Liese Sherwood-Fabre

Please give a warm Kiss and Thrill welcome to debut author Liese Sherwood-Fabre!

Liese is originally from Texas but is a world traveler. She has lived in or visited Washington, D.C., Honduras, Mexico, and even Russia. She draws on that wealth of experience with other cultures and places to inject a unique, exotic flavor into her stories. After traveling the globe, she eventually settled down in her home state of Texas. You can visit her in cyber-space at her website.

Liese was kind enough to let me ask her a few questions, and she’s also giving away one copy of her debut release – SAVING HOPE – to one lucky commenter. SAVING HOPE is available for pre-order now, and releases on May 4, 2012.

Lena: Liese, thank you so much for joining us today on Kiss and Thrill. First order of business, how do you pronounce your first name? Lee-suh? Or Lease? Or some other variation?

Liese: The first. It’s a German spelling. Think “Liesel”—the oldest Von Trapp family child.

Lena: Your first book, SAVING HOPE, comes out on May 4th. Congratulations! What made you choose that title?

Liese: The story is about a Russian microbiologist whose daughter, Nadezhda—Hope–has a heart condition. It is about her struggle to save her daughter.

Lena: The cover copy for SAVING HOPE says the heroine is a micro-biologist who lives in Russia. What made you choose a heroine with that type of background? And why Russia? Does the entire book take place there or does it move around Europe or North America as well?

Liese: I worked and lived in Russia for five years (from 1994-1999). While working there, I read an article by Richard Preston in the March 9, 1998 New Yorker–“Annals of Warfare: The Bioweaponeers.” In it, he describes Iran’s recruitment of unemployed scientists from the former Soviet Union’s weapons laboratories—both biological and nuclear. My first thought was “why would someone accept such a job offer?” I gave my main character no job, a sick child, and friends with underworld connections—and Saving Hope was born.

It’s a different story in that it takes place in Russia with Russian characters (with the exception of one character).

Lena: (Readers, the gorgeous pictures in this post are pictures of places Liese visited in Russia. Enjoy!) Your story idea has a Robin Cook feel to me. Would you classify your novel as a medical thriller? What comparable authors might you compare it to?

Liese: It’s more along the lines of Martin Cruz Smith (Red Square; Gorky Park) only the law enforcement character (the FSB agent) is the second main character. It is definitely  Alexandra’s (the microbiologist) story.

Lena: What are some of your favorite books?

Liese: It’s easier for me to let you know what I’m currently reading:  First Love Cookie Club by Lori Wilde and Diane Kelly’s Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure.

Lena: Do you write in more than one genre?

Liese: I consider myself a woman’s fiction writer in the broadest sense. I enjoy writing about strong women who are able to overcome major obstacles. I have published several short stories. One appeared in Woman’s World (a straight romance) and another in an anthology for Girl’s Life (middle grade).

Lena: You have an awesome quote on your website for SAVING HOPE by Steve Berry. OH. MY. GOSH. That is so awesome! I would die for a quote like that. Care to share how you met Steve and garnered that quote? Or is it a state secret?

Liese: I was flabbergasted as well! I had heard him speak at the RWA National conference last year in New York and had read his Romanov Prophecy novel. When I started thinking about who I might ask for a quote, I decided to shoot big and go for someone who would appreciate a novel set in Russia, so I contacted him. His one request was that I  join the International Thriller Writers’ organization, which I did.

Lena: What’s next? (future books, novellas, special appearances you want to mention)

Liese: I am working on a second thriller. This one is set in Mexico and is loosely based on the Lori Berenson case. In mine, a young woman is arrested by the Mexican army and charged with terrorism—only in this case, the woman is the daughter of a U.S. Senator.

Lena: Any special awards or achievements you’d like to mention?

Liese: I’ve been very fortunate to receive several, but I guess I’m most proud of a short story, “Stranger in the Village,” I wrote that won first-place in The Briar Cliff Review. It was nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and my novel Heads Up, St. Anthony finaled in the 2008 Golden Heart.

Lena: What do you do for fun (besides write)?

Liese: I work full-time and have a family, so squeezing in writing time doesn’t leave much for other activities. I do enjoy movies, traveling, and reading.

Lena: Favorite romance ever?

Liese: Gosh, that’s hard. I would have to say Gone with the Wind. At its most basic, it’s the story of a woman in love with two men and can’t make up her mind which one she truly loves (Margaret Mitchell’s words, not mine).

