Liz Jasper – Underdead

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Actually I’ve got the first two books in my lighthearted paranormal mystery series out as a Back To School Special (because I think the sting of going back to school pretty much lasts all year). They are both available in eBook and in trade paperback.

The first book in the series, EPIC award winning Underdead, is about newbie science teacher Jo Gartner who is bitten by a vampire–only he doesn’t quite do the job, leaving her almost undead or “underdead”. And then things really get out of control. Dead bodies. Police. Undead. Outrageous lies to her mother. But then someone wants Jo dead…the traditional way!

In the sequel, Underdead In Denial, Jo is having a wonderfully quiet year until she volunteers for the Haunted House fundraiser. That’s just asking for the vampires to show up and of course they do. Then there’s another dead body. And more cops. And Jo is forced to decide which side she’s on before someone gets rid of her permanently.

Tell us something about yourself.

Does my vast chocolate consumption while writing qualify as interesting or is it merely horrifying?

Like Jo, my first job right out of college was teaching middle school science. I adore math and science and currently work as a financial analyst. But my first love has always been writing and I make time to do it. Always. I will say here that teaching is the hardest job I’ve ever done. Hands down. I was one of those kids in school that was a bit of a handful for my teachers and boy did the universe circle back to make me pay for it. I miss teaching and my students but I do not miss the grading. It’s a great joy to go to coffee shops just to go and not because I’m chaining myself to a table to get papers graded.

What inspired you to write this book?

The teacher part is based very loosely on my experiences. And the vampire part? I could make the argument that teaching is all about dealing with bloodsucking monsters (one need only think back to their own middle school experience to know this is true). But quite honestly I got the idea for Underdead after a punchline from a comedian’s stand up routine got stuck in my head one afternoon, the way annoying songs do. I don’t remember the joke, of course, just the punchline, about something being underdone-done-done. It twisted around and around in my head and somehow became “Underdead” and the idea for an almost undead science teacher was born.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I write better at night (must be all those years of putting homework off to the last minutes before bedtime) and have a superbly messy desk. Every so often I organize my papers and clean every inch of my desk and it slowly turns back into a trash heap.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

This is one of the hardest things for me. So hard that I blogged about it. I have baby books and I look up names on line and I watch credits on TV and movies for ideas. And when in doubt, I ask my mother.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I’m deep into the third Underdead mystery and I plan on at least one more. I have also written the first book in a YA series, and it is coming soon.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Learn. Take classes. Hang out with other writers who are driven to improve and motivated to write as a career. On my website I have a list of classes and books that have helped me, and I explain why they’ve been a help. I’m terrible at remembering book titles and names so I add more as I remember them.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

I like the sort of book that you can curl up with on the couch after a rotten day and flip pages and giggle and that’s the sort of books I write. My novels are cozy mysteries with a romantic love triangle…and vampires! Teens tend to like the books for the vampires and steal it from their mothers. Who are the sort who will steal it right back. They also appeal to teachers and students because they identify with Jo. However, the books are PG and I’ve got fans of all ages and both genders.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Both of my books are available in eBook and in trade paperback. You can easily find links to the way you want to read the books on my website.

My website:
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