Author Interview: Liora Paniz

Liora Paniz – Mediator, Author

Miss Lynnie The Librarian and Miss Lynnie La Bibliotecaria. Storybook Genius Publishing, 2023.

Inside the Mind of a Mediator: Strategic Conflict Intervention. Aspen Publishing, Aspen Coursebook Series, 2022.

How do you come up with character names for your stories?

I want my readers to see themselves in my stories, so I always keep names authentic to the region in which my story is taking place; I make sure to include characters from all over the world with that reflected in their names; I focus on diversity and stay authentic to countries and cultures; and I draw on globally-inspired names for every part of my story. In my children’s book Miss Lynnie The Librarian and Miss Lynnie La Bibliotecaria, we follow a traveling librarian, Miss Lynnie, along with her four-legged sidekick Eleanor, as the reader is taken into an exciting, adventurous, child-hero-centered story within a story. The names Miss Lynnie and Eleanor both come from real-life inspiration, and the children and surrounding characters reflect multicultural backgrounds and total inclusivity. In my non-fiction instructional book, Inside the Mind of a Mediator: Strategic Conflict Intervention, with topics including conflict interaction and de-escalation skills, communication, and supporting skills, there are no characters in the traditional sense. However, there are chapter titles, sub-chapter titles, topic divisions, exercises, notes, and headings on top of headings … more headings than I can count. To these I applied a philosophy of extreme topic clarity, interest-catching devices, memorable zingers, breadcrumbs of information to be discovered, peeled back, and pieced together through the ensuing material, and creative approaches to high-level material, making it all applicable and experiential. For each book, my ultimate goal is to immediately engage readers and to consistently have them coming back for more.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

I approach writing with no limitations. Whatever the topic and genre, I write as far and wide as I possibly can. If it is a book in which I am teaching a new skill as is the case in Inside the Mind of a Mediator: Strategic Conflict Intervention, I will continue to write and explain until there cannot be any space left for confusion. My goal is to teach so efficiently, thoroughly, and in so many differently unique ways, that readers are never left confused or with gaps in their knowledge, and are fully ready to go out and engage with their newly learned skill. With my children’s book Miss Lynnie The Librarian, I apply the same philosophy of writing with no limitations, and continue to add in detail, context, atmosphere, actions, activities, language, and engagement until the characters are so familiar that readers feel that they know them in a way that leaps off of the page and into their reality. I write to create characters that become known and familiar to me, and I work to ensure that my readers achieve those same feelings. For the plot, I envision fun, excitement, adventure, magic, mystery – how and where can I include these elements in a fully atmospherically transformative way! I want to bring elements of newness to readers who have not explored faraway lands, and the warm, proud, personalized feelings of comfort and familiarity to those who live in countries around the world where the book travels.

How do you use social media as an author?

I am really at the beginning of my social media journey, figuring it out as I go along; but my approach is to use all tools at my disposal. At the moment, those tools include a Miss Lynnie The Librarian Instagram page, as well as a TikTok account. For both I have been uploading fun videos of all Miss Lynnie related exciting news and events, pictures of readers and fans, and short readings from the book. My goal is to include videos that are sent in by readers sharing their love of the book, and even reading from it themselves. I would love to have all languages of the world represented by way of sending in readings from Miss Lynnie The Librarian! I also look forward to all forms of engagement, including answering questions from readers and fulfilling presentation invitations as often as possible.

How important was professional editing to your book’s development?

Editing is arguably one of, if not the most critical component of the writing and production process. An idea can be fabulous, but if it is not properly shaped by strong editing, it can be completely lost to stream of consciousness writing, unclear sentences that are not impactful, paragraph structure that does not flow in a recognizable, relatable manner, word choice … the list goes on and on. While editing can be excruciating – I remember too many days and nights swallowed up by one sentence, one line, a handful of words – the resulting product after the fact is, without question, superior. Editing produces polished work from rough and early drafts. However, editing does not exist without initial ideas and early writing, so they work hand-in-hand and rely on one another. The more effort and detail that are included in early work, the higher the quality of the work that is produced through the editing process. The conversations are deeper, the writing is more interesting and answers the call of the direction of the product more fully, increasing the chances of more ideas coming forward, thereby bringing along more opportunity to dive deeper into the writing. All told, while editing does not happen without the initial idea(s) and body of work, it is the editing that translates the product into a professional piece.