Lena: Using only three words, describe the kinds of stories you write.

Liese: Women gaining power

Lena: Would you rather take a cruise or go white-water rafting?

Liese: I’ve been on a cruise and we had to cancel the one white-water rafting trip we arranged because of a family emergency, so I’ll pick the white-water rafting (as long as the water’s not too cold.)

Lena: Describe your perfect fictional hero.

Liese: Smart, funny, sensitive, and a killer bod.

Lena: We know that Kiss and Thrill is your favorite blog (ahem). Are there some go-to blogs you love to read that you want to recommend? 

Liese: I’m a member of a group of writers called “The Plotting Princesses.” The group formed as a way to help work on each others’ plots and other writing issues. You can check them out at http://plottingprincesses.blogspot.com/

Lena: What would your heroine in SAVING HOPE carry in her purse?

Liese: She’s a mom, so all the “mom things”—tissues, pen, paper, little candies.

Lena: Your hero from SAVING HOPE is sitting in a bar. A robber walks in and points his gun at the bartender, demanding all his cash. What does your hero do?

Liese: He’s in law enforcement, so he’d wait until the robber isn’t looking and pull out his service weapon and take the sucker down.

Lena: You’re  Neo (Keanu Reeves) in THE MATRIX. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) offers you the red pill or the blue pill. Which one do you take?

Liese: I’d go with the red because I wouldn’t like the idea of something else being in control of me. As hard as life is for those “awake,” the experience is real.

Lena: What would you do if Dirty Harry said, “Go ahead, make my day?”

Liese: Drop to the floor and wish to blend in with the carpet.

Thanks so much for being so gracious about answering all these questions, Liese. The Kiss and Thrill ladies wish you much success on your debut.

And now it’s Liese’s turn to ask the readers some questions.

Liese: Kiss and thrill, or Thrill and Kiss? Which is more important to you–the suspense/mystery/thriller aspect -or- the romance?

Comment on Liese’s blog post and you will automatically be entered in a drawing. One lucky US or Canadian commenter will win a free copy of SAVING HOPE. Drawing will take place Thursday morning.

Posted on April 3, 2012, in Guest blog, Lena Diaz and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. I’m a microbiologist (well, technically one still in training until I finish up my doctorate)… this is totally the book for me 😛

    Congrats on the new release!

  2. Love your interview and photos. Congrats on Saving Hope. I look forward to its release.

  3. Hi Liese, what a Faustian bargain! And as a health policy wonk, I’m intrigued by the bioterrorism twist. Is your book available for pre-order on Amazon?

    As to which is more important–suspense or romance–my answer is both 🙂

    Fun questions, Lena!

    • I’m not sure what Musa Publishing’s efforts are about pre-ordering. I do know it will be available through all the common sites–like Amazon. If you sign up for my newsletter, I’ll be announcing it there, plus when you sign up’ you’ll get an extra treat.

  4. Congratulations, Liese! It sounds great. Re romance or suspense–they’re both important but if I don’t care about the characters and the romance, I don’t care so much if they solve the mystery.

  5. Thrill and kiss. They need time to get to know each other and appreciate each other’s strengths. I like it when they fight for control and the hero finally admits she is as strong as he is. ie Eve and Roark by JD Robb.
    EMMA LANE
    DARK DOMINO-release date- April 6th.

  6. Hmmm, such a hard choice. For me, plot is always king, so, I’d say the suspense. But, romance, to me in some ways is a misnomer. Yes, there is romance as in the genre, but I don’t mean that. Every person has some degree of romance in their lives. We cannot live without it and it drives us no matter what we do. We thrive when we have it, we despair when we don’t, and great plans and leaders have oft been felled by a cunning woman or an affair.

    Any person who says they won’t read a romance is lying to themselves, for there is a rare person who is immune. All great books have romantic elements in them. Romance writers just are braver souls who admit what others are ashamed of, see it as a strength and not a weakness.

    In my suspense, I like women who don’t always need to be saved, aren’t just getting themselves in danger unnecessarily. I like when they are strong and dedicated, powerful, respected, and loved because of, not in spite of those attributes. Of course, an occasional damsel in distress is a fun alternative, but alpha females shouldn’t be so hard to find, or frankly, so hard to find an editor to buy.

    Great interview Lena and Liese! Thanks for stopping by Liese and please come back soon.

