Eliza Lentzski - Don't Call Me Hero

For our May 2021 meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Don't Call Me Hero by Eliza Lentzski. If you weren't able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we're reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you'll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Reader 1 3:59 PM

So generally book club is an hour of Q&A - Eliza, if you’re familiar with Slack and you want to thread your answers you can do that, or just reply in the channel like we’ve been doing. Either way is good!

Reader 2 3:59 PM

It was 6 AM here when I finally finished reading. Made it just in time and with a few hours of sleep. I can't believe I forgot when the book club was again. :confounded: :laughing:

Eliza Lentzski 3:59 PM

I'm a slack newbie, but I spent enough time in chat rooms in my youth, that I should be able to figure it out

Reader 1 3:59 PM

Yep, it’s pretty much chat rooms 2.0!

Reader 3 4:00 PM

I have 30 minutes left in book 2. :-)

Reader 1 4:00 PM

So, what did everyone think of Don’t Call Me Hero?

Reader 3 4:00 PM

An interesting story. Very different

Reader 2 4:00 PM

While I go grab some coffee, I'll start with this: What was your inspiration for writing this book?

Reader 4 4:00 PM

Loved it! Just finished rereading it for the 3rd time…

Reader 6 4:00 PM

I just finished book 3 of winter jacket

Loved it

Reader 2 4:00 PM

Also, I quite enjoyed it.

Reader 7 4:00 PM

i thought it was fabulous

Reader 6 4:00 PM

Hunter is next

Eliza Lentzski 4:01 PM

The origins for DCMH are pretty long. I'd just wrapped up Winter Jacket 1 and was trying to catch lightening in a bottle again

Reader 8 4:01 PM

Hi everyone; Loved DCMH!

Reader 7 4:02 PM

your description of PTSD was spot on

Reader 5 4:02 PM

Lightning in a bottle for sure!!!!!!

Eliza Lentzski 4:02 PM

You never know what books are really going to strike readers -- at least I have no idea what's going to be popular. And I wanted another hit after WJ

Reader 8 4:02 PM

Where did your inspiration come from?

Reader 4 4:02 PM

Is there an over-all plan for a continuation of the series (past book 5)?

Eliza Lentzski 4:02 PM

I wanted to write a police/detective mystery procedural series. I've always wanted to since I was younger and read the Kinsey Millhone books

Reader 6 4:03 PM


Reader 8 4:03 PM

I enjoyed the solving a mystery and who dunnit...

Eliza Lentzski 4:03 PM

I'm from a law enforcement family, so getting into Cassidy's head felt very natural

But I did a LOT of research on PTSD, women in the military, the Marines, etc.

Reader 4, I have plans for several more books after Book 5.

Reader 5 4:04 PM

How far ahead do you see the characters developing? Julia, for me, went from almost abhorrent to incredibly appealing, but I would not have seen it coming at the beginning.

Reader 7 4:04 PM

i was pretty sure her dad was at the center of it but so many other players could have been

Eliza Lentzski 4:04 PM

As long as I can keep coming up with mystery/cold case storylines, I have so much more to say about Cassidy and Julia

Reader 8 4:05 PM

well it sounds like now I have at least 4 more books to add to my list!

Eliza Lentzski 4:05 PM

Reader 5 - it's very much that enemies to lovers trope for these two, except that Cassidy never saw Julia as an "enemy" so maybe a little more one-sided

Reader 5 4:05 PM

I'll probably go back and reread the series each time you put out a new one!!!

Reader 6 4:05 PM

I am not in a good place to read it now ..military ptsd

..but one day I will read it

Reader 3 4:05 PM

It definitely allows you to go deep into these characters without unnaturally pushing them forward. I appreciate that

READER 9 4:06 PM

How old is Julia ? ;)

Eliza Lentzski 4:06 PM


Everyone always asks that

Reader 8 4:06 PM

I like the Rizzoli and Isles feel - Julia and Cassidy teaming up to solve a mystery/crime

Reader 4 4:06 PM

I also loved your WJ series. You have a great way of really making each character so unique.

Reader 6 4:06 PM

Reader 4 agreed

Eliza Lentzski 4:07 PM

Reader 8 - I'm ashamed to say I've never watched Rizzoli and Isles, although I know that's a big lesfic/fan fiction favorite

Reader 3 4:07 PM

I’ve only seen a few episodes. You weren’t the only one for sure

Reader 6 4:08 PM

Bookie is my fave nickname of all time for a character

Reader 10 4:08 PM

Which TV characters would you say most closely resemble Julia and Cassidy?

