Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Authors On The Rise Interviews Liane Spicer

Authors On The Rise is happy to bring you an interview with Liane Spicer, author of, Cafe au Lait. If you have not read the book, please visit the links provided below to buy a copy.

AOTR: Please tell us about yourself and your book.

Liane: I taught English for many years, then left to follow my dreams. Was I in for a ride! Apart from completing and publishing Café au Lait I've worked as a newspaper editor, human resource manager and company administrator, each in a different country. There's a certain exhilaration in not knowing exactly what lies ahead; I thrive on that.

Café au Lait is the story of two good people who find each other and fall in love but are unable to trust what they feel. Michael has a legacy of a cheating ex-wife; Shari is haunted by an ill-fated love affair and the plane crash that killed her best friend. After his scandalous divorce Michael loses himself in his work and tries to keep his hands off of Shari, but their desire for each other is too strong. To complicate matters, they're beset by one enigma after another. Why the flashes of déjà vu when they are together? What is the true connection between Michael and the sultry Zoë who does not even try to mask her hatred for Shari? And was the death of Michael's parents really an accident? Dogged by shadows and secrets, their paths crisscross on the island as they try to untangle the threads that draw them together and keep them apart.

AOTR: How did you come up with the idea to write Cafe au Lait?

Liane: Back when I was teaching my colleagues and I often bemoaned the fact that we never saw romances that featured people of color. When Kensington Publishing started the Arabesque line of AA romances I said to myself: You've always had this dream of being a writer. What better way to begin than with a multicultural romance? Once I made that decision the story began to take shape in my head. As for the setting - it had to be my homeland! Café au Lait celebrates the triumph of love, but it also celebrates the beauty of the Caribbean islands I call home.

AOTR: How long did it take to write Cafe au Lait?

Liane: The first draft took about three months, but then I put the project aside for years while other priorities took over my life. When I got back to Café au Lait I added four chapters and deepened the story so it did not end at the wedding-and-happily-ever-after point. It was at this stage that the mystery and suspense really emerged, and this provided the twists and turns that made the novel evolve from a simple boy-meets-girl romance into a more complex portrayal of a contemporary relationship.

AOTR: Did the story just come to you or did you have to write out a plot and follow it?

Liane: I began with the setting (Caribbean) and the characters. Once I knew who the hero and heroine were, the story revealed itself to me and I wrote a rough outline. The story soon grew beyond the outline and took on a life of its own.

AOTR: How did you go about publishing your book? Was the publishing process tough or smooth for you?

Liane: It's always tough. Most writers start out knowing nothing about the business of publishing, which is a very different animal from the craft of writing. I had a lot to learn and set about researching with a vengeance. I acquired an agent within months of beginning the query process and she sold the novel to Dorchester Publishing within a year.

AOTR: Explain to us how you felt when you saw your finished book for the first time.

Liane: It's almost indescribable, that feeling of achievement, that this story you conjured out of thin air now has a corporeal life in books on shelves all over the world, and a spiritual life in the minds of its readers. Transitioning from 'writer' to 'author' is a dream come true and an honor I don't take lightly.

AOTR: What is the best advice you would give to aspiring authors?

Liane: Learn your craft. Read widely. Do your research before ever sending out a query so you learn the protocols of the publishing industry.

AOTR: What authors inspired you as a writer?

Liane: Maya Angelou, Erica Jong, Arundhati Roy, Georgette Heyer, Zora Neale Hurston, Rosa Guy, Baroness Orczy, Shakespeare! Many, many more.

AOTR: Can you tell us what you are currently working on?

Liane: I've completed my second contemporary romance, Give Me the Night. I've also finished the first draft of a memoir on raising my son and I'm quarter way into my first mainstream novel.

AOTR: When it's all said and done what do you want your legacy to be?

Liane: I'd like my legacy to be a body of work that reflects the things I hold dear. The romance and romantic suspense novels come from the part of me that flies in the face of my own cynicism: that's the part that believes transformational, incandescent, committed love between a man and a woman can and does exist. Then there's the memoir that preserves treasured parts of my life such as the years I spent raising my son. I love being a mom! Finally, the mainstream book(s) in which I grapple with stories about women and their conflicts and challenges in the context of their family history and society.

AOTR: How can readers find out more about you and your books?

Liane: My website/blog: I've linked reviews, interviews, writing sites, books for writers and more on the site. I'm also on Facebook.

AOTR: Thank you for taking time to chat with us! We wish you much success!

Liane's 10 favorite things:

Cartoon as a child: The Pink Panther!

