Friday, January 25, 2013

Feature Friday: Liz Fichera

VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE: Okay guys, so I'm sorry to have to alter the Rafflecopter widget, but apparently there's some drama occurring with my small press and all of my shorts have disappeared from Amazon/B&N/OmniLit. Because of this, I've removed the extra credit options. I apologize if you can't buy/see my work right now, I'm working to try and figure out how to fix it.

Liz Fichera writes stories about ordinary teens who do extraordinary things.  Originally from the Midwest, Liz now lives in the American Southwest among cactus and people who’ve never seen snow.  She is represented by Holly Root at Waxman Leavell Literary.

To learn more, visit www.LizFichera.com

Interview:

A.L.
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Liz:
Don’t stress so much about getting published.  Write the book that’s in your heart, write your heart out, then concentrate on the business of publishing.  In the meantime, you have to write, write, read, write, read and write some more.

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Liz:
I have so many favorites that it would probably be easier to talk about my favorites lately.  For the last two years, I have been seriously in love with contemporary YAs.  Some of my fave authors include Sherman Alexie, Laurie Halse Anderson, Gayle Forman, and Katie McGarry, to name a few.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for Hooked?

Liz:
I was driving down a desolate road one day near my house and the idea popped into my head.  I did a whole video on it, complete with pics and music, if you wanna see:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFP9bNCTW4E

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing Hooked?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Liz:
There were many snags and many many drafts for Hooked.  I think I rewrote it at least six times, experimenting with POVs and various plotlines, and incorporating feedback from trusted editors and beta readers.  This is normal.  If you don’t rewrite your first draft at least once, something is wrong or you have magical superpowers.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in Hooked is your favorite and why?

Liz:
I’m very partial to Fred’s father in the book.  He’s very much like my own father and I tend to have a real soft spot in my heart for him.  I’m also madly in love with Sam, Fred’s best friend, and I loved him more and more as I drew him into the story.  He’s the kind of guy I could have easily crushed on in high school.  He’s also featured more prominently in the companion novel to Hooked, which is titled Played and which will publish in 2014.

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Liz:
My journey is very typical, I think, of most published authors.  I started writing books because it’s what I love to do.  After I wrote what I thought was my first publishable book, I spent a lot of time querying agents and editors and got rejected all over the place until, one day, I connected with the right agent.  I would write three more books before one of them sold and that opened the door for me for YA.
  
A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Liz:
As mentioned earlier, Played is the companion novel to Hooked, although its focus is on two secondary characters from Hooked.  I also finished another YA contemporary novel this summer that I love very much.  I’m currently working on two more contemporaries, one of which will require a research trip to Hopi Land, which is in northeastern Arizona.  Can’t wait for that!

A.L.:
Hooked brings together two things that many readers don't have experience with: golf and Native Americans.  Can you give us a little story about how you decided to combine these two things in particular?  Are you a golfer?  Do you have experience with Native Americans or are yourself a Native American?  If you aren't, what sort of measures did you take to assure that you were portraying Native American life on "the rez" accurately?

Liz:
The sport of golf and Native American culture go hand-in-hand in Arizona, although they’re not usually connected.  I’m lucky enough to be neighbors with the Gila River Indian Community and have been for a number of years.  The main character in Hooked, Fred Oday, is a Gila Indian, and several of my beta readers are Native American women.  Regarding golf, my husband is an avid golfer and so was my father. Golf is one of those frustrating sports where you can have good days on the course and really terrible, horrible, nightmarish days where you want to take your golf clubs and throw the whole lot off a cliff.  But for some weird reason, you keep wanting to get better.  That’s me.

A.L.:
You're big into the desert (which I agree is super awesome).  What's your favorite desert animal and your favorite desert plant?  Can you tell us about your most memorable desert experience?

Liz:
I adore the desert.  I love its desolate beauty.  I also love the little coyotes that I’ll often see on my hikes.  They don’t bother you if you don’t bother them.  My favorite plant has to be creosote.  When it rains, which is rare, it emits this sweet fresh smell that is sort of indescribable but, to me, represents the desert completely. 

A.L.:
You live in Phoenix, Arizona.  If someone were to visit your area, where would you suggest they go to get the true experience of each of these: Best food, best desert sights, best cultural location, best music.

Liz:
More tough questions! Hmmmm. Here goes:
Best food:  Barrio Queen in Old Town, Scottsdale
Best desert sights:  South Mountain Park.  Look for the Hohokam petroglyphs on Telegraph Pass!
Best cultural location: Downtown Phoenix has some wonderful museums, restaurants, and art galleries.
Best music: on my iPod!

The Giveaway:
Liz is going to be giving away a signed copy of HOOKED plus a swag bracelet and a signed bookmark.

Hooked: When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile...

GET HOOKED ON A GIRL NAMED FRED.


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