Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Interview with Liz Crowe

Hi! Thanks so much for coming today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I own a craft microbrewery. I pay a bunch of guys to brew beer for me. I also handle everything marketing/sales/promotions related to the brewery and I blog as the A2 Beer Wench…with a following that is rabid at best.  I started writing fiction in earnest about 3 years ago with this very series, that started life as a large novel with a sequel.
I was once a Realtor. A pretty good one at that. I channeled my experiences and my “hmm..what would happen if…” to create this series.

Tell us a bit about your book.

The Realtors is an epic novel of a couple. Jack and Sara are real, compelling, extraordinarily imperfect and at times aggravating individuals that so far, are charming reviewers and readers alike.  I chronicle their growth, development, faults, failures, triumphs and tragedies alike and like to think these two bring an intensity to a non-traditional romance story that will make you clamor for more.

Is this part of a series?

Yes
Floor Time released Jan. 25
Sweat Equity Feb. 25
and the final chapter, Closing Costs will release March 25.

What did you find the hardest part of writing it to be?

Depends on what stage I’m at. While in creative mode I struggle with not becoming obsessed with the manuscript. While in editing I am in constant ego rasslin’ mode. Once past that I’m trying to balance promotion with not being too annoying.

What was your favorite part?

Creative, without a doubt.

Rate your story in terms of steaminess

All three books in the Realtors series are (and according to reviewers I’m not exaggerating) Off The Wall Hot, cold shower inspiring, fan-your-face H-O-T.
 2 scenes in particular are worth noting from Floor Time:
The Hallway (Jack and Sara’s first actual “encounter’)
The Open House (you will never attend one with the same perspective ever again.

And from Sweat Equity
At the Stewarts Party…after the “Olympics”
The Swim Lesson

Who is your favorite romance author?

Okay, here is true confessions time. I am not a mainstream romance reader. Many of the names that get tossed around I have to look up to have a frame of reference for.  I am a mainstream fiction reader, always have been.  I have a few “go-to” erotic romance authors like Shayla Black, Lauren Dane,  JR Ward for my vamp fix, and I am really getting attached to a few new ones like Laura Harner, Lee Brazil, Nina Peirce, Laura Kaye and Roni Loren.

What is your favorite romance book or series?

Yeah, so, I’m gonna just say that I don’t have one. I got briefly attached to the Black Dagger Brotherhood but am willing to wait for my library copy of the next one. Most series fiction is paranormal these days and that is just not my cup of tea, generally speaking. 
There is a 3 book series by Lauren Dane I really like though.

Who is your favorite romance character? If you could go on a date with that person, what would you do? Details please! *wink*

Jack Gordon. My guy from the Realtors. And I am gonna let him wine and dine me like only a guy like he can. Period.

Boxers or Briefs?

Boxer briefs.

What is next for you? 

I have a ton of projects in editing with Decadent Publishing and Ellora’s Cave.  I’m working on a new novel for EC (or whoever takes it I guess) and a series based on a fictional major league soccer expansion team in Detroit.

What were your first impressions of each other?

Jack:  Well, I know she was totally in lust with me at first sight. (runs a hand through his thick, black hair)
Sara:  Spare me Gordon.  I was mainly struck by how flipping gigantic your ego was.
Jack: Well, “gigantic” for sure but not my ego.
Sara: (rolls eyes and leans in to interviewer) He was totally into me from the get go. 
Jack: (leans into interview, making her nervous) I’m into her, yeah. No big secret.

What are your favorite parts about each other?

Jack: Her ass followed closely by this little spot on her neck, right at the spot on her collarbone….(He leans in and licks that spot)
Sara: His tongue followed closely by his right hand index finger.
Jack: (winks and puts arm around her whispering in her ear, making her giggle and blush)

What’s next for you?

Jack: Huh? Oh, sorry. (steps away from Sara, and adjusts his suit coat over his …) Yeah, so I’ve got this new building we just renovated, and am working on filling. I moved my office over there. It’s awesome. And I have my eye on some space over on Ann Arbor’s west side for a restaurant.
Sara: (still blushing) I have a bunch of new transactions to close, which will keep me pretty busy. And you know, when you live on one hundred percent commission it’s pretty much a battle every day to stay on top of things. 

The Realtors:  Life in the House Lane
Love is an easy word to use, a hard one to demonstrate, and sometimes impossible to trust. 
            The Realtors is a sweeping epic, encompassing over ten years in the lives of two people who know how to love with their bodies, how to please and get pleasure, to control and be controlled.  When it comes to the deeper meaning of the one word they both need however, their strong personalities get in the way. While their physical connection sizzles they continue to disappoint one another emotionally.
            Jack Gordon has it all--money, success, a string of women—but sustains a deep longing for something more. When he thinks he finds it with Sara Jane Thornton, his world is never the same again.  Sara releases his natural Dom, a side of him he'd thought buried out of frustration and unhappiness. Sara learns a true submissive must trust implicitly, something she cannot associate with him, no matter how many times she tries, and he fails.
            With a rich cast of secondary characters, including a young man who presents a near-perfect foil to Jack's intensity, and who falls hard for Sara; The Realtors series is a romantic saga with an emphasis on contemporary life and love, with a healthy dose of white-hot eroticism. Modern, busy, driven characters living lives of purpose and real-time stress, seek the ever-elusive and highly coveted combination --a friend, lover and trusted advisor who will be there for the long haul.

