In conversation with... Liz Lawler (#2)

Hi Liz! After reading your most recent novel, I’ll Find You, I just had to catch up with your first book, Don’t Wake Up, and I’m here to take you down memory lane!

Can you please describe your journey to publication?

A: Firstly, thank you for inviting me to answer your questions, and I’m delighted to step down memory lane.

The path to publication would never have happened if it wasn’t for my darling mum. She rang me one afternoon and told me about a writing competition, which ‘Richard and Judy’ were running. I told her that I was done with writing and that I had a nice job. She told me in no uncertain terms that I’d be a fool if i didn’t enter it. Little did I know that this would be one of our last conversations. A week later she died suddenly and was buried on her 90th birthday. I returned home from the funeral with only days left till Christmas and with nothing prepared. While my family went out and bought a Christmas tree, I remembered our conversation and decided to take look at this competition – Richard and Judy searching for the next bestseller. I entered it with only a week to the deadline and was fortunate to be shortlisted, but I didn’t win. Six months later, Don’t Wake Up lay forgotten about on my very faulty laptop when I received an email from a publisher asking if I’d got an agent or a publisher yet. No, was the answer. I hadn’t looked for one. He then told me how much he enjoyed it. All of a sudden I was writing again.

How was the publication of your second novel different from the publication of your debut novel, if it was different at all?

A: Scarier if anything. I wanted to go into hiding on the day of publication and not surface for about a year, so as not to know of its outcome. I’m a real scaredy cat at times.

In both novels you have created a main character that might be described as unreliable. How do you make your readers doubt where the truth lies?

A: I really try and feel what my characters are feeling, and imagine being in their shoes and what I would do if something terrible happened that no one will believe. Not being believed must be the most horrendous thing to endure. To have no one to turn to would rock the stability of your mind. It would make one so isolated. In Don’t Wake Up I have probably pressed the limits of what a person should or could endure, trying to imagine such horrors.

Your first two novels are set in Bath and the city is almost like a character in its own right. Would you ever set a book in a location you are not familiar with?

A: Bath is a stunning city, and if you ever get the chance to visit I’d love to show you around. I think I’d very much enjoy setting a story in an unfamiliar setting, but I would have to visit it and maybe even stay there so that I can see it through the eyes of my characters. 

The covers of your books look great independently and even better when placed next to each other. Did you have any input at all in their design?

A: The covers are completely down to the talented team of the publisher, but they showed me them at various stages and I loved what they did.

I am also intrigued by titles and I wonder whether the choice was yours. Whether it was or it wasn’t, did you have a working title that was different to the final one or that maybe changed several times while you were writing?

A: Don’t Wake Up was originally called ‘Awakened’, but I’m very happy the publisher suggested its new title. We had a list that then became a short ist until the right one was chosen. I’ll Find You was chosen by little old me.  

How is your next novel coming along? I am very much looking forward to reading it!

A: I am just putting the finishing touches to it before sending it to the publisher to read. So fingers crossed they like it! 

And because I am curious about other people’s choices… What are you reading at the moment?

A: I finished just last night The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn and loved it! 

Thank you again for your time! 

A: It was my pleasure.

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