Eliza Lentzski 4:09 PM

Julia and Cassidy are very much based on Regina Mills and Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time

Reader 10 4:09 PM

I suspected it and started to watch Once Upon A Time because of this!

Reader 5 4:10 PM

Will you be able to keep the audiobooks progressing in this series? I know its a big, expensive deal, and you have one of the best narrators in Lori Prince!

Eliza Lentzski 4:10 PM

Reader 6 - thanks :slightly_smiling_face: it's what happens when you get tired of calling someone Bookworm

Reader 11 4:10 PM

@Eliza Lentzski i see that you use 1st POV in a good number of your books. Is it more helpful to get yoru story across?

Reader 12 4:10 PM

What you said about coming from a law enforcement family and that being a way to get in Cassidys head makes total sense. But how did you get inside of Julia’s head? She is one of the most complex, and not immediately likebale, characters in the genre....

Eliza Lentzski 4:11 PM

Reader 5 - I love working with Lori on this series. Yes, it's very expensive and since I'm self-published, it's up to me to finance it all. But I do have plans to continue the audiobooks. I want to finish up the WJ series first because Angela Dawe is a little harder to book.

READER 9 4:11 PM

It is because it is the biggest mystery of the book. Cassidy is an excellent detective and should finally find the answer to free us from this suspense ! Mdr

Reader 6 4:11 PM

Angela.Dawe was amazing in WJ

Eliza Lentzski 4:11 PM

Reader 12 - I started writing First Person with Winter Jacket. It was my first real hit, so I stuck with that and readers seem to enjoy it!

Reader 6 4:12 PM

Love angela dawe!!!!

Eliza Lentzski 4:12 PM

READER 9 - Cassidy figures out how old Julia is in book 5 :smile:

Reader 5 4:12 PM

Totally makes sense to get Winter Jacket done via audio first - love that series as well!

Eliza Lentzski 4:12 PM

Angela Dawe could read a phone book and make it sexy

Reader 6 4:13 PM

I heard her via harper bliss's pink bean series

Reader 4 4:13 PM

When will DCMH5 be released?

Eliza Lentzski 4:13 PM

I'm very close to finishing up Book 5. Give me another week or so.

Reader 13 4:13 PM

Are you going to do a book through Julia's POV?

Eliza Lentzski 4:14 PM

Reader 13 -- I get asked that a lot. It's really tempting, but as I discovered with Hunter (Winter Jack, book 5) it's really hard to do!

Reader 14 4:14 PM

About how much time has passed from the start of book 1 to book 4? I recently reread and was thinking it was something like May to Novemberish?

Eliza Lentzski 4:14 PM

You get so used to being in one specific character's head for such a long time that it's a challenge to get into the other character's mindset.

Reader 12 4:14 PM

Julia’s inner monologue would be WILD

Eliza Lentzski 4:14 PM

Plus I would want it to be brand-new material, not DCMH 1 but from Julia's POV

Reader 5 4:15 PM

I am really enjoying the book "Hunter" from WJ series, which switches the early POV to her. I'm going back and forth rereading just to get both perspectives.

Reader 10 4:15 PM

I'd lover to be inside Julia's head when Cassidy spill not 1 but 2 drinks on her!

Eliza Lentzski 4:15 PM

Reader 14 - Yes, exactly. It's been a very short amount of time. That inspiration comes from the Kinsey Millhone series, too. Sue Grafton wrote 20+ books in that series and it only takes place over 2 years.

Reader 10 - I'm sure it would be a whole lot of curse words, lol

Reader 2 4:16 PM

I'm curious what the cost of the dry cleaning bill was.

Reader 10 4:16 PM

Elegantly cursed of course!

Eliza Lentzski 4:16 PM

Reader 2 - well...Julia only wears very fancy clothes

Reader 7 4:16 PM

I also loved Sue Grafton

Eliza Lentzski 4:17 PM

Reader 7 - I read all those books when I was in junior high, maybe? Probably a little too racy for me, but I liked the mystery parts

And how strong and independent Kinsey Millhone was.

Coming from a law enforcement family, I only knew men in the profession. So to have a female detective who was such a bad ass, was really inspiring when I was young.

Reader 7 4:19 PM

well i was reading well after junior high. I was reading the on night shift at the hospital.

