1) Writing for me is a way to figure out what’s going on in my life. When I wrote DARLING GIRL, I gave the first draft to a friend to read and told her it was about Peter Pan. She gave it back a few weeks later and told me it definitely wasn’t — Peter Pan was IN the book, but he wasn’t at its heart. And after she said it I realized she was right. I was really trying to work through my kids growing up and creating their own lives. (But there’s still lots of bits with Peter Pan and Tink!)

Liz Michalski, Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan

Liz Michalski, Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan

2) Both my kids are great writers and I will often bounce ideas off of them. My daughter helped me come up with the ending for DARLING GIRL.

3) I spent a semester in England when I was in college and it was life-changing. I worked for an MP and learned and saw so much. You know how baby ducks imprint on people when their mother’s not around? I feel like I imprinted on England. I went back as often as I could until I had kids and then didn’t go for a looooong time. We finally took them two years ago and it was like seeing an old friend after time has passed — at first you don’t recognize them and have to squint a bit, but after a few days you pick up just like it was. It was great fun working some of my favorite London places into DARLING GIRL.

4) I’d never really had tea before I came to London — I drank hot black coffee, or iced coffee with loads of milk and sugar. The first time my boss asked me to make him a cup, I couldn’t find the microwave or a teabag and didn’t know what to do. He was appalled and gave me a whole lesson in the Proper Art of Making Tea. I now drink tea by the (large) pot every day, and I love my electric kettle. At least one of my characters in every book drinks tea.

5) I gave up my office to my husband during the pandemic when he had to work from home, so now I work in a renovated garden shed. It sounds charming, and it mostly is, but there’s no heat or insulation and I live in New England. I write there every day that is above twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit, armed with a space heater, fingerless gloves, a hat and jacket. Below twenty-five degrees, I wuss out and write at the kitchen table with noise-cancelling headphones.

6) The opening of both my novels came to me in dreams. It sounds weird, but I am a big believer in giving your brain a varied and high quality diet and then getting out of the way and seeing what happens. I keep a pen and notebook near my bed, but I almost never use it — if I have a really strong dream I usually remember it and jot it down in my planner and come back to it later when I’m looking for story ideas. DARLING GIRL started with a dream where a girl in a Wendy-blue dress was asleep in a stone tower, hooked up to all kinds of medical devices, while young boys flew in the windows and whispered things about her. That was a dream I wrote down immediately.

7)If I had to choose between being a reader and being a writer, it would be hard, but I’m a reader first and always. There’s lots of different ways to tell a story, and I like to think that no matter what, I’d find a way to do that. But being able to read and escape into another world is magic.

About Liz Michalski

Liz Michalski is the author of   Evenfall and a contributor to Writer Unboxed, dubbed a “best of the best” website for writers by Writer’s Digest.  DARLING GIRL is her second novel. Liz also contributed to Author in Progress, a manual for aspiring writers. A former reporter and editor, Liz now crafts articles on human interest, living, and health as a freelance writer. She lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she loves reading fairy tales and sometimes, writing them.  

Visit Liz on her website and socials! 

Website: lizmichalski.com

Twitter: @MichalskiLiz

Instagram: @lizmichalskiauthor 

Facebook: @author.LizMichalski