Monday, August 1, 2016

Author Interview w/Giveaway - Free Of Malice by Liz Lazarus

Free of Malice

by Liz Lazarus

GENRE: Suspense / Thriller



Laura Holland awakes in the middle of the night to see a stranger standing in her bedroom doorway. She manages to defend herself from the would-be rapist, though he threatens to return as he retreats. Traumatized with recurring nightmares, Laura seeks therapy and is exposed to a unique treatment called EMDR. She also seeks self-protection— buying a gun against the wishes of her husband. When Laura learns she could have gone to prison had she shot her fleeing assailant, she decides to write a hypothetical legal case using the details of that night. She enlists the help of criminal defense lawyer, Thomas Bennett, who proves to be well versed in the justice system but has an uncanny resemblance to her attacker. As the two work together to develop the story, Laura's discomfort escalates particularly when Thomas seems to know more about that night than he should. Reality and fiction soon merge as her real life drama begins to mirror the fiction she's trying to create.


Run. Run faster. As much as I strained my legs to move, they were immobile, like I was waist deep in quicksand.

Why can’t I move?

I tried to scream for help but my mouth was full, like it was stuffed with cotton—no sound would escape.

I felt something clutching my shoulder. No, it was someone. He was pushing me forward and then yanking me back. I tried to jerk away but he had a tight grip, like a vice.

I have to break free.

The tugging got harder, more forceful. He was calling my name— over and over. He knew my name.

“Laura, Laura.”

I jolted awake—my husband’s hand still on my shoulder.

“Honey, wake up. You’re having another bad dream.”

Slowly, I turned over in bed and looked at him—his dark brown eyes were fixated on me. I could see them clearly as the light from the bathroom brightened our bedroom.

For a month now, we had slept with this light on.

I could see the small wrinkle on his forehead. I loved that wrinkle though wished he didn’t have good reason to be so concerned. I was enduring the nightmares, but he had to deal with my tossing and mumbling in terror.

I remember when we first met—ten years ago in chemistry lab at Georgia Tech. He had walked up to me with those warm eyes and a charming, confident smile and asked, “Want to be partners?”

Two years later he took me to Stone Mountain Park, rented a small rowboat and, in the moonlight, he pulled out a diamond ring and asked me again, “Want to be partners?”

Life had seemed just about perfect.

Until now.
Talking With Author Liz Lazarus!

What is your writing environment?

My writing environment is fairly boring - I write on my computer at my desk in my office. I do have a nice roller chair, laptop keyboard that sits on a platform waist-high, a big computer screen at eye level and a wireless mouse. It’s a decent ergonomic set-up, but I still get a stiff left shoulder when I type for too long. One of the best presents I bought for myself was a back massager called a Backnobber– it’s fabulous for knots!

Who is your perfect hero/heroine and why?

I always say revenge is best served cold so I love the underdog who eventually gets “her day.” I have a really good moment for that in book #2 that I’m outlining now.

What authors have caught your interest lately and why?

I recently heard Jessica Knoll and Mary Kubica speak at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta. Jessica was so humble and likeable, and she spoke right after publically acknowledging her own trauma in school. I thought she handled it beautifully. “Luckiest Girl Alive” was her first book and she was picked up by an agent and publisher fairly quickly; she was so endearing all I could do was root for her.
Mary talked about her journey as an author. I was so inspired that I wrote a short blog about it:

Top 3 things on your bucket list?

I have a long bucket list:
Done:  Learn to speak French, get my MBA, get my pilot’s license, publish my 1st book.
To Do:  Write book #2, get married, run a marathon, get a nose job – I’ll probably think about this last one but never actually do it!

How did you get the idea for this particular novel?

Like the main character, I was attacked by a stranger in my home in the middle of the night. In order to heal, I started to write about how I was feeling and what had changed in my life. At the time, I didn't know about EMDR therapy to heal from trauma, so used writing as a catharsis. Also like the main character, all I had for self-defense was a can of Mace. After the attack, I said to my brother-in-law, if I had owned a gun, I would have shot the guy as he left. My brother-in-law informed me that I was fortunate that I didn't - as the shooting might not have been a clear case of self-defense. That idea sparked my interest in learning about the criminal justice system and inspired me to write the hypothetical case portrayed in the book. The ending, which I won't spoil, was prompted by a question from my mother. Once you've finished the book, you can write to me at and I'll tell you more about that.

What is your favorite scene in your new release?

I have a few favorite scenes. Without giving too much away, I like when Chris and Laura go on their anniversary trip to Ellijay, Georgia. I also like with Laura and Vicki do some sleuthing. Some people have said the “sleuthing” scene seemed too bold for Laura, but I’d like to think that I made her so single-minded and determined that she threw caution and reason to the wind.

What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available?

I was pleasantly surprised that readers were asking for book #2 – what a huge compliment. I have an idea and outline of my next story that will incorporate some of my signature elements:
-       Sympathetic protagonist
-       Criminal justice system
-       A new science or technology, like EMDR
-       A twist at the end

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I consult for a living so stay fairly busy with my “day job.” I like to exercise – well, I don’t actually like it while I’m doing it but I like the results and the stress relief. This afternoon I’m headed to a meeting with The Well Armed Woman where we’ll have a speaker from and then practice shooting at the range.

What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know?

I can land a plane but can’t drive a stick shift.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Liz Lazarus is the author of Free of Malice, a psychological, legal thriller loosely based on her personal experience and a series of ‘what if’ questions that trace the after effects of a foiled attack; a woman healing, and grappling with the legal system to acknowledge her right to self-defense.

She was born in Valdosta, Georgia, graduated from Georgia Tech with an engineering degree and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern with an MBA in their executive master’s program. She spent most of her career at General Electric’s Healthcare division and is currently a Managing Director at a strategic planning consulting firm in addition to being an author.

Free of Malice is her debut novel, set in Atlanta, and supplemented by extensive research with both therapists and criminal defense attorneys. She currently lives in Brookhaven, GA, with her fiancé, Richard, and their very spoiled orange tabby, Buckwheat.


Buy Links:



Liz Lazarus will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. I really enjoyed reading your interview! I wish you continued good luck on this fabulous book tour! :)

    1. Thank you and thanks so much for following the tour! Liz

  2. Congratulations on your book's release, I enjoyed learning about the book! Good luck on the tour and thank you for the awesome giveaway!

    1. My pleasure - thanks for taking the time to join the tour. Love your profile photo! Liz

  3. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  4. Replies
    1. I try to give a few new nuggets with each stop - thanks for joining us! Liz

    2. I've really enjoyed the tour and many thanks to Rita, Lisa and Clojo for hanging out with me! Liz

  5. Congrats and good luck for the rest of the tour.

    1. It's been a really great tour - in good hands with Goddessfish! Liz