Social network: Facebook, but it's a love-hate relationship.

Pastime: Reading, hands down. I also enjoy blogging, hiking and growing roses.

Friend or family member. Why? I won't name my favorite family members because that might start fights and name-calling, so... Favorite friends are D and M: D because she has no artifice, no guile, no facade, no agenda. I'm glad there's one of her in this world. M on the other hand was my muse for Michael, the hero in Café au Lait. He's the sexiest man I know, a good listener and a kindred spirit.

Junk food: My Hooters staple! Clam chowder, chicken strips and celery stalks with blue cheese dip.

Word: All words, all language. I get excited over the Greek roots of words, the origins of expressions. I flirt with strange words, have secret affairs with them, seduce them into my writing, and get intimate with them. My father recently taught me a new one and it's my current favorite: callipygian, which means having shapely buttocks. :)

Song: Probably A Lovely Day by Bill Withers, closely followed by Sting's Shape of My Heart, Memory from Cats and Michael Bolton's version of Georgia on My Mind.

Quote: "Not all who wander are lost." - Tolkien

Year: I can't single out one. Two that come to mind are the year I gave birth to my son and the year Café au Lait was released. The year I got my agent was pretty cool too. I try to make each year count, to live and grow and learn and achieve no matter what the circumstances.

Time of day: The night! I'm definitely nocturnal.

Liane Spicer
Author of CAFÉ AU LAIT (Dorchester Publishing)
Co-coordinator of the Novel Spaces author group

Monday, December 6, 2010

Book Pick For December

Authors On The Rise Book Pick For December Is: "Pious" by Kenn Bivins

Five out of five stars for "Pious", a novel by Kenn Bivins.


Mechi Lane is a family oriented neighborhood that anyone would be proud to reside in.
The people in this close knit community look out for one another and are hardworking and sociable. However, behind the facades and closed doors, the citizens are not who they portray themselves to be.

Carpious Mightson is the cornerstone in this loving community. To his neighbors, he is a man of integrity. He is a role model and father figure to his girlfriend Sydney’s eight-year old son, Solomon. He’s even known to extend a helping hand with his neighbor’s daughter Haleigh. But when his cunning ex wife Alethea returns, and a registered sex-offender move onto Mechi lane, Carpious well hidden past is in jeopardy of being exposed; and he will do whatever he must do in order to stop it.

Debut author, Kenn Bivins, has penned a solid, engaging novel. This book had me enthralled by the suspenseful cliffhangers. Just when I would be about to put the book down (Due to everyday life issues) something would occur that would keep me glued to the pages. I wanted to see how Mr. Bivins would tie everything up. At first, I did not understand why Carpious behaved in the manner that he did, but then the author gave us a glimpse into his turbulent past that was a real tear jerker. It made me understand why Carpious did what he did, no matter how heartless it seemed.

The secondary cast of characters was exciting to read about too. Alethea made me laugh with her realistic dialogue. I enjoyed the story with Lela too. I rooted for her and applauded her at the end of the novel for making the decisions she did. I do hope the author will bring Lela and Alethea back in another book so I can see what became of them.

I highly recommend Pious. It is an outstanding novel that will make you meditate on who you are, or are pretending to be long after the last word.

Reviewed by AOTR book reviewer: Christi Baker


Carpious Mightson is not who he appears to be, wearing the guise of a handsome leader of virtue. He seems friendly, loving, hard working, and God-fearing. Little do his neighbors, co-workers, and girlfriend know that almost two decades ago, he was serving a twenty-year sentence for murder.

When Ian Kaplan, a registered sex-offender, moves into the family-friendly community of Mechi Lane, the home owner’s association “volunteers” Carpious to compel Ian to put his house back on the market and leave.

While Carpious is struggling to maintain his secret, Alethea Mightson, Carpious’ addict ex-wife, resurfaces in an attempt to get money from him. In her desperation, she threatens to expose his past to everyone if he doesn’t comply.

A new murder occurs as Carpious’ composure begins to spiral out of his control, and all that he has built threatens to topple. Will the consequences of new sins expose the old ones? (less)


Kenn Bivins is an Art Director at one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. He has worked as an illustrator and designer in many mediums that include comics, magazines, animation, and interactive media. Even though his background is layered in the arts, Kenn has always been a writer.

He states, “Even if I’m simply illustrating a cat, there is a story in my head about that cat – how he moves, why his tail is so bushy, whether he sleeps on a windowsill or under a bed, and so on. Words aren’t the only means to tell a story.”