So THIS beautiful lady, Liz Berry is one of the most lovely people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Always with a smile, she is forever hard at work promoting her favorite genre, romance!
Hi there Liz and thanks for being so gracious about answering some questions for the Book Obsessed Chicks blog…. I picked you because you are an amazing advocate for the romance genre and you make a difference.
Liz: Thanks you so much for having me – and for this incredible honor!
Please tell us a bit about yourself…
Along with my business partner, New York Times bestselling author M.J. Rose, I’m the co-creator of 1001 Dark Nights – a marketing project designed to introduce fans to fabulous romance authors they might not have read before, via marketing and cross promotion of new novellas within the author’s series.
I’m also the Executive Director of International Thriller Writers (ITW) – a trade organization of over 3,000 thriller authors from around the world. So I have my feet firmly in both genres. J
Beyond that, I’m a mom – even though sometimes during these teenage years, I might not always claim the title with much excitement! I also serve on the Education Committee for the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board, and with my husband, author Steve Berry, operate a foundation called History Matters – dedicated to raising funds and awareness for historic preservation.
When did you fall in love with the romance genre?
About eight years ago. I didn’t grow up reading romance, and as an adult, I just never made the time. That all changed the day I picked up a copy of Twilight. I couldn’t believe that a book could make me feel so much – I’m even listening to the musical score as I answer these questions! Shortly after, I was at a book event for Steve and shared my thoughts with the bookseller – and the fact that I wish I could have seen behind closed doors in the book. J She quickly informed me that there was an entire world of books that I was missing. And she was right! From that moment on, I’ve been hooked on the genre – reading 4-5 books a week – and I love the butterflies that are always fluttering in my stomach because of it.
What made you decide to help spread the word about romance?
Because I’m married to an author, I’ve learned how tough the career can be – so much solitude and sometimes a great deal of negativity. So I decided early on that if I read a book that really touched me, I would let the author know. That was a few years before social media, so I’d just drop a note to them via their website contact forms. I discovered very quickly that my few words of praise brought much needed joy to the writers, so I asked my friends to do the same with the books/authors they loved. It was a little mission of happiness, but it was important to me and to them, and I try my best to still do it today.
1001 Dark Nights allows me to bring that mission to the next level. With the concept of introducing New York Times bestselling romance authors to a new group of readers via cross-marketing and relationships, we’ve become “fan girl central” and readers have learned to trust that the books/authors we’re recommending are amazing (and addictive!).
Who are your favorite authors?
Honestly? I’m actually working with most of them – have I mentioned I love my job! The collection has allowed me to indulge in my wish list of authors to meet and work with. And even though not all of them have been able to participate yet, they’re all the gracious and lovely people I’d hoped they’d be.
Do you have any advice for others who want to be romance cheerleaders?
Do just that – cheer!! Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert - with lots of time or little to none – just do something. Leave a review. Write a fan mail. Join a street team. Follow a Facebook page and share a post or two. Tell a friend about a great book you’ve just read. Subscribe to a newsletter. Or simply buy a book. I guarantee you that the author you support will be incredibly grateful.
What new books have you been shouting out about lately?
I’m always shouting about 1001 Dark Nights LOL! But this month, we also worked on a special project with Liliana Hart and her MacKenzie family. It allowed five other authors to write a type of fan fiction novella in Liliana’s world – and I loved the results! Seeing how the authors interacted with the MacKenzie characters was fascinating. And definitely steamy. J
What do you do when you’re not shouting out about great books?
Umm…sleep? Kidding! I have an awesome family, a wonderful group of friends to hang out with and an enormous amount of travel, so I stay pretty busy. But when I have any free time at all, I think the only answer is...shoe shopping!
Your Top 10 in Romance….
I’m actually going to answer this question a little bit differently because I’d love to give a shout out to a new group of authors that M.J. and I are working with -- and a program that I’m so so proud of: Dark Nights Discovery.