Tales from a Small Town Girl by Liz Talley

From the time she learned to read to the present, Liz Talley has always had a fascination with books.  As a child she remembers reading Little Golden Books instead of napping.  And, oh, the first time she read a romance – The Thornbirds – she was hooked.  She ate up the SuperRomances on the shelves of her aunt’s used bookstore, borrowed her grandmother’s medical romances (loved those nurses’ caps) and snuck her dad’s westerns so she could read the “romantic parts” (which lasted about a page).  She inhales books, no doubt about it. 

Currently Liz lives in North Louisiana with her high school sweetheart, two beautiful children and a menagerie of animals. Liz serves as the president of her local RWA chapter and Vice-president of the Golden Network. She loves strawberries, fishing, retail therapy, and is always game for a spa day.  When not writing contemporary romances for Harlequin Superromance, she can be found working in the flowerbed, doing laundry or driving carpool.

 Would you like to win a copy of Liz’s new book? 

 Post a message and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a copy of Vegas Two-Step.

Thank you for inviting me to blog at  Petticoats and Pistols. I’m so glad to drop by for a visit, and being that you gals are dedicated to Western romance, I think you’ll find my material right up your alley.

First, I think I should introduce myself. My name is Liz Talley and I’m a new author. In fact, I’m a debut author. My first book came out less than a month ago with Harlequin Superromance, so trotting around blogs and being a guest author is new to me, but I’m having a good time meeting new people.

You know, I had always heard you should write what you know. It never really struck me as something I needed to listen to until I started writing contemporary stories. When I first began writing, I dipped my toes into writing historicals – Regency historicals, to be exact. I had some success. Finaled in some contests. Even finaled in the Golden Heart with a Regency manuscript last year. But when I started writing a contemporary series set in Texas, something clicked. As the words poured out of me, I KNEW  I was writing what I was meant to write. The characters, the setting, the dialogue – these things I could do easily because they were part of who I am.

I grew up in small town Louisiana, a hop, skip and jump away from East Texas, where I’ve set my stories. My town had brick streets, old churches, and a fountain in the park. Little shops dotted Main Street and the Dairy Queen still made the best burgers around. The people of my town were characters in their own right. They were hardworking, honest people whose speech was peppered with Southernisms that made sense, darn it. And, we had our fair share of crackpots and hypocrites just to balance out the good ol’ boys and pie-making matriarchs. I couldn’t have asked for a town more rich in loyalty with down-home sensibility and a touch of whimsy to base my fictional town of Oak Stand upon.

So when I started Vegas Two Step, it was natural that I fell back into my childhood and found inspiration. The library in my story materialized into the one I haunted as a girl. It was an old historic home with high windows and rambling nooks and crannies. If I close my eyes, I can see the green linoleum tiles and see the dark wood surrounding the beveled glass. I can still feel the weight of the old skeleton key that unlocked the bathroom door (because after my long bicycle ride, I needed that key.) The town square became the shady Academy park with its fountain and brick-paved paths. Tucker House, the large home of my heroine, was Mrs. Monk’s white Victorian with its shadowy porches and heavy presence. Main Street with the Western Auto and green stamp store found its way into my book too. So much of my hometown showed up in the words I placed on the page as my hero and heroine found love on the front porch amidst the day lilies, big boy tomatoes, and weathered rocking chairs.

As authors we can’t seem to help ourselves. Our memories archive the strongest research – the sights, smells, and sounds of our experiences. For me, the research was easy. I just wrote what I knew.

How about you? What part of your past has shown up in your stories?  


Order Liz’s book from Amazon!   Vegas Two-Step

 A post-makeover vacation fling. That’s all Nellie Tucker wants from Jack Darby. After all, a librarian from a small Texas community doesn’t have a lot in common with a cool business guy like Jack. Sure, their week in Las Vegas is wonderful, but Nellie has her real life to get back to.

So imagine her surprise when Jack suddenly appears in her hometown. And not only does he appear, but he seems intent on setting down roots—here. Nellie doesn’t know whether to jump for joy at getting another shot with him, or run and hide so he can’t discover how unglamorous she truly is. The way he’s chasing her, however, it seems the choice might not be hers! 

