On the Eve of RWA Nationals, a Chat with Lizbeth Selvig, RITA finalist

First, congratulations to Lizbeth Selvig on her 2014 RITA final! 

All of us at GLIAS are so proud and excited for her, and we'll all be rooting for her the night of the awards banquet in San Antonio.

Hi Jill, my GLIAS and Golden Heart Sis! It’s so nice of you to take time to interview me here on my favorite blog where I write with some of my favorite friends and fellow authors!  I need to say, this RITA final is pretty much unbelievable and a huge thrill—I mean, you’ve seen the company I’m in – holy moly, what am I doing here? Nonetheless, I’m honored to be representing Get Lost in a Story as well as the 2010 Unsinkables Golden Heart Group!

Jillian: So, tell us about getting the RITA call.

Lizbeth: The story is semi-humorous. I had a critique meeting that morning and had to leave home before 9 a.m. When I reached the meeting place my crit partner was not there and the thought flit through my mind that she was late because she’d finaled in the Golden Heart. Lo and behold—that’s
Invite and RITA pin! 
exactly what happened! (Shout out to Ellen Lindseth—a GH finalist in the Historical category!)  All during our meeting I kept an eye on the growing list of RITA finalists, but at 2:00 my name was not included.
Admittedly, like everyone who hopes to final and doesn’t, I was bummed. I went to the gym to wallow during my work out, but before I could get in, I got a call from a friend way up in Alaska. She said, “Last night I dreamed you were a RITA finalist.”  “Well,” I told her, “It was a nice dream.” “Don’t you know?” she asked.  “Know what?” “Oh my gosh, you ARE one!” That’s how I learned I was a finalist by way of Alaska! Turns out, Terry McLaughlin, RWA prez, didn’t have my cell phone number and had left me a pretty fabulous message on my landline! You can bet I scared the dog with my whooping!

Jillian: Share a blurb about the nominated novel, Rescued by a Stranger. 

Lizbeth: Jill Carpenter is a woman with big Olympic dreams and an even bigger heart.

When a sexy stranger with a tragedy in his past and a secret too painful to share rides to her rescue on a vintage motorcycle,Jill's vision of her future changes quicker than she ever imagined it could.

Chase Preston wants nothing more than to forget his past and keep his identity to himself. He has no business getting in the way of Jill's dreams -- even if he can't help but fall in love with her.

But a very unusual stray dog, two teenage sisters with attitude problems, and a crotchety old farmer, conspire to push Chase and Jill deeper and deeper into a love like they've never experienced before. A love that could lead to understanding, absolution, and a perfect happily-ever-after.

If only they can learn to trust.

Jillian: Your heroine, Jill Carpenter,  is an animal lover with Olympic dreams. Tell us about her.

Lizbeth: Jill is one of the nicest heroines you’ll ever meet. She’s just plain a good heart and talented in so many ways. She works at a large stable where she teaches lessons and hones her own riding skills. She gets the chance to earn a spot on the US Equestrian Team, but her dilemma is that she’s also a vet student and very gifted teacher. Then, of course, the man who could be the hero of her dreams throws a wrench into everything! 

Jillian: Chase Preston, arrives on the scene on a motorcycle. Without giving away his secret, mistake-filled past, what should we know about him?

Lizbeth:  Chase’s motorcycle is a classic 1975 Triumph Bonneville—a totally hot bike in my opinon! It’s not giving away much of a secret to the readers to say that Chase is a runaway doctor from a free clinic in Memphis, TN.  He’s sexy, he’s funny, he’s kind, he’s pretty much the sort of man who’ll turn himself inside out to help people – especially the woman he comes to love. But he’s lived through a tragedy that has turned him away from the profession he loves and made him certain anyone who finds out what happened will lose all respect for him. The problem is he, too, is very gifted at what he does and he cares about people so much that eventually he can’t help but let his own secret out, and when he does, everything he fears comes to pass.  

Jillian: Please share a brief excerpt from Rescued by a Stranger.

