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Erika Liodice: Why I Write

February 15, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Given Erika Liodice’s success in writing/publishing her debut novel Empty Arms in Kindle Edition, NOOK Book and Paperback, one might think that becoming an author was a childhood dream. Yet, in today’s guest post, Erika tells how her journey to novelist began on the path to self-discovery.]

Why I Write

Growing up I often heard people say, “I found myself at college.” It led me to the delusion that finding oneself was some sort of transcendental experience involving rays of light and smoke clouds of wisdom that could envelop you right in the middle of a keg stand or flaming Dr. Pepper shot. I wish someone would’ve warned me that my metamorphosis was going to be dark and lonely…and take my entire 20s.

But they didn’t. So I ventured off to college and waited patiently for my lightning bolt realization. To my disappointment, the only thing I learned about myself during those four years was how incredibly hard I had to work just to keep my head above water.

Always the optimistic, I figured that my grand discovery would come during my summer backpacking trip through Europe. After all, I’ve had an insatiable wanderlust ever since I first set foot on an airplane when I was six years old, so wouldn’t it be appropriate for my magical epiphany to happen while I was surrounded by rich cultures, exotic foods, romantic languages, and soul-stirring views?

You’d think. Instead, the only thing I learned about myself during those six weeks was how short my fuse can be when I’m overly hot, overly tired, or overly hungry. I returned home no closer to understanding what made me tick or what I had to offer the world. My “truth” eluded me.

With no clear direction of what I wanted, I accepted a well-paying entry-level job at a reputable pharmaceutical company. Since I hadn’t found myself in college or in Europe, I hoped that ascending the rungs of the corporate ladder would hold the answer.

And so I began the climb. I got promoted, chased higher salaries, and even switched companies a few times, desperately trying to uncover the missing ingredient that many of my friends and colleagues had found. Everyone around me seemed happy with their titles, salaries, and job responsibilities, but meanwhile I had the nagging sense that my life was slipping by.

Eventually, I gave up on the notion of finding myself and focused instead on finding happiness. In my free time, I took classes that interested me: graphic design, photography, commercial arts, sculpture, sewing, Pilates. I joined a book club. I taught myself how to cook. I volunteered. I even dragged my non-religious butt to church and studied the Bible. Happiness came in dribs and drabs, but it never stuck around for very long.

Then one day, my husband came home from work and told me a story that nearly brought me to tears. Out of nowhere, the desire to write a novel bowled me over. I started that very day. Thinking it would probably end up being another one of my “flavor of the month” creative undertakings, I didn’t pay it much mind. But then that day turned into a week, and that week turned into a month, and soon I was waking up at 5 a.m. so I could write for two hours before work. A couple of years later, I had a manuscript. A few years after that, I had another.

In the end, I didn’t find myself at college or while backpacking through Europe or while working in Corporate America. I found myself in those cold, dark hours of the morning hunched before the glow of my computer. It taught me that I am a writer. That is my truth. That is what brings me happiness.

That is why I write.

“Knowing thyself is the height of wisdom.”
– Socrates

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Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Erika Liodice’s Empty Arms — in a random drawing — to anyone who leaves a comment on this post by 8:59 p.m. EST tonight! The winner will be announced here tomorrow.

The Revealing of Erika Liodice

January 26, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Author Erika Liodice dreams, creates to succeed, and inspires others to do the same. With passion and determination, she became a debut novelist in late November, 2011 when her first novel Empty Arms was published as an ebook in Kindle and NOOK Book editions. And only last week Empty Arms was released in paperback. One might say that Erika’s arms now hold her dream come true.

