Teen Writers Bloc

A Blog by the New School Writing for Children MFA Class of 2012

Debut Author Interview: Liz Fichera discusses HOOKED

Posted by Caela Carter On February - 8 - 2013

 Debut Author Interview: Liz Fichera discusses HOOKEDThis week, we’re super-excited to feature debut author Liz Fichera, whose contemporary YA novel, Hooked, hit shelves last month. The book explores race, gender and class sterotypes and it’s a romance to boot. It’s definitely a book worth adding to your TBR pile!

We caught up with Liz to chat about inspiration, romance, and what happens when the collide.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer? 

I am originally from Park Ridge, Illinois, but I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, after college, never expecting to live in the desert among cactus and people who’d never seen snow. I was wrong. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old when I wrote a story about my collie dog, Lady. My mother and my fifth grade teacher, Miss Bone, gushed about my little story and I was “hooked”. But then circumstances and responsibilities got in the way and I didn’t become a full-time writer until about 7 years ago.

Can you give us a quick synopsis of HOOKED? How did you come up with the concept for the book? 

Hooked is a story about two unlikely people who find each other under unusual circumstances and face prejudice, bullying, and lots of obstacles along the way.  The quick synopsis is as follows: “Sparks fly when a Native American girl from the Rez with a killer golf swing falls for the boy on her team with the killer smile.”

I got the idea for the story when I was driving down a long stretch of desolate desert road near my home that borders that Gila River Indian Reservation.  I got this image of a Native American girl and she was waving a golf club at me.  Weirdly, though Arizona is full of both golf courses and Native American culture, rarely do you see them in the same sentence, much less the same book.  I knew that I had to write this story.  Many, many, many drafts later and many, many, many submissions later, my agent was able to sell the book.

What’s your writing process? 

I write every day, mostly in the afternoons and evenings. I write in my home office which doesn’t really look like an office per se.  It’s filled with family photos and art that I love and, of course, my laptop.  I get a lot of my inspiration during hikes in the desert.

What has your path to publication been like? 

I think my path has been pretty typical of most authors who publish traditionally—lots of rejection, submissions, persistence and writing.  Things seem to go really slowly (when you’re getting rejected by agents and publishers) and then bizarrely fast (when you’ve sold a book) and then painfully slowly again when you’re waiting for your release date.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever gotten? What advice would you yourself give aspiring authors?

When my first book (which wasn’t Hooked) didn’t sell right away, my agent said, “Keep writing.”  And I did.  My advice to aspiring authors is to read, read, write, write, and then read and write some more.  Also, make sure you grow an extra layer of thick skin.

What was your favorite book when you were a kid/teenager?

As a kid, I loved The Boxcar Children and all of the Little House books. Loved them to pieces! When I was in high school, I read and loved a lot of the classics like Wuthering Heights and Anne of Green Gables.  I had a wonderful English teacher my freshman year and she taught me to understand and love Romeo and Juliet.

 Debut Author Interview: Liz Fichera discusses HOOKEDWhat’s next for you writing-wise (and otherwise!)?

I finished another YA contemporary this summer which is currently with my agent.  I’m now working on another YA contemporary about a Hopi Indian teen and I hope to visit Hopi Land in northeastern Arizona this summer to do more research for the story.  My focus is on YA contemporaries and realistic fiction.  They are my favorite to read and write.

Do you believe in being part of a “bloc” of writers? Are critique groups and writing communities helpful to you?

Absolutely! These groups are not only helpful but they are essential. Writers live such solitary lives. It’s important to stay connected with writing communities. If I didn’t, I think I would go a little bit crazy (crazier).

Okay, Hooked is a romance between golfers. (Yes there’s a lot more too it that — race, gender roles, etc. — that make us all the more excited to read it!) Which scenes do you enjoy writing more: sports or romance? 

It’s a romance (what’s a book without one?!), but it’s so much more than that.  It’s a book about dreaming big dreams and not letting anything or anyone stand in your way, including yourself.

It’s hard to pick which scenes I enjoy more.  I truly love writing all of them.  When I get into a writing roll and can *see* my characters and their motivations, my fingers don’t stop typing until I’ve told the story.

We’re so excited to read it, Liz. Thanks so much for stopping by TWB! 

Photo credit: Harlequin Teen

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