Lizbeth: Here you go:


     The right side of his upper lip, as perfectly sculpted as the rest of his features, lifted in an Elvis-y half grin—a cute-on-handsome action that made Jill’s mouth go parched again.
     “Sounds like we’d best get you out before Lizzie Borden the truck here changes her mind about killing you.” His warm humor-filled voice calmed with its hypnotic Southern cadence.
     “I’d be very, very good with that,” she replied.
     “Let’s try the door.” He reached for the handle.
     “No! Wait. Don’t! Whenever I move the whole thing rocks. I—”
     “Okay, it’s okay.” He held up his hands. “I’ll look first and see how solid she’s sitting.”
     He stepped away and walked slowly around the front of the Suburban. Jill took the time to regroup. She wasn’t a wimp, dang it. This was stupid. The man already believed she was half-baked. She needed to stop whining and simply crawl out. And she had to get the stupid truck out of this stupid ditch or she’d miss the most important riding lesson of her life. Maybe if she could see how to straighten her wheels she could just drive—
     “She isn’t hanging on by a lot, you’re right.” He returned to the window. “But you should be able to ease out this way. I’ll open the door very carefully. Trust me.”
     Trust him? For all she knew he had a handgun in his pocket, a twelve-page rap sheet, and a mug shot at the Post Office.  “Fine.” She grimaced. “Just don’t mug me until I’m fully out. One crisis at a time.”
     His slightly nasal laugh flowed between them, as musical as his voice. “Gotta love a woman who’s funny in the face of adversity.”
     Funny? This merely kept her from weeping. In addition to causing expense for which there was no money, this accident was messing up two appointments she couldn’t afford to miss.
     “I’m not being funny.” She wriggled out from behind the steering wheel. “On the other hand, if you murder me right here I’ll have a great excuse for being late.” She edged to the passenger side and glanced at her watch. “Make that very late.”
     “Lizzie here didn’t murder you, and I’m not going to either.”
     He tugged on the door and it hit the slope, barely opening ten inches. Jill was small, but not that small.
     “Great. Just awesome.” She eyed the stranger dubiously.
     “I’m afraid it’s out the window for you.” He shrugged.
     “Well this gets better and better.” She simply wanted out, and she reached for the oversized tote she used as purse, clothing bag, and carry-all. “Would you toss this on the ground?  I hope that stupid dog appreciates its life.”
     “It’s on its knees thanking—”
     “All the angels?” she teased.
     “Yes, ma’am.” The return of his Elvis-grin sent a flutter through her belly. He hefted her striped, leather-handled bag and grunted. “Lord love a monkey, what have you got in here? Car parts?”
     “Riding boots.” She reached for the top of the window opening and suddenly heard what he’d said. “What?!”
     “Sorry, my granddaddy’s saying. Gotta admit,” he grunted again, “didn’t expect you to say boots.”
     “Only because you don’t know me,” she muttered.
     “Let’s go then. We can do getting-to-know-you once you’re free.”
     The easiest way out was head first, since it caused the least amount of wiggling. But halfway out, with her torso flopped over the doorframe and her knees hovering above the passenger seat, The Creature slowly swung its nose downward. She shrieked.
     “Got you!”  Strong hands caught her beneath the armpits.
     The Creature spun left and spit her from the window.
     The momentum squirted her out and propelled the stranger backward. One second Jill’s shoe toes skimmed the window frame, the next she sprawled atop a very long, very hard male body. He grabbed her, and held the back of her head expertly, as if people fell on him all the time and he knew precisely what to do.
     “Sorry. Sorry. I’m okay. Are you okay?” Her words were muffled in his shoulder.
     She should move.
     He should move.
     Instead, his chest rose and fell beneath her, and his breath warmed the top of her head. His fingers formed a firm brace at the base of her neck, and he lay like a stone beneath her. When she finally made the tiniest effort to roll away, his free hand planted itself on her hip.
     “No,” he commanded in a hoarse whisper.
     “Relax. Make sure you’re all in one piece.”
     She certainly didn’t know this guy well enough to relax in a reverse missionary position with him . . . but the pleasant musk of masculine perspiration prickled her nose and mingled with the redolent scent of his leather jacket. Her eyelids floated closed in spite of herself, and she went all-but-limp with relief. When he relaxed, too, however, she couldn’t ignore his long, lean form beneath her or the intense pressure gathering low in her body. She tried to concentrate on the fact that nothing bad was happening while he held her—no accidents, no animals dying, no worry she was late for . . .
     “Oh my gosh!” She jerked hard against his hold.
Immediately he released her, gave her shoulder a squeeze, and a mini explosion of sparks raced for every nerve ending in her body. She pushed onto her hands and stared into eyes as calm as a waveless lake.
     “Hi,” he said, his mouth only inches from hers. “I’m Chase Preston. Nice to meet you.”

