Friday FabOoolousness – Liz Schulte, her Secrets, and Dark Corners

I first met Liz Schulte on Twitter and now we enjoy discussing our favorite television moments, movies, and hot guys with other writer friends on Facebook.  Liz’s work first caught my eye when she shared the cover to her novel, Dark Corners, with a few of us before the release date.  Some of us call her “superwoman” on Facebook because there seems to be nothing she can’t accomplish, but the term came to full fruition when she recently released Secrets, her second book this year.

Liz Schulte, Author

Liz is one of the very first people I look to when seeking advice or direction for my writing.  She’s friendly, helpful, and one of the best writing friends a new writer could have, which is why she is the first author featured in this new blog series.

Before we get started, here’s a little tease of Liz’s books for everyone to savor while reading the interview…

Dark Corners:

Ella Reynolds knew from the first moment she walked into the old house that someone or something was watching her. Waiting. Her husband’s violent murder sent her spiraling into a world of grief and isolation. But Ella isn’t alone. Who or what is responsible for her husband’s death is still with her. Darkness has engulfed the past year of Ella’s life. Everyday reality slips a little more between her fingers as she struggles to break free from her memories. She must look deeper into her past as well as the present to discover the truth of her husband’s homicide. A string of uncanny events takes place and practical explanations run thin as Ella follows the terrifying road to closure. As the past and present come to a head, Ella must decipher who or what the murderer is before it takes her as well.

Secrets:

While Olivia Martin observed life through her camera, the abyss gazed back at her. She discovers mysterious men follow her around, people close to her are dying, and her dreams are no longer her own, as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved. Olivia is about to find out there is a lot she doesn’t know and sometimes what you don’t know can kill you.

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

I would love to say I did, that I always knew, but I didn’t. I was pretty set on being a veterinarian until the 4th grade. Then I had a couple years of vacillating before I settled on a Supreme Court Judge.  I held that ambition right up to the point when I decided not to go to law school (I even took a philosophy of law and constitution law class while working on my undergraduate). I wasn’t entirely certain what I was going to do when suddenly I had no clear path. I considered forensic psychology and went back to school to work on a forensic degree to accompany my bachelor’s in psychology and minor in philosophy. Around that time my mom suggested I try to write a book. I am a huge pop culture fan; I love books, movies, television, and theater. I was always talking about how I would do it differently, so I decided maybe she was right. I gave it a go now I am completely addicted. I constantly have stories running through my head.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I find inspiration in everything. From talking to people, observing people, hearing stories, dreams, and sometimes all it takes is a really good first line.

At the beginning of this year I decided I wanted to write a story about witches. I started researching, combing through some notes I had from a class I took on the history of witchcraft, and a first line popped into my head.  94,000 words later I had a book (to be released in 2012). All it took was that first line and the story just poured out of me.

With Dark Corners I drew a lot from imagination and some ghostly experiences of my mother’s.

In Secrets I used a lot of dreams I had written about in my dream journal. You never know what will end up being the spark that turns into a fire. To write about life, you have to participate in it.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

That is such a hard question. I love so many authors. As far as traditional authors I love Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe, Charlotte Bronte, Oscar Wilde, Hunter S. Thompson, Brett Easton Ellis, Thomas Harris, Elizabeth Aston, Diane Setterfield, and Joseph Heller.

As a kid I loved R.L. Stine (Fear Street), Christopher Pike, and L.J. Smith.

Being a part of the indie publishing scene, I have found many independent authors I have enjoyed very much: HP Mallory, Elizabeth Sharp, Stephanie Nelson, Wenona Hulsey, C. G. Powell, Jeff Ambrose, Olivia Hardin, Lisa Rayns, J.A. Titus, and I could keep going.

The cover art for your books is amazing.  Did you design them yourself?

Dark Corners was designed by my sister. She went to school for graphic design and took time from her busy schedule to design the cover for me.

Secrets was designed by Donna Dull with 4 Corners Press. She suffered my pickiness quite well.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing Ella and Olivia and why?

I did not. I normally don’t have anyone in mind until I finish the book, because by then I know the character so well it is easier to find an image that suits them.

Ella is, in my mind, an Emily Blunt type character.

Olivia is now a very particular picture of Anne Hathaway I came across.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Ummm, way to put me on the spot. Hahaha

I am going with Timothy Olyphant because I cannot wait for Justified to restart. I love that show; Boyd’s hair more than anything.

 

Besides writing, I’ve noticed you’re quite the crafter and baker.  What other hobbies do you enjoy?

I do like cooking. And occasionally the crafting vibe hits me. I love to travel. I have been to several countries and all around the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) and I absolutely love it. I no sooner finish one trip then start thinking about the next. I also love to play trivia. I get super competitive, though. I spend time with my two dogs and two cats and eight nieces and nephews. I have a very close-knit family. We all hang out a lot.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your favorite television programs airing today?

Today as in Wednesday or as in this half of the season, which is winding down?

My favorite Wednesday program is Revenge. I didn’t know if I would like it or not when it first started, but now I am totally hooked.

I just realized this will be published on Friday so my favorite Friday show is easily Supernatural! How could I not love the brothers Winchester. I believe it is even the mid-season finale. Yikes!

As far as this first half of the year, my favorite series playing is The Walking Dead. Amazing show. Every episode feels about five minutes long to me and I am completely enthralled with the storyline and the characters. I am so bummed I have to wait until February for new episodes.

As a movie connoisseur, what is your favorite movie of all-time?

