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Ruby Tuesday! Meet Lizzie Shane

Hello everyone! Welcome to the first Ruby Tuesday on the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Blog “Reboot”! On the first Tuesday of each month, we will spotlight a Ruby by interviewing her about her books/life or both. If there are any new releases or events going on for a Ruby during the rest of the month, they will post about it on Tuesdays as well. 

So join me in welcoming our first Ruby Tuesday Ruby – Lizzie Shane!

Lizzie Shane first started her writing career publishing paranormal romance as Vivi Andrews back in 2009, but has since rediscovered her love of contemporary romance.  Between her two pen names she has written over 30 novels & novellas.  A Golden Heart winner, 3-time RITA finalist, and Jeopardy! contestant, Lizzie calls Alaska home and uses the long winter nights to cook up more romance.  And now, let’s get to the interview!

 

Thanks for being our first Ruby Tuesday Ruby, Lizzie! Can you tell us about your new book coming up?

I am so thrilled to be part of Hallmark Publishing’s Countdown to Christmas this year!  My new book, A Royal Christmas Wish, comes out next week and it’s my first release with Hallmark.  I’m kicking off their slate of Christmas novels – and keeping my fingers tightly crossed that they might decide to make it into a Hallmark Channel movie one of these days!

In A Royal Christmas Wish, my heroine Jenny is struggling to find her place in the world when she makes a wish for a “fairy tale Christmas” and wakes up married to an actual prince!  Unfortunately she has no idea how to be a princess and mishaps ensue…but her prince charming makes it all worthwhile. Until she learns the magic has an expiration date and has to figure out how to keep the real love – and the self-confidence – she’s found inside the fantasy.

Wow! That sounds like so much fun! Were there any scenes that were difficult to write?

Honestly, this book was quite a challenge. I wanted to satisfy Hallmark fans’ expectations – including my gran (who was a huge Hallmark fan).  The last thing I wanted to do was disappoint them!  Also, since a large chunk of the book is Jenny-inside-the-wish it made the most sense for the book to be entirely from her perspective – which meant writing in first person, a new challenge for me.  Ultimately I’m very happy with how it turned out (and I hope readers will be too!), but there were definitely some fits and starts as I was trying to hone in on the right voice for Jenny and find my feet in first.

A Christmas book? That makes me wonder what your favorite holiday is.

It’s probably not surprising, given the sheer number of Christmas books I’ve written (this is my sixth!), that my favorite holiday falls on a certain day in December.  There’s just something so magical about the season.  I love the decorations, the music, wrapping presents, baking cookies, watching cheesy Christmas movies – all the trimmings of the season.  The day itself isn’t really what it’s about for me.  It’s all about the build-up, the anticipation that seems to saturate the entire season – and the feeling that people are taking the time to think about one another, spend time together, and put a little more love into the world.  I love it.

What is your writing process?

I am a giant nerd because I love my process.  I feel like I’ve honed it into something that really works for me.  (And knock-on-wood it continues to do so!) 

It’s starts with a kernel – a little flicker of an idea that rolls around in my head, getting bigger like a magnet collecting metal shavings, until it’s taking up enough space in my head to be distracting me from what I need to be working on.  Then it earns a spot in my phone.  I have a notes app where I have a brainstorming file for each of my plot bunnies (usually at least 10 going at any given time).  I brain-dump everything I have about the idea into that notes file and every time I think of something that applies to that story, I add it to my notes. (Like “what if Jenny had a rescue dog named Prince Harry and Dom is distantly related to the British royal family?”)  This can go on for days or weeks or years. (Literally.) When the notes app files get too huge, I transfer them over to a new notes doc for that book on my computer – and I always do this manually, typing each idea into the new doc so I can make sure they all still have a cohesive vision (since I probably already changed my mind forty times about what her roommate’s name was).

When it’s time to start the book, I take that notes doc and organize it into a bullet outline, organizing all the various snippets and scene ideas into a story structure that emphasizes characters arcs and turning points.  Then I open a new doc and just write.  The outline is my road map – but it’s always in a separate file so I can ignore it when things get flowing and I need to take a little detour to explore something.  I write the entire first draft from start to finish (which can take anywhere from three to ten weeks depending largely on the length of the book).  Then I have to ignore it completely for at least three days (a week or more is ideal) – before coming back and reading through it again with fresh eyes, tweaking & polishing as I go.  Then it’s ready to go to my editor or beta readers!  Simple, right?  😉

LOL! Nothing is simple about writing! Do you have a place where you like to write?

I don’t actually have one specific spot.  For me, the important thing is that I can change locations when I get stuck – and that I’m either alone or with people I know are ignoring me. (How can people write with someone watching them or talking back when they talk to their characters? I can’t do it.)

I keep my laptop beside my bed, so sometimes when I’m writing a first draft, I’ll wake up, sit up, grab my lap desk and start writing before I’m even out of bed.  Then when my initial burst of energy dwindles, I’ll move to restart my brain.  I love taking my computer out to lunch with me – the drive almost always shakes something lose I’ve been snagged on and I’ll get another rush of words while I’m downing diet coke and sandwiches.  Really it all boils down to physically moving when I’m stuck – whether it’s just moving from the bed to the desk, taking a short drive to a new writing location, taking a break to go to the gym, or taking a shower.  (Why do the best ideas always come in the shower?)

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

What’s funny is that I’m not sure I always wanted to be a writer, but I think I always was a writer, if that makes any sense.  I started making up character bios and narratives for my Playmobile toys when I was six. There were times when I chased other career paths, but I was always telling stories in my head and making the decision to pursue writing felt like embracing an identity I’d always had.