Floor Time
Jack Gordon is Ann Arbor's most delectable bachelor.  At age thirty-five, he's made millions as a top-selling Ann Arbor real estate broker and has the right connections to close a deal by any means necessary. With his rugged good looks and compelling personality, he has a virtual black book most men would kill for and he uses it often, never settling for one woman for very long. 
While his D/s past remains buried, exactly where he wants it, an undercurrent of boredom and dissatisfaction runs through his life now.  A disastrous experience years earlier made him swear off the whole scene, but the more Jack suppresses his natural Dom, the more his frustration grows.   
Sara Thornton, a rookie in the real estate game, has fast-tracked herself to the top of the Ann Arbor market. Her life reflects a disciplined and focused routine, exactly the way she wants it.  However, as her career takes off, the fulfillment she seeks remains inexplicably out of reach.  The one thing she knows for sure, she will not join the Jack Gordon groupies in her company, no matter how tempting that might seem.

Sweat Equity

Jack Gordon thought he’d finally made it.  He had a wildly successful career, money in the bank and even returned to his life as Dom, putting an end to a string of unfulfilling sexual encounters. Now that he's made the ultimate commitment to Sara Thornton, he believes all is right in their world. However, a series of misunderstandings and a dose of self-fulfilling prophesy bring his perfectly crafted house of cards tumbling down around him, forcing him to confront lingering misgivings about marriage and trust.  Could those be the only two things he can never achieve? 
Sara struggles with her intense need for Jack and her desire for less volatility in her busy life, two goals which appear to be mutually exclusive. Although willing to put in the time and emotional effort to make their relationship work, she finds it futile and frustrating, littered with clashes thanks to near-identical personalities and temperaments. Given Sara’s history, easing back into the comfortable status quo becomes easier than fighting a war with the one person who should be her safe haven. But will the easier choice satisfy her the way only Jack can? Is her "war" one that comes from without or within?
Buffeted by circumstance, temptation and distraction, Jack and Sara’s tenuous relationship crumbles, sparking a continuous quest for the ever elusive: trust, love and acceptance. By the time they rebuild a foundation for renewal, fate has other plans. This leaves them both reeling, once again questioning their destiny.

Closing Costs

Love conquers all? Not likely, according to Sara Thornton. She's spent eight years coming to terms with the new parameters of her life while resigning herself to the idea that “happily ever afters” are best left to fairytales.  Sales manager for her successful real estate office and juggling an added element of responsibility she never thought she'd face, Sara continues to struggle with the men in her life.  Love, for her, has only meant hurt, broken trust and anger; all of which she’s completely banished from her life, so she claims.
                Jack Gordon has come a long way since his early days of obsession with Sara.  As the general manager of Stewart Realty, his own level of responsibility for the well-being of others has ramped up. He’s even honed his caretaking skills, now that he has someone who loves him unconditionally. 
                Continuing to invest effort and rebuild their relationship, he and Sara grow close as friends. Despite this, his ultimate question remains unanswered; the one he keeps asking, no matter how many times she says no. Sara isn't prepared for the keen focus of his need--to have her back, once and for all. Her stubborn resistance nearly rips both lives apart

The epic conclusion to The Realtors series, Closing Costs brings Jack and Sara truly full circle. Proving that the heat of lust and obsession; the need for control and to be mastered in many areas of life can lead to love —surprising you when you least expect it – if you will only allow it.  


EXCERPT (from Book Two: SWEAT EQUITY )
 PG Rated

Sara smiled at the man next to her. He'd taken her world and yanked it into his orbit so hard and fast her head still spun some days. God help her she did love him. She put a hand on his sweat-slicked chest, and draped a leg over his. The smell of sex permeated the bedroom. She propped up on her elbow and touched his check. 

"Hmm?" his sleepy voice reminded her how much they both needed more shut eye having passed out rather than actually rested last night. He pulled her close. "I'm sorry," he muttered into her hair. "It's just." She nodded into his shoulder. "Shit week, you know. All this wedding talk is not my thing or something. I don't know. I do know I don't deserve you." 

"Yeah, that is true. Look, we still have dinner with my parents tonight. My dad is a know-it-all doctor. I dread having the two of you in the same room, frankly, but we have to do it. They're my family and they want to meet you." 

She felt him tense beneath her. 

"That's fine. I'll be on my best behavior. But I don't want him paying for any of this," he swept a hand towards the small table where she'd piled up magazines and spreadsheets of wedding planning paraphernalia. "I'm doing it. You're grown, not some little girl needing daddy's money anymore." 

