This is how it happened. I tweeted about looking for authors to interview on my newly directed book blog and someone named Liz retweeted. Nothing to unusual about that….only it happened again and again. I thought, who is this person, and why is she being so nice to me? So I followed back and the next thing I know there's a link to an article posted on one of her two blogs about the first author I interviewed, Rebecca Boucher, for my blog. It was an entire piece about what a good interview I gave and more about the author. I was floored, this woman I hadn't even had communications with took it upon herself to post an article about the work I was doing here at Pressed Leaf Publishing.
In the end I found out that this isn't the first time Liz took the reigns to promote someone on a blog or twitter. This is what Liz does, and she doesn't look for any favors in return. She loves books and authors, writing, so much that she wants to see everyone succeed. If she can help someone, maybe her dream of having a blog that truly supports authors will become the blog that authors go to.
So now you know how I met Liz, and now you can meet the author behind the kind and caring woman. She has a passion for writing and self expression and it shows in her efforts to meet new people and help out in any way she can….this is Liz McKeown.
You have such a diverse and fully lived bio, that’s is a challenge to figure out where to begin. So let’s touch on several topics.
1. So it appears you got your start in Minneapolis in radio. Can you give us a little background here to
set the scene?
I was selling Classified ads at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and bonded with a Norwegian woman who showed an interest in my writing. She told me that she read the news on KFAI. All I needed to do was sign up for the Mentoree Program with one of the radio show producers. That's when I met David Rom and Jerry Stearns from Shock Wave, a Science Fiction comedy show. I did voices, skits and eventually wrote and directed three short radio plays, I even recruited my boss' colleague to play a part!
2. You seem to have a real knack for the social media platform. You started blogging and using Twitter to get some momentum going...how did that evolve?
I backed into that, too. I went to a new age store and Bertena Varney, the Vampire Professor had a booth there promoting her book, The Lure of the Vampire. I told her I was self-publishing my Time Travel. She told me I needed to create a buzz about my book. That's when I ventured into Twitter and ventured outward on Facebook.
3. Your first book Jan of Cleveland started out as a play. How did you find the process of translating an existing play into a book? Would you recommend this for any budding authors out there sitting on a good play?
A ghost writer from Maine helped me to iron out the transition from script to book in the 1990s. I met her through the Writer's Union. Actually, Teresa Oliver, of Write More Publications is helping me with edits because, even though I took the slug lines and stage directions out, it still reads something like a script. I would recommend adapting a play to a book, but have a seasoned novelist look it over and critique it.
4. I noticed you have a special tab on your blog for Teresa Oliver of Write More Publications, how does she fit into your world?
I met her when I advertized in the World Literary Cafe Author's Toolbox as a copy editor. I wanted to get started as a blogger. She set up my blogs in exchange for publicity. I have made a lot of friends and really grown my blog in the process.
5. It appears you have a real heart and drive to promote other authors. You have two blogs. How does blogging add to you as a writer?
It has really added to my understanding of how social media works. I stumbled when I tried to blog and Tweet on my own. I learned some through experience and some through networking.
6. Do you plan to continue writing books and plays?
For now, it's just Jan of Cleveland. I have a really tough project I want to tackle that I touched on in Theresa Oliver's blog. I wrote a mini play called Recycled Prisoners. I have done extensive dream work (astral travel in the dream state) in researching who I was in my most significant past life. I was a teenaged Jewish boy from Czechoslovakia who died in Auschwitz in 1944. My mini play was set in 1987 and featured three women: a Junior Leaguer married to a Neurosurgeon, a sorority girl and a high school cheerleader. They all travel to Auschwitz Men's Camp in the dream state once a week and prepare lavish meals for three male prisoners. The Rosensweig brothers are very appreciative of the meal and service. Bogdan, a political prisoner, still suffers from PTSD and is demanding, but enjoys his star treatment. At the end, Leslie, the sorority girl, holds hands with one of the Jewish former prisoners. They close eyes and she empaths him; taking his worst experience from the camp out of him. I do this in the dream state every thursday night, including the meal. I do this volunteer work with a woman named Terri Jo from West Texas and two Aussie women. They are recycled prisoners, like me. This inner volunteer work is a real joy for me to do.
7. And finally....your dedication in Jan of Cleveland is fairly lengthy as it would appear you have a tremendous support system with family. There was one bit however, that intrigued me. A line that reads, “...the ladies of Lallybroch.....and to the gang in Murfreesboro Tennessee, who meet every month at Hastings Books...”
So to a girl born and raised in Ohio, then spending most of my life in LA...names like Lallybroch and Murfreesboro sound magical and made up...So I’m guessing you had some part of your life in Tennessee...how did this background inspire a writer in Minneapolis to write a time travel book?
The Ladies of Lallybroch are an online group of Diana Gabaldon fans. Many of them even have gatherings in certain parts of the US, Canada and Australia. Being economically forced out of Minnesota in 2001, I did a five city search of where I'd like to live including Atlanta, Durham-Raleigh, Nashville, Orlando and Reno. I have always liked Southerners, even as a child. I enjoy their happy, friendly personalities. They are very social people. Although only in Virginia for three months, I was born there and it technically makes me a Southerner. I was raised in Michigan, but alway attracted to Southern Boys. I even married one. I call him 'Cutie'.
Liz Kingsbury McKeown's writing career really got off the ground in 1993 when she became a volunteer and contributing writer for KFAI's Science Fiction Comedy show Shockwave. KFAI is a public access radio station in Minneapolis, MN. Liz wrote, directed and acted in three short radio plays which were aired in 1994 and in 1998. She also belonged to the Playwrights' Center in the Twin Cities where her comedy "End of the World?" was produced as a 10-minute play. After publishing an ebook, Saint Carolyn of the Eighties, in 2001, Liz resurfaced later in the decade with her entry into blogging. She started out offering author interviews and copy editing services on Twitter
After tweeting to 10 publishing companies, she became staff interviewer for First Edition Design Publishing. It was through her membership in the World Literary Cafe that she met Theresa Oliver of Write More Publications first as a copy editor, then as a blogger. First produced as a radio play, Jan of Cleveland is Liz Kingsbury McKeown's first book.