Monday, July 26, 2010

Interview with author Liz Coldwell

Today, my guest is MuseItUp author, Liz Coldwell.  Liz's Christmas-themed romance, Be Good to Your Elf, will be released this December.

1) Tell me a little about your book.
Be Good To Your Elf is a fun, heartwarming short story about a girl who meets the man of her dreams while working in Santa’s Grotto at her local shopping mall.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I originally came up with it last Christmas, when it looked like another publisher might need some holiday-themed stories at the last moment. That didn’t happen, but when MuseItHOT! Announced they were looking for Christmas stories, I dusted it off and worked on the story. I think I’d been watching a film that had a scene set in Santa’s Grotto, and I just liked the idea of someone finding true love while dressed in a really silly costume.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
Full-time, though I don’t write solidly for eight hours a day. I doubt anybody actually does that, particularly now writers have to do so much to promote their books as well. But I write something every day, even if it’s only a few hundred words.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
It was my second career choice. My first, when I was very small, was archaeology, until I realised that meant digging up dead people. But my mum says I was always telling people I wanted to be a reporter. And I wrote my first novel when I was ten. It’s upstairs in a drawer at my parents’ house, though I’ve no idea what people would think if I showed it to them now.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
As most of my writing is in the erotica/erotic romance genre, I hope it turns them on, otherwise I’m not doing my job properly. But I also hope they enjoy it as a story apart from the erotic elements, and warm to the characters.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
Mostly erotica, though the first novel I ever had published was in the paranormal genre, and a number of my erotic stories have some paranormal or speculative element, As for reading, I enjoy most genres, though Westerns don’t really do it for me, which is probably why, though it’s really popular, I’ve never written any cowboy-themed romance.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
You seem to work very hard to earn very little! But I look at writing as playing the long game – you have to gradually build a readership, and the good thing about books, e-books especially, is that they stay in print for a while, so readers have the opportunity to go back and track down your older work.

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
There’s a scene where Maddie and Tyler, the two main characters, leave a carol service to discover the snow has started to fall while they’re in church. That actually happened to me when I was at university (though, sadly, I wasn’t in the company of a hot man at the time!) and it was such a magical moment it seemed appropriate to include it.

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
She’s about twenty-five years younger, and has that Liv Tyler elf-like beauty, which is absolutely nothing like me! But she’s resourceful and practical, which I’d say are a couple of my personality traits.

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
All I did was check that someone could get the job Maddie did as easily as she did. With contemporary stories, much of the detail comes from your own experiences or observations.

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
There isn’t much violence in my work, but there’s plenty of sex. If I had a problem with it, I wouldn’t write it, as you can always tell when writers are uncomfortable with what they’re describing. I worked for Forum magazine in the UK for twenty years, so there’s very little about sex and relationships that surprises me.

12) What about your book makes it special?
Christmas magic!

13) What is your marketing plan?
I’ll mention the book on my own blog and the places I’m familiar with that allow promo. I’ve already featured the cover, so readers know the story is on its way. I have the feeling the whole Muse enterprise is going to get plenty of exposure, as Lea seems very focused on bringing the imprint to people’s attention.

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
My blog, at

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Writing good erotic romance isn’t just about describing a sexual encounter (or series of them). You have to create characters people will care about, and not sideline the plot in favour of the sex. And, as I’d say to any writer in any genre, if you’re aiming your work at a particular publisher, follow their guidelines in terms of length, presentation of manuscript etc. They’re there for a reason, and the more professionally you can present yourself and your work, the more likely you are to be taken seriously.

Thanks, Liz, for joining me today and sharing your thoughts and tips for other writers.


  1. Oh I loved Liz's naughty but nice Be Good to Your Elf. And her ending...reallll cute!!!

  2. Lea, thanks for stopping by. While Be Good to Your Elf is a bit "naughty," it's also "nice."

  3. Amanda, glad you enjoyed the interview.

  4. Great interview Liz and Penny.


  5. Thanks, Nancy. Glad you could stop by.

  6. I love the cover and enjoyed working with Liz to get the posting for the cover ready for my own blog. Great interview.

  7. Lin, it is a great cover, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by.