Reader 5 4:19 PM

I think I read in your blog how excited you were when the first audio came out for DCMH - how it made you love Cassidy even more. What's it like working with a narrator who totally gets your story, and then is able to bring it to life in audio?

Reader 8 4:19 PM

Do you get your mystery ideas from real cases?

Eliza Lentzski 4:20 PM

Reader 5 - the most surprising thing for me when Lori did the narration is how much it made me like Cassidy even more. A number of years had passed since I'd written the first book before I worked up the courage to go for the audio version

Reader 5 4:21 PM

Forgot I also need to mention that I am from the Twin Cities, and worked for many years at the Hennepin County Government Center, which is also the courthouse - it was really fun to read the descriptions and know where it was!

Eliza Lentzski 4:21 PM

Listening to Cassidy...how funny she was, how self-depreciating, the flashbacks to Afghanistan...I don't know. I had a new appreciation for her as a narrator.

Reader 3 4:21 PM

Lori nails her vulnerability and uncertainty so well

Eliza Lentzski 4:21 PM

Lori definitely got Cassidy. I'd listened to so many narrators and I felt such pressure for someone to GET IT RIGHT

Reader 2 4:21 PM

Does Cassidy have super powers? To clarify, how does she keep her figure eating everything she does?

Eliza Lentzski 4:22 PM

I'm not the only one counting on Lori to get it right, you know? I don't want my readers to be disappointed that she doesn't sound right. I imagine that's how authors feel when their books are turned into movies.

Reader 7 4:22 PM

Sometimes it makes the book even better to hear it read by someone good at reading the characters to life.

Eliza Lentzski 4:22 PM

Reader 8 - maybe some day, but so far all of the storylines/mysteries have come from my own brain.

Reader 5 - I'm so glad I got it right! I looked at a lot of pictures on Google Earth

Reader 2 - lol, youth and high metabolism. There's a mirror scene at the start of Book 5 where she notices her face has started to fill out a little though

Reader 15 4:24 PM

I like how you picked different narrators for the two series. It makes the characters stand apart from each other. Some authors use the same person over and over and the characters kind of blend together.

Eliza Lentzski 4:25 PM

Reader 15 - that was exactly my thinking. Plus, Elle and Cassidy are such different characters they almost demand two different voices.

Reader 4 4:25 PM

I’ll have to get the audiobooks now!

Eliza Lentzski 4:25 PM

Reader 4 - you won't be disappointed. Lori and Angela are so very good at their jobs.

Reader 14 4:26 PM

Will we get to see more of Cassidy’s relationship with her parents now that she’s heading back closer to Embarass with Julia? It seemed like Julia encouraged her to make an effort when they all met last time.

Reader 5 4:26 PM

The books from these series are worthy of both "reading" and "listening"! I have all of them on Kindle and all the audiobooks available so far!

Eliza Lentzski 4:26 PM

Reader 14 - Cassidy's parents won't appear until the Epilogue of Book 5, but I have big plans for them in Book 6

I don't want to spoil it for folks who haven't gotten through Book 4 yet, but because of Julia's relationship with her parents, Cassidy realizes she shouldn't take her parents for granted.

Reader 5 4:27 PM

Just the mention of "Book 6" makes my heart jump!

Reader 4 4:27 PM

Do you have a rough schedule in mind for how frequently you plan to release the next books in the series?

Eliza Lentzski 4:28 PM

Reader 4 - I've kind of gotten in a habit of publishing and stand-alone and then coming back to DCMH

So I have a standalone planned as my next WIP and then I'll come back to DCMH 6.

Reader 12 4:29 PM

How do you get inside of Julia’s head? She’s a tough personality...

Eliza Lentzski 4:29 PM

The past two years were really tough for me as a writer. When the world is on fire, it's hard to write a love story. But having someone new in the White House has allowed me to better focus.

Reader 5 4:29 PM

I have much catching up to do on your stand alone books - I'll probably wish every one becomes a series also! (No pressure, don't freak!!)

Eliza Lentzski 4:30 PM

Reader 12 - she's a tough nut to crack for sure! But those walls are starting to crumble as the books go on. My current book, Grave Mistake, is turning out to be one of my favorites because of how much we learn about Julia's childhood.

Reader 12 4:31 PM

That’s awesome! And yes, the most def gets more likeable as the books go on, making her more complex

Reader 8 4:31 PM

How long have you been writing, Eliza and when did you know you wanted to write?

