New and Debut: Liz Jacobs


My guest in today's New and Debut is the loveliest Liz Jacobs, debut author with Brain Mills Press. her book Abroad, mm NA romance, is coming out on June 27. It's book 1 in a series of 2 and I'm super excited to read it. Come meet Liz, learn what inspires her to write and what stories you can expect from her. There is also an excerpt from Abroad at the end of the post, so make sure you read that too.

Meet Liz

1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?

I have been writing since I've been a kid, and mostly, it has been romances, whether I knew it or not. When I was thinking about how best to tell this particular story, which is so personal to me, it only clicked together when I realized it was a romance. At the time that I started it, I was very new to romance as a genre, but I figured out very quickly that romance was an exceptional way to tackle tough subjects and make them hopeful. Now, especially, romance is important because of that hope, and if I can feel hope through other's writing and maybe give hope through my own, I will be very happy. I love romance as a genre, and will defend it with my entire being.

2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?

Oh Gosh, where do I start? My favorite book of all time is Jamie O'Neill's At Swim, Two Boys. At the time I read it, I was reading all the queer lit I could get my hands on, and it was sort of a defining one for me, personally. It's not the easiest read, but it's incredibly engrossing and all-encompassing. Most people I know who have read it, have felt a sort of hangover afterwards. It's a truly incredible work. I have four copies at home. I am not kidding about that.

As far as romance authors, my current favorites are KJ Charles, Alexis Hall, Roan Parrish, Santino Hassell, Harper Fox, and oh man, probably more, but let's leave it there for now. These are my "will 1-click even the craziest premise" authors. KJ Charles' A Society of Gentlemen is probably the greatest histrom work I've read to date. Alexis Hall's Prosperity is just a staggeringly beautiful book--it gave me the same hangover that At Swim, Two Boys did, which is an impressive feat! I mean, I could go on. These are such amazing authors, and all so very unique. 

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?

Recently, I've definitely counted KJ Charles as an inspiration--I think she is a master at storytelling, pulling back when needed, really not pulling a punch when necessary. She has this amazing ability to hit your solar plexus right when you were getting comfortable, and I admire that so much. Her use of language is so precise, too. Roan Parrish's prose is stunning, and she has such a clarity to her thinking and writing--I'm a ridiculous fan, and take a lot of lessons from her writing, even if I am not always able to replicate them.

I would also count Mary Renault as a big influence. The Charioteer is my favorite of her books, and every now and then I reread it and marvel at her subtlety, her precise language. She is someone who will lure you in, hook you, and then emotionally shred you very quietly. Just marvelous.

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?

All of the above? Okay, maybe not sci-fi--I admire anyone who can write sci-fi, or deep fantasy, but it's definitely not my strong suit. But I'm planning a few YA works, I'm deep into writing a queer historical, and I have a few contemporary ideas on the backburner. I have no idea if that's a smart thing to do or not, but I love immersing myself in different worlds (as long as I don't have to make them up out of whole cloth) and writing in different styles. I can't imagine being able to settle for just one, at least not yet. So, yeah. Definitely all of the above.

5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.

ABROAD: Book One is the first in a contemporary NA duology. It deals with immigration, identity, and in what we do when we don't fit into the world we were born into, or a world we have been forced to flee to, or just a world where your identity is flat-out denied. It tackles queerness, and friendship, and love, and family. It's a very personal book in a way that feels intimidating to me, because Nick and his story is so obviously based on my own, even if it takes a different turn. Mostly, I just wanted to write a story that I had not read before, and explore things I have only ever really thought about, and rarely been able to describe.

I have been told that, despite all of this, it's a fun book, too, so here is my elevator pitch: a fun book
tackling heavy subjects! Because if you can't laugh, you will cry. And I sort of hope readers do both, because I'm a little bit sadistic.

Title: ABROAD: Book One
Author: Liz Jacobs

Publisher: Brain Mill Press
Release Date (Print & Ebook): June 27th wide release; early access June 17th
Purchase links: BMP / Amazon


Nick, a Russian-Jewish immigrant living in America, doesn't know where he belongs. Socially anxious, intensely private, and closeted, he feels like a collection of disparate parts. When he goes to study abroad in the UK, he is forced to be honest with himself for the first time. If only he can speak to other people without wanting to throw up.

Dex knows exactly who he is: a black queer guy who doesn't give a toss what anybody thinks of him. He's got his friends, his family, a glittering future. All right, he also has a bit of a broken heart that he's been nursing for a while, but he is absolutely, one hundred percent, totally fine. Apart, maybe, from his family's abrupt move to an affluent, largely white town. Or his younger brother feeling increasingly isolated as a result. Or that persistent broken heart.

