An Interview with Liliana Hart

I’m very pleased to have Liliana Hart on my blog today.  Please leave a comment to be entered into a prize drawing..

1.    How did you get started writing?
Well, I’ve always been really good at lying. There aren’t a lot of careers available for good liars, so I thought I would choose the path that would keep me out of prison
In all seriousness, I always wanted to be a writer, and I’d started several books in college but could never finish them. I found myself out in the real world, and I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t enjoy teaching high school. At all. So during Spring Break one year, I started another novel. Six months later I was able to type “The End”, and I’ve never looked back. Now it’s a disease, and I find myself at loose ends and rather cranky when I’m not writing.

2.    What genre(s) do you write in and why?

Well, this is kind of a difficult question for me. I’m a dabbler. Which is short for adult ADD. My attention wanders pretty frequently, but for the most part I write romantic mystery/suspense for my full length novels. Though I do have a couple of romantic comedies as well. **This is the part where I blush** All of my novella length books are erotic romances. My husband tells me I must have multiple personalities, but I find that after I finish one of my longer mysteries, I need a change of pace, so writing the erotic romances is a way to cleanse my palette for my next novel. That probably doesn’t make a lot of sense, but not much does in the LaLa land I live in, so there ya go.

3.    Tell us about your current series.
I’ve got two series that have sequels due out next year. The first is my Addison Holmes mystery series about a high school history teacher who gets in a whole lot of trouble after stumbling over her principal’s dead body. There’s a zany cast of characters and a super hot detective who drives Addison crazy.
My other series (J.J. Graves) is a little darker, but my main character is still snarky and sarcastic. J.J. Graves is the coroner for the tiny town of Bloody Mary, Virginia. She’ll be the first to tell you that she does know an anus from an aneurysm, but hanging out with the dead isn’t really her idea of a good time. Her dead parents have left her in a bit of a pickle, and dead bodies have a habit of falling into her lap. And her best friend just happens to be the Sheriff. Did I mention he’s hot? And he and J.J. have a whole lot of chemistry.

4.    What is your favorite part of writing?
I love when things fall into place and start to click. It’s when you can see the book in your head like a movie, and when you look at your page count, you’ve somehow written twenty pages of awesome. At least it seems like it at the time. Usually it’s complete crap that has to be fixed in rewrites, but still…that initial moment of thinking that you’re writing something good is priceless.

5.    What is your least favorite part of writing?
Most people probably say revisions, but I actually like doing revisions. My least favorite part of writing is the synopsis. I hate them. Hate. Them. That’s all I care to say on the subject.

6    What is your next project and when will it be released?
My next book out is CADE, which is a continuation of my MacKenzie Family series. It starts off a whole new romantic suspense series of five new books. It will be out at the end of February 2012.

7.    What is your typical day like?
Hahaha…typical day, huh? I usually make a trip to Starbucks first thing, and then I’ll do a bit of a workout at the gym (usually yoga or kickboxing). I then make another trip to Starbucks before heading home. I then mess around on Twitter and Facebook for a couple of hours until I realize I haven’t written anything and start to panic. I then frantically write several pages and get back on Twitter. Somehow I manage to dreck out a few more pages before changing out of my sweats and starting dinner. Rinse and repeat five days a week.

8.    How much time do you spend promoting your books?  What works best for you?
I initially did most of my promoting through Twitter, but I now have a loyal following and my sales have been self-sustaining. I’ve done 1 paid ad (Pixel of Ink) and 1 free ad (Kindle Lovers) that both worked really well. That’s about all the promoting I do. I have a lot of books available, so I know that helps get my name out there more.
9.  How has your experience with self-publishing been?
It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. I get to do something I love, and I’m making a good living at it. Most people can’t say the same.

10.  Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
Everywhere. I eavesdrop a lot. I read the news. I daydream. I have random conversations with people who do interesting things. Ideas are everywhere.

11. What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?
I’d say to do what feels right. No one can make the decision except for them, and everyone’s situation is different. Just don’t forget to keep writing

Now for an excerpt fo her upcoming book.


My life was a disaster.

I sat in my car with a white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel and watched the rain pound against the windshield. I was soaked to the skin, my skirt was ripped, and blood seeped from both knees. There were scratches on my arms and neck, and my face was blotchy and red from crying. Along with the external wounds, I’d lost a good deal of my sensibilities, most of my faith in mankind, and all of my underwear somewhere between a graveyard and a church parking lot.

I’ll explain later. It’s been a hell of a day.

My name is Addison Holmes, no relation to Sherlock or Katie, and if God has any mercy, he’ll strike me with lightning and end it all. I’ve had a job at the McClean Detective Agency for exactly six days. It’s been the longest six days of my life, and I’ll be lucky if I live to see another six. Unspeakable things, things you’d never imagine have happened to me in six days.

