Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Interview with Liz Czukas

Ready to meet another wonderfully talented aspiring writer? Well, I've got one for you! Let's welcome Liz Czukas. Liz is a 31 year-old, married mother of a 3 year-old. She lives outside Milwaukee, WI and her "real" job is as a Labor & Delivery RN. Amazing!

Good to have you here, Liz. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

I am an aspiring writer of both adult and YA fiction, generally of the romantic comedy bent. I have trouble taking real life seriously, so there is no way I can be in complete control of a fictional world and do much in the angst department. I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, love anything spicy and consider dancing to be the only viable form of exercise. Bad grammar on public signs sets my teeth on edge and the word 'pants' will always make me grin.

How long have you been writing?

The first time I really remember writing was when I was nine years old. I've been writing pretty much continuously since then. Almost always novels--even when I was way too young to turn out more than 25,000 words or so.

And now you've written a few more books that you'd like to get published. What is the name and genre of your current manuscript?

Right now I'm in the middle of revisions on my manuscript THE SORBET GUY which is an adult romantic comedy.

Nice title. What’s the story about?

THE SORBET GUY is the story of Joss (Jocelyn) and her ridiculous journey through the unstable world of dating, and her unique arrangement with her good friend Matt, who is always there to help her "cleanse the palate" after a break-up.

Sounds great, and I think it could have date-night movie potential. How did the idea of the story come to you?

Honestly? Listening to "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers. It was just a flash of an idea that begged to be played with.

I love music-inspired stories. What is your next step – are you self publishing, querying for an agent, etc.?

Right now I'm polishing the manuscript (I hope!) to get back on the querying journey. I'm looking for an agent. I know I don't have the business savvy to manage my own career. I've always thought expertise should be left to the experts.

Agreed! Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

All of the above. I'm generally a pantzer type writer--that is, I don't plot or outline, I just write until the story is done. Then I let it sit and mature in an oak barrel for a few weeks. Then, I do an editing pass on my own before sending it out to some beta readers and my critique group. The final say is always mine, of course, but I would say I get an average of six pairs of eyes on a manuscript before I think it's done.

Hehe, I need one of those oak barrels. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Having enough time! I work part time and take care of my son the rest of the time. My husband is a very loveable workaholic, who is gone long hours. The only time I'm really free is after bedtime. I wish I had more!

Wait! You're describing my life, lol. Any tips you’ve learned about writing you’d like to share?

I'd give all the basic writing advice, because it's all true. Read, and read widely, not just in your genre. Write everyday if you can. Show your work to other people, and take their advice when you should.

Also, I'd recommend getting on Twitter for any writer. There's a huge community out there using #amwriting #writing and a gazillion other trending tags. I've met some wonderful people that way, and gotten so much great information from and about agents--it's priceless. Not to mention free!

Agreed again! Let's talk about your inspirations.

My favorite authors run the gamut from Stephen King to Maureen Johnson with frequent stops in Nelson DeMille and J.K. Rowling, just for starters.
My favorite YA books of all time are The President's Daughter series by Ellen Emerson White.
My role models for romantic comedy/chick-lit would have to be Megan Crane, Caprice Crane, Meg Cabot...and that's just the C's.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Only the Internet. I'm an obsessive researcher. Even when the details are insignificant or don't appear in the story, I need to know the who/what/where/when and why of my character's lives.

For instance, I was just working on a very romantic scene and I had to shop around figleaves.com until I found the right bra for my heroine. Weird, right?

Not weird to me; I think that's awesome. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Who would you like to give a shout out to?

My husband, who has learned to live with my loud typing as the soundtrack to his evenings.
My extended family, who is doing a marvelous job of pretending my quest for publication is not at all outrageous.
My crit group, The Inkslingers, who have brought me out of my fetal position of shame for wanting this life, made me a better writer every time we talk, and put me into fits of giggles every single Wednesday.

And finally, where can people find you online?

I've got a website www.lizczukas.com
a blog http://lizczukas.blogspot.com
a facebook fanpage http://www.facebook.com/lizczukaswriter
and a twitter profile https://twitter.com/lizczukas

Thank you so much for talking with us, Liz.

Thanks for this opportunity. I really enjoyed myself!

Me too. And please let us know when you've reached the next stage of publication. I'm crossing my fingers for you.


MJ Heiser said...

Ooh, what a fantastic interview! With determination and savvy like that, girl, you'll find your dream agent, and then the bets are off! And the gloves!


Gina said...

Another great interview! Way to go Dorothy! How do you manage to find all of these wonderful authors-in-waiting?

As for the featured aspiring author....congratulations on having your "dream" figured out at age 9 or at the very least culitvating it since then. Be very interested to see what your work holds for future readers...best of luck!

Kristan said...

What an adorable interview! (And that pic! No hat! I can see your face!)

Thanks to both of you for sharing this wisdom and wit. :)

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

@Gina: I play in fun circles. ;)

Liz Czukas said...

Thanks everybody who commented, both here and at Twitter. And special thanks to you, Dorothy for running this wonderful blog and giving me the opportunity to meet some new people.

- Liz

Shelli said...

Thanks, Dorothy, for finding another interesting new author. Liz, your book sounds fun, and I'm looking forward to following you on Twitter. It is fun, isn't it?

Jill Kemerer said...

What a fun interview! Love the bra-finding session for your novel! Ha!

kanishk said...

Another great interview! Way to go Dorothy! How do you manage to find all of these wonderful authors-in-waiting?

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Dr. Mohamed said...

I haven't tried Twitter yet. Based on this interview, I'll give it a shot.