What is your biggest dream?

Do I have to pick just one?  I love movies (and plays!), so I would love to have an idea of mine adapted for performance.  How amazing would that be to see?  To have your ideas have that kind of reach?  I’d love to hit a list because that still feels to me like “making it” even though the industry has changed a lot over the years and metrics of success keep changing too. I want to see a stranger reading one of my books in public (which is harder since so many of them are digital, but it is totally gonna happen one day!).  And I’d love to meet Chris Evans and have him star in a film I wrote – which is clearly the most realistic of my dreams, but you’ve gotta go big, right?  Dream on a major scale.  You never know when some magical fairy-godmother-type is gonna show up to grant your wish.  😉

You’re right. “Go big or go home” pertains to dreams too! Thanks so much for answering our questions, Lizzie! And now for the blurb and how to buy your fabulous new book!

A ROYAL CHRISTMAS WISH

Nobody does royal romance or Christmas like Hallmark!

Enjoy the enchanting original novel from Lizzie Shane.

Jenny knows she isn’t the princess type. Sure, she’s friendly and caring, but with her clumsiness and lack of self-confidence, glass slippers would only make her trip. When Dom, the cute guy she runs into in the park, turns out to be the prince of San Noelle, she figures he must not be her happy ever after.

But a mysterious countess grants Jenny’s one wish, and she finds herself married to this handsome prince! Unfortunately, at the stroke of midnight on Christmas night, her life will go back to normal.

In funny and touching ways, Jenny navigates royal traditions the best she can. But even as she grows closer to Dom, the clock is ticking. With love and a little holiday magic, could she somehow make the enchantment last forever?

Coming September 10th!

Pre-order now: Apple ::  Amazon ::  B&N :: Walmart :: Target  

To learn more about Lizzie and her books, visit her website.

And Lizzie will be with us all day today, answering your burning questions about her book, writing for Hallmark, or any other thing you can think of.  What would YOU wish for if you had one Christmas wish?

27 responses to “Ruby Tuesday! Meet Lizzie Shane”

  1. Congrats, Vivi on the new release and all you’ve accomplished over the past ten years. I’m so proud of you, sister!

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  2. Heather McCollum says:

    Lizzie, this sounds like so much fun! The perfect book to read as the holiday season starts up (holiday season being September – January, LOL!).

    Huge congratulations!

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  3. Elizabeth Langston says:

    Yay, Lizze. Good luck and we’re all channeling “Make this a movie!”

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  4. June says:

    Congratulations on your 1st (of many, I’m sure) Hallmark release!!! You know what a HUGE fan I am of you and of Hallmark, so I’m getting the best of both worlds here. I can’t wait to read it!

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  5. Kim Law says:

    I’m a tad envious of your process. It just feels so drama free. (And mine are never that way!) I also love this dream…”see a stranger reading one of my books in public.” Yes!!! I think I’d become a blubbering idiot and probably hug that stranger, lol. I hope you see your stranger soon!!! 🙂

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  6. Darynda Jones says:

    What a GREAT interview! OMG I’m so excited about the book. I love Christmas stories. Love love love. And I love how you describe your writing process, Lizzie.

    Thank you for being our first Ruby!!!

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  7. Congratulations on the new release! I’m so excited for you!! And I loved reading about your process. I use my phone’s notes app for shopping lists and other things, but never thought about it for plot notes. Duh! LOL I tend to use paper and pencil and fill up notebooks, but then it’s hard to track down those notes later. I might have to try this. 🙂

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    • I used to use notebooks too, but then I realized I was finding awesome notes I’d made months after I’d written the book and left all that stuff out. This way I’m much more organized. Hope it works for you too!

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  8. Tamara Hogan says:

    Congrats on the upcoming release! And thanks so much for sharing some information about your writing process. I think even among the Rubies, we’d find dozens of process variations – all of which work for the person writing the book. Thanks for the reminder that moving, at least occasionally, can help! 🙂

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  9. Liz Talley says:

    Sounds so fun! I can’t wait to read it. Such a cute premise 🙂

    I, too, find that if I’m stuck a change of scenery works best. I have no true process, but I find I write different books in different locations. I once wrote an entire book in bed. I mean, I got up and stuff, but that was my writing place. It’s fun to see how different yet similar writers can be.

    So I have a question – will you continue writing “royal” books for Hallmark? Could this book be a series?

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    • Hi Liz! I would love for it to be a series and I’d love to do more royal books for Hallmark, but no news yet on when or exactly what that follow up would be. More things to keep my fingers crossed for! 🙂

      Will Down Home Christmas be as series?

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  10. Gwyn says:

    Pre-ordered in print (I just can’t do digital. Reading on a screen is too much like work, I guess.) Love how your process is so back-burner at first; any good soup or stew has to simmer for a while to get the flavors to blend, and what is a story but a blend of ingredients coming together to satisfy? I, too, hope to see this one on the Hallmark Channel in the near future. It sounds like a winner. Whoot!

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  11. CONGRATULATIONS, LIZZIE !!

    I am so looking forward to reading your wonderful Christmas book! AND I am looking forward to seeing it made into a Hallmark movie. I am putting that out in the Universe for you. It WILL happen! Your process is a bit like mine, but you are more technologically savvy than I am. I write all of my little bits, bobs, and snippets onto index cards. I keep a separate card box for each story idea. Once I think I am ready to write the book (and sometimes I am wrong!) I pull down the index card box and try to arrange all of the cards into some sort of order.

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  12. This is exciting, Lizzie. Congrats on your Hallmark book (and possibly future movie!) Did you have any input on the cover? I also was fascinated by your writing process and how you percolate so many ideas.

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