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Author Q&A w/ @liz_lazarus + $25 GC #Giveaway | FREE OF MALICE | @goddessfish #Suspense #Thriller

Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a virtual book tour for FREE OF MALICE by Liz Lazarus, a suspense / thriller available now from Mitch...

Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a virtual book tour for FREE OF MALICE by Liz Lazarus, a suspense / thriller available now from Mitchell Cove Publishing LLC.

Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found by clicking the banner below.

I hope you enjoy the interview.

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.



“I told you I don’t want to see a psychiatrist,” I pushed back. “I just need more time. I’ll bounce back. You know I almost came in the house on my own today. Besides, if I see a psychiatrist, on every job application I complete in the future, I’ll have to check the ‘Yes’ box when they ask if I’ve had mental health treatment.”

“Jesus. No you don’t. You’re too innocent sometimes.”

He gently tapped me on the nose.

“You can check the box ‘No.’ Besides, if that’s the only thing stopping you, I think you should give it a try. Her name is Barbara Cole. I’ll take you to Houston’s afterward,” he added.

I ignored the bribe. “But what can she do that you can’t? All she’ll do is listen and you do that for me already. Psychiatrists are for people who don’t have friends or husbands to talk to.”

Chris shook his head.

“Please? Do it for me.”

The tone in his voice was different—more helpless than normal. Chris had been so understanding, so comforting this past month, especially considering I had been waking him every night. How could I refuse his request?

I sighed. “Okay,” I relented. “I’ll go.”

“One visit. That’s all I’m asking. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go back. She’s a psychologist, by the way, not a psychiatrist. She does therapy, not drugs.”

He glanced at the clock. It was 3:30 a.m.

Chris grabbed Konk, my stuffed animal gorilla that I won at the state fair by outshooting him at the basketball game. He had sworn the scum running the game couldn’t take his eyes off my butt and let me win.

“Here’s Konk,” he said. “I’m going to finish my presentation since I’m up. I’ll just be in the office. Want the door open?”

“Yes,” I said as I wrapped my arms tightly around Konk.

“Hey, we’ll celebrate your first therapy visit and my signed contract, I hope, this evening.”

“You mean you hope my first visit?” I said with a playful smile.

He gave me a look—he was in no mood for jokes.

“Fine. Fine. I’ll go,” I assured.

“If you’re asleep when I leave, just come by my office after the appointment and we’ll head to dinner. Try to get some sleep. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”


Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Though I thought my target audience would be women, age 25+, I’ve found that men are enjoying “Free of Malice” as well. One of the best compliments I received was that my book was educational while entertaining. It has a lot of information about therapy, gun ownership and the criminal defense system, but wrapped into a suspenseful thriller. I wrote it to be a fun beach read…and maybe a movie!

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

I actually already made that change. You see, I had written “Free of Malice” in third person, an omnipotent third person to be precise, since I wanted to present several points of view. When my editor gently suggested that I consider changing to first person, I nearly fell out of my chair. Then I read SJ Watson’s “Before I Go To Sleep.” The portrayal of the protagonist’s feelings and fears were so visceral because of his exceptional writing and use of first person. Changing the tense was a sizeable task but there was an even bigger challenge. How was I going to portray the thoughts and emotions of the other characters? By making the change, I learned a valuable lesson – to “show, not tell” to bring the story to life.

I’d like to share one of my recent reviews, “A psychological thriller! I loved that I could be in the mind of the victim as her reality shifts. I wondered if her paranoia was justified. I really wanted to know! The perspective of the lawyer and the psychologist was fascinating and a little bit troubling. What is going on with that husband of hers and his lady friend? I liked the twists at the end. I didn't know what I didn't know but at the end it all made sense. The clues were there. Passes the high threshold of if I was reading on the plane I wouldn't notice the crying babies. A good read.

This review alone told me it was worth it! 

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

I adored Jay’s monologue (still miss him, though I marvel at Jimmy Fallon’s talent), but David had the trademark on the Top 10. So as a tribute to both late night icons, here are my Top 10 tips for writing a book.

  • Pay for and create your own ISBN # - it lets you control distribution.
  • Have a few, honest friends give you early feedback—it’s hard to judge your own work. You know the old saying, “it’s hard to tell if your baby’s ugly.”
  • Print on demand – it allows you make early tweaks and there are always more typos that you think are humanly possible! CreateSpace is a great option.
  • Don’t go to layout until you are sure (I mean absolutely, positively, 100%, no more changes sure).
  • Find the right PR firm – best way to test them is to see who can write a good media kit and how many current media contacts they have.
  • Learn the world of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.
  • Do spend the money on a proper Website – it’s your home base and your identity.
  • Have other projects or work that balance your focus on your book and allow for a fresh perspective.
  • Learn to breathe. Take deep breaths and welcome feedback in every form.
  • And most importantly, remember that some of the most famous authors have a pile of early rejection letters – don’t let it discourage you!

What can we expect from you in the future?

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 can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

I always appreciate referrals – on Goodreads, Facebook or word of mouth.  I chose most of the books I read based on a trusted recommendation, so I suspect others do as well.  


Is there anything else you’d like to say?

My book has a theme song written and sung by Thomas Barnette. Thomas and I met our first day at Georgia Tech and have been close friends ever since. I co-produced his debut CD and the song, "Let Me Breathe," is featured in “Free of Malice.” As you may have guessed from the book trailer on my website, the character of Thomas Bennett is loosely based on my friend.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

My website is, where you can contact me and my email is  I so enjoy hearing from readers, especially to talk about the book’s ending! I’ve met with several book clubs which is one of my favorite things to do, so if your club in interested in having me as a guest, give me shout. I travel a lot, so just might be in your neighborhood.


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.







Available On:


Barnes & Noble:



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

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  1. This book is "my cup of tea", looking forward to reading it!

    1. I look forward to hearing your feedback, Nikolina. Liz

  2. This was an excellent interview. Thank you for sharing that with us. I am enjoying following this book tour, and I wish everyone a happy and safe weekend. :)

  3. Happy Friday! Thank you for the giveaway and chance at winning

  4. Replies
    1. There is a longer download on my website, if you'd like to check it out: Cheers, Liz

  5. Congrats of the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

    1. Thank you, Lisa! End of week 1 of the tour and it's been great so far!

  6. What is the hardest thing about writing?

    1. Editing! I actually had 2 rounds of content editing and 1 round of copy editing. We cut 30k words and I added a few more hints to give the reader more clues on the "bad guy". A huge lesson for me was that I wrote the book for myself, but I edited the book for the reader. Thanks, Liz

  7. Wishing everyone an awesome Saturday. Enjoy your weekend and thanks for the giveaway!

  8. What's the easiest thing about writing?

  9. This really looks like a fascinating read. My background/training/etc. is in clinical psych, and as it happens I have c[omplex]PTSD (in remission). I imagine that I would be reading this through a very unique sort of lens, and that I could potentially get a lot out of it. Thank you for this post!


Get carried away with love!