Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Author Feature: Liana Laverentz

Current Read: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Please welcome today's featured author, Liana Laverentz!

Tell us about your new release, Ashton's Secret.

Ashton’s Secret is the story of a woman who knows what she believes in her heart, and isn’t going to stop asking questions until she gets some answers that make sense about the death of her sister five years earlier. Unfortunately, the only person who can help her refuses to for reasons of his own. Here’s the blurb:

From the moment he'd caught her snooping in the loft of his barn-turned-garage, Meghan Edwards knew Nicholas Hawkinson was the man she’d been looking for. Given his unfriendly attitude, unshaven face and the Harley hidden in the shadows, she was willing to bet this was the man her sister Heather had referred to as Hawk. But would this dark, secretive stranger help her solve the mystery of her sister's death?

Nicholas Hawkinson wanted nothing to do with the city-girl photographer who asked too many questions. He'd had his share of trouble five years ago when the people of Ashton had been so quick to accuse him of murdering Heather. The townsfolk still considered him the town's black sheep, a bad boy at best and a killer who got away with it at most. Both he and Meghan would be better off if they went their separate ways and never spoke of Heather again.

All of Ashton saw Nick as a dangerous man. But Meghan was trained to observe, and it didn’t take long to find the pain of betrayal and unexpected gentleness he hid behind his hard stare. Her sister was dead, and Meghan knew it wasn't suicide. So did Nick. Whether he liked it or not, he was the only one who could help her now. And Meghan wasn't leaving Ashton until she'd unraveled this sleepy little town's secret--or died trying.


Sounds great! You and I met through a mutual friend and realized our heroes are both "Jakes". Would you like to tell us a little about your Jake's story?

Jake in Jake’s Return is the story of a small town bad boy who keeps running from the woman he loves. The only person in the world who believes in him one hundred percent. He’s so determined not to ruin her life that he doesn’t realize he IS her life, by virtue of her love for him and the daughter he never knew he had. Even when he learns about their daughter, he still feels its best to stay away, to protect them from the taint of his past. But as stubborn as Jake can be, Rebecca is even more stubborn, and in the end he realizes his own worth, and the value of a good woman who will stand by him through thick and thin. Here’s the blurb for Jake’s Return:

The last person small town bad boy Jacob Donovan expects to find when he returns home in disgrace after serving time is Rebecca Reed, head librarian. Rebecca had always had much bigger ambitions. Jake hadn’t wanted to stand in her way, so after one night of passion with his former best friend, he’d hit the open road.
Rebecca refuses to believe Jake is guilty of murder. The boy who’d been her friend and protector when they were town outcasts together could never have killed a woman. Not to mention the tender, loving man who’d given her their daughter, Katie.
But who is Jake now? That’s what everyone wants to know, including the town council chairman, who is determined to send Jake back to prison, by any means available.
Jake’s been running from love for all of his life. Will he find the courage to defeat his demons and stay this time?


Another one for my to-be-read pile. :0) You've had some interesting experiences with collaging. Would you tell us a little more about that?

I’ve done three poster-size collages. The first was when a friend and fellow author I get together for lunch with occasionally showed up at my house with a huge box of magazines and said, “Today we’re going to rip pages out of magazines.” Just rip them out, anything that speaks to you, don’t stop to think about it. Then, she left me with some poster board and glue and said, “Make a collage of all the things you’d like to bring into your life.” I finally finished it a few months later, just before we got together for lunch again—nothing like a deadline to get a project done—and after an hour and a half of arranging and gluing, framed it and put it up on the wall.

About three years later, I was looking at it one day, and realized that everything in there had indeed appeared in my life. The realization was staggering. In the interim, I’d done another collage, about a relationship I was in, and how I wanted that to work out. Again, everything in the collage had appeared in my life and my relationship. Spooky, I know. So at the beginning of this year, I created a third one, again with the theme of things I wanted to bring into my life. I didn’t like the first version I laid out, so I tried again, using the art of Feng Shui. Wow. What a difference. There are nine sections in the collage. For prosperity, fame, career success, relationship success, good health, friends, family, creativity and wisdom. I’ve yet to see how it all turns out, but based on the success of the other two, I’m feeling optimistic . If you want to see a picture of it, go to http://lianalaverentz.blogspot.com/2009/01/create-collage-for-2009.html

I've been gathering pictures for months. I'm going to work on the actual collage today - try a little experiment of my own. :0) Your take on balancing life is inspiring! I'd love for you to share a bit about it.

My main theme in balance is to set your priorities and do nothing that doesn’t fall in line with one of your priorities. I’ve whittled my list down to seven priorities, which I review periodically and change as needed. Without resorting to list-making, I try to hit each priority twice a week at a minimum. These could include spending time with friends and family, making soup, exercising, meditation and prayer, reading, doing things that are good for me, that refuel me mind, heart, body and soul. Then, by the end of the week, when I look back at what I’ve done, I can see I got a lot more done than I thought I did, and it’s all fairly balanced. For more information, go to my Musings page and read my article on Finding Your Balance. http://www.lianalaverentz.com/musings.html
I also do a weekly chat on Balance at The Bookspa Yahoo Loop on Tuesdays and anyone is welcome to stop by and join in. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thebookspa/
I do the same the first Thursday of each month over at the Long and Short Romance Reviews Yahoo Group.
The next chat there is tomorrow, July 2 . For more information on any of this, go to http://www.lianalaverentz.com/

Give us three words your friends or family use to describe you?

My faith-sharing group once described me as honest, loyal and dedicated to self-improvement. We had to each write on a piece of paper three words we would use to describe each member, and those were the words that came up the most for me.

