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The Hustle

By Elizabeth Roderick


Liria is nineteen, homeless, and addicted to heroin…

She’s also determined to not end up dead—like her mother. But every time she tries to get clean, on her feet, and back on the employment train, everything falls apart. This time is different. This time, she knows there are only two choices—addiction or death. Once she gets clean, though, her life ends up even rockier than before.

Desperate for help, Liria goes to the one person she can count on for a safe place to stay and regular meals—her father, Cyryl Czetski. However, she soon learns Cyryl isn’t her real father, and he wants a very different kind of relationship. Liria ultimately rejects his advances and ends up on the streets yet again, this time working in an illegal strip club.

Finally taking control of her life, Liria lands a job in a Vegas nightclub, where she meets Arty—the woman of her dreams.

Arty is beautiful, funny, and rich. But when other nightclub employees turn up dead—including Liria’s best friend, Lee—Liria suspects the business might be a front for something far more sinister.

When Arty reveals Liria’s life is also in danger, she promises to keep her safe. But Arty’s acting strangely, and seems to know too much about the mysterious deaths. Is she really trying to save her, or is she holding her hostage, using her as a pawn in a game Liria doesn’t understand?

Liria thought she was used to always second guessing everyone’s intentions. That’s how life is. But if the drugs don’t ruin her, The Hustle will…


Author Interview:


1. In 3-5 words, describe yourself as a writer.

Crazy, obsessive lunatic.


2. Tell us about your book.

The Hustle is a tale of a young woman trying to escape her life of homelessness and addiction. She wants to find something to live for and someone to care about her, but everywhere she turns people seem motivated by self-interest alone. 


The Hustle is the first novel in my Other Place series, which is a magical realism series, but The Hustle reads more like a suspense novel than a magical realism book.


3. What/who was your inspiration for this book?

This book was inspired by my own adventures in homelessness and addiction. Parts of it were also inspired by my best friend Phoenix, who is one of the coolest people in the world, and has schizophrenia. His influence plays a bigger part in books 2 and 3 of the series, though.


4. What do you find is the hardest part about writing?



5. How do you overcome them?

Some days are easier than others. Most of the time, I just force myself to do somethingmarketing-related; other times, I have to just give myself permission to withdraw from the world a bit, because I literally “can’t even”. 


6. What do you find is the best part about writing?

The writing part.

 I love it when a story grabs me and I get to live in it.


7. Who are your favourite authors? Have they inspired you?

John Kennedy Toole; Lynda Barry; Hunter S. Thompson; Libba Bray; Carlos Castaneda. They’ve all inspired me in different ways. John Kennedy Toole inspires me to write complex characters, both realistic and larger than life, that create their own humor. Lynda Barry taught me about voice. Hunter S. Thompson taught me that tales of the underworld are tales worth telling (and that they don’t always have to be tales of woe). Carlos Castaneda taught me about how dreams interweave with reality, and Libba Bray taught me you can write weird YA.


8. How has your writing journey been?

This is really a loaded question in my case.  

I started writing in earnest about three years ago, when my husband’s career took me away from my job, friends, family, and the music scene (I’m a musician). I write pretty obsessively (I’ve written 14 novels and counting in those not-quite three years). I’m also am what my friends call a “method writer”; I sometimes do things that might seem odd to other people in order to research or otherwise “get into” my story. For instance, I go on impulsive road trips to the places my stories take place. I also befriended Phoenix – my schizophrenic best friend – when I was writing my books with the schizophrenic main character.


My marriage was already shaky, and my writing process ended up being too much for my husband to handle. But, right at the time we were splitting up, I got an offer on my first novel Love or Money. So maybe my writing will eventually get me out of the hole it helped dig me.


9. Any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up, and never stop growing, no matter how hard it gets. These are the only things that separate success from failure.


10. What’s next for you?

More obsessive writing. 

I’ve started freelance editing to bring in some money to support my writing habit (maybe someday it will be self-supporting, but as yet it’s far from it). I’m looking for an agent with my YA magical realism romance, in hopes they can help me organize my life and inspire me in my marketing efforts.


11. Tell us more about you!


       ▪ Music while writing?

Not usually, but I have one character I have to listen to dubstep while I’m writing.


▪ Dark, milk or white chocolate?



▪ Red or White Wine?

Either, as a chaser to my whiskey.


▪ Cat or Dog?

I love them both.


▪ Morning person or night owl?

Well, I get up at 2:30 in the morning…I guess that makes me a morning person, except I’m up before night owls go to sleep.


▪ What kind of dancer are you?

LOL, a REALLY BAD one. I love going to raves though.


▪ What’s your favourite movie?

I’d have to say Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.


▪ What’s your secret favourite movie (that you’re too shy to admit)?

I’m basically all out there, not shy to admit all my foibles. But my guilty pleasure movie? Uh…Thor probably 


▪ Funniest date?

I’ve only been on one date, when I was 16. It was funny, it was the worst, it was all of those things.


▪ Worst date?

See above.


▪ What is your weirdest writing habit?

See above…getting up at 2:30 a.m. (or earlier), going on wild crazy lunatic adventures while chasing a story, etc.


▪ If you have one week left on this earth, which of your characters would you spend it with?

Justin from The Other Place series.


▪ If you have been kidnapped, which of your characters would rescue you?

Pers Cavanaugh, from my Tales from Purgatory series, which hasn’t been published yet.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethroderickauthor/


Twitter: https://twitter.com/LidsRodney


Blog: https://elizabethroderick.wordpress.com/


Website: http://www.talesfrompurgatory.com/


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