Joining me in the Author Spotlight today is romance author, Liz Borino. Published by Lazy Day Publishing, her Taylor Twins series is getting stellar reviews on Amazon. Join me in welcoming her!
JLR: There is so much advice given by authors about the writing process. What type of writing routine do you have? Are you a planner or a figure-it-out-as-you-go type writer? Any tips you want to share?
LB: Lately, I’ve been both. For my first book, Expectations, I wrote whatever came to my head, the rough draft was an insane 128,000 words. That took me nine months to edit. For What Money Can’t Buy and the third book, tentatively titled A Change of Heart, I created a synopsis and grew the books from there. Not to say things didn’t change in the process, but I at least knew where I was going. So, I suppose my advice is to have a structure, but allow for changes.
JLR: As readers of my book reviews know, I have a habit of casting real people, usually actors, in my mind as the characters when I read. As you are writing, do you base your characters on real people? If Hollywood made a movie of Taylor Twins Series, who would you like to see playing the leading roles?
LB: Alright, the twins, Matt and Chris, look like a taller Matthew Lawrence and Aiden he looks, and sounds, like a shorter, and younger, Colin Farrell. How hot is that pairing?
JLR: Nice! I'd go for that. :) As writers, so much of our work is done alone, and this can lead to discouragement. How do you keep from giving up? Who do you get your support from?
LB: Sometimes, it’s really hard to not give up. Some days, you’re waiting for an approval, review, or watching your Amazon rankings fall again. Writing is filled with doubt, pain, and tears. Sometimes, your characters don’t do what you want them to do, or the scene isn’t as grand as what you saw in your head. On these days, I want to throw up my hands and get a government job. So, why not? I believe what I do every day is important. I believe my words have a positive impact on other people. I have fans who ask me at least once a week when my next book is coming out. People are hungry to know more about my characters. They love immersing themselves in my stories. I draw strength from that. If I ever need support, I go to my friends and my fans. And then my boys go back to demanding my time. How can I say no?
JLR: Have you ever been worried that you might be going too far in your sex-scenes and might alienate readers? Does anticipating reader reaction ever cause you to censor yourself?
JLR: Oh, I alienate readers alright. Exactly one person in my family has read my two published books all the way through. Not everyone’s going to be comfortable with love scenes between two men, but do I take them out? No. Sex is a part of life and an important in relationships. But that’s just it, everything I include goes back to relationships between the two couples. (I have a male/male couple and a female/male couple.) Before publishing Expectations, I feared reader reaction to sex between two men, but most of my readers appreciate the realness with which I handle it. I’m not as explicit as some romance writers because my love scenes are based upon emotion, even when the characters are tearing each other’s clothes off. They’re doing it in a way which opens them up to their partner and the relationship grows each time.
JLR: They say good reading habits are developed at an early age. Have you always been a reader? Can you pin-point a particular book or author who solidified your love of reading?
LB: I’ve always read. Every night growing up my mom would read to me. When I first started to read on my own, we’d read together. She’d read a chapter then I would. She instilled in me a love of reading from day one. When I was young, I read the Sweet Valley series, all of them. S.E. Hinton also had a huge influence on my reading and writing style, due mostly to males being the driving force of her books.
JLR: In the past year or two, e-publishing has soared in popularity. What made you decide to publish in e-book format? Do you worry that you won’t achieve as much success as you might in traditional print?
LB: I chose to publish in e-book format because I believe paper books will become a luxury item sooner rather than later. Digital first companies, like my publisher Lazy Day, offer higher royalties, and more individualized support. I worry about everything, but you don’t know what the future will bring so, I’ll trust my books to rise to the success they deserve no matter what format they’re in.
JLR: How long have you been writing, and when did you decide that you wanted to write for publication?
LB: I’ve been writing for more than half my life, but telling stories since I could talk. I decided I’d write for publication at 12, I penned a fan fiction, in a notebook, which I was sure would skyrocket to the top of the NYT best seller list. But see, they’d have to come get it because I only had one copy. I began seriously pursuing it about five years ago with a story called Changes. It went nowhere and I’m so glad. It’s a great first book and I learned a lot from writing it, but I’m happy it isn’t out in the world. Maybe someday I’ll clean it up and publish. We’ll see. Then about two years ago now, I started writing Expectations and I had a feeling that would be my first published book.
JLR: Tell us a bit about your childhood. Where did you grow up? What was your family like? Has your childhood influenced your writing?
LB: I grew up in a small town called Bethlehem, Pa. It was rather boring. I wrote to escape. Seriously, I had far less struggles than some people. I lived in a loving home and never worried after my next meal. Yes, I was different than most people my age, but I attribute that difference to my success as a creative. But it does make the teen years kind of suck.
JLR: How did your formal education prepare you for becoming an author? Is there anything that you feel you’re your schooling could taught you to better prepare you for the publishing process?
LB: As a public relations major and a Sociology minor, I took many writing based classes. I learned the difference between passive and active writing and got tested on my ability to use active. In Sociology classes, I learned about the evolution of gender roles and sexuality in society. And I believe that’s helped a great deal in developing my latest series. I would really appreciate some education on patience. Please?
JLR: If you could give one piece of advice to your teenage self, what would it be?
LB: You’re too pale to be blonde. Please stop with highlights.
JLR: What do you think makes for a great romantic hero? Is it all about the muscles and the smoldering eyes?
LB: I think that depends on your story. My boys are passionate, caring, affectionate, and they have flaws. You have to make your characters have flaws. Matt and Chris have six packs, Aiden does not. Sometimes, bulging muscles don’t fit your character and that’s okay.
JLR: Where can readers find your books?