2020 Debut Author Interview: Liz Lawson!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun this year as well! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2020 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!
At the end of 2019, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Liz Lawson and her novel THE LUCKY ONES, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Liz on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

[CW: This book deals with the aftermath of a high school shooting.]



Liz Lawson

Liz Lawson is an author, a music supervisor, a wife, a mom, and a bunch of other things, too. She's been writing for most of her life in one way or another -- in high school her SAT II essay about gopher throwing was awarded a perfect score, and in college she held a position on the editorial board of the campus newspaper.

Keep up with Liz: Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads


The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Liz: Thank you so much! Well, if I’m going to be brutally honest, a little bittersweet! I’m so excited that my book is out there in the world, but I would have loved to be able to celebrate it with the people I love. That said, I know that I’ll be able to sometime soon, and at that point I think the excitement will be there even more than right now ;) 
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
Liz: The best is making up these characters out of thin air and getting to watch them become whole people. It’s a pretty incredible process. The hardest… is plotting. Like, what even is plot?!?! Why is it necessary!?!? Can’t my characters just, like… be? (jkjk I know why plot exists! I love plot! I just don’t like… you know, PLOTTING.)

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the inspiration for THE LUCKY ONES?
Liz: Oddly, inspiration for the book hit after I was given a writing prompt in a short story class! I started writing Zach’s chapter first (what is now the second chapter of the book), and the rest is history.

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?
Liz: I think Lucy was probably my favorite, and May and Lucy’s friendship, particularly, was my absolutely favorite relationship in the book. Lucy is such a rock, in part because she’s been through so much in her own life, struggling with addiction and her father’s addiction, and she’s definitely wise beyond her years because of that. I love that the reader can see May through Lucy’s eyes at times, the person who she used to be, who Lucy loves. And how May softens around her. Lucy’s pretty amazing. Without giving too much away—David was the hardest. BY FAR. I had to rewrite that scene (spoiler!) between him and May in the jail over and over because getting into his mind was just something I kept resisting.

The Book Bratz: This book deals with such a heavy and prevalent topic in America. Why do you think you chose to take this on?
Liz: I grew up and graduated from high school right when Columbine happened, and that changed the entire landscape of our country, forever. I started writing this book for all the kids who are faced with this reality, day in and out. I wrote it for the kids who have lived through the shootings that are mentioned above and the many other shootings that aren’t, and for those who fear that they might endure a similar fate someday. For those who have made their way through painful, heartbreaking times and managed to find their way through to the other side. I wanted to show them that there is hope.

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from THE LUCKY ONES?
Liz: THE LUCKY ONES is a story of pain and fear and loss, but also one of hope.  And I truly believe that we need stories of hope in this world, stories where people go through some shit but manage to come out on the other side. Someone recently described reading THE LUCKY ONES as a cathartic experience, and that’s exactly what I’ve always hoped that readers would get from the read.

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of THE LUCKY ONES in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
Liz: I would love to, but currently I have no plans. I just started revising my second book after getting notes back from my editor! It’s due out 2021 and is entitled IN SILENT SEAS WE DROWN. It’s an emotional YA thriller that examines addiction and how little we really know the people around us. Definitely a bit of a departure from THE LUCKY ONES, but I’m really excited about it! I also recently started writing a comedic YA thriller, and I love it so much!! I really, really hope that it can be my third book – it’s a little different from my first two, but still deals with mental health (just in a less heavy way). 

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Title: The Lucky Ones
Author: Liz Lawson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 7th, 2020

Summary: May is a survivor. But she doesn't feel like one. She feels angry. And lost. And alone. Eleven months after the school shooting that killed her twin brother, May still doesn't know why she was the only one to walk out of the band room that day. No one gets what she went through--no one saw and heard what she did. No one can possibly understand how it feels to be her. Zach lost his old life when his mother decided to defend the shooter. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends bailed, and now he spends his time hanging out with his little sister...and the one faithful friend who stuck around. His best friend is needy and demanding, but he won't let Zach disappear into himself. Which is how Zach ends up at band practice that night. The same night May goes with her best friend to audition for a new band. Which is how May meets Zach. And how Zach meets May. And how both might figure out that surviving could be an option after all.

Thank you so much to Liz for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about THE LUCKY ONES and it's out in the world now for you to enjoy -- keep an eye out for Jessica's review, coming soon!

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