|Birmingham-based author Liza Elliott
If you’re a blogger, author, or poet you need to be at Little Professor Book Center on Sunday at 1:45 p.m. Birmingham-based author Liza Elliott is hosting a B.A.P. (Bloggers Authors and Poets) Mixer for local writers. This event is a great chance to meet other Birmingham-area literary artists.
Elliott is the author of 30-A Supper Club (Red Camel Press), which follows sociologist Harley McBride on her quest to identify a gold coin she finds on a Florida beach near County Road 30-A. McBride’s search leads her into a murky world where her longtime friends and members of the 30-A Supper Club protect deep family secrets dating back to the Civil War. A complicated pursuit of the true meaning of the coin begins drawing Harley into secrets about illicit affairs, murders, and more.
Read on to get to know Elliott and be sure to come out to Little Professor on Sunday.
30-A Supper Club seems very different from books you’ve written in the past. What was the inspiration for this novel?
The beach. On my first trip to Cape Cod when I was a child, I fell in love with the sand and water, the thrill of digging out a partially hidden shell, and the ever-changing sound of the sea, from big waves to gentle slaps on the shore.
A few years ago, I was strolling along the beach in Seagrove Beach, Fl, and thought, “What if I discovered a gold coin in the sand? How did it get there? What if it was old?” Then, I began to imagine the theme of the book. What if identifying the coin led to lost Confederate gold? By the end of my walk, I had the plot.
Tell me about your writing process. Do you write daily? Do you write in a certain place or at a certain time of the day? What do you use to keep yourself inspired?
I write everyday in my home office and prefer the early morning. In the afternoon, I critique my draft, make notes, and problem solve story dilemmas.
All my characters have bios, which I hand-write on an index card. These have details such as hair and eye color, where they went to school or college, their occupations, their hometowns and favorite music, sports teams or movies — in short, a brief back story. I tack them on a bulletin board, which hangs over my desk.
As for what inspires me, it is people, their stories and the contexts of their lives. How persons individually, in a community, or in a society, interact alone and together under a variety of circumstances presents endless story possibilities. The true ones are often more fantastic than any made up story. So I listen to or read about people with stories of good times, bad times, heroism, or foolishness. Mix it all up and voilá — a story.
Why did you decide to publish 30-A Supper Club with a small press?
Small presses take risks. That is their strength. They give new writers a chance to showcase works that might be a potential mass audience blockbuster, but more often are smaller niche market books. In addition to working with the writer to produce the best manuscript possible, a small press will handle the details of the cover, the ISBN, and so forth.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing?
Self-publishing, to me, is no different than a musician setting up his or her own label and producing their own albums, CDs, and singles. Many A-list actors set up their own production companies to write, star, and direct. Each succeeds on the basis of the quality of the work and their efforts. Technology and the Internet has made this possible for writers. Writers should explore all options and decide what is best for them.
The B.A.P. Mixer is a great networking opportunity. Why do you think it’s so important for writers to meet and build relationships with other writers?
It is always good to see what is going on in one’s field. The energy from discussions of all sorts of topics can inspire and motivate those who participate. Writers can exchange thoughts on new styles of writing, the future of ebooks, and so forth. Being part of a community of writers reduces the sense of isolation writers sometimes feel. Writing is solitary work. Knowing you can call another writer for input, problem solving, or just to vent about something is valuable.
|Liza Elliott will host a mixer for bloggers, authors, and poets
Sunday at Little Professor Book Centers in Homewood.
Do you think Birmingham is a good city for writers?
A writer can be anywhere and write about anyone or anything. That said, Birmingham is a good city for writers. It has a complicated rich history that can be mined for great stories.
Birmingham still has bookstores, from the big chains to important independent bookstores with loyal customers and supporters. Professional recognition and support between local writers and local bookstores can be a match made in heaven.
Birmingham also has a terrific literary magazine, the Birmingham Arts Journal, edited by author Jim Reed. He is the godfather of writers around here and is a longtime leader in the Alabama Writers Conclave.
The Birmingham branch of the National League of American Pen Women, of which I am a member, is a longstanding organization of women writers, artists and musicians where collaboration, exchange and support has existed for many years. Its national scope and activities helps local writers reach a national audience.
With coffee shops to suit your every mood, universities, sports fields, museums, concert halls, small club venues for music, theatres for plays and dance, there is no shortage of settings, people, and activities, here, that can inspire a writer from non-fiction to fantasy, and everything in between.
Join Liza Elliott for The B.A.P. Mixer Sunday, May 19 from 1:45 to 3 p.m. at Little Professor Book Center, 2717 18th St. South in Homewood. A light brunch will be served.