Liza’s new book, Undisclosed, is out now and available at all e-tailers.
SB: Hi Liza, thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
LG: Thanks for having me! I’m a huge animal lover and we have horses, goats, cats, and dogs. I really, really want a couple of alpacas too but so far, my husband keeps saying no which is fair. If it were left up to me, we’d probably both need to get second and third jobs just to feed all the critters I’d bring home.
When I’m not doing chores or hanging out with the animals, I’m can usually be found reading or knitting. I also really enjoy cooking and baking and I’m a big proponent of afternoon naps.
SB: How have you been doing through the stay at home/ social isolation phase of this new normal?
LG: We’re very lucky because my husband and I both already worked from home before all this happened so in that respect, not much has changed for us. My mother-in-law lives with us though, so we’re being super cautious and really limiting trips into town, even for things like groceries.
I’m kind of a hermit anyway—my family likes to joke that I weigh all social obligations by how worthy they are of putting pants on—so the social isolation hasn’t been too challenging for me. The anxiety and worry are difficult though. Aside from my husband and mother-in-law, most of my family is in Michigan and Florida and these days, that feels a lot farther away than it used to.
SB: How did you get in to reading/writing romance?
LG: My mom and I were just talking about this the other day. I was forbidden to watch MTV (I watched it anyway, of course) but no one paid any attention to what I was reading. I’m not sure exactly how old I was when I first raided her stash of romance novels but I’m fairly sure I was still a pre-teen. Not long after, I started borrowing books from one of my aunts too.
As far as writing romance, that started around the same time with my cousin and I writing fanfic. This would have been in the late 80s/early 90s and we didn’t have the internet yet, so it was just this fun thing we did together. To this day she’s still my first reader.
SB: Your new book, Undisclosed out June 16th, has not one but three polarizing themes (politics, secret baby, and a cliffhanger). That is a lot and I am excited about it. But mostly I want to talk about Secret Baby.
This is one of my favorite tropes, but can you tell us why it appeals to you?
LG: The drama! The angst! That heart stopping moment when the truth comes out! All juxtaposed against the softer moments of evolving parenthood and partnership. I always love high-stakes emotional stories, and that contrast gets me every time. Partly, I think, because I love watching the characters grapple with their conflicting feelings and partly because I watched a lot of soap operas with my grandma at an impressionable age.
SB: Knowing that many people really hate this trope due to its improbability, why write it?
LG: Well, as you mentioned, I’d already made some pretty controversial choices with this book so I kind of figured I might as well go all in! Seriously, though, I understand why it bothers a lot of people and that’s absolutely valid but for me it’s about redemption.
What makes or breaks a secret baby story for me is the character development. If the writer can convince me the person understands what they did is wrong and regrets it, if they try to make amends in whatever way they can, and I believe they’re sincere, then I’m good with it. Because I think we all make mistakes and do the wrong thing sometimes. When that happens, what’s important to me is that we try to fix it to whatever extent we can—and sometimes there is no fixing it and if that’s the case you have to acknowledge that—and learn from the experience. We should all be trying to grow and become better people. If someone is making a genuine effort to do that, I’m willing to give them a second chance a lot of the time. At least in books. It’s definitely a lot harder in the real world.
And that’s not to say there aren’t things that are unforgiveable. There definitely are but everyone has to draw that line for themselves.
SB: Favorite secret baby book(s) Don’t be shy with the recommendations?
Oh, I’m terrible at recommendations because I always seem to remember plots and characters but fail miserably at matching that up with titles and authors. The first few that come to mind are actually books where one of the protagonists is not the parent of the secret baby. Never Enough by Lauren Dane and Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland are like that. Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas is good if you want a historical.
As for books where the hero and heroine are both the parents, there’s Seducing Simon by Maya Banks and Then, Now, Always by Mona Shroff. And Destiny’s Surrender by Beverly Jenkins—another historical—is amazing.
SB: Tell us a little about your book.
LG: Mac and Gwen had a summer fling when they were in college but that came to an abrupt end when Gwen had to return home to her family. She didn’t even tell him goodbye and by the time she finds out she’s pregnant, she’s so overwhelmed she doesn’t go back and tell him that either.
They’re both shocked to meet again in a job interview a dozen years later. Mac struggles with her reappearance and has a lot of trouble navigating his feelings. She was his first and only love and she hurt him badly when they were young. The only problem is, he thinks he might still love her and learning about their son Tristan only complicates his feelings.
For her part, Gwen is stubborn and independent and very slow to trust. She also has a sometimes amusing and often frustrating tendency to simply deny reality when she’s uncomfortable, at least until she’s had time to process her feelings. She’s supportive of whatever kind of relationship Mac might want to have with their son but she’s far leerier of letting him into her heart, even if she has let him back into her bed.
Where can we find you on the interweb?
Thanks so much Liza for doing this Q&A with us!
About the book
UNDISCLOSED is a contemporary romance, about old summer flings, a secret pregnancy, politics and the return of old flames.
After a summer fling in college, Gwen disappears leaving Mac to wonder what happened to her. When she reappears a dozen years later to work on a presidential campaign with him, she has a secret that turns his life upside down but the magnetic pull between them is as strong as ever.
GwenWhen I stroll into my job interview at a prestigious PR firm in D.C., the last thing I expect is my teenage fling, the sexy and enigmatic Mac, behind the desk. The firm’s newest client is a woman running against the incumbent President of the United States, and I want this job so desperately that I can taste it—not to mention I have reasons for needing the income. Big secrets I’ve kept from Mac.MacGwen disappeared years ago then shows up in my office, looking beautiful as ever. And, even worse, it kills me that she’s the perfect person for the job. I’m going crazy being in her proximity all the time, pretending we never spent that one hot summer together. Then I discover what Gwen’s been hiding from me—a young son with my eyes. Suddenly, my whole world’s upended. Between complications with my messed-up family, issues on the campaign trail, and the chemistry reigniting with Gwen, I’m forced to decide what really matters…and the kind of man and father I want to be.