Now I faced the onerous task of telling Kate McClean, my best friend and owner of the McClean Detective Agency, how I’d botched a simple surveillance job and found a dead body. Another dead body.
I should have kept my job as a stripper.
Chapter One

Saturday, Seven Days Earlier

I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in thirty years of living. Like when I was eight and I decided to run away from home with nothing more than the clothes on my back, peanut butter crackers and my pink Schwinn bicycle with a flat front tire. And the time when I was sixteen and decided it was a good idea to lose my virginity at an outdoor Metallica concert. And then there was the time I was nineteen and decided I could make it to Atlanta on a quarter tank of gas if I kept the air conditioner off.

There are other examples, but I won’t bore you with the details.

Obviously my judgment has gotten worse as I’ve grown older, because those bad decisions are nothing compared to the one I was about to make.

“Hey, Queen of Denial, you’re up.”

I gave the bouncer guarding the stage entrance my haughtiest glare, sucked in my corseted stomach, tossed my head so the black wig I wore shifted uncomfortably on top of my scalp and flicked my cat-o-nine tails hard enough to leave a welt on my thigh. It was all in the attitude, and if I had anything to do with it, The Foxy Lady would never be the same after Addison Holmes made her debut.

The music overwhelmed my senses, and the bass pumped through my veins in time with the beat of my heart. The lights stung my eyes with their intensity, and I slunk across the stage Marlene Dietrich style in hopes that I wouldn’t fall on my face. Marlene’s the epitome of sexy in my mind, which should tell you a little something about me.

I’d run into a little problem lately, and let’s just say that anyone who’s ever said money can’t buy happiness has obviously never had the need for money. My apartment had a date with a wrecking ball in sixty days, and there was this sweet little house in town I wanted to buy, but thus far the funds to buy it hadn’t magically appeared in my bank account. I could probably make a respectable down payment in three or four years, but I had payments on a 350Z Roadster that were killing me, yoga classes, credit cards, a new satellite dish that fell through my roof last week, an underwear of the month club membership to pay for and wedding bills that were long past overdue. My bank account was stretched a little thin at the moment.

None of those things would be a big deal if I was making big executive dollars at some company where I had to wear pantyhose everyday. But I teach ninth grade world history at James Madison High School in Whiskey Bayou, Georgia, which means I make slightly more than those guys who sit in the toll booths and look at porn all day, and slightly less than the road crew guys who stand on the side of the highway in the orange vests and wave flags at oncoming traffic.

Since I’d rather have a bikini wax immediately followed by a salt scrub than have to move home with my mother, I’d declared myself officially desperate. And desperation leads to all kinds of things that will haunt a person come Judgment Day—like stripping to my skivvies in front of men who are almost as desperate as I am.

The beat of the music coursed through my body as I twirled and gyrated. The lights baked my skin and sweat poured down my face from their heat. Something tickled my cheek. I caught a glimpse of black out of the corner of my eye and realized a false eyelash one of the working girls had stuck on me earlier sat like a third eyebrow on my glistening skin. I swiped at it nonchalantly, but it wouldn’t budge. I ducked my head and peeled it off my cheek, but then it stuck to my finger and I couldn’t get the little devil off.

I shimmied down to my knees and knelt in front of a portly man with rosy cheeks and glazed eyes that spoke of too much alcohol. His sausage-like fingers came a little too close, so I gave him a slap with my whip to remind him of his manners and the fact he was wearing a wedding ring.

I ran my fingers through his thick, black hair and left the eyelash as a souvenir of his visit to The Foxy Lady. The thought crossed my mind that he might have a hard time explaining the eyelash to his wife, but the music kicked up in tempo and I had to figure out something else to do with my remaining two minutes on stage. Who’d have guessed it would take me thirty seconds to run through all my dance moves?

The arches of my feet were screaming and I almost laughed in relief when I saw the poles on the far side of the stage. I could spin a few times on the poles and hang upside down a few seconds to take the pressure off my feet. Besides, I watch T.V. Men always seem to go crazy for the girls dancing with the poles.

I swung around the pole with more gusto than was probably wise and little black spots started clouding my vision, so I slowed my momentum down until I was walking around the pole like a horse in a paddock on a lead rope.

I made another lap around the pole and saw Mr. Dupres, the club’s owner, frowning at me. He swung his arms out and gestured something that resembled either taking off his shirt or ripping open his chest cavity, and I realized I still had on every scrap of clothing I’d walked on stage with. I threw my whip down with determination and ripped my bustier off to reveal the sparkly pasties underneath. I tossed the bustier into the audience and cringed as it knocked over a full drink into some guy’s lap. Just call me the human version of a cold shower. Not a great endorsement for a stripper. I waved a little apology in his direction and tried to put a little more wiggle into my hips to make up for the mishap.

