Friday, December 4, 2015

Interview with Liana Brooks, author of Convergence Point

Title: Convergence Point
Author: Liana Brooks
Release Date: November 24, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Format: Ebook

A brand new Time & Shadows Mystery!

Agent Samantha Rose has already died once…and knows the exact date she’ll die again.

Having taken down a terrorist organization bent on traveling through time to overthrow the government, Sam figured she was done dealing with the unbelievable. Finally out of backwater Alabama, she’s the senior agent in a Florida district, and her life is back on track.

Until a scientist is found dead. And then an eco-terrorist. And then a clone of herself…again.

As the pieces start to fall together, they paint a picture that seems to defy everything they know about time and physics. But the bodies are all too real, and by partnering up with Agent MacKenzie once more, they might just figure out what’s going on. And when.

Convergence Point is available for order at  
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What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
That’s a tough one. I really can’t think of one life experience that stands alone. Everything I’ve done – and continue to do – is an ongoing project. I’m proud I’ve made it this far. I’ve had rough roads to travel at times, but there’s still a lot more to do before I can sit back and say I’m done.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I grew up in a home of readers. There were books everywhere. My parents read to me every night. If Norman Rockwell painted the idyllic scene of a young author growing up, that was me. My parents were always willing to support my love of reading and story-telling.

When and why did you begin writing?
My first story was written for a Young Author’s competition in grade school when I lived in Illinois. It was a yearly event, and every year I participated. In 3rd grade, my story won an award of some kind, and I got to go to an author’s conference all day. But I wasn’t planning on being an author back then, I just fell into it.

After college, I found myself out of academia, out of work, and at home with two very small children. Writing was my escape from the stress of being a parent. It gave me something I could measure so I could say, “I actually did something today. Here’s proof.” I’d dabbled with writing for fun before that, but it was always short stories scribbled on the back of math notes or something.

MacKenzie, from THE DAY BEFORE and CONVERGENCE POINT, originally showed up in a story about a stranded spy that I was writing on the back of a training pamphlet while I was at proficiency training for one of my first lab jobs. That should’ve been a sign that I wasn’t headed for corporate life.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was always a storyteller. Even when I was little I had a vivid imagination. Writing became a symptom of that, a way of trapping my stories and sharing them. My first stories were shared with friends, smuggled under our desks and influenced by their reactions. Later stories were just for me. It took a long time for me to move from there to writing with the intent to publish.

When did you first know you could be a writer?
When I got this bizarre email from a wonderful person saying they loved my story and couldn’t wait to publish it. Being a career author was never a dream or a goal. I was going to be a marine biologist and swim with sharks. That’s what I went to school for! But there I was with the offer for a contract on a story I’d written. After that, I started paying attention to publishing, studying it, and trying to decide if I could make it work.

Sorry, that’s hardly inspirational, but I’ll tell anyone I came in the side-door of publishing. I snuck in.

What inspires you to write and why?
Everything inspires me. A phrase, lyrics from the song on the radio, warm blankets in winter, a side character in someone else’s book, the real life stories of people I meet...there’s story fodder everywhere.

When I’m feeling particularly uncreative, I go try other art. I love grabbing my camera and trying to capture the beauty of nature (it never works – I’m a horrible photographer). I go to museums and I read history books. I play with my kids or watch the ocean. Art and life inspire me.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?
The one with explosions... For some reason, all my books wind up with corpses, but they usually have a happy ending with a bit of romance. I would never call myself a romantic, but I think the natural outcome of two adults in a high-stress situation is always very intense emotions. Whether it’s a platonic love, or a more romantic expression, those emotions are there.

Most of my books are crime fiction of some sort. Most have science fiction leanings. I’m at home with the clones, the superheroes, the spaceships, and the detectives, but it doesn’t mean I’ll stay here forever. It’s good to go exploring.

What inspired you to write your first book?
The first novel I wrote was inspired by the barrow wights from LORD OF THE RINGS. They didn’t make it to the movie, but I was fascinated by these shades of kings guarding their gold. I wrote a story about a young queen who’s cut down in battle and comes back to life. Originally, she was going to be a wight who stole a body to fulfill her final promise, but it quickly twisted out of control.

That story was buried many years ago. Sometimes I’ll pull it out for friends who need to teach an English class on editing. It’s truly awful writing. Their students love it.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
That’s a little bit like asking what food you’re made of. Stories are rarely influenced by one source or person. Stories are like people; bits and pieces of everyday things, a few extraordinary circumstances, and the subtle influence of everyone who the reads the story.

THE DAY BEFORE was influenced by living in Alabama for three years. CONVERGENCE POINT is set near where I went to college. The stories may have started there in some way, but they evolved during the writing.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Having the discipline to sit down and write even when you don’t want to. That’s the truth. Every part of writing is hard when you’re doing it. The rough draft makes you feel like an abject failure of a human being. The edits make you question your intelligence. The marketing/querying/whathaveyou make you wonder why you don’t find a job with a regular paycheck. Authors question themselves every step of the process. We live with doubts and fears. The only way to write a book is to conquer those fears and write even when you doubt yourself.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
CONVERGENCE POINT was a wonderful learning experience. In terms of writing, I learned just how fast I could write a book. I started it in January after I moved to Alaska, and it was due to my editor the first week of August so I had eight months to make it happen.

THE DAY BEFORE took me three years to write and edit. I really learned the value of a solid outline (even though I still tend to ignore them) and having a battle plan for the book.

And I’ve learned a ton of physics. One of the major problems with writing time travel is that you have to invent a workable time machine (or the theory of one) and know what the rules are before you can write the book. That’s why THE DAY BEFORE took so long. I have stacks of papers on quantum physics and the nature of time. It’s fascinating stuff.

Do you intend to make writing a career?
At this point, yes. I’m here; I love writing, I love talking with readers, I love the publishing community. It’s a quirky place to be, but I do love quirky. There are more books under contract, more books planned. Hopefully the readers will enjoy my stories.

Have you developed a specific writing style?
I have writing advice, but not a specific style. Know your villains. Know your plot twists. Don’t be afraid of change. If you can keep those in mind you can get a solid rough draft. It’ll be ugly, but solid. And once you have the words down you can edit until the book is perfect.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
I’ve been told my dialog is good, but I think you’ll find different readers like me for different reasons. For my readers who drop by, what do you think my greatest strength is? I’d love to know.

What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I’m highly adaptable. If I weren’t, I’m certain I would’ve gone mad. I have a very chaotic life and schedule; being able to adapt quickly to change has kept me happy and sane for a long time.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
Tough choice... I’m going to say I need to work on my discipline. It’s super important to be disciplined as a writer and I’m not where I want to be with my levels of self-discipline. I have a tendency to indulge myself. “I deserve to take a nap/eat that brownie/watch Netflix.”

It would be great if I could have the discipline to write AND get the house cleaned on the same day.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“In order to have a change of fortune at the last minute, you have to take your fortune to the last minute.”
― Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time

Pratchett has many memorable quotes, but that’s my favorite. Don’t ever give up. Nothing’s over until it’s over. You might be beat right now, but as long as you come back swinging, you can stay in the fight.

I was born in San Diego. I’ve lived in Chicago, Denver, Florida, Kentucky, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Kansas.  Mother always said there was a touch of gypsy in the blood. I write science fiction and SFR in a variety of forms. Sometimes I dabble in comic fantasy. I have a superhero romance series with Breathless Press and am represented by Marlene Stringer of Stringer Literary Agency.

For More Information
Visit Liana at her website

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