Saturday, October 4, 2014

Today we’re celebrating Back to McGuffey’s with Liz Flaherty

So, Liz, where did you get the idea for this novel?

From its setting, if that makes any sense. My son and his family lived in Vermont for about 15 years and I loved it more with every visit I made. When they moved back to Indiana, I knew my once or twice a year visits would stop and if I was going to set a book there, I’d better get it done. I also have a fondness for Irish pubs and had the front of one I saw in Kinsale firmly in my mind, and when Kate and Ben introduced themselves to me, the people and the place seemed to fit together. The story—well, that’s different. It came word by excruciating word. When I grow up, I’m going to be a plotter!


Tell us briefly about "The Call!"

I don’t know what I expected when Charles called me—we’d worked together before and I knew he only called when it was important (though not always good)—but I was still new-kid-surprised and thrilled when he said Heartwarming liked and wanted my story. 


In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say?
“…miles to go before I sleep…”


How long did it take you to write?

I don’t actually know! Because I started and stopped and…you know the drill. But I’d say about six months. Writing fast left me about a decade ago and has never found its way back.


What is your favorite scene?

Oh, gosh, I love this story, so picking out a favorite scene is like picking a favorite child. But I like the one where Kate tells Ben that yes, he had been a lousy boyfriend (he really was), but he’d still been the one she loved. 


Who was your favorite character and why?

Back we go to the favorite child thing… I loved Jayson, the 16-year-old with Down syndrome who charmed everyone—including me, so I guess I’ll choose him.


If you could pick fictional characters to play the hero and heroine, who would they be?

I have trouble picking, since I like for readers to choose how the people look. I must admit, though, that Karen and Jennifer posted a photo of Harry Connick, Jr. a while back that I haven’t been able to get off my mind. Maybe Jennifer Garner for Kate—I like the sweetness (though not TOO sweet) of her face.


Tell us one thing you learned during research.

I’m not sure I learned much with this, but I had a great conversation with my mother-in-law when I called her to ask her what kind of glasses went with what drinks. She was a bartender for years. She gave me some guidelines, then told me if the bar was really busy to just use whatever was clean at the time—the customer was drinking and couldn’t care less. 


What music would match the mood of this novel?

Celtic. I didn’t play it—I have to have silence to write—but it was there in my heart all the same.


This is your ninth book. Exactly what does that mean to you?

That Muriel Jensen was right back in the 1990s when she told me in a letter to “never give up, never, never give up.” I kept that note taped to my desk until you couldn’t read the ink anymore. Bless you, Muriel. J


What do you plan to work on next?

I’m working on a series of stories “from the lake.” I’ve never purposely written a series before, and it’s so much fun!


What are you reading for pleasure right now?

As I write this, I’m waiting for Kristan Higgins’ next book, IN YOUR DREAMS, to come out. I will declare a day off for myself then, make lots of tea and popcorn, and read the whole thing in a day. I’m also having a great time reading Heartwarming titles—I think the line is an absolute gift to those of us who are looking for…you know…heartwarming reads.

33 comments:

  1. I love, LOVE your cover, Liz . . . but you already know that and are probably getting tired of me saying it. People do by books based on the cover, but with BACK TO MCGUFFEY'S, the story is just as captivating.

    Congratulations and best wishes with this release!

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    1. . . . oops, that should have been "buy books . . ."

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    2. Thanks so much, Kate, and thanks for the help with the post. I think Heartwarming covers are just beautiful (Lee McKenzie's this month had me chewing on my thumb knuckle, I swear), and I am thrilled to pieces with McGuffey's.

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    3. I have loved everything you write and have a feeling I will love this most of all. Congratulations on coming back to Harlequin. I still have your Special Edition book from way back when! Lol

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    4. Thank you so much, Cathy! I hope you love McGuffey's as much as I do.

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  2. I love your books, Liz. You've become one of my favs.

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    1. Thank you, Shirley--you do know how to make a girl's day! Have a great weekend.

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  3. Love this book! It's a keeper!

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  4. The cover sold me, then I went read an excerpt and now I have it. Can't wait to start reading for real.

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  5. I'm excited to read this, Liz! I love your description of the scene where your heroine tells her ex he was a lousy boyfriend LOL! What a great story you shared about that encouraging letter from Muriel, too--talk about heartwarming(:

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    1. Thanks, Carol. Muriel has been a friend from the very first fan letter I ever sent her. I was so embarrassed (I wasn't the fan letter type), but she was as gracious then as she is now.

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  6. Blush. Thanks, Liz. I so related to your letter - we've all been there. And how fun and fabulous is it that we are now writing for the same line! You never know what's going to happen next. Have the book on Ron's Kindle, and as soon as he's finished with Ancient Rome, I'll get my turn. Congratulations! Couldn't happen to a lovelier person.

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  7. I'm in agreement with everyone...the cover is great but I love your writing even more. I can't wait to read this one! PLUS, we just had a SNOW FLURRY, so I'm making gingersnaps, just got my Harlequin Heartwarming books and I'm planning on a cozy night under the covers with my favorite authors!!!!

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    1. Oh, no, I'm not ready for the S-word yet! But readiness has never exactly been necessary, has it? Thanks so much, Catherine.

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  8. Congrats on the release of Back to McGuffey's, Liz! I'm sure the story is outstanding and I adore that cover. harry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Garner would make quite the pair. Cheers!

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  9. I just got done with lunch at an Irish Pub. They are so much fun! I love your cover like so many others and am glad you listened to the wise words of Muriel!! LOVE that.

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    1. They are fun, aren't they? I'm glad I listened to her, too!

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  10. Great Interview, although I already knew a lot of this stuff because I'm lucky enough to be your friend! Hugs, baby and happy, happy release. Back to McGuffy's is a great story!

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    1. Thanks, Nan--I'm hoping other readers agree! I'm so glad for that friendship!

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  11. Really liked the cover, and I'm looking forward to reading the book.

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    1. Thanks, Marion. I am enjoying yours as we speak!

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  12. Like everyone else, I adore the cover! Congrats on the release:) that excited feeling on release day never gets old:) And it doesn't surprise me that you found inspiration and a friend in Muriel. I've never had the pleasure of meeting her face to face (yet) but I love her:)
    Congrats again! Can't wait to read it!

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    1. That's what's bad--I haven't met her either, but I want to. Thanks so much, Jen.

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    2. Okay, I'm on my way to meet both of you. Set another place for Sunday dinner. I guess I have to bilocate, but I can meet deadlines. There's nothing I can't do.

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  13. I want to read this book, it sounds great and I've been admiring the cover for weeks!!

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    1. Thank you, Laurie. I hope you love it!

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  14. I saw we should all meet at McGuffey's and get to know each other!

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