She bit her lip. "If he wants to I'm not going to stop him. It's his prerogative. Can't you just go with it?" She sat up, swung her legs to the floor. 

Dear God he was so unbelievably stubborn! 

He sang the same song, different verse, every time. They'd fight, he'd make up by making love to her. She'd let him. They wouldn't talk about it. Again. 

Sighing she stood, stretched her sated and tingling body, her mind back on the massive list of shit to do today. Glancing over her shoulder, she allowed herself a long look at the man who would be her husband. His six-foot five-inch frame firm, legs and arms covered with a light dusting of black hair; torso mostly bare, but for a line of jet-black hair beneath his navel leading down to the part of his body that he had, apparently, shared with so many. Her eyes trailed up, to his firm, square jaw, in need of a shave. Her palm itched to reach out, feel the sandpapery rasp of it, keeping him real. 

Mine. 

How completely unreal this still seemed, even now after he'd given her yet another mind-boggling set of back-to-back orgasms. That should've been solid evidence he was there, with her, "hers" even. But he wasn't. That small voice in her head, the "Old Sara," with its nagging and worry, poked her psyche once again. You're too alike. It will never work. Jack's eyes opened, at the sound of his own light snore. His sleepy grin made her smile in spite of her heavy heart. 

She was no sap. Her own parent's relationship had made her a cynic to the extreme when it came to men. She knew it. She fully acknowledged her own emotional constipation. Yet, she let the man who currently held her heart in his large, talented hands tug her down onto the bed, into the circle of his arms. His skin, smell, and feel eased her as always. She closed her eyes, just for a few minutes. 


About the Author

Microbrewery owner, multi-published author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz brings years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse PLUS making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry) to her life as erotic romance author.  When she isn't sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.

Otherwise, look for her doing pounds of laundry for her athletic children, watching La Liga on the Fox Soccer Channel, or trying to figure out what to order in for dinner. Liz loves her Foo Fighters Pandora station, and watching reruns of Deadwood, when there isn't any decent sports on the telly (like during “golf season”).  Her beer blog a2beerwench.com is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high powered real estate offices.  Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.

Publishers include:
Tri Destiny
Ellora’s Cave
Decadent Publishing
Rebel Ink Press
Breathless Press

LINKS:

PRIZE INFORMATION: One random commenter at each stop will win either one of five $10 Amazon gift cards, one of three winner's choice of a book from Liz's backlist, or one of two $20 Zinterman's gift certificates. Zingerman's is an Ann Arbor institution, world famous for its gourmet deli items, breads and desserts all of which can be ordered and shipped ANYWHERE in the world. www.Zingermans.com.

You need to be sure to leave a question for Liz AND your email to enter to win






17 comments:

  1. I'm beginning to think I need to go to more Open Houses. Thank you for the great interview.


    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  2. thanks for having me Carrie Ann!

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  3. Hi Carrie Ann and Liz! Great interview again. Love the interaction between Jack and Sara during the interview.

    Marika

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  4. A writer and a brewer? Wow, I'm impressed! Confession from me, too: I don't read romance, either.

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  5. Adonis--I used to not...now I have some definite fav romance authors. But I'm picky....I have read some amazing ones this year for sure already! Probably the only genre I completely avoid is horror.

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  6. Since you've used your real life experience as a realtor in this set of books, do you plan to use your microbrewery experience for a new set? Lust Among the Hops?

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  7. Guess what Ann? I already have. The Brewing passion series is with Breathless Press (The Tap Room is a choose your romance novel). And my Ellora's Cave menage romance: Lust on Tap releases this year.
    thanks for asking.

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  8. Nice character banter in the interview!

    I see that each book is being released one month apart. Was that your plan/preference? Sometimes (actually OFTEN) I avoid series because of the long delays between releases or the long term committment required. It's nice knowing up front when they will be released and that they're so close together.

    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

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  9. Great interview and excerpts!

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  10. Hi! Wonderful post! Lots of great books! :) Thanks for sharing them! Do you find it easier to write at night or during the day? Do you write to silence or noise? Thanks!
    shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

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  11. I know I'm late, but my hubby brews his own beer too and would love this book! Great interview!

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  12. Hopefully I'm not to late. That was a great interview. Do you get really nervous right before a book comes out?

    Chris
    ceagles48218@yahoo.com

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  13. Liz, I'm very late, but wanted to let you know I loved Floor Time! And my condolences fellow UofL alum on our loss, but we still rock because we made it to the final four! Go Cards!

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  14. My question for Liz is: do you think you will incorporate brewing into a story sometime and publish that?

    bas1chsemail at gmail dot com

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  15. Great excerpts! Thanks...
    Yvette
    yratpatrol@aol.com

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  16. I find it interesting that you are a brewer. WTG!
    My question is do you find that people aren't as willing to buy your stories because they are written about realators instead of say rich millionaires or firemen?
    Z
    Seawitch Reviews @ yahoo.com

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