Debut Author Spotlight: An Interview with Liza Wiemer (+Giveaway!)

12:00 AM Serena 5 Comments

Today's author is not new to the book scene, as she's published nonfiction before, and she runs a lovely book blog, but 2015 is her YA debut year. I've heard much praise about her novel, Hello?, which releases in the fall. I'm so happy to have Ms. Liza Wiemer on the blog today! Let's give her a round of applause. (And don't forget to check out the end of the post for an exciting giveaway!)

Before we get to the interview, let's take a look at Hello?.

Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma's death.
Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical.
Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry.
Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past.
Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both.

Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens' stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope.

Told from all five viewpoints: narration (Tricia), narration (Emerson), free verse poetry (Angie), screenplay format (Brenda), narration and drawings (Brian) 

Now we can get started!

*PSA: My questions will be bolded, like so, and Liza's answers will be not bolded, like so.*

How would you describe Hello? in seven words or less?

One phone call transforms five teens’ lives!

Hello? is your YA debut. How was writing it different from writing your other novels? How was the process similar?

Writing non-fiction is so different. It’s critical to eliminate words like: was, were, has been, had been, that, very, and -ly words. The writing is much tighter, condensed. I also wrote for adults, so a much different audience.

For the most part, writing a novel is solitary work, but the biggest difference between writing Hello? and my other books is that I am now a part of the YA community. We’re a close-knit group of authors, bloggers, vloggers, and readers. I feel so fortunate to be a part of it and connect with amazing people on an almost daily basis.

The writing process has been nearly the same. Researching, writing, rewriting, editing, editing, editing. One huge difference is that a non-fiction adult book can be sold on a proposal and a few sample chapters. With a novel, it needs to be complete and polished!

Without being too spoilery, do you have a particular scene that you are most looking forward to people reading? Or maybe a scene you’re scared for people to read?

Oh so many! But I’ll choose one. I love the scene when Emerson is alone in Whitefish Dunes State Park. He strips down to nothing and dives into the frigid waters of Lake Michigan. It’s a powerful scene, allowing Emerson to have a private moment where he’s open and vulnerable. Yet it also strengthens him, reinforces his principles. I loved writing the description of the area. I loved his reaction to the message his sister Isabelle left for him on his cell. And I loved what Emerson was thinking about.

So Hello? is about a few different teenagers. Who was your favorite to write about?

I know a lot of authors say this, but I am deeply attached to ALL of them. For me, it was more about favorite moments with each character. Many were when a character struggled, but then figured things out, grew as a person. There may be moments when you despise a character or are annoyed by his or her actions. But then I hope the reader will have a bit of compassion or at the very least some understanding later on. Like all of us, each character has his/her own journey. Even though the novel is done, I’ve imagined how their journeys continue.

Do you write to music? If so, what did the playlist for Hello? look like? If not are there any songs that you think would fit well in the novel?

I did write with music.

Adele’s “21” CD
Keane “Perfect Symmetry” CD
Various versions of “Mad World”
Frank Sinatra songs: “New York, New York,” “Call Me” and “Strangers in the Night.”
Jay Z and Alicia Keys’s “Empire State of Mind”
Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown”
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova’s “The Swell Season,” particularly “Falling Slowly” and “When Your Mind’s Made Up”
Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”

Recently, I discovered "Hello, You Beautiful Thing" by Jason Mraz. I love it. It’s perfect!

Can you tell us anything about future books/projects?

I have several more books in various stages of completion. There’s one in particular that I started before HELLO?, which is very near and dear to my heart. More hard work to be done, and then we’ll see what happens. :)

Awesome! Can't wait to hear more about that. Also can't wait for Hello?. Not too long now! Thanks for being here, Liza.

About Liza Wiemer:

Liza Wiemer is the author of two non-fiction adult books, short stories, and newspaper and magazine articles. A pre-school to high school educator now writing YA fiction full time, which she LOVE, LOVE, LOVES! And she's a diehard Green Bay Packers fan. She also blogs about YA books at WhoRuBlog
Find Liza online: Website - Twitter - Goodreads

Now since Liza is so super sweet, she's giving away a preorder of Hello? that will ship once the book is released in November. The giveaway is open to anyone, so long as The Book Depository ships to their region. Check out my giveaway policies before entering, and may the odds be ever in your favor! And don't forget to check out Hello? on November 10th!


  1. Thank you so much for hosting this post, Serena! Honored! xx Liza

    1. My pleasure, Liza! Loved your answers. :)

  2. Replies
    1. I'm glad! I had a fun time coming up with questions for her. Thanks for stopping by! :)