    Hugs,
    Diana Belchase
    http://www.DianaBelchase.com

    • Diana-I agree 100% about romance being everywhere. You probably couldn’t name a single blockbuster movie that doesn’t have romance in it. Every leading man has his leading lady. Yay for us romance writers who aren’t afraid to admit the truth.

  7. Such an interesting life and a cool interview, Liese! I’m not surprised you’re one of the Plotting Princesses. You all seem to be great writers and neat people as well. Now I know something about you AND Vicki.
    Congratulations on your books!
    Patti

  8. What a beautiful cover! I love the Russian type shadowed beneath the title. Best of luck!

  9. Congratulations on your new release, Leise! It does sound like a fascinating read. As for the kiss and thrill question, like Diana, I’d say that plot is king. But I am so much happier if there is a deep connection between the protagonists. I am often disappointed by the superficial “love story” in some books. Thanks for being with us today, and hey Lena, great job!

    • I agree totally, Carey. Skimming or skirting the relationship leaves an emotional void. Why is that people are okay with horror and bloodshed, but emotional content gives them the willies? LOL.

  10. Great interview Lena. Love the questions.

    Liese, welcome my pixie chick sister – so glad you are blogging with us today!

    Great question for us. Personally, I like a book that has the romance so inextricably tied to the suspense that the book would fall apart without one or the other. If given a choice between reading a straight thriller vs. reading a straight romance, I’d probably choose the romance because I know I will connect emotionally with the characters more than I do when reading thrillers. So I guess for me the answer is kiss and thrill – but I really prefer an even balance. 🙂

    • This really has been a good discussion. I’ve always loved a good mystery–a Nancy Drew fan from way back and they didn’t really have a lot of romance (although there were a few boyfriends around to help the girls out sometimes.) What I don’t like is when there’s a pause in the action just for a love scene–like the writer is meeting some requirement [put love scene here]. It has to be an outgrowth of the relationship between the characters. Personally, when I’m running for my life, sex would be the last thing on my mind.

      • Exactly! It’s important to have a balance so the relationship flows. I’ve read plenty of books with “insert love scene” here moments (usually because the h/h needed to get it on before the action started). The problem is, there was no natural chemistry built up between the characters because the scene was shoehorned into an unnatural place in the story. I’d rather skip the love scene and keep the chemistry.

  11. Depends on the author (oh, BTW, welcome Liese!)

    I’m all OVER Lisa Kleypas’ romances: Sugar Daddy and Blue Eyed Devil, and yet the short chapters, thoroughly researched plot and thrilling scenes of Dan Brown and chapter member/RITA nominee Amanda Stevens (The Restorer) glue me to my seat. Both types of stories will make me burn the dinner. (I say that’s the reason, maybe I just can’t cook.)

    What an impressive background and platform you have, Liese. Do you hope to make writing a full time career?

  12. Diane Ginther

    What a thrill – I actually know a published author! Liese, back in college we knew you would do great things, but of our group of friends I would have never picked you to be the most likely to write a book (you know who I thought it would be).

    Congratulations for making the leap to the big time.

  13. I really look forward to reading your book! ;o)

    As for your question, which is most important? All of it is important! ;o) Yes, each can stand on their own, but when you put them all together, you’ve got a great story!

    Suzan

  14. Hi Liese,
    Great interview! Sometimes I like the kiss and thrill and other times the thrill and kiss. Depends on my mood. 🙂 Good luck with your book!!

  15. Liese thanks so much for being with us. And thank you everyone who has commented so far. Remember, Liese is giving away a copy of her debut novel – SAVING HOPE – to one lucky commenter. The winner will be announced on Thursday.

  16. Great interview! I will have to check out the Plotting Princess Blog as plotting is a struggle! Best of luck with your novel, SAVING HOPE.

  17. Excellent interview, Liese. I enjoyed learning more about you and your novel Saving Hope. Best of luck.

  18. Nice interview Liese. Good luck with your new release!

  19. Great interview, ladies! Liese, congratulations on your upcoming release, and thanks for joining us today! I love the premise of your book, and especially liked reading how you came up with it.

    I consider myself a world traveler (mil brat and spouse), but I think you have me beat with Russia and Honduras!

    It’s definitely Kiss and Thrill for me. I love the thrills, but definitely want the kisses, which is why I read more romantic suspense instead of mainstream thrillers and mysteries these days. 😉

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