Q&A Interview with Lissa Pelzer

I am very excited to welcome Lissa Pelzer
 to my blog page after reading No More Birthdays and giving it a 5 star review. Lissa has kindly offered to take part in my Q&A Interview…. So without further ado here is Lissa Pelzer

Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I’m from North Wales originally, but at 16 went to Ohio as an exchange student and essentially didn’t come back until I was 23. After coming back and going to university to study anthropology, I landed a graduate scheme job in Canary Wharf, writing copy, content and romance stories for extra cash. Six years later, I’d really had enough of the lifestyle and the debt it was creating and ditched it to try and start a winter season nanny agency business in the French Alps. I tagged along from there to the Atlantic and a bar job and one eventful night 7 years ago I met a nice German who was just passing through…. I live, work, drink and speak German now… Quite an unexpected outcome.

When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I remember it quite clearly. I was reading the 2nd book in Highsmith’s Ripley series and stupidly mistook her economy of style for a lack of complexity or difficulty in the writing process. I was writing my dissertation and started writing ‘a novel’ as a form of procrastination. At the time, I thought I knew what I was doing, breaking down Highsmith books into their composite parts and following the pattern, as if I was trying to reassemble a clock. It didn’t go anywhere and I was just constantly re-editing the first 7 chapters for 2 years. But then I started in a writing group at Birkbeck in London and the teacher said there was something in there. I spoke to an agent who was also keen but asked me to make some changes. Of course, after making the changes, they decided they didn’t like it anymore and called the new version ‘boring’ and not what the market was looking for.
I just kept writing and looking for chances to earn money from it. Slowly, opportunities came in. After the first setback, I didn’t think I would ever publish anything in the Crime genre. I don’t write crime stories with chainsaws or machine guns or SAS heroes. It was only in the last 2 years that I saw that independent publishing could be seen as a respectable way to publish. I think in the last few years we’ve seen a quality of work emerge independently, which would have been traditionally published 20 -30 years ago. The huge overheads of securing a market share in the current flooded market, means a traditionally published book needs to have a wide and broad following and often this comes at the expense of anything special or different. 

Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
I write crime and suspense. I think my audience are crime fiction lovers who don’t care where the book is set, as long as it is engaging. They are mainly women, from 18-99 and younger men. In the few reviews I’ve had from guys in their 40s, 50s and 60s, they seem to take offence at the treatment of the male characters in the stories. I don’t think my writing is misandristic but obviously, it touches a sore spot somewhere. 

What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
I usually start with an opening scene of a feeling and then write until the plot starts to form in an opportunistic manner. Then I stop and plot it. Then I write it, try to develop the scenes to create escalating tension, pull my hair out by the roots, give up, cry, get over it and carry on. But even with a perfect plot, something chances, simply because if you stick to the plot, you get bored yourself too. It also takes me months to proof read anything because I can’t see my own mistakes for love nor money. 

Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
Both. Sometimes a supporting character will be someone I met but didn’t get to know very well. This is good because it’s enough to keep writing the scene but not too much that you can’t shape them as you will.
I find if I based them too much on real people, characters are simply boring. 

Have you written about a personal experience in your novels?
Not personal experiences but personal feelings. 

What research do you do?
Hardly any. I always set stories in places I know and write about things I already know. I sometime consult google maps if I forget which road goes where. 

Who would you like to co-write with and why?
Hmmmm….good question. I think I’m really a total introvert and any type of team or group activities brings me out in hives. That’s one of the things I hate about offices, how you have to cooperate when often you can do the job better and quicker on your own. Darn it – I’ll have to say, no one at all.

What’s your favorite book?
Only one???? For it’s sheer economy and influence on my life, I’d have to say The Talented Mr Ripley, Patricia Highsmith. But that is only because I couldn’t put another above it for fear that Highsmith might come back to life and devise a simple and cunning way to dispose of me. I find with many good books, each one is my favourite while I’m reading it. 

What’s your favorite food?
Sushi, closely followed by McCoy’s salt n’ Malt Vinegar Crisps.

What’s your favorite film?
Again it depends…. I love Raider’s of the Lost Ark and can watch it every Christmas. Likewise, the Anthony Minghella version of The Talent Mr Ripley was really beautiful. But right now, I have a very young son, so I can also quote every line in Cars 2 with near studio precision. 

What’s your favorite song?
The Brazilian Jorge Ben classic Mas Que Nada, covered by Sergio Mendes, That’s the Bossa Nova tune playing in Austin Powers when he’s riding through Las Vegas on top of a double decker. You know it when you hear it. To me, that song just says, cocktails, sunshine, eternal youth and not a care in the world. 

How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
I have a Facebook page, obviously Lissa Pelzer (Author). And an Amazon author page and I’m on Twitter @LissaPelzer.

Thank you Lissa for dropping by my blog today and taking time out to do this interview. I hope all you readers have enjoyed it has much has me.

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