? That action became a phone call. I quickly knew approximately how the novel would end. The idea was the easiest part of the writing process. It was the finding the characters’ voices and secrets that was hard work.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
It really varies. Sometimes I can write 36 hours straight if I’m in my writer’s zone. Sometimes I am busy with other things and may go weeks without working on a novel. I’m always writing in some form, however. But when I’m in the thick of it, I work until I drop. Then I take Friday night and Saturday to catch up on sleep! After that, I’m back at it!
How long does it take to write a book?
It really depends on the novel. I wrote the first draft of a book in 7 weeks. I have another that I’ve been working on since 2011. It’s a journey and the process doesn’t always go as smoothly or as easily as I would hope. But my goal is to always keep working, to persevere!
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to cook. I love taking walks in nature and discovering new-to-me parks. My favorite part about living in Wisconsin is being close to Lake Michigan. I find peace there!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
PERSEVERE, PERSEVERE, PERSEVERE.
Know the difference between constructive criticism and criticism. Constructive criticism is given out of kindness and to with the purpose to help you succeed, not out of cruelty or as a means to put you down or to bolster their ego. Have an open heart and be willing to learn from it. No one likes constructive criticism, but it may transform your writing and be the piece that helps you get published. But don’t just change something because someone says to do so. Ask yourself if it makes sense.
Read your work out loud! You’ll catch a lot of mistakes. This is an important step in the writing journey.
Finally, remember that this is a journey. It’s great to have an end goal of publication, but in between takes patience. Learn to celebrate finding the right word or cutting a paragraph that’s not needed.
Do you have an interesting writing quirk? If so what is it?
I talk to my characters as if they’re real, but I think many authors do that. ☺
And I NEED coffee with mocha, but sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I’m writing, that it could take all day before I finish it!
What is the last book you read?
I just finished the audiobook of MY LADY JANE! I loved it!
After all of your hard work, what does it feel like to be a published author?
Humbling. I’m so grateful to be able to do the work I love.