Eliza Lentzski 4:31 PM

Reader 5 - I never know if a book is going to become popular enough to warrant a series. A big fear is that I'll jump the shark with a series. That's why I ended Winter Jacket after the 4 books + Hunter.

Reader 7 4:32 PM

The past year has been a nightmare for me but your books are helping me get through it.

Eliza Lentzski 4:32 PM

Reader 8 - Gosh, I think I've always wanted to be a writer. I wrote a full-length novel when I was in fourth grade. I was a voracious reader as a kid and that turned into me writing the books that I wanted to read but couldn't find on the shelf.

Reader 14 4:32 PM

That’s impressive !

Reader 11 4:33 PM

@Eliza Lentzski what are your favorite romance tropes? have any of them showed up in your writing?

Eliza Lentzski 4:33 PM

I've been self-publishing since....2013, I think? But before then I was writing epically long fanfiction, probably dating back to 2005?

Reader 14 4:33 PM

The epically long fics are the best. I’m guessing for the Once Upon a time fandom?

Reader 6 4:34 PM

Cool. Just learned there are 4 WJ...just downloaded WJ All.In !!!!!

Eliza Lentzski 4:34 PM

Reader 12 - my favorite tropes...hm....definitely enemies to lovers. That shows up in my writing a lot, I think. Second Chances, which was one of my first books, is enemies to lovers.

Reader 12 4:34 PM

At what point did you decide to make DCMH a series? Or, was it always intended to be so?

Eliza Lentzski 4:35 PM

Reader 6 -- You can see my full list of books at my website: elizalentzski.com

Reader 6 4:35 PM

100% agree with Reader 7. So true. #lesfic was an escape

Eliza Lentzski 4:35 PM

Reader 14 - I actually started out with buffy the vampire slayer. I wrote fuffy. Faith + Buffy

Reader 12 - I had hoped DCMH would be popular enough to turn into a series. For example, I didn't plan out what Book 2 would be about while I was working on Book 1. I published the original book, held my breath, and hoped for the best. Then, once it seemed that people liked it, I thought about turning it into a series.

Reader 12 4:38 PM

That’s probably because you have them a “happy for now” instead of a true “ever after.”

Reader 2 4:38 PM

Are there any books you did not expect to become a series? Or books you had hope would become a series, but didn't?

Eliza Lentzski 4:38 PM

I would actually credit my fanfiction readers with a lot of my early success as a self-published author. They liked the fanfiction I'd been writing for close to a decade and they followed me into the self-publishing world.

Reader 2 - I didn't expect Winter Jacket to be a series at all.

It was my third book and it kind of exploded overnight.

My first two books were third person love stories. Then Winter Jacket happened and wow...

I never actively plan or hope for a book to become a series, maybe I'm a little superstitious. I really wanted DCMH to be a series because I knew I had a lot to say, but I could only hope ya'll loved Cassidy and Julia like I did.

Reader 4 4:41 PM

Maybe an unfair question — but was one series easier to write than the other?

Reader 5 4:42 PM

How do you find the time to create and write - you have a whole other career right?

Eliza Lentzski 4:42 PM

Reader 4 - there's a lot more research that goes into DCMH simply because of the mystery storylines. I do research on the strangest things...like botox poisoning.

With Winter Jacket I had to research on TV writing for Book 3, but other than that's it's pretty much straight up romance, so I'd say that's the easier of the two.

Reader 7 4:43 PM

Your search history must be quite interesting.

Eliza Lentzski 4:44 PM

Reader 5 - you're right. I write fiction in my free time...whatever that is. It's definitely a challenge to carve out time for creativity, but if you make it a priority, it gets done.

Reader 2 4:44 PM

Have you ever thought of writing books in other genres? Like writing a mystery and romance in a fantasy setting as a royal guard and a court mage try to solve a murder mystery and fall in love during the process? Or anything along those lines.

Reader 7 4:45 PM

How do you pick your settings for your novels?

Eliza Lentzski 4:46 PM

Reader 2 - I'm thinking about historic fiction at some point. I'm a historian by day, so that feels like a natural place for me to go. I have a few ideas/time periods/storylines in mind for that, but I just have to find the time to write them!

Reader 5 4:46 PM

You have to give a shout out to your cat - and is it one cat, or multiple?