What books do you enjoy reading?

I enjoy suspense, drama, agency investigations, twists and turns, and high stakes. I am a big fan of Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp stories; and books such as Rainbow Six, The Sum of all Fears, and Patriot Games by Tom Clancy. I also really enjoy Fantasy Fiction, and some favorites have included the Abhorsen Series by Garth Nix and The Kiki Strike Books by Kirsten Miller.

What do you do to get inside your characters’ heads?

This is an interesting question for me because when I first start writing, I am not sure that I engage with a distinction between where I end and where the character begins. I allow and push forward such a flow of thoughts and ideas that we are commingled. As the writing process progresses, the distancing happens so that the relationship shifts to one of looking in on the character, the adventure, and all of the incredible details that I want and need in order to feel fulfilled by the story. I seek out as much information as possible from the character and proceed as though there are an infinite number of questions, with equally as many answers, just as if you were conversing with someone – listening to their story with all of the expected intricacies, depth, and accompanying emotions. During such a conversation, there is a steady exchange of questions and answers until a robust story is complete. That’s what I draw out of my characters or out of my project goal.

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I create a visual storyboard on my walls so that it is in front of me, next to me, behind me – all around me, so that I can pace back and forth in front of the walls and remain focused on the project. Sitting still in front of a computer screen can be difficult and it can be easy to get distracted that way. Opening up the space, making it larger to facilitate movement while maintaining the working environment can be a big help. The physical aspect of this approach can also be an asset to the strength and level of both the writing and ideas. I find that the flow comes from the whole body in a different way when there is movement involved.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

When I am writing, I operate on a 24-hour clock, meaning that there is no distinction between day and night. I write all the time and non-stop when I am in a flow and sleep only when I am tired – regardless of the color of the sky. I allow and encourage every single thing around me to be inspiring and as potential content in my book, so it becomes an all-consuming, all-the-time endeavor. If I am choosing a time, however, the middle of the night in the still of the sleeping world is when I am organically energized with creativity and drive to produce unique, creative, new, and difficult material.

What would you say to an author who wanted to design their own cover?

Cover art depends on so many factors including genre and audience, but the conversations I have had for my two very different books are clear and concise. On the one hand, the goal is for a reader to pick up the book, look at the cover, and know exactly what the book is about; and on the other hand, the goal is to present a cover that is exciting because it offers only a mere hint of what is to come. A thought process about the cover should include what do we want the reader to know, understand, experience when they look at it? If you only have three seconds to sell a reader on your book by way of the cover alone, what does that journey need to look like?

Would you and your main character get along? 

Oh absolutely – famously!            

Instagram: Liora Paniz (@liorapaniz) • Instagram photos and videos

Instagram: Miss Lynnie The Librarian (@misslynniethelibrarian) • Instagram photos and videos

TikTok: Miss Lynnie The Librarian (@misslynniethelibrarian) | TikTok

Amazon Author: Liora Paniz: books, biography, latest update

Amazon: Miss Lynnie the Librarian: Paniz, Liora, Suvorova, Catherine, Designs, Yip Jar: 9781952954764: Books

Amazon: Miss Lynnie La Bibliotecaria (Spanish Edition): Paniz, Liora, Suvorova, Catherine: 9781952954863: Books

Amazon: Inside The Mind Of A Mediator (Aspen Coursebook Series): Paniz, Liora: 9781543849530: Books

Goodreads: Liora Paniz (Author of Miss Lynnie La Bibliotecaria) | Goodreads

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