Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hi, I’m Liwen and I’m a wife and mom of two munchkins (aka. children). I’ve loved words all my life; I won the class spelling bee twice as a child and almost majored in linguistics in college (I ended up going with psychology though). In my past (pre-kids) life, I got my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and worked as a counselor for a couple of years. Then I had kids and embarked on a completely unexpected journey as a stay at home mom. Somewhere along the way, I started blogging about the joys (and challenges!) of mamahood and eventually started writing fiction. I’ve written one children’s picture book, A Rainbow of Nine Colors, and contributed to various anthologies. I have two romance series for grown-ups, the Taking Chances series which has two books in it (and a third on the way) and the Seasons of Love series (I recently published the first book).
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book, The More the Merrier, is a Christmas-themed contemporary romance. The 10k word short story was initially intended for an anthology (which didn’t pan out due to a lack of submissions), but I was thrilled to have the chance to publish it myself. To be truthful, I was inspired by ice cream when I wrote it during a summer heat wave. This explains why my main characters, Barry and Alyssa, were constantly eating ice cream throughout the book!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Does surfing the web count? If so, then that’s one writing habit I’m way too good at. I often have anywhere from 5-10 tabs open on my laptop at one time. To be fair, I surf the web for research purposes for my books, as well as to use the thesaurus or to check grammar. I also love music and always have some playing in the background (anything from ’90s boy bands to the top 40). And when I need a writing break, I’ll check Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads or Yahoo or People or Hulu – hm, guess that’s where the extra tabs come in. LOL
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I love books with humor. One of my favorite authors who writes clean and funny romance is Susan Hatler.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a sci-fi/romance with my hubby (and putting our marriage to the test, haha!). I also have the story for my third book in my Taking Chances series unfolding in my brain.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
The best method I’ve found so far is to give books away for free or to put them on sale. The whole point of writing books is to get them into the hands of readers, so any method that does just that works!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write, struggle, celebrate, and write some more! Get some good critique partners and beta readers who will help you improve in your craft. Join some writers groups in person or virtually and build a support system. Learn from others on how to market and don’t be afraid to try new methods. Above all, write for yourself and enjoy the process!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Perfectionism leads to hopelessness, but failure leads to hope (because you can always try again). One of my grad school profs taught me this, and it has been my motto as a recovering perfectionist.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading Just a Kiss by Ines Bautista-Yao.
What’s next for you as a writer?
To keep on growing as a writer!
What is your favorite book of all time?
There is not one book that I can name as my favorite; there are so many good ones out there. What captures me is an author’s writing style. If a book moves me emotionally, I’m sold.