Interview with Liz Long author of Gifted (A Donovan Circus Novel)

My name is Liz Long (no, really). I’m a writer, photographer, dreamer, and Twitter stalker (you can also put “nerdy” in front of all those things). I’m also the author of Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel. While I post nerd-related things, I also write a lot about the things I discover on my journey of self-publishing.

Why are you taking part in the author blog challenge and what do you hope to achieve?

I’m thrilled I was asked to be a part of it! Hopefully I can interest more readers in my title, as well as entertain those reading today 🙂 And if someone thinks I can give decent advice to aspiring writers, then by all means, read away!

How long have you been writing for?

Feels like forever for most of us, doesn’t it? It really does feel like I’ve written my whole life. I was always on yearbook and school newspapers and I’ve always written for others in some form or another. I currently work in publishing and have written for a few local magazines. When it comes to writing my stuff, however, I guess I’ve been writing that for about five years. Some drafts got thrown into a hidden desk drawer to never return, of course, but I knew Gifted would go on a bookshelf, even if it was just mine.

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

Honestly, writing the book wasn’t the hard part. It was getting it all ready to publish! In addition to the jangled nerves first time authors have, we have to double and triple check all the grammar and typos, make sure we have a platform and marketing plan, etc. I loved every second of writing the actual story, but the technical stuff to finally get it out in the world was something I’m hoping will get easier with each time.

What genre do you generally write?


Do you have a favourite author and why?

JK Rowling–do I really need to explain? 🙂 Okay–I think she’s a brilliant writer. To keep track of all those little details, right down to how a house is designed or how a scarf looks, is incredible. Obviously the story itself is fantastic, but I’m constantly blown away by the world-building she did to create Harry Potter.

What is your book called and how did you choose this title?

Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel. Obviously I wanted to include the Donovan Circus in there to show that it is a series and that’s what they’ll go by. Gifted just worked since it’s a blanket term for my world and hopefully gets the point across. I’m in big trouble when I have to title Book 2 🙂


Even in a world of freaks, being a Firestarter is considered a dangerous Gift. Lucy was born with the ability to create and control fire. She longs to leave the human world for one filled with Earthshakers, Transporters, and Chameleons, to name a few. When she rejoins the circus, it’s everything she hoped it could be—new friends, a potential love interest or two, and a place where she can be herself. When troupe members begin turning up dead, however, Lucy is suspected of foul play. She must not only prove her innocence but also realize the full extent of her power. To find the real murderer, she must uncover the truth behind her father’s fiery legacy while figuring out whom to trust within her new circle. Little does she know the history of the Donovan Circus and its enemies might actually destroy the entire gifted world.


Has your book been published and how did you go about this?

My release was May 1, 2012. I published through CreateSpace for paperbacks and the Amazon Kindle.

Approximately how long did it take you to finish your book?

I technically started it about 3 years ago, but I let life and other things get in the way every so often. I’d say if I take out the lazy times, it probably took me about a year and a half from start to finish. I took a long time and several edits before moving forward to publishing.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

A lot of people say to read, read, read and I agree. However, I also want to remind writers that it’s okay to take a break, to go watch TV or play with your dog or just take a nap. Sometimes we push ourselves so hard because we put ourselves on strict deadlines (and that’s great to stick with them), but we often forget that to create well, we need to take breaks to recharge our batteries. And spend time with family or whatever, cause I hear they like to hang with us.

Do you use social media to promote your book, if yes then which social networks do you like the most?

Yes, I definitely use social media. Twitter is probably the biggest one for me, just being able to talk and network with other writers and bloggers. I also use Facebook and Goodreads, though Twitter is the best for me because it’s quick, perfect for witty one liners, and makes you really feel like you can talk to other people even for a few short lines.

Have you enrolled your book onto Amazon’s KDP Select and how have you found it?

Yes, but I haven’t put the free days to use yet. Report coming soon!

If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently?

I would try to sit on my impatience a little longer. I think I did a pretty good job of not flinging my book out into interweb space before researching, but I also like instant results. For my next books, I’ve learned my lessons along the way: market your book well before you publish it so that people are excited, expecting it. I network a lot, but I should’ve waited to put Gifted out for a while. I don’t regret it; I chalk it up to one of those things every indie author needs to learn along the way.

What books do you like to read in your spare time?

Currently, I’m reading a lot of fantasy YA to sort of fit in with my WIP. I also like mystery thrillers, when I don’t go supernatural. I’ve read nearly every one of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series (she’s great for snark and suspense) and I often re-read Harry Potter just because I enjoy it.

What do you feel is the most important stage of writing a book?

Editing, definitely. As an English major and previous editor, I have a pretty strict eye for grammars and typos but when you go through an entire manuscript, you can miss a few things. I had some terrific beta readers who caught most of what I missed, but I say it never hurts to go over it again. In fact, once the WIP is done, print out an MS each time you do a new draft. Actually reading it on paper is so much more beneficial to me because after staring at your computer screen for hours upon hours, your eyes get a little glazed.

How did you go about designing the cover for your book?

I went into the cover design pretty blindly, actually. I worked with my best friend who is a graphic designer and we’ve done several projects together so I trusted her completely. I basically gave her the elements that I knew had to be included on the cover–title and author of course, but something to do with fire and the circus. That was all I gave her to go on because I’m an uncreative jerk sometimes. She has a full time job, too, so a couple weeks of phone calls and daily emails were exchanged.

Are you writing or considering writing a follow-up to your book?

Absolutely. I’ve got a few ideas for different storylines for the Donovan Circus series, as well a YA title I’m currently working on.

Do you have a day job (if so, what do you do?) or do you write full-time?

I do have a full time day job! I work for Leisure Publishing in Roanoke–we publish 2 magazines as well as inserts and official travel guides (it’s a terrific place and I’m not just saying that!)

Where is your book available to buy?

Amazon right now, both in paperback and Kindle form.  It will be available for the Nook and other outlets as soon as I’m out of the KDP program in July. 

To find out more about Liz check out her blog Just Another Writer on the Loose 

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