Rising Star Spotlight: Liz Crowe!


You grew up in the Southern part of the U.S.  What was that like?
I spent most of my growing up years in Southeast Kentucky, in a small town near the Tennessee border. We were there because my father was head of the music department of a small college, and my mother was a grant writer and administrator of a different small college. Before that we lived in Tallahassee, Florida, and south Alabama, but I was too young to remember much from there other than I was terrified of Spanish moss and loved eating the pecans that fell from a tree in our yard. I am a proud alum of the University of Louisville (Go Cards!)
Were you a big reader/writer as a child?
I loved reading from a young age, and I’ve always read really fast which means I consume books like crazy—especially ones I enjoy. I was one of those kids  who read books that were probably a tad too advanced for me—not necessarily in a good way. But I can tell you that the whole Flowers in the Attic/ The Thorn Birds/ Valley of the Dolls awakening thing happened to me during what we’d now call my “middle grade reading years”. While I studied literature in college, I never really thought that writing books would end up being such a passion for me. I honestly didn’t think I could do what authors did—until I sat down and did it!
You state that you've lived on three continents. Tell us about that!
We left Ann Arbor, Michigan, in January of 1998 for Hiroshima, Japan, for my husband’s job with Ford. I had a five year old son, a three year old daughter and was pregnant with my third. Flying for thirteen hours straight from Detroit to Osaka with kids in the days pre-screens (i.e. we relied on books, coloring, legos, and playdough for entertainment) was quite the experience. My youngest was born in Japan in a birthing center which was on the top floors of a building that housed the obstetrician’s office.
Later, we moved to Istanbul, Turkey. Rest assured, there is a fictionalized version of my experiences living there coming soon. It was chock full of content for a novel. We were living there on September 11, 2001 which was challenging but also in some ways easier I think since we were geographically removed from what happened. The biggest change afterwards were more armed guards at our kids’ school, since the children of both the U.S. and Israeli consul generals attended there.
Then we headed to Essex, England, which was a whole different experience—and an easier one since we spoke the language. Frankly, as a history buff with a British Lit degree I was in heaven - even though Istanbul was an absolutely incredible place to be if you love history. I made friends with the mum of  one of my daughter’s schoolmates who happened to teach history at a local public school, and she let me accompany them on several field trips to various castles and other London sites. My son likes to tell people that The Brentwood School in Brentwood where he had to test in to attend, is older than the United States of America.
It was fun doing all of this, but also stressful and sometimes lonely. That said, we tried to take as much advantage of our locations as we could to travel with our kids. We had some great trips to France, Spain, and Germany while we were in England. While we were in Japan, we went to Thailand which was amazing (even with little kids) as well as Tokyo Disneyland which we will forever associate with a twenty dollar hamburger and “foot massages” that were somewhat torturous. While in Istanbul we saw a lot of Turkey. We sat on beaches at the Black Sea, the Aegean, and the Mediterranean while living there, which is truly an incredible thing to say.
Where was your favorite place to live?  Where was the hardest?
Honestly, I liked them all but for very different reasons. Since my kids were in different stages of growing up in each, I tend to attach most of my memories to their schools. In Istanbul, the International School’s Pre-K through fifth grades were housed in a building that was situated in the shadow of an ancient Roman wall (Rumeli Hisari) on the Bosporus which was awe inspiring on a daily basis. In Hiroshima, I loved how close the Ford families were, but also how organized everything was for us—which was indicative of Japanese culture on many levels. In England, I would sometimes take the train, which was a 5 minute walk from my house, into the city. I love London and would live there again if I could, with a second place in Paris’ 18th arrondissement.
As for hardest to live, it was definitely Istanbul, but not for the reasons you might think. It’s a huge place, teeming with people, and straddles two continents—we lived in Europe, my husband drove over a bridge every day and worked in Asia. It was the most fascinating, frustrating, fabulous, awful, beautiful, ugly, amazing, terrible, exhilarating, and depressing places I have ever experienced. And quite honestly, you could run through every single one of those emotions or sensations in a single twenty-four period while living there.
How did you become a brewery owner?  What was that like?
After we returned to Ann Arbor from our overseas adventures, I started selling real estate. In 2008 I was approached by a couple of guys who were starting a brewery who needed my help connecting with people and getting the word out. They taught me the beer side. We found, renovated, and opened a brewery and tap room space in 2010, with a line around the building to get in based on my use of social media and personal connections. Even though I parted ways with those guys in 2015 and am no longer part of the brewery, I’ve been able to use my real, hands-on experience with beer, breweries, and running bars and event spaces as inspiration for a lot of novels!
What prompted you to write romance books?
I find romance books to be soothing and enjoyable in the face of chaos and ugliness, and I wanted to be a part of that positivity. That said, many of my books are considered “gritty” or “too real”, and I think that’s because I like to read books where the characters earn their Happily Ever Afters so I’ve been known to put them through the ringer to get there!
Your stories are set in such diverse places, from soccer fields, to real estate offices, to breweries (although we understand that one!) What inspires those choices?
My youngest (the one born in Japan) started playing soccer in 2nd grade. She ended up playing for a Division 1, Big Ten school. Anyone who has travelled that road on their own or with a child will understand it when I say I have attended hours of practice and matches and have travelled many hundreds (perhaps thousands) of literal miles to get her there. I’m a big fan of athletes and what they do, but soccer players are my favorites. So my love of the beautiful game combined with my close knowledge of how it is played has been a huge inspiration for my books. I wrote a whole lot of words while sitting around waiting for training sessions to end!
 I also used my fifteen years selling real estate as inspiration for my best selling and most popular series—Stewart Realty. I like to say I used the hours spent staring at walls during empty open houses or waiting for phones to ring while on floor time to concoct the entire series, which uses these settings in way more sexy and interesting ways than I ever did!
I am also lucky enough to have attended the Kentucky Derby four times in my life and have also been to Churchill Downs in Louisville for their Thanksgiving Event. I’ve channeled that into a couple of books recently.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are super proud of me and have attended many of my in-person events. My youngest and her vet school friends help me with TikTok videos for my books. At various times I’ve provided books to my older kids’ friends. They love to say their mom writes sexy stories with romantic endings. Now that my husband understands that I can’t NOT write, and it’s less about being rich and famous and more about making the fans I have happy, he’s super supportive and provides me with plot bunnies on the regular. We are actually going to write a series together next year that combines his love/extreme knowledge of cars and Formula 1 racing and my desire to write a new series.
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
One of my absolute author heroes is Kennedy Ryan.  She recently had the cover of her latest book REELS featured on a  digital screen at Times Square, and quite honestly, I think that is now at the top of my bucket list – to have that happen for one of my books!