Jillian: Now, for the question I've been dying to ask: Tell us all about your dress for the awards banquet. Details, please! 

Lizbeth:  Trying on formal dresses is traumatic for me. At 5’1 and mumble, mumble, mumble pounds—I sort of look like a bowling ball in a dress – lol. But I found a navy blue, floor length gown with a youthful  tiered overskirt of chiffon, a wide hip-to-bust waistband, chiffon caps on the sleeveless bodice, and a V-neck that goes low but not too low. I love it—it does have an oh-so-slight touch of prom dress to it, but it’s actually pretty flattering for a round lady with no height! I’m faithfully using some self-tanner on my, um, décolletage area, and “shapewear” (hah, our grannies called them girdles) is on my shopping list!
Jillian: The dress is lovely, Liz. And LOL––I never put on a dress without shapewear under it! ;)

Jillian: Okay, on a scale from one to ten, one being not very, and ten very––how excited are you? Because here at GLIAS, we're sooooo excited for you. Like at least a ten!
Lizbeth:  Believe me, my excitement dial goes to 11! The nerves won’t fully hit until ceremony night but then I know they’ll hit hard! I have no delusions that I will walk home with Ms. RITA—but then again, she’s a surprising lady, you never know. What I do know for sure is that I’m grateful and humbled to have so many good, good friends rooting for me and knowing that it truly is an honor to be a finalist!

Jillian: Have an amazing, memorable conference and good luck, Liz!

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  1. Congratulations and enjoy everything about being a finalist at RWA!

    1. Thanks Clover. I will soak it all in, I promise!

  2. Congratulations, Unsinkable Sister !!
    Awesome interview. Awesome book !

    1. Thank you my beautiful Angi. Can't wait to see you in less than a week. Yay!! And thanks for the sweet compliments. You rock.

  3. AWWWwwwhhh Liz, your dress looks beautiful. You will look lovely.
    PS: Rosemary is rooming with me this year. We'll be cheering for you!!! We are all so proud of you.

    1. Thanks so much Kathleen. I'm so glad you and Ro will be there. Couldn't we find another mini golf course? You were in on that big "tourney" in Orlando, yes?? Can't wait to see you!

    2. Yep, I remember the mini golf. and sweating. San Antonio won't be as humid as Orlando. Catch up with me and Ro and we'll go grab Pralines at this really good place on the river.

    3. Oh boy! You definitely have a date, Kat!

  4. The dress is gorgeous Liz!
    Have a fabulous time - and if I haven't said it enough -- CONGRATULATIONS!! What an honor. You make MFW and the Unsinkables proud!

    Don't forget the littLe guys when you win!

    1. Thank you so much, Nan. MFW and the Unsinkables got me here--they make ME proud! And no worries--I'll always have room for little guys--I shall always be one :-)

  5. Congratulations again on your final, Liz! I'll be there to hopefully see you win!


    1. I'm so glad there'll be so many friends there to cheer -- and celebrate or sympathize :-) I'm totally looking forward to the trip down to Texas!

  6. Wow, Liz! I'm so excited for you! Can't wait to cheer you on. What a dream come true. Just think, back in 2010, did you ever imagine you've be decked out for the RITAs four years later? So awesome! Can't wait to catch up in San Antonio.

    1. E.E., I absolutely did not believe for one minute I'd ever be in this position. I dreamed-as we all do--but knew (and still know) the odds when there are so many truly wonderful, deserving books each year. I will cherish these memories always, for sure!

  7. Good luck in the final round, Liz. Enjoy Nationals and celebrate all you have accomplished!

    1. Ana! Thank you so, so much. I will definitely enjoy Nationals--while pinching myself to be sure I'm not dreaming!

  8. I love your dress, Liz! It's gorgeous! I'll be crossing my fingers for you, best of luck . . .

  9. Congratulations, Liz!! I'll be cheering for you in spirit as I'm not going this year. Crossing fingers as well. :) Have a wonderful evening and great conference.

  10. Love your RITA call story and seeing the picture of your dress, Liz! Absolutely gorgeous! Looking forward to see you in it and giving you the biggest hug ever :) Congrats again on your RITA nomination!

  11. Congrats Liz, I hope you have a fabulous time at RWA and the best of luck to bringing home the prize!

  12. Congrats, love your story. Entering under the name of Virginia

  13. Congratulations! Enjoy the glamor of being a RITA finalist!