AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: LIESE SHERWOOD-FABRE
Liese Sherwood-Fabre has stopped by to chat with JR about her recent release – Saving Hope:
Saving Hope came out in May from Musa Publishing.
Tell us a little about Saving Hope, what inspired you to write Saving Hope?
I lived and worked in Moscow from 1994 to 1999, and one day, I came across an article in The New Yorker magazine, “Annals of Warfare: the Bioweaponeers” by Richard Preston. In it, he described Iran’s recruitment of Russian scientists for their own development of bioweapons. I considered what would compel a scientist to accept such an offer and spun a tale of an unemployed Russian microbiologist with a sick child who stumbles into this world and becomes aware of a sinister plan to export a deadly virus out of the country. As the novel progresses, her motivation changes from saving just her child to saving the world.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I would like to think I’m a plotter, but I often find myself going off the track I’ve laid out, so I’d have to say I’m a mix. I have an idea of where I want to go, but things pop up as I start writing, so I just keep writing, knowing that I’ll figure it out at some point. Once it’s finished, however, I do lay out the plot to determine if I’m hitting the turning points—what sends the story forward and into different twists—at the appropriate time and revise accordingly.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
Like a lot of young girls, I grew up reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon mysteries as well as romance. The blend between the two—romantic suspense—kind of provides the best of both worlds.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
I really enjoyed writing the FSB (former KGB) agent because he’s a maverick. I’m a sucker for someone who bucks the system.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Probably the daughter in Saving Hope. In one critique I received, they noted that the daughter doesn’t do much, and Alexandra has little interaction with her. I had to go back and beef up that portion because, after all, she’s Alexandra’s main motivation.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
There’s a doctor I describe in Saving Hope that’s based on someone I met while visiting a clinic in Russia as part of my job there. He honestly resembled something out of a horror movie (like a skeleton).
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Plotting. I have an idea of what should happen and how it should end, but sometimes things will veer off path, or I’ll have an insight and know I need to change things in parts already written. My rule is not to make the changes then, but use the “comments” function to remember it and then revise it later.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
While working in Russia, a man fired an anti-tank missile into the US embassy in Moscow shortly after the US entered the war in Bosnia. The missile went through the embassy’s outer wall and hit the copy machine. Luckily, the room was empty at the time and no one was hurt.
I didn’t work in the embassy building proper. The US Agency for International Development (USAID)—the foreign assistance arm of the US government—occupied the building behind it. I heard the explosion, but didn’t leave to investigate (never a good idea).
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
What TV Show are you addicted to?
I’m a sucker for shows with lawyers—Law & Order, The Good Wife, Harry’s Law. I also enjoy comedies, in particular The Big Bang Theory.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
I basically just sit down and start writing. I have a full-time job so when it’s time to write, I write. I’ve found, however, I have to close myself off to be able to concentrate on writing, so I face a wall and keep the blinds closed to reduce distractions.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Not really. I’m easily distracted and so I prefer things quiet.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
First they have to be able to do a Russian accent. Gwyneth Paltrow would be good for the female lead. For the male, Christian Bale—only he’d have to dye his hair blonde.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was leaving a doctor’s appointment when I got the email from Musa Publishing with the contract attached. I told my husband when I got home.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
I was in junior high, I think. I read a LOT of Barbara Cartland novels back then.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
I have so many writer friends—too many to mention—and I look forward to all their books.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I am a public health advisor with the US Department of Health and Human Services. I oversee a grant program for that Department.
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all-time favorite?
My all-time favorite has to be Gone with the Wind—in part because of its sweeping scenes.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I have a novella coming out for Christmas—check my Website for updates on that.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
I’m not sure I could co-write. I pretty much want to be in charge.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
Believe it or not, I go through the alphabet to ensure I don’t have a lot of characters with similar names. I’ll hit a letter I haven’t used yet and then consider what names begin with that letter. If I don’t find one I like, I’ll go on to the next letter. I’ve also consulted “popular baby names” for a particular year if I’m writing about another time period.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I think there has to be some attraction at the beginning, but there has to be something that keeps them from acting on it, or there would be no story.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
I can honestly say no one has said that to me, but maybe because my book hasn’t been out long. I’m sure I will encounter it, and when it happens, I will point out that more romance books are sold than any other genre—twice as much as the next category—and we touch more readers than any other group of writers. That puts me in a strong and powerful group.
Where can readers find you?
Readers can follow my upcoming releases and other events by joining my newsletter at www.liesesherwoodfabre.com, visiting my Facebook, Twitter, or Bebo accounts, or contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
It depends on my mood, but I definitely prefer a quality chocolate. Add caramel and nuts, and I’m hooked.
Ranger or Morelli?
That’s a tough one. While they both have some good qualities, they have too much “bad boy” in them for me. I’m not sure I could trust either one with my heart.