In the past 5 months I’ve read over a dozen Liz Crowe titles. I’ve come to many conclusions during my short, passionate, history with Liz’s books.
Some of it I will immediately love.
Some of it I will grow to love.
Some character I hated in a previous book will be resurrected in another book where I will be forced to confront all of my preconceived notions about them.
Some of it I will read, grow nearly rabid, consider flinging my beloved Kindle across the room (but then won’t because I’m not that kind of girl), and then dig back in lest I miss something I’ll eventually love.
Liz writes Relationship Fiction. Formula is not her thing. She’s a born critic (mostly of herself). She develops characters you cannot let go of (which she gratefully continues to write into another book or series because we are NEEDY and she is generous). She’s a married badass mama of 3. She co-owns a brewery (seriously…she does). She is slightly mad (in the best way).
Liz’s latest series, THE BLACK JACK GENTLEMEN, is set against a professional soccer expansion team in Detroit. (Never fear if you’re not a soccer fan…I’m not and have loved every book in the series.) While lovely when read in series order, each book stands alone beautifully. The series’ third book, SHUT OUT, releases today.
To know Liz and her books is to love them both. Start getting to know her better now. Without further adieu, we ask Liz the SAME TEN QUESTIONS WE ASK EVERYONE.
1. What is your favorite book?
Gone With The Wind for a lot of reasons. Mainly because it was the first “big book” I read (first read when I was fourteen) and also because so many of Mitchell’s phrases have stuck with me my entire life. And also because I wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara. She’s sort of a bitch. That works for me. I groove on how she and Rhett were so perfectly matched in their selfish, imperfection…and that ending? Loved it. No less than either of them deserved.
I don’t have time to re-read much. But this book I have read nearly a half dozen times, most recently a year ago, in a fit of frustration over my own inability to make certain scenes in my own manuscripts “work” for me. I adore its sweeping, epic, nature, and, as a Southern girl, the fake romance of the deep south appeals to me in a way that all unfortunate periods of human history tend to do.
And of course, Rhett Butler, who as my deep research shows was a role Clark Gable utterly resisted (and refused) for years.
2. Which of your characters was hardest to write? Why?
Um….funnily enough, it’s the one who is also the easiest: Jack Gordon, the main male protagonist of the Stewart Realty series (and who peppers the Black Jack Gentlemen series with his presence fairly regularly). Jack is very much my XY alter ego and because of that I let him be the guy I would be were I a guy—flaws and all. And sometimes that is hard to translate in a “guy” way. I try very hard to make all my male points of view valid and put them all through the ringer of various alpha male readers to make sure I’m on point with them. So far so good, I guess.
3. As a child were you a tomboy or princess? Have you changed?
I was this strange hybrid of both. I danced ballet from age 6 to 16, giving up for no really good reason other than I was, you know, 16, had a boyfriend and was tired of all the work it involved. I wish I hadn’t. At the same time, I was a total bookworm (I have been accused of reading while weeding the garden) and a sports fan. Not an athlete per se other than the ballet stuff which was pretty grueling but growing up in Kentucky more or less makes you a basketball fan (and my dad was a huge sports fanatic, although he was most definitely not an athlete, unless you count being a semi-pro opera singer and minister.). I dated the star of the football team for 2.5 years in high school and was in band so I was, more or less, a professional spectator. But it was cool because I did and still do LOVE sports (except golf…please).
4. Given unlimited time, what volunteer work most appeals to you?
Anything that helps families in need, be it food pantries, shelters for women and children or feeding the homeless like my downtown Ann Arbor church does once a week.
5. Which junk food can you not live without?
Alcohol and pizza, as my rear end expansion will tell you clearly.
6. Which motivates you more? Success or Failure?
Failure (the prospect of). I am a total “artist” on many levels, both as an author and with my brewery. I HATE LOSING. And I get jazzed up when I see anyone’s beer that is far inferior to my brewer’s get any sort of props (ditto for books). I am completely negatively motivated most of the time. And it was proven when I started my real estate career by taking one of those Meyers/Briggs tests for my broker, which declare me, straight up, as “Type A, negatively motivated.” So there you go.
7. Which character on Sesame Street do you like most? Why?
Oscar the Grouch. No excuses. No BS. Just listen to my wisdom and get the hell away from my garbage can, Bird.
8. What is your guilty pleasure?
Drinking alcohol and writing off the reservation while jamming to Nine Inch Nails.
9. What is your favorite television show of all time?
Deadwood. A glorious amalgamation of swearing, poetry and brutal frontier history, beautifully cast and acted and sorely missed. Close second: Mad Men for more reasons than I have time to even enumerate other than to say that Jon Hamm would be Jack Gordon in a cable show were he lucky enough to still be around once Stewart Realty makes it to cable.
10. What is your personal motto or philosophy?
God is great. Beer is good. People are Crazy. (Thanks Bill Currington who encapsulates my entire upbringing as a preacher’s kid who loves Bill Maher and her church with the same zeal—it helps that my minister loves Bill Maher too, but that’s just “Ann Arbor” for ya.)
Bonus: What do you want people to know about SHUT OUT?
That while it may seem like “just another BDSM novel,” it most definitely is not. The whole Dom/sub thing that has captured many a virginal imagination thanks to a particular series of books can be deceiving. Many people use it as an excuse to abuse. Shut Out starts out seeming like it will take one direction (a familiar one, and one that can be erotic and titillating or whatever) but you quickly learn that both Sophie and Brody come at their unique relationship with a shit ton of baggage thanks to their former BDSM “roles.” As with all “Liz books” you must shed your preconceptions about any sort of formula before entering and simply enjoy the journey.
Find Liz Crowe on the Intewebz
Great review! I think you nailed Liz and her books! 🙂