Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse, plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry), has prepped her for life as a successful author.
When she isn’t sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or implementing promotions for her latest publications. Her groundbreaking literary fiction subgenre, “reality fiction,” has gained thousands of fans and followers who are interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)
Her beer blog a2beerwench.com is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high-powered real estate offices. Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.
And now the Interview . . .
What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
I’m Liz Crowe. That is my real name. I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and live in Ann Arbor, Michigan by way of Louisville, Kentucky; Oxford, Ohio; Hiroshima, Japan; Istanbul, Turkey and Billericay, Essex, England.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
No, not really. I was all about being a doctor until I hit organic chemistry in college then just fell back on my English minor, turned it into a major and got a degree in it. All my work since graduating with a B.A. in English Lit has been in marketing, public relations and sales.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Sure do. I am the part owner and marketing director of a craft microbrewery in Ann Arbor, the Wolverine State Brewing Company. I also blog as the “A2 Beer Wench” in that capacity.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Dark to light.
Hopelessness to Satisfaction.
Cynicism to Love.
A Coming of Age novel – and not what you might expect.
Who is your publisher? or do you self-publish?
The publisher for this book (as well as the majority of my books) is Tri Destiny Publishing, the only one willing to take a calculated risk with my style and voice on the Stewart Realty series and several other including Paradise Hops and Honey Red (2 top selling stand alone novels). I also have one book with Ellora’s Cave and 7 with Decadent Publishing.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I am a serious marathon writer. The best example of this is how I went about writing the final novel of the Stewart Realty series—Good Faith, which will be the longest book I’ve written at nearly 190,000 words. I head wrote, fought with my muse and walked around thinking about this book for nearly a month. Then, I started, and just shy of 4 weeks later I wrote “the end.” Then, I cried. Because this book truly will be epic and “the end” of this series.
What most people don’t get is that the writing of the first draft is merely the beginning. All of my books go through extensive content, line and proof editing. This one is due to be released November 13 and so I anticipate a fair bit of revision work as part of editing. But, the short answer to the question “how long does it take to write a book” for me, is “not very long.”
What genre would you place your books into?
My books fall into the “contemporary erotic romance” genre for the most part. However, we are working on trying to re-focus some different readers on many of them by calling them “adult fiction.” One reason is that many hard core romance readers have excoriated me for “claiming” I write romance. I don’t know that I do. I know I don’t read much of it. I read across genres, mostly in mainstream fiction. And hope that someday a nice broad cross section of readers will find my books and enjoy them.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
I am going with Jack Gordon, the main male character from the whole Stewart Realty series for a lot of reasons. But mainly because, now that I know how his story ends, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that he (and his wife Sara) are the glue that binds everyone together, ultimately. We all have friends (or family) like that. You may not “like” them all the time, they may make decisions or say things that piss you off, but when you call on someone, it’s them, every time. And when there is partying to be done in any scale and for any reason be it a wedding, a kid’s birthday or just a long weekend get together, they are the ones who make everyone enjoy themselves.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
My first book was published in 2010 and I started writing in earnest in about 2008. I was inspired by boredom with the books I’d been reading, I guess. I got an idea (for Floor Time the first of the Stewart Realty series) and just ran with it!
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I have some tried and true early adopter/Alpha readers I tend to lean on especially with new ideas. However, I am lucky enough to say that one of my harshest critics is also one of my biggest fans and is ALSO my trusted publisher and first go-to reader for pretty much anything.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
No way. Actually, I make it a policy to read very few of them. It can get up in your head both ways, positive and negative. If my publisher finds one that she feels I really need to see (a positive one) she will forward it to me but I do not linger around any of the purchase or reader sites to see what people are saying about me. That is a recipe for disaster.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
Mina Carter has done about 95% of my covers and I really love them. It’s a group think thing between myself and my publisher really. I am going for “less is more” and actually don’t care for all the random man nipple stuff (although I do have that on a few of my books).
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Names are fun for me and my 18 year old daughter, who likes to help with that. As for setting, I only write about places I have lived in or at least have been in once or twice, for veracity’s sake.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
Technically a “best seller” is a book that has sold more than a certain number of books. For me a “good book” is something different. Sure there are some books I like that are or have been best sellers but lately I will say that I try and dig a little deeper and go to trusted sources like NPR or Salon.com to find fiction by people who aren’t constantly being shoved down my throat by pop culture.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I am a fan of the classics as you might expect. Honest to God The Great Gatsby has ALWAYS been one of my all time favorites and all the hullabaloo over this recent movie adaptation (which I enjoyed very much) is an exciting way to get young readers or readers who have returned to the fold via books not NEARLY As good as Gatsby turned on to it and others like it.
My top books of all time don’t vary much and I have read them all more than once:
Gone With The Wind
The Great Gatsby
A Handmaid’s Tale
A Prayer for Owen Meany (in a close tie with The Cider House Rules)
Bonfire of the Vanities
To Kill a Mockingbird
Life of Pi
But I have added one recently: The Dinner by Herman Koch.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think it can go either way. Both Gone With the Wind and Gatsby (the 1974 and 2013 versions) were good. I thought The Life of Pi was a great book and a movie as was the Perks of Being a Wallflower. However, The Time Traveler’s Wife (one of the better books ever written) did NOT translate well, but I didn’t think it would. Neither did Bonfire of the Vanities, to my eternal unhappiness. The Harry Potter translations were all impressively done but I got tired of the storylines by the end of both the books and the movies.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I have 3 formats going all at once usually. I am reading an incredible YA fantasy/Sci Fi thing called House of the Scorpion in trade paperback along with my high school freshman. GREAT BOOK. I am listening on audible.com to Wolfe Hall, about Thomas Cromwell in the time of Henry VIII and have a few things in my queue on my Ipad Kindle app including a book about the economics of soccer.
Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
I loved Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories” and the A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh books so much I had them in book form, on my sheets and listened to them on LP every night before bed.
Do you have a favourite genre of book?
No but I’d say my least favorite are murder mysteries or overt horror (although Stephen King is one my favorite authors, go figure. He’s such an enigma).
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
Hahahahahahahaha! Yep, lots of ‘em especially lately. But I’ll keep those titles to myself so as not to make anyone too unhappy.
If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Margaret Atwood.
Where can we follow Liz?
For more information on Liz Crowe, please visit her website www.lizcrowe.com or www.brewingpassion.com (her author blog). She enjoys interacting with her fans on her Facebook author page www.facebook.com/lizcroweauthor. Information for all of her books, including eBook and print formats (where available), can be found on her Amazon author page.