Reader 11 4:47 PM

@Eliza Lentzski which is your favorite time period?

Reader 1 4:47 PM

That’s a pretty cool day job. Do you mind if I ask what kind of setting you work in, is it archival/museum type of work?

Eliza Lentzski 4:48 PM

Reader 7 - I tend to stick with the midwest in general. When I first started, a lot of my books were set in Minnesota because I was afraid to write about my homestate of Michigan. Like someone would figure out who I was because I wrote about Michigan. I was highly paranoid, lol. Winter Jacket is set in Minnesota, but you'll note that I never give the town's name. When I wrote DCMH, I looked at a map of Minnesota, found the Twin Cities, and then looked for a small town that was far away enough, but close enough that Cassidy could drive there on her motorcycle.

Reader 5 - it's just ONE cat. Her name is Charley. She's featured extensively in my social media

Reader 12 - My doctorate is in 19th and 20th century US history, World War II and the immediate years after are my favorite though.

Reader 1 - that's a secret I never tell. Just like Julia's age

Reader 6 4:52 PM

Just showed original Manchurian Candidate to my ap us history class post exam. Angela Lansbury is so badass in that film

Reader 1 4:53 PM

So I know you publish on Wattpad - did you start out there because of the fanfic connection?

Reader 5 4:54 PM

For all of us who love the WJ and DCMH series', and haven't read all your stand alone books, do you have a favorite you'd to recommend as the place to start?

Eliza Lentzski 4:54 PM

I kind of stumbled onto Wattpad. I honestly can't even remember how I discovered it. I started out at a site specifically for fuffy fan fic (I don't think it exists anymore), and then migrated to the Chosen Two, and then finally to Fanfiction.net. Wattpad is something relatively new I've been doing, starting with my book The Final Rose.

Reader 5 - I suppose it depends what you're in the mood for! You can always depend on me to write a happy ending for the two leads, but for there to be some bumps along the way. My most recent standalone, The Woman in 3B, was really really popular, so maybe there?

But I really do love them all. My unsung hero books is Apophis: Love Story for the End of the World. Kind of an apocalyptic love story.

I also love Fragmented, which is a thriller/romance novel that deals with mental health and (dis)ability

Reader 4 4:57 PM

I love the research that you’ve put into your books. As a psychiatrist, I appreciated how well you depicted PTSD.

Eliza Lentzski 4:57 PM

Thank you, Reader 4. As a historian, the research and those details are so important to get right.

Reader 5 4:58 PM

I will commit to all 3 - have The Woman in 3B ready to go on my kindle, and will also grab these others!! And then more after that

Reader 4 4:58 PM

Yes, and I loved how you made it about the character and their development rather than me reading a text book..

Reader 1 5:00 PM

Getting to the bottom of the hour already… anybody have any unasked questions? Speak now…

Reader 4 5:00 PM

With your day job AND writing, do you ever have time to read?

Reader 5 5:00 PM

Huge thanks to Eliza for sharing her time and insight with us, as well as writing READER 8FIC books!

Eliza Lentzski 5:01 PM

Reader 4 - sadly, no! The books I read are all history books for my job or research for more fiction. Sometimes I'll take a break and get inspired by some Jeanette Winterson, but the moments to read for fun are few!

Reader 8 5:01 PM

That was the fastest hour ever! Thank YOU Eliza! How FUN.

Eliza Lentzski 5:01 PM

Thanks to all of you for your great questions and for your support!

Reader 7 5:01 PM

Thanks to Eliza for writing such good books.

READER 9 5:01 PM

The woman in 3B is a really good book. I found Amira's relationship with her country and her origins very well written. being myself French of North African origin I was really surprised to find a book which captures this kind of emotions without falling into the cliché and the drama. So thank you, it was a very nice read.

Eliza Lentzski 5:02 PM

As a self-published author, these moments are really special to me, and I so appreciate your support.

Reader 10 5:02 PM

Thank you for sharing your stories!

Reader 1 5:02 PM

We appreciate you coming to chat!

Reader 4 5:02 PM

Can’t wait for more in the series. Thank you..

Eliza Lentzski 5:02 PM

Thanks so much for the invite, Reader 1. This was fun :slightly_smiling_face:

And for those of you invested in Book #5, keep an eye on my social media accounts to see when it's released! It's going to be here soon!

Enjoy the rest of your day, everyone. If there's a question you still have or one I didn't get around to, be sure to say hi on social media!