And three words you use to describe you?

Kind, caring and compassionate. I’ve got a real soft heart, and I’m always trying to look at both sides of any situation. My motto is seek first to understand, then to be understood.

How do you define your writing?

I write about real people facing real issues, and try to make my characters as compelling as possible. The stories may have a dark side to them, but they’re also stories of love, hope, and forgiveness. I’ve found a recurring theme in my books is that one character has a family he or she doesn’t get along with or appreciate, and the other has none and longs for one. In Jake’s Return, however, neither of them had a family to speak of, and so they had to create their own.

Interesting - I love stories about characters searching for family (in whatever shape and form that may take). What are you working on right now?

I’m working on some ideas for a new romantic suspense story. I love romance, and I love suspense. I think I’d like to try inspirational suspense, so I’m reading a lot of those, getting a feel for what works and what doesn’t. I’m also working on a non-fiction book on women’s health and wellness, PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) in particular. As part of my research, I’m looking for stories from others who either have or live with/love someone who has PMDD. For the details please go to http://lianalaverentz.blogspot.com/2009/06/day-in-life-of-someone-with-pmdd.html then email me with your story. Thanks!

What is your favorite thing to do in the summer?

Summer tends to blow by me. But every chance I get, I like to attend an ethnic festival and or outdoor concert. We’ve been to some amazing street concerts, and I make it a point to get to a concert at the Chautauqua Institution at least once a year, usually around my birthday. I also enjoy locally grown strawberries and cherries and peaches, so I tend to visit those festivals, as well. I just love the food and the atmosphere.

Happy summer birthday! If I remember correctly, you're going to offer a copy of Jake's Return in a drawing?

Yes, an autographed print copy of Jake’s Return. What I’d really like to hear are ways people try to balance their lives. I’d like to know people are out there trying, not just getting swept away by their to-do lists. Make them stop and think a moment, maybe plan something special just for them and possibly their loved ones. Then I’ll just pick a winner from the comments if that’s okay. An idea that sounds like a lot of fun.
So, you heard Liana, people. Let us know how you balance your lives, and you'll be entered in the contest! Thanks to Liana for joining us today and thanks to all of the AH readers!

Congratulations to...


Robyn, I forwarded your mailing address to Liana so Jake's Return will be headed your way shortly!

Thanks, everyone, for joining in the conversation!


Chiron said...

Hello Liana!

Sorry to be a little behind in my blog reading. Your books sound fantastic. I loved reading about your 'adventures in collaging' too!

Maintaining balance in life isn't always easy. Since I was raised in a pretty crisis-oriented family, with adrenalin constantly screaming through our veins, I found it absolutely essential to integrate balance in my life!

For me, the main thing I do is prioritize, like Liana. However, I also found that learning to let go of my need to control every little thing along with maintaining a deliberate sense of calm was essential. It's so easy to get worked up over issues that won't seem important a week or even a day later!

I keep a stack of 'Angel Cards' in a small basket and regularly pull one out to focus on. The cards have one word like 'Spontaneity', 'Honesty', 'Patience', 'Release', or 'Balance'. *grin*

I focus on the word with the intention of seeing what this little message from the universe is telling me. Often, having this unique little perspective makes the difference between feeling out of control as opposed to seeing situations as a life lesson.

Great post, Tiffany! It's so nice to find a new author. Lovely to meet you, Liana!

Chiron O'Keefe
The Write Soul: www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com

liana laverentz said...

Hi, Chiron, nice to meet you, too! Sounds like you have a great handle on things, and that's essential for staying in balance, especially in a crisis oriented family! All the best,


robynl said...

Balance for me is to take time to relax; I sit on the swing outdoors and listen to nature such as the birds singing and swing away and close my eyes.
I do something nice for someone and this makes me feel so good.
Don't sweat the small stuff; there are more important things to be considered.

Eva S said...

Hi Liana and Tiffany,
thanks for the great post! Interesting books, I'll look for them!
I used to live a very buzy life, but now when I'm a little bit older I've learned to focus on the real things. I have some important things to do for every week, like spending some time with my family, talking on the phone with dear friends and taking long walks in the nature with my husband.

Congrats on the release!

Helen Hardt said...

Hi Liana -- and you too, Tiff ;). First of all, many congratulations on all your successes.

Balance? I wish I had more time for it. But I guess that's the point, isn't it? We have to make the time. I love lazy summer mornings on the deck, sipping coffee with my dh. Or a brisk walk. Or a pedicure. I'm toying with the idea of a weeklong retreat in August. Just my laptop and me. No work, no kids, no internet. I hope it will work out!

Tiffany James said...


I love the idea of the cards! I like to see how the cards I pull applies to what I'm currently dealing with or thinking about.

Thanks for stopping by!


Tiffany James said...


All great ideas! I especially love to sit out back and listen to the birds and the water fountain.


Tiffany James said...


I'm in the midst of trying to slow my life down - I'm running frantically and important things are getting lost in the shuffle!

You are a very wise woman! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us today. :0)


Tiffany James said...


Great idea about the retreat! I'd love to make that an annual thing.

Thanks for stopping by!


liana laverentz said...

Thank you, Eva and Robyn and Helen, for stopping by. All good ideas, and I feel more relaxed just reading about them :)

Tiffany, thank you for hosting me here today. I appreciate the opportunity.

liana laverentz said...

Thank you, Eva and Robyn and Helen, for stopping by. All good ideas, and I feel more relaxed just reading about them :)

Tiffany, thank you for hosting me here today. I appreciate the opportunity.

robynl said...

thanks so much for pulling my name Tiffany and thanks to Liana for providing the prize.