INTERVIEW: Lily Velden


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Lily Velden, whose latest book Same Page was released last month.  The sequel, The Race is On, is scheduled to be released this month.  Lily is also working on the third and final book in her How the Light Gets In series, as well as a manuscript that almost completed called Questions and Answers, which is the story of Noah and Robert.

“Noah and Robert are art-history lecturers—Noah in Chicago and Robert in London,” Lily said. “Their respective colleges form a ‘partner’ relationship, and as part of that Noah and Robert swap houses, cars, and jobs for one semester. All I can say is they discover some very interesting stuff about each other! They’ve certainly had me blushing for the last six months!

“And then there’s Jonah and Echoes of Mercy…What can I say? My brain is a noisy crowded place!”

Lily said she’s been writing for as along as she can remember. She was quite precocious and learned to read when she was 3 or 4. As soon as she mastered reading, she started writing stories and illustrating them.

“By the time I went through my angsty teen years, I was dabbling in poetry as well. Both writing and drawing, however, got put on the back burner for a few years when I started popping out the babies—three in three and a half years! Someone said to me, ‘Have them close together. They’ll be friends as well as siblings.’ They could have also told me I’d need a straitjacket!

“Okay, back to topic!

“When my children were young, I started writing and illustrating stories for them where we were all thinly disguised as the characters. They loved it. Even today, my daughter calls me Meha instead of Mum, after one of the characters based on me, and when I try to impart some profound advice (maybe one day, they will actually listen!!! I live in hope.) they tease me and call me Mummefra the Wise Woman after another of the characters I created for them.

“Serious writing, though, began for me in 2009. Having said that, it took me nigh on three years to pluck up the courage to submit something to a publisher. For a long time, all I did was share Lily’s Story and How the Light Gets In with a friend. Even with her encouragement, I hesitated, and ended up testing the waters on an amateur author site first. It was the warm welcome I received there that finally gave me the belief that maybe, with some hard work and dedication, I could actually be a writer.”

For Lily, the most important part of writing is good storytelling–having the ability to paint a picture in the mind of the reader.

“A reader comes to a work of fiction as a willing accomplice in the lies being told by the author,” she explained. “Most come willing to suspend a little rational thought—when I make a bargain like that I want the writer to keep up his or her end of the bargain!

“The components of good storytelling? I’d have to say it’s a combination of plot, descriptions, characterizations, and pacing.  Things such as good editing are very important too, but I can forgive a mistake or two in that area if the author is good at telling a story.”

The characters always come first for Lily.

“They live inside my head for quite a while as we get to know each other before the pen ever touches paper,” she said. “Often it is their personalities which dictate the plot. Their very natures suggest a story.”

“What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?” I asked.

“Oh dear, this is embarrassing. I sat down an old friend of mine and asked him to describe to me in detail how it feels physically when a man becomes aroused. What order things happen in and what each ‘phase’ feels like. I interrogated him on how different positions, and um, orifices felt. I made him use comparisons and analogies while I scribbled away, taking notes! Poor blighter! And, God love him, we’re still friends!”

This, however, was not her most embarrassing moment.  That came when she was still in school. I asked her to tell us about it.

“Growing up, I was a terror for sneakily staying up and reading to the early hours of the morning. Of course, that meant I was not a morning person. You just about needed a crowbar to lever me out of bed, and the old brain didn’t kick into gear until lunchtime!

“So, yes, well, um, one morning when I was in Year 8 (that means I was about fourteen years old) I overslept and ended up throwing my uniform on and racing out the door so I wouldn’t miss the school bus. I made it with mere seconds to spare.

“Half way to school I looked down at my feet… I was still wearing my oh so fluffy pink slippers!”

That was the most embarrassing moment of her life–but the scariest was when she was giving birth to her daughter.

“I had one of those crap pregnancies that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. I spent half the pregnancy in hospital and on my due date, I was induced. At one point during the labour, I asked them to check for Emma’s heartbeat, as I had a bad feeling.

“They couldn’t find it.

“It took the midwife about three minutes to locate it. Those were the longest three minutes of my life. I couldn’t look at the midwife or nurse. I couldn’t look at my husband. I was terrified of seeing the truth of Emma’s death in their eyes.

“When they did finally find Emma’s heartbeat, it was very, very slow and the midwife told me later that had it taken me another sixty seconds to ask them to check it probably would have been too late for Emma.

“They gave me oxygen to pump up Emma’s heartbeat, and then the most frightening situation I’d ever known turned into one of the most bizarre!

“The oxygen made me as high as a kite, and I started laughing hysterically. Big, roll-around-on-the-bed belly laughs. I could barely breathe for laughing. I couldn’t stop. The midwife was between my legs begging me to pull myself together. My husband was shaking my shoulders ordering me to stop. But I couldn’t.

“I laughed Emma out.

“I never did so much as one conscious push. Emma came into the world by being laughed out! The first thing she heard was her mother laughing like a lunatic! I tell everyone that’s why she has such a vivacious and bubbly personality!”

About the Author:   

Administration and Finance Manager by day, author and artist by night. Types faster than a speeding bullet, more profound than a cream cheese bagel, able to string two adjectives together in a single sentence.

Look! Up on Google. It’s a name. It’s an author. It’s Super Lily!

Okay, maybe not so super.

On the upside, Lily chooses to wear her underpants beneath her gym gear!

Sorry! I couldn’t resist—I never know what to say about myself. I’m just a quirky artist with a passion for the written word, who’d like to share some of the stories floating around inside my head.

Facebook:      https://www.facebook.com/lily.velden

Twitter:          @LilyVelden

 

Comments

  1. I discovered Lily’s ‘Gay As Mardi Gras’ in March this year and fell in love with it so now I will auto buy anything this lady writes and not only is she an outstanding author but she’s one of the nicest most genuine people I’ve ever has the privilege to meet in my life. Thank you Lily for giving this avid reader a whole lot of pleasure! And as Liam and Jaxon ( How The Light Gets In ) well what can I say? Hot, hot, hot……. Great interview! 😀

    • Thank you, Macky, for being YOU. Your comment was so nice to wake up to today – best present I could ask for!

      Hon, I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading!

      Hugs,

      Lily

  2. Thanks for having me, Ladies!
    If anyone has any questions, please feel free to make contact. I will make sure to check into LASR a few times a day.
    Happy Reading!
    Lily

  3. Lily’s an extraordinary author. She creates real characters you can relate to. They’re not perfect, not flawless and that makes them so loveable. I’m already waiting impatiently for the next book in the “How the light gets in”-series.
    Wonderful interview, Lily! I had a lot of fun reading it and imagining the fluffy pink slippers!

    • Yes, the pink slippers will live on in infamy! I have so many “embarrassing” moments I’m beginning to wonder if I’m a social klutz!

      Thank you for the wonderful compliment you have paid my writing – I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to hear from a reader that my characters seem real to them – for they are so real to me.

      Thank you!

      Lily

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