It is Christmas time so I feel like I should choose It’s a Wonderful Life, but I cannot. While that remains in the top five favorite movies, the Godfather is hands-down my very favorite film. It is magical. The story, the characters, the cinematography and framing—beautiful. I love it so much and can talk your ear off about it if given the opportunity.

The Corleone family….just look at Pacino and Duvall here. Classic

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I like to get a bottle of water and Twizzlers. Twizzlers can be eaten slowly so I feel they last for more of the movie. Plus they are tasty and delicious.

Do you physically investigate the paranormal, or do you research via books, television, and the internet?

I don’t do much investigating. I am a bit more of a skeptic. I do like to look for haunted hotels and bed and breakfasts while I am travelling because I like to think of myself as an open-minded skeptic. I am willing to allow for an experience of a ghostly nature, but I have yet to experience anything for myself. Most of the strange things I have encountered, I can find a way to explain given enough thought and investigation.

Lastly, I know you are a zombie enthusiast.  Name your favorite book, movie, and television series featuring the supernatural undead. 

My absolute favorite zombie book is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It seriously cracked me up. I think the author was brilliant with maintaining the charm of Austen in a world overrun by the undead.  Bennett sister ninjas, priceless.

Movie is a much harder choice. I think I have to have two because I cannot choose between them. I love Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. Shaun of the Dead is the most hilarious spoof of a zombie movie I have ever seen. It works because it is done seriously while not being serious at all. Zombieland is almost a postmodern zombie movie. The rules are hysterical, the zombies are awesome and gross, and the story has charm.

 

Television show is of course The Walking Dead.

*****

Isn’t Liz just delightfully fun?  I absolutely adore her, and I hope you enjoyed getting to know her today!

Need more Liz?  Be sure to check out her blog, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook author page.

Better yet, buy a copy of Dark Corners (available in kindle, nook, and paperback formats) and Secrets (also available in kindle and nook formats)!

Do you have a question for Liz?  Have you read Dark Corners or Secrets, and if so share your thoughts here!  

And, to not only put Liz on the spot….which celebrity are you thinking of at this very moment?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Tele-Tuesday: The Long Lost Family Drama

Last week, we reminisced about the popular family sitcoms of the 1980s including favorites Who’s the Boss?, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Growing Pains, and The Wonder Years.  The Ooo Factor viewers remembered even more with shows like Alf and The Hogan Family – weren’t these sitcoms great?  These television shows allowed real-life families to join around the living room TV set and watch television families work through the dysfunction in their “make-believe” lives while making us laugh.

But the family oriented thirty minute situational comedy isn’t the only thing missing from television programming today – where’s the one hour family drama?  We touched on Life Goes On and Our House last week – two one hour dramas that focused on family units resolving difficult issues like dealing with a brother’s disability or a father’s death.

The 1980s provided many great honest-to-goodness family dramas that were safe for children of all ages to watch alongside their moms and dads such as:

Highway to Heaven

Quantum Leap

We also cherished the ABC after school special in the ‘80s and ‘90s.  Remember those?  Kids learned valuable lessons like: handling the difficulties surrounding blended families after moms and dads remarry; understanding the dangers of drug use, drinking, and unprotected sex; as well as learning how to cope with molestation and rape.

Perhaps one of the most brilliant aspects of the after school special was the network’s casting of young TV heart-throbs like Scott Baio (Charles in Charge), Billy Warlock (Days of our Lives), and Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) to play vital roles in the made-for-TV movies.

Speaking of the ‘90s, this decade didn’t take a complete detour from family programming and produced multi-year hits like:

 7th Heaven

Party of Five

Once and Again

One of our favorites was the short-lived Get Real starring Jon Tenney (The Closer), Deborah Farrentino, Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries), Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: LA), and Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) as the Green family.

Looking back, what a fantastic cast!

Mom and dad Green had their issues (for example, mom suspected dad of cheating), and the teenagers definitely had their issues (the usual sibling rivalry, secrets, and coping situations).  The Greens resembled what we’d consider a normal family today – they struggled, they loved, and they learned.  The program walked its viewers through the family decisions, as they hoped to reach a positive outcome, but didn’t always succeed. Unfortunately, this series failed after twenty episodes.

But mostly, the ‘90s began what we now know as YA television with dramas appropriate for teenagers, but perhaps not children under the age of twelve with programs including:

Beverly Hills 90210

My So Called Life

Television airs many of these YA programs today such as The Vampire Diaries, The Lying Game, Pretty Little Liars, and The Secret Circle to name a few.  While great TV, watching these shows is a tad risky for the younger audience, mostly due to the high volumes of violence and sex.

In 2010, ABC tried their hand at a family friendly drama similar to those we watched in the ‘80s and ‘90s that was appropriate for all ages, but No Ordinary Family was pulled from the air waves after a short first season.  Why didn’t this show make it?  Apparently it lacked viewers.

Why weren’t families watching No Ordinary Family?  The series started when mom (Julie Benz) and dad (Michael Chiklis) take the kids on a much needed vacation to strengthen their family unit, and they return with superpowers: the mom has super speed, the dad has super strength, the teenage son has a super brain, and the teenage daughter has telepathic abilities.  No Ordinary Family had the ever-important family dynamic, was full of motion-picture-esque action sequences, and taught morals like the importance of not cheating in school no matter the reason, yet this program fell victim to the network’s axe after twenty episodes.

 

Instead, shows like the Secret Life of the American Teenager, a drama that focuses primarily on teenage sex and pregnancy, last for multiple seasons.

Just something to think about…

Obviously, family television has changed over the years – is it for better or worse?  What ’80s and ‘90s family dramas did you enjoy?   Which one-hour drama does your family watch today?  Is it considered a family drama?  I’d love to hear from you!

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