The story is based on a life built on secrets, half truths, evasion, and lies. Not exactly a reader’s choice for a tender, warm-hearted selection, yet the ebook has garnered 5 ***** ratings and the following praise:

“Empty Arms is a compelling novel about haunting secrets, risk and consequence, and one woman’s journey to build a future out of the scattered ashes of her past. A beautiful debut.” ~ Therese Walsh, author of THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY

The Synopsis:

Catharine Chase’s entire life is built on a secret. In 1972, at the tender age of sixteen, she got pregnant. An embarrassment to her parents, Catharine was exiled to a maternity home to carry out her pregnancy far away from the watchful eyes of their tight-knit community. What they didn’t tell her is that she wouldn’t be allowed to keep her baby.

With her daughter’s screams still echoing in her ears, the medical staff told Catharine she’d move on with her life and have more children, they promised she’d forget. But they were wrong. Catharine never forgot Emily. And when she and her husband, Paul, learn that they can’t have children, she risks her job, her marriage, and her family’s reputation in a desperate attempt to find the daughter she never wanted to give away and reclaim her only chance to be a mother.

The Divining Wand has scheduled a visit from Erika on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 however — between now and then — let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

Erika Liodice is an award-winning blogger and founder of the inspirational blog, Beyond the Gray, where she shares her journey to publication while encouraging readers to reach for their own dreams. She is a book reviewer at Reader Unboxed and a contributor to Writer Unboxed, The Savvy Explorer, and Lehigh Valley InSite. Empty Arms is her first novel.

And now it’s time to get to know Erika at her upclose and revealing best.

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Chasing my dreams, inspiring others to chase theirs.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Confucius

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Sipping wine with my husband on a sunny afternoon overlooking a body of water.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Losing my husband. He’s my best friend; I couldn’t live without him.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. On a tropical island basking in sunshine.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Henry David Thoreau because I derive much of my inspiration from “sauntering in nature”, I spend a good deal of time pondering my purpose here, and I love to travel. Plus, like Thoreau, I spent many years working at passionless day jobs in order to support my writing dream.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Jodi Picoult because she writes about tough topics that challenge my beliefs and change the way I look at things.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. In my writing it’s: my stomach tightens. I was horrified when I realized how much my protagonist’s stomach was tightening! Fortunately, I discovered this during the editing phase and was able to correct it.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. To speak many languages fluently. English is my native language and I studied Spanish for 11 years, but I would love to know a few more so I can converse with all of the interesting people I meet during my travels.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Building a life that I absolutely love.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. Over-committing myself.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. I put my heart and soul into everything I do.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. Not going to art school.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Sometimes I think it would be fun to be the sun because I’d always be warm and I’d get to travel around the world every day.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I think people immediately notice that I’m tall and blonde, but I hope they also notice that I have a big heart and love to laugh.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. I’ve loved Nancy Drew since I was a little girl. The Nancy I grew up with was multi-talented, self-reliant, clever, and fearless. She was great role model and I loved getting lost in her adventures.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. I love to hate Miranda Priestley from The Devil Wears Prada. She’s so evil, but I also sort of wish she’d let me borrow her clothes.

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Bethany Hamilton (the surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack). I’d like to tell her that I don’t know how she ever got back in the water but that I admire her determined spirit, positive attitude, and commitment to her passion.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. When people complain about things that are within their control.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Being my husband’s wife. Too sappy? Okay, bargain hunting on Craigslist.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Professional vacationer.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Good sense of humor, honesty, and kindness.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Macaroni and cheese.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. 1) “The Scientist” by Coldplay, 2) “Innocente” by Delerium, 3) “In the Waiting Line” by Zero 7, 4) “Blindfold” by Morcheeba, and 5) “La Femme Parallel” by Thievery Corporation.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. 1) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, 2) The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, 3) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, 4) The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve, and 5) The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares.

Erika Liodice is writing her dream life by working hard as well as playing hard so why not join her by being a follower on Twitter, becoming a friend on Facebook, and reading Empty Arms!

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Book Giveaway: And the winner of Sarah McCoy’s The Baker’s Daughter is: Jennifer Downing. Congratulations! Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with the delivery address (home or email download) and your choice of book format.