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31 thoughts on “Tales from a Small Town Girl by Liz Talley”

  1. Hi, Liz! Congratulations on your debut book! What a great way to start–Harlequin SuperRomance! I adore “SuperRomances”–the longer-length format gives the author lots more room to develop the characters and the story line. I have read many, many “SuperRomances”, and I’ve never been disappointed. I’ve been touched, surprised, amused, intrigued and delighted. So many talented storytellers in the “SuperRomance” authors group!

    I was born and raised in a little railroad town in the beautiful mountains of Southwest VA. We basically have one long main street. It used to be filled with “Mom and Pop” businesses up and down both sides of the street. I still live there, and though it has long passed its peak, I still love my home. Small towns sometimes hold big secrets! People are very interconnected. What happens to one person affects someone else, and the ripple effect is started. However, there is an essential sweetness to small towns. Memories of earlier days, some bittersweet, are held dear. People aren’t just faces, they’re family and friends. There’s always a second chance for first loves in small towns : )

  2. Wow! What a nice success story! Congrats on your Super Romance “Vegas Two Step”! Definitely a twist on the “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” saying.
    I also came from a small town in Wisconsin where everybody knows your name. I have some fond memories… I spent lots of time devouring the books in our local library also an older converted home with a lot of character. We had a Community House with band concerts in the park (right across the street from it) every Thursday (summer) night. Finally every 4th of July there would be a Snow Festival parade featuring a dump truck full of snow buried from the previous winter, weird right? The carnival also came to town for the long weekend.

    Best of luck with your writing! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Liz!

    Congratulations on your debut novel! I love reading debut novels so your’s is definitely on my list now. Okay, by any chance is retail therapy another word for one of my favorite words…shopping? Your hometown sounds like a little slice of heaven. I always dreamed of living in a small town (I’m a native Southern Californian) that was transplanted to a small town in Indiana. I love the old architecture of old towns. 🙂

    I love the pictures you posted. Especially the house…my dream house has a wraparound porch. One day I pray I’ll have a porch (at least the size for two rocking chairs for my hubby and me) 🙂

    Have a blessed holiday weekend!

    Cindy W.

  4. Congrats, Liz, on your debut novel! Sounds like a goodie and I’m looking forward to reading it.
    Can’t really answer your question as I’m not a published author. (I write poetry on special occasions for friends and family, so I don’t think that counts, LOL!)
    What I CAN say, though, is that I too was raised in a small town with old churches and Main Street. No DQ, I’m afraid. Now THAT would have been nice. Instead, we all drove 20 minutes away for DQ, the theatres, and cheaper grocery shopping. I remember my mom driving 30 minutes away to an even bigger city to grocery shop at least once a month, as she claimed she saved more money, even taking the gas/wear and tear on the car into account. I can believe it, as we had two adults, two hungry teens, and adult company most days of the week! You mentioned the “front porch”. Ahhhh, now THAT is a memory! Our porch had a Dutchman’s Pipe Vine on all three sides, so we could see out but others couldn’t see in. Loved it, loved it, loved it!
    Thanks for the memories and best wishes to you!

  5. Good morning, Liz! Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols. I grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs but lived for 8 years in a small California mountain town. Loved it!

    Congratulations on your first book. Enjoy the ride!

  6. Hi Liz
    Wonderful blog today and congratulations on your new super romance I love these and I’m looking forward to reading your.
    The cover is great and I love the house.
    Happy 4th and happy Summer reading!

  7. Hi Liz! So glad to have you here at Wildflower Junction. Enjoyed your post – brought back lots of memories of my own small hometown and bicycling on neighborhood streets. I’m in the middle of your book now and really enjoying it.

  8. Oh, morning, everyone. I’ll be honest. I slept in. Good for you, gals, for being up and at ’em 🙂

    Virginia – we have a long Main Street, too. It runs one way up one side and the other down the backside. And it’s a bricked road. I LOVE it.

    Laurie – Oh, my. Snow in July. You were a lucky duck. My kids finally got to see snow for the first time this year. The oldest is 11, so that tells you that snow in Louisiana is very rare.

