Liz Crokin is a seasoned journalist who covered Hollywood full-time for over a decade until October 8, 2012, when doctors diagnosed her with viral meningitis. Before her illness, Liz was on top of the world making a six-figure salary and in a serious relationship with a man she had planned to marry. Her doctors were baffled as to how she got sick. The disease swelled her brain, left her with brain damage and unable to work or care for herself. Tests later proved that she had hsv2-meningitis and her illness stemmed from the herpes 2 (genital herpes) her ex-boyfriend knowingly exposed and infected her with.
(A crime in the state of California under Public Health Law §3198) Liz’s ex lied to her and all her treating physicians about his venereal disease. His deceit obstructed and delayed Liz’s treatment causing her condition to progress into the potentially fatal meningoencephalitis. Liz is pursuing civil and criminal action against her ex and has gone public with her story. Her goal is to educate and help others who have struggled with disease, a disability or fallen victim to a sexual assault. Liz’s political romantic
thriller “Malice” is inspired by her experiences with her disease and working as a Hollywood journalist.
Liz’s recent works, “Malice”is a novel based off real events and shocking consequences. “Malice is like 50 Shades meets House of Cards. Amazing storytelling! Very well-written,So entertaining, thrilling and concise. Bold, smart and vividly descriptive,”recently stated US Weekly’s Marisa Sullivan. But whatever category you throw it in, consider “Malice” on your summer short list while soaking up rays or traveling abroad with your book in tow. Liz’s number one motive at this point in her life as a survivor, is to educate the world on this taboo topic in our society today. Though speaking candidly about sexually transmitted diseases is uncomfortable, it is imperative to educate those engaging in sexual activity on the risks associated with contracting Herpes Simplex Virus. Whether this audience be teenagers, college students, single professionals, partners who actively cheat or seniors on the prowl, getting the message across starts with targeting peer groups. Genital Herpes is a serious epidemic. Prevention is key, as is understanding its severity of graduating to even greater, life-threatening situations. The social responsibility involved in those who carry the virus must be enforced.
How was it working in Hollywood as a journalist for over a decade?
It was really fun to work as a Hollywood journalist. I got to travel all over the world to amazing places like Alaska, South America and Europe covering celebrities. I’ve gone to amazing events too such as movie premieres, film festivals, the Super Bowl, etc. Any event that attracts celebrities, I’ve most likely been to or crashed. I’ve met some wonderful celebrities such as George Clooney and Angelina Jolie who remember where they’ve come from and always give back to their fans. I’ve also met some really obnoxious celebrities too, usually reality-TV stars. However, my job hasn’t been all glitz in glamour. I’ve had to spend weeks in Britney Spears’ hometown of Kentwood, Louisiana which is super rural and isolated. I also spent one summer in a desert town mostly filled with brothels and dollar stores covering a crazy hooker. That summer inspired a lot of what you read about in Malice.
Can you tell us about your book, ‘Malice’?
Malice is a political romantic thriller inspired by true events in my life. In the book, the heroine, is a tabloid journalist covering an alleged affair with the first Mormon Republican presidential nominee and a hooker. As she’s working on this dangerous story, she’s also falling in love with a high-flying Orange County millionaire. She has the perfect job and believes she has the perfect boyfriend too until her whole world collapses. Right before her big story on the presidential nominee and the prostitute is about to break, she finds herself in the hospital with a potentially deadly case of meningitis. When this happens she ends up turning the tables on herself and investigates her own life to uncover the cause of her illness. There’s a lot of sex and scandal but not without consequence. It is a cautionary tale of a love gone very wrong and I believe every woman should read it.
Was it hard to resume your normal life after your meningitis diagnosis?
Not only was it hard to resume normal life after my diagnosis, it was impossible. My ability to read and write were greatly disabled. As a writer, as you can imagine, this was very problematic. I lost my job, my apartment and went $100K into medical debt. I went on some social programs including disability. My three year anniversary of my diagnosis is tomorrow and I still can’t lead a normal life. I still struggle with delay headaches, photophobia and other neurological issues from the damage the disease did to my brain. In addition to that, spoiler alert, since my disease was caused by herpes 2 (HSV2) that my ex knowingly infected me with, I have severe PTSD too. However, I don’t want to sound all doom and gloom. I have found a new normal and I lead a happy life. I’ve learned and I’m still learning to manage my disabilities the best I can. I was able to find love again and write an award winning book with brain damage, so I am pretty proud of myself for all I have overcome these past three years.
What is a misconception about HSV2 Meningitis?
I don’t think there is any misconception about HSV2-meningitis because very few have even heard of the disease. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about herpes. Herpes has a horrible stigma which I find strange because an extremely high percentage of the population has a form of herpes. What scares me though is that most people don’t know that herpes can lead to a life-threatening disease like it did for me, if not treated and managed properly. Since the herpes virus almost cost me my life, I believe I have a calling and a duty to inform others about the potential dangers that come with herpes.
Do you plan on writing anymore novels?
Yes! Malice is a trilogy. I’m writing the sequel now. Readers contact me all the time telling me they can’t believe how crazy my book is. Initially, I thought how am I going to top this? However, since my books are inspired by events in my life, book two and three are almost playing out in real time in my life. Every time I think my life can’t get crazier, it does. I don’t know if that is so great for me personally but it’s great to have the fodder for my next two novels. You always got to look at the bright side.
What can other people do who are in the similar situation with their partners infecting them?
In most states, simply exposing someone to a venereal disease without disclosing that information to a sexual partner is a crime. A person can go to jail for knowingly exposing someone to a disease even if they don’t actually infect anyone. I encourage other victims to pursue both civil and criminal charges against predators like I’m doing. Dangerous sexual predators need to be stopped at all costs. With that said, I want people to know that if you have been infected with an STD, you can still go on to find love and lead a happy life. If I can do it, anyone can.
What do you think can be done to stop this from happening?
There are felony laws in place for predators who knowingly infect sexual partners with HIV/AIDs; however, these laws do not protect victims who are infected with other life-threatening diseases like mine. My lawyer and I are working to change the laws. No one should have to go through the hell I went through.
How can our readers keep up with you?
I think I’m the only Liz Crokin on FaceBook. I do most my updates on FaceBook. But I’m also on Instagram @LizCrokin and Twitter @LizCrokin — I encourage people to reach out to me. I hear from a lot of people who are suffering from similar problems as mine and I’m always happy to hear from them and help.