When Nick and Dex meet, both find themselves intrigued--and afraid. The last thing Nick wants is to face his deepest secret. The last thing Dex needs is another heartache. But through endless late night talks, both find it harder and harder to resist the terrifying pull of attraction.

But Dex has had to fight too hard for his right to be where he is; Nick isn’t even sure where he’s from. So how can either of them tell where this is going?

Author Bio and Links

Liz Jacobs came over with her family from Russia at the age of 11, as a Jewish refugee. All in all, her life has gotten steadily better since that moment. They settled in an ultra-liberal haven in the middle of New York State, which sort of helped her with the whole “grappling with her sexuality” business.

She has spent a lot of her time flitting from passion project to passion project, but writing remains her constant. She has flown planes, drawn, made jewelry, had an improbable internet encounter before it was cool, and successfully wooed the love of her life in a military-style campaign. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her essay on her family’s experience with immigration.

She currently lives with her wife in Massachusetts, splitting her time between her day job, writing, and watching a veritable boatload of British murder mysteries.


Nick felt liquid, fuzzy-headed and lovely. He was ridiculously pleased with his current life choices. Pleased that he had successfully danced at a club without anyone pointing at him and laughing, pleased that he'd been able to dance with Natali and not flip out.
       "Ohhh my God, I am fucking knackered."
       Nick jolted and looked over to where Izzy had slunk up next to him. Her hair was a wild mess around her head, her top falling off one shoulder. Her bra strap looked red, but it might have been the spotlights messing with him. When he looked beyond her, he caught sight of Dex making his way over to them through the throng.
       He looked...glowy. It was strange to think that, probably, and maybe everyone looked glowy to Nick just then, but he appeared relaxed and happy and just a little rumpled and sweaty. Not like Nick, who was a soggy mess. Nick tipped his head back against the wall and took a sip of his drink. Dex had great legs, he decided. Slightly bowed, steady, long. Lean. His jeans looked really good on him.
       "Having a good time? I thought I saw you dancing with Nat," Izzy said in his ear.
       "Yeah, it's been awesome." He made eye contact. "Thanks for getting me."
       She looked pleased with herself. "Anytime." She caught Dex by the hand and pulled him into her sweaty embrace.
       Now that Nick knew they weren't together, he felt a little...he supposed it was envy, really. He had never felt easy with anyone, not even Lena. Maybe with his sister, but that was different; that was family. They looked so comfortable, Dex sagging against Izzy, dark arm wrapped around her exposed pale shoulder. Nick jumped if you touched him unexpectly. How must it feel, to trust like this? He couldn't imagine. So he just watched them and pushed down anything that could darken his mood. He could feel how a stray thought could pop his temporary joy, and he skated carefully around it, closed his eyes, pretended he was still dancing.
       "All right, I'm going back out," Izzy declared. "There was a dark-headed bloke over there somewhere I needed to look at more closely." She took off without another word. When Nick turned to Dex, Dex was laughing. He had one hand over his dreads, probably in an attempt to keep them out of his face. It made him look rakish.       
       He caught Nick's gaze. "Don't expect to see Izzy much if you go clubbing with her. This is her MO."
       Nick had absolutely no problem with that, which he felt, just then, the need to acknowledge. "I have no problem with that."
       "As long as you know what's in store." Dex settled next to Nick like Nick didn't set his teeth on edge. Maybe he was mellowing out.
       "Are you mellowing out?" Nick asked and then heard a record scratch in his head. Oh shit. When he dared to glance over at Dex, Dex was laughing, head resting against the wall.
       "I so deserved that, man," he said. "Look, I've been a dickhead to you, completely inadvertently, and--" Nick's heart beat hard in his chest. "It wasn't you. At all." He pinned Nick with a look. A look that shivered through Nick's spine. "Basically, I wanted to apologize for that. I'm going to be less of a dickhead from now on. Promise."
       Nick had no idea what to say. All he could think was how Dex's eyelashes were ridiculous and made his eyes look made-up. How the hollow of his throat glistened with a sheen of sweat. How much Nick really, really couldn't have been having these thoughts at all because he--couldn't. It wasn't an option.
       "It's totally fine." Was what he said. "I appreciate it, anyway."  Then he nodded towards the writhing dance floor. "I'm just gonna--"
       "Yeah, sure, go." Dex nodded and plucked at his own t-shirt, unsticking it from his body in an easy movement.
       Nick didn't linger. He ran off.

You Might Also Like


Flickr Images