As y’all may remember in 2019, I ran the Character Names by Letter series every other week. When I was planning blog content for 2020, I decided I want to limit this year’s series to once a month, but make it more meaningful in the long run.
And thus *drumroll* 2020 will be the year of Author Interviews!
On the last Wednesday of each month in 2020, I will be hosting an author for an interview! These authors will range from indie friends I’ve made online to authors in my local area. Be sure to subscribe to never miss an interview!
And now, I have the pleasure to introduce M. Liz Boyle, author of the Off the Itinerary series! Her series is in the contemporary Christian YA genre.
Meet M. Liz Boyle!
Liz is an author, the wife of a professional tree climber and the mom of three energetic and laundry-producing children. She received her Associate’s of Arts at the University of Sioux Falls, where she received the LAR Writing Award for her essay entitled, “My Real Life Mufasa.” Liz once spent a summer in Colorado teaching rock climbing, which she believes was a fantastic way to make money and memories. She resides with her family in Wisconsin, where they enjoy hiking and rock climbing. Liz and her husband have also backpacked in Colorado and the Grand Canyon, which have provided inspiration for her writing. She likes making adventurous stories to encourage others to find adventures and expand their comfort zones (though admittedly, she still needs lots of practice expanding her own comfort zone). She has thoroughly enjoyed working on her first novel, Avalanche.
Interview with M. Liz Boyle, Author of the Off the Itinerary series
Q1: When did you first realize you love writing?
I remember writing a simple cartoon-style story about a ladybug named Sarah and a worm named Crawler when I was 7 or 8, and I really enjoyed making up their tales. As I grew, I worked on several other stories with more complex plots and characters. In high school I completely detested my AP Lit class, but then loved my later writing classes in high school and in college. When I began working on Avalanche, I completely loved it! The brainstorming and outlining, the writing, the editing – it gave me so much energy and I really looked forward to my writing time while my kids would nap. In short, I guess I’ve always loved writing (except for AP Lit, but when it was all said and done, I had to admit that it prepared me well for college writing!).
Q2: What inspired you to write Avalanche?
Shortly before I had the idea to write Avalanche, I read a book called Kalahari by Jessica Khoury. It’s about an unlikely group of teens in a string of deadly situations in Africa, and it really grabbed my attention. Then while making lunch for my kiddos one day after finishing Kalahari, the thought ‘They should write a book about a group of kids who survive an avalanche’ popped into my mind. I laughed at myself for thinking ‘they’ should write the book as I remembered a time when Jerry Seinfeld told Oprah about having dinner with Steven Spielberg and suggesting that ‘they’ should write a movie about bees. Spielberg jumped at the idea of Seinfeld writing the script, but Seinfeld joked that he didn’t say ‘I’, but ‘they.’ I guess I’ve always been interested in survival stories, classics like Wyss’ The Swiss Family Robinson and Hatchet and the Francis Tucket series by Gary Paulsen, so the idea to challenge a group a friends with a natural disaster intrigued me, and I was excited to become the ‘I’ who would write it, rather than pitching the idea to a ‘they.’
Q3: What writing project(s) are you currently working on?
At the moment, Avalanche’s sequel entitled Chased is with my beta-readers. When I’m not making edits to Chased, I’m getting a start on the outline to the third book in the Off the Itinerary series.
Q4: Which authors (inside or outside your genre) have inspired your writing?
Janice Thompson and Jenny B. Jones do a great job of getting inside the heads of their main characters and bringing out comic relief. I also admire how Toni Shiloh incorporates scripture into her plots. No matter which authors I read, I’m always hunting for words to incorporate in my vocabulary, so it’s fun to find words that I don’t regularly use from a variety of authors.
Q5: What are your go-to writing snacks?
I usually try to start with a healthy snack that won’t be messy by my keyboard, like yogurt and granola or grapes. Before too long though, if I have any Cheez-Its and/or chocolate on hand, you can be sure that I will enjoy those as well!
Q6: What is your favorite part about indie (self) publishing? What is your least favorite part?
My favorite part about indie publishing is that I can retain the rights to my work. I really like owning my work and having the final say regarding it. I think my least favorite part is just how daunting the whole process seems, at least the first time around. There is so much to learn and do, and it’s kind of like cleaning house in that the more you do, the more you realize is still left to do. So I’d say the intimidation factor is my least favorite part.
Q7: What advice would you like to share with first-time writers?
Read Navigating Indieworld by Julie A. Gerber and Carole P. Roman, watch YouTube videos by Abbie Emmons and Heart Breathings (thank you, Allyson, for those recommendations!), network with other authors in a similar genre, and stay positive. Identify your audience and reach out to them. Accept constructive criticism to make your works the best they can be. Brace yourself that not everyone will adore your writing, and try to not be discouraged by rejection. Keep your eyes on the prize!
Thank you for stopping by, Liz!
Connect with Author M. Liz Boyle at:
Check out her debut novel, Avalanche!
When fifteen-year-old Marlee Stanley joins her two sisters and the sons of their family friends on a secretive hike in the middle of the night, she is thrilled and nervous. Battling her conscience, she prays that the hike will go flawlessly and that they will return to the safety of their campsite before their parents wake. The start of the hike is beautiful and wonderfully memorable.
In a white flash so fast that Marlee can barely comprehend what has happened, an avalanche crashes into their path. Buried in packed snow, Marlee is forced to remember survival tips learned from her dad and her own research.
This group of friends, ages eleven through seventeen, is about to endure bigger challenges than many adults have experienced. Digging out of the packed snow is only the first of many challenges. Injuries, cold, hunger, fatigue, aggressive wildlife and tensions in the group make this a much bigger adventure than they ever imagined. As the kids strive to exhibit Christian values throughout the trials, they learn numerous life lessons. But they are nearly out of food, and their energy is waning quickly. How will they ever reach help?
View the book on Amazon!
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
What genre of author are you most excited to see here on Authoring Arrowheads this year? If all goes well, I hope to host authors of fantasy, contemporary YA romance, Christian fiction, and superhero/adventure!
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.