Have I mentioned lately how much I love authors? I love authors of all kinds but especially the authors that land here one way or another. I first met Liz Flaherty and our email went directly to the umbrella of women’s fiction — and I asked if her book was women’s fiction or romance. She made such a good case for it sort of being both, that I asked if she’d discuss this often blurry line with me on Women’s Fiction Writers. And she did!
Liz Flaherty is the 40th author to be featured this year! That’s right, so far we’ve had 40 authors and over 20,000 visitors since March 2011. And of those 20,000 visitors more than half of those were unique visitors. (Yes, I think you’re ALL unique, don’t worry!) That means more than 11,000 times someone has come to this blog to read or lurk or comment or hang out.
That’s awesome. But it’s only half as awesome as Liz’s insights on women’s fiction and romance and the cover of her latest book, ONE MORE SUMMER.
Please welcome Liz Flaherty to Women’s Fiction Writers!
Author Liz Flaherty Talks About Women’s Fiction, Romance and E-Publishing
LF: ONE MORE SUMMER is the romance of Dillon Campbell and Grace Elliot. Their story picked at, pulled at, and shredded my heart with the writing of it. It’s also the story of Grace and her best friend, Promise Delaney. Writing it picked at, pulled at, and shredded my heart. That, in a nutshell, explains the straddling of the line to me. The fact that the relationship of best friends affected me as strongly as the romantic one in the book—and that I most sincerely hope it involves readers in the same way—makes Grace’s journey a true genre-jumper.
ASN: I think that so many aspiring women’s fiction authors worry about categorizing their novels. And where is that line for you? What would have made ONE MORE SUMMER a “true” romance?
LF: I think I’m more annoyed than worried. Most of us just want to write our best book and readers just want—and deserve—to read our best work. I categorize ONE MORE SUMMER as a romance because, in all honesty, that’s how my publisher sees it. If Grace and Promise’s story was a less integral part of the book, it would be a “true” romance, but Grace would also be a very different woman than what she is. I don’t think I would have liked her as much.
ASN: Would you consider your book Women’s Fiction with Strong Romantic Elements or a Romance with Strong Elements of Women’s Fiction? And – does it matter to you?
LF: I consider ONE MORE SUMMER a Romance with Strong Elements of Women’s Fiction. And no, it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t want to read romances without strong elements of women’s fiction in them, and my favorite women’s fiction titles have some romance in there, too. I feel the same way about what I write.
I have been reading romance novels since Harlequins were 40 cents apiece. I’m not sure when that was, but it’s been a while! The gradual emergence of women’s fiction storylines or subplots in romance novels was—to me—a growing up of the romance genre. As lovely as true love and happily ever after is, we still need girlfriends, sisters, and just women we talk to stall-to-stall in the restroom.
ASN: On Women’s Fiction Writers we feature and focus on traditional publishing — and your publisher is an e-publisher. Another fuzzy line! What have your experiences been publishing with an e-publisher? Can you explain how it’s different from self-publishing?
LF: When I first stuck my toes into e-publishing water, it was an iffy prospect. My second book, BECAUSE OF JOE, has been published three times because two of the publishers went under very quickly. However, e-publishing is a much bigger fish in that water than it used to be, and getting bigger all the time. My experiences with e-publishers have been positive, as have the ones with traditional publishing. I’ve been blessed with superb editors. If anything, the personnel with the e-publishers have been more available and quickly responsive, but that could be just my perception, too.
I can’t address the differences because I haven’t tried self-publishing, although I’m not opposed to it. The only reason I haven’t self-published my first book, ALWAYS ANNIE, is that I’m inherently lazy and don’t want to learn how to do it.
ASN: What is your definition of women’s fiction?
LF: Well, we’ve been talking about the line between women’s fiction and romance, so I’m going to jump over it again. Romance is often classified as fiction written “by women, about women, and for women.” Obviously there are exceptions to that, but it covers a lot of territory. And it works for me in women’s fiction, too. At the risk of gender-bashing, I’m quicker to pick up a book written by a woman than by a man and much more likely to be satisfied by the reading of it. Although I don’t necessarily demand a happily-ever-after, nor do I want the UNhappily-ever-after I’ve found to be prevalent in fiction written by men.
Amy, thank you so much for having me. Women’s Fiction Writers is one of my favorite blogs and I am so excited to be here—I feel as though I’m doing a guest shot on The View. Surely Whoopi and Barbara will be calling me any day now!
Liz Flaherty retired from the post office in 2011. Worried about what she was going to be when she grew up, she kept writing and started college with the ultimate goal of having a good time. So far, that’s working out just fine.
She lives in Indiana with her husband of 40 years and never, ever brags about their grandchildren, the Magnificent Seven.