Liz Isaacson believes fiction has to mirror real life. And in the end, everyone gets their happily-ever-after. She writes Western Christian romance novels that reflect these beliefs. As our Author of the Day Isaacson talks about her Steeple Ridge series, explains why Darren is her favorite Buttars brother and explains what got her into the genre.
Please give us a short introduction to what Coming Home to Steeple Ridge is about
Coming Home to Steeple Ridge is the fourth Buttars brother romance. Darren Buttars is the last brother who hasn't found his happily-ever-after, and he's starting over at square one after his girlfriend breaks up with him.
Tell us about Farrah and Darren - why do they make for such a good match?
Darren just wants somewhere soft to come home to at the end of the day. Someone to talk to, and share his dreams with. Farrah has a lot of issues with who she is and where she comes from, and she needs someone steady and strong like Darren. I've had reviewers say they love that Darren is patient and understanding while Farrah figures things out on her end. And he does. I think that's why they make a good match. She can provide the softness he needs in his life, and he can provide the steadiness she needs.
What, would you say, makes a couple who argues that much so interesting to read about?
I think fiction can be an excellent escape from reality. I also think it has to mirror reality. Things are often said in arguments that force us to examine certain aspects of ourselves, and I tried to do that with Darren and Farrah.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Haha! Secret skills. I watch a lot of Netflix. Is that a secret skill? Oh, I know. It's the typing instruction. I can teach eight-year-olds--or anyone else--how to keyboard!
This is book four of the Steeple Ridge series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the books tie in with each other?
Yes, Coming Home to Steeple Ridge can be read as a standalone romance novel. It ties into the other books, as Darren is the fourth Buttars brother to find love. The first 3 books are each of his brother's romance stories, but I think Darren is my favorite!
Why Western Christian romance. What drew you to the genre?
I read some books by Becky Wade and Denise Hunter, and I literally felt like "Yes! This is what I want to write!" I love cowboys and horses, and I think having an element of faith can help shape characters in an authentic way.
In your books, everything isn't always perfect and things rarely fall into place for your characters. They are flawed, tend to make bad decisions and hurt others. Why do you take this approach?
Like I said above, I think fiction has to mirror real life. And in the end, everyone gets their happily-ever-after. I want to believe and feel that even though I'm flawed, and I might make a bad decision or two (or 30!), and I might hurt others, that I too will get my happily-ever-after. That I can still experience happiness and joy. That I'm still worth something. That I can still make things better, in the end. That's why I write characters like this. I think everyone wants to see some of themselves in the people they read about so they can have that hope too.
How do you make your characters so relatable? Are they inspired by real people?
I often take pieces of people I know, yes! Little quirks. Habits. Favorite foods. That type of thing. The characters become relatable in the details, and I spend a lot of time going through the details of my characters.
Family relationships also play an important role in your books - why?
I think there's no stronger bond than that of family. And families are messy. They're the only place I know of where we can be our worst selves, say the truest things - even if they hurt - and we still forgive each other and come together at holidays. I *love* the relationship of brothers and sisters and the bond to parents we all have. I like to explore things where those bonds are broken or where they're great.
Give us three "Good to Know" facts about you:
- I don't like mushrooms. Like not even a little bit. Won't eat them.
- I love short hair. And coloring my hair.
- I believe pepperoni pizza should always be dipped in ranch dressing.
Do you have any interesting writing habits, what's your average writing day like?
Hmm, not really. I'm kind of boring! I try to write in four 90-minute sessions each day. I have a day job teaching, so I have to be very structured with my time. Maybe one interesting thing is I often stop writing right in the middle of a sentence. That way, when I come back the next day to write, I can at least get a few words right away. Hit the ground running and all that. :)
What are you working on right now?
I am writing the ninth book in the Brush Creek Brides series. Last year, I wrote 6 books featuring rodeo cowboys and their HEAs. This summer, I'm releasing six more books, all featuring a member of the Fuller Family, one of the founding families in Brush Creek! I'm very excited about this continuation of this series, as each has an amazing hero or heroine who are Marines & soldiers, paramedics, policemen, or firefighters.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
The best place to interact with me is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlizisaacson
And to get notifications about new releases and sales is BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/liz-isaacson
Or sign up for my newsletter! I always make sure readers know about my books and deals right in their inbox: http://lizisaacson.com/newsletter/