Joyce Sandilands's Reviews > Lizzie : Lethal Innocence

Lizzie  by J. Robert Whittle
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's review
Nov 07, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-adventure, folks-in-other-places
Read in December, 1997

Editor's Comments (no spoilers): I am the editor and publisher of this book and wife of the author. This was the first book I had ever edited/published and the third book my husband had written. We were rank amateurs and hadn't a clue what we were doing but I loved what he was writing from the first paragraph he read to me in 1994, and that made all the difference. He wrote his first three books in the period 1994-1998 while fighting a deadly staph/flesh eating infection and writing had been the furthest thing from his mind.

He turned 65 in 1998 as we discussed publishing possibilities. I wanted the world to experience this book that I felt was so special and remarkable for my husband to have written. He was not so easily persuaded, but 'Lizzie' had 'talked to me' in the months since I had read it and I was not about to forget about it. After talking with several people in the writing/publishing community, we hired a proofreader, decided to use the new POD process and printed 500 copies. We had no idea how we were going to sell them but he started with his coffee friends on December 8, 1998. In three months we cancelled our POD contract, went solo, re-edited and printed a further 2,000 copies. I published a book a year for Robert over the next 10 years and his (untrained) abilities and our success have startled everyone. In 15 years, we have met thousands of lovely readers and fans who made this all so worthwhile.

If you're curious how we accomplished this, please check our website: where you'll find his bio.

Now, if you want to read on, let me tell you a bit about how 'Lizzie' came about. When I added it here to Goodreads, I had to give it 5 Stars as this book would not have been published if I had not loved it so much. When Robert finished his second (still unpublished today) novel, it appeared he had beaten the infection and I asked what he was going to write next. He didn't know, so he asked me for my thoughts. I suggested, "Write a book for women. They will be the main purchasers if we decide to publish." How right I was, but many men have also loved Lizzie's spunk.

He started 'Lizzie' immediately and he later admitted this book "wrote itself." He had no idea he was putting so much of himself into this story until after it was finished and read by a close friend. Like Lizzie, Robert had been a childhood entrepreneur too, in Yorkshire. His grandfather gave him an idea and he ran with it. When a budding entrepreneur gets the taste of money he has never had, it can be a very difficult experience to shake. He was six-years-old and he has never stopped! Utilizing his own knowledge on the subject Robert wrote this novel for adults. With young characters (a girl and a boy), it has turned out to be popular with not only girls and women, but boys and men, too from ages 6 to 100 (yes two 100-year-old ladies have proudly told us they had read it themself and loved it! It became Robert's first Canadian bestselling novel in 2001 and is still popular today in 2012. One of our earliest reviewers referred to 'Lizzie' as "an engaging, exciting, funny and touching story." By popular demand it became a 4-book series. We hope you'll give it a try.


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