SBW TalkBooks chose a mainstream romance novel, The New Orleans Way by Liz Newman, as its September group read. The club had a chance to grab copies of the book right before it went out of print. During a live Q&A, author and SBW member, Liz Newman, discussed her story, writing habits, and thoughts behind the book’s sudden disappearance. Read on for a recap of her interview.
“Everything comes at a price. Love. Security. Even happiness.
Southern debutante, Rosemarie Kuhn, is captivated by the lowborn private detective, Michael Hennessy. In 1890s New Orleans, status and propriety can get in the way of true love. Betrothed by her mother to marry a general, she finds her new suitor has placed her and her family’s finances in a precarious position. Her love for Michael Hennessy and her alliance with a Mafia family offers a tantalizing solution to her woes, but as her ardor for Michael grows stronger, so do the forces determined to keep them apart.”
We thought this book might be categorized as romantic suspense or historical fiction. What’s your take on the genre?
I write what’s considered mainstream literary romance. It’s a side genre, but that’s what I enjoy. I love romance and the idea of two people falling in love. But I see so much more in a story, such as the richness of the historical period.
Your cover is gorgeous—who made the cover?
The cover artist was Don Dominque from Secret Cravings Publishing.
Was this book part of a series?
So far I’ve written three novels and four novellas. None of them are in a series except for Vampire Eden, a paranormal romance; but I haven’t written the second installment yet.
Why did Boas desert Rosemarie on their honeymoon—what was his motivation?
He was definitely a jerk. I’ve studied sociopaths, and it seems like they just use people. Half the fun for Boas is the fact that she was so vulnerable. He’s just mean.
Did you research David Hennessey?
Yes. I researched a lot of the history, and he seemed handsome for those times. There was a lot going on with crime families, including the Italian mafia in the late 1800s.
What’s the story behind the publication and sudden takedown of this book?
When I first signed with Sweet Cravings, a division of Secret Cravings, I’d heard good things about them from Romance Writers of America’s reports. Sweet Cravings had won their publisher of the year award and had a great marketing plan that sold books. The publisher recently went belly-up and didn’t give details. I just got a reversion of rights.
What would you like to do with the books that have been taken offline?
Ideally, I’d go to an agent with one of my current manuscripts that hasn’t been published, and then present my backlog of work. I also plan to attend the San Francisco Writing Conference.
What’s your writing style?
I’m an outliner and a plotter. During my post-editing rewrites, I think of ways to make the story better and learn more about the characters. It’s important to write to a reader even if you’re writing about someone who’s imaginary.
After you wrote your first book, what was your process toward publication?
I’d always wanted to be a writer; I wanted to create something. I have four children, so I wrote while the kids were taking naps and after bedtime. When my work was good enough to send out, I researched publishers and vetted them on the Preditors and Editors website. After submitting to two agents, I decided to go forward without one.
I went with midlist publisher, Gypsy Shadow, which had a wide variety of genres and good book covers. I felt more comfortable having a publisher give the book that extra look and knowing that it’s a book they think will sell.
Liz Newman holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and a BA in Mass Communications, with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism. Among other things, she’s worked as an intern at KTVU Broadcasting Station in Oakland, California.