    Cindy – love that wrap around porch too. Only thing I’m missing on my house. But when we built our camp, I make sure we had a porch. Nothing better than a front porch, rocking chair and a glass of sweet tea 🙂

    Laney – So it was coverd in vines on three sides. As a kid, I can’t imagine a better hideout. Did it flower? Guess I’m not familiar with that vine.

    And, everyone else, thanks for the welcome and congrats. My next two books also take place in the same town. The setting is so firmly etched in my mind that I feel like it’s real. Now, that’s a little weird! 🙂

  9. congratulations on your first book!! what an exciting time!!!
    sounds like you are doing what you were born to do…like the whole idea of the story–sounds very interesting!
    will have to look your book up 🙂
    thanks for coming by!!

  10. I love reading books when authors know they are writing what they want and love (as opposed to what is hot or in at the moment). I’ve always enjoyed the longer length superromances. When I was young I always picked the biggest and fattest book – more good reading lol.

  11. Congratulations, Liz. I have your book on my to buy list! Just FYI, every time I have googled Vegas and Romance recently (yes, I had reasons!) your book came up! How is that for marketing? Hope it does well and am glad to know there will be more.

    I am wondering where Virginia grew up because while I grew up in the DC and MD suburbs, I spent my summers in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, well, really in a holler down from East Stone Gap, so I can picture the small towns!

    All the best,


  12. Welcome to this blog. I am always looking for different authors to read and your debut book sounds really good.
    Happy 4th of July

  13. Hi Liz and welcome to the Junction! Vegas Two Step looks like a wonderful story. Best of luck with it!

    As our loyal readers have heard, my grandmother grew up on a ranch in North Dakota–and her stories play into a lot of what I write. And my paternal grandparents, Henry & Rosa, actually made an appearance in my debut book, Touch of Texas.

  14. Hey Liz, congrats on your debut book. I love reading SuperRomances, especially those with a western bent.

    The stories I read as a child have influenced what I write, which is late 19th century. And although I grew up in Northern Ontario and Manitoba, I use settings on the prairies where I currently live.

    Hope to see more of you. 🙂

  15. Congratulations on your first book—-may there be many more!

    I have never lived in anything but small towns or communities. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

  16. Wow. Comment explosion will I packed up and went to the lake. Sounds like we have lots of appreciation for small towns. I still technically live in a small town on the outskirts of a small city. I have the best of both worlds.

    I’m glad to know that my books are showing up when Vegas and romance are googled. As a first timer one never knows how to get word out. I still think that the best way is word of mouth. So blogs work so well. Besides I get to hang out with some fabulous people.

    Off to help husband do a bit of clean up for tomorrow. Be back in a bit


  17. hi and welcome Liz. A big congrats on your newly released first book. So glad you can today to share with us.

  18. Amy, I live in a small town now but grew up in a a much bigger location. I always envied my country cousins whose closest neighbor was about a mile away.

    Being a city boy, it took me a while to get use to a smaller town like Natchitoches. Yes, where I lived has influenced my writing. I live outside of Natchitoches where the houses aren`t so close together.

    The people and the culture are the things that intrigue me the most. By the way, loved your book.

  19. Welcome, Liz and congratulations on your new book. I like the Superromance format because it gives you more time to develope you characters and story. I am glad you found the story setting that works best for you. None is better than the other, it is just what we like and what works.
    I grew up in the country outside a small town and now live in a similar situation. As with everything else it has its advantages and disadvavntages. For a while we lived in the DC area. I loved what it had to offer, but I would trade the slower pace of life here in the country.

    Best of luck with the release of VEGAS TWO-STEP.

  20. Congratulations on your new release, I love the cover. I grew up in a really small town and now live in a medium size city, it suits me just fine. I can’t wait to read your book. Oh, I also lived in Las Vegas for a few months too.

  21. Thanks for joining us today. What a great post. I love small towns and Dairy Queen’s. I really enjoy old houses and wonder what their history might be, so am particularly interested in the picture you posted. Again, a fun post.

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