Would this freaking song ever end?

I prayed someone from the audience would have mercy and just shoot me. I spun one last time on the pole and nearly fell to the ground when I saw a familiar face in the audience.

I would have recognized the comb-over and pasty complexion anywhere, though when I usually saw Principal Butler he didn’t have a stripper grinding in his lap. I kind of hoped the way his glasses were fogged would keep him from seeing me, but when he took them off and wiped them on his tie my hopes were dashed. He did a double-take and blinked like an owl before he paled.

I just wanted to vomit.

Mr. Butler practically shoved the woman in his lap to the ground and reached for something in his pocket. He pulled out his cell phone and snapped off a picture. Not good. I guess he wanted proof to show to the school board before he fired me.

I covered myself with my arm and edged back toward the curtain. The music pounded. I waved to a few customers on the front row, their faces twisted and disgruntled at my early departure. I considered my bounty. A grand total of seventy-two cents on a bed of peanut shells lay at my feet.

Tough crowd.

Principal Butler’s eyes were still glued to my chest as I finally found my way behind the thick curtains at the back of the stage. It was a darned good thing there was only a week left until school was out. Maybe the summer would give Mr. Butler time to forget that he saw me in pasties and a thong and me time to forget that I saw my principal’s tiny excuse for an erection.

Or maybe not.


So it turns out I’m not cut out to be an exotic dancer, and I’ll be checking the employment section of the paper again.

I have to say that after the conversation I just had when I was fired from The Foxy Lady, I probably can’t count on them to give me a glowing recommendation.

“Listen, Addison, I just don’t think you’re cut out for this type of work,” Girard Dupres told me after my first and only routine.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times in my life I’ve heard those exact words. If I weren’t such a positive person, I would live in a constant state of depression.

Anyway, Mr. Dupres was the guy who hired me, and he looked like a Soprano’s reject—thinning dark hair, beady eyes, hairy knuckles and greasy skin. He obviously didn’t know anything about hiring good strippers or he never would have considered me.

I decided it was best to look slightly downtrodden at my termination, but inside I was relieved that exotic dancing wasn’t my calling. I don’t think I pulled off the reaction I was hoping for, because Mr. Dupres thought it would be a good idea for me to perfect my technique in a private showing just for him. But to give him the benefit of the doubt, it’s hard to have a conversation and not look desperate when you’re topless and covered in sweat.
I told Mr. Dupres “Thanks, but no thanks,” and headed backstage to gather my things and get dressed. I decided to keep the costume and cat o’ nine tails just in case I ever had a dominance emergency, but I left the itchy wig on the little plastic head I’d borrowed it from.

I took out the blue contacts I’d worn to cover my dark brown eyes and creamed off the heavy eye makeup. I pulled my dark hair back into a ponytail, slipped on my jeans and baby-doll tee from the Gap and stepped into a pair of bright pink flip-flops. It was nice to see the real Addison Holmes once again. I’d only misplaced myself for a few minutes, but it was long enough to make me realize that I liked the real me enough to find some other way to make the extra money I needed.

I’d just hide this little incident away and no one but Mr. Butler and I would ever know about it.
I pushed open the heavy metal door that led from the dressing areas to the alley behind The Foxy Lady and squinted my eyes as the sun and heat bore down on me. I slipped on a pair of Oakley’s and hitched my bag up, digging at the bottom for my car keys.

If I’d been looking where I was going instead of at the bottom of my purse, I’d never have tripped over the body. I’d probably have walked a wide path around it and wondered how someone could already be drunk enough on a Saturday afternoon to be passed out in a strip club’s parking lot. As it was, my foot caught the man right in the ribs and sent me sprawling to my hands and knees.

“Ouch, dammit.”

I muttered various curses as the raw skin on my palms bled. I pushed myself up slowly and took stock of my aching body. My jeans had holes in both knees and a lot of blood covered the toes of my right foot.
“What the hell?” I said as I wiggled my toes to see what the damage was. There didn’t seem to be any cuts so I turned around to see what I’d fallen over.

The body sprawled out in the gap between the cars. It seemed twisted in an odd arc, but shadow shielded me from witnessing the carnage that created so much blood. If nothing else, I knew where the blood on my toes had come from. I couldn’t pretend he was drunk with the dark stain spreading out across his dress shirt like a Target ad. Nor would I be able to keep my recent dabbling into the exotic arts a secret once I called the police and explained to them I’d just found my principal dead in the parking lot.

7 thoughts on “An Interview with Liliana Hart

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *