I had a lot of fun researching Lily and writing my questions. I hope you will enjoy our interview as well as the chance to ask your own questions of Lily. Lily has been so gracious with her time. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.
Lily will answer your questions throughout the day. She will drop in from time to time and respond to any questions you post.
Lily has also graciously offered to give a free ebook copy of each of the first two Willow Creek books ( The Lawman and The Outlaw) and signed swag. Each person who posts a question for Lily on this interview will have a chance to win.
It is always so fun to see everyone get involved, so make sure to stop in several times throughout the day and have fun with Lily and all of us other readers. Do you have all of your questions ready!!
First off, let me take a moment to thank you Lily for your time. I know as an author you are pulled in many directions and we appreciate your stopping for a moment to share your thoughts with us.
TEA: Ok first question, generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
LILY: Depends on how complicated the story is. I've had novels that took a year to write and novellas that took a few months. The shortest time was when I wrote one of my Christmas books. That one took me 13 days, which is a record for me. The Outlaw, took 26 days.
HOLY COW! Only 26 days! You amaze me.
TEA: How many books do you average a year?
LILY: When I'm writing a novel…I'll be lucky to get in one. Novellas, I can get about 4 a year in. That doesn't sound like very many considering it doesn't take but a few weeks to write them but my first drafts are like word vomit on the page. LOL It takes me ages to clean it up and make it pretty. Plus, I'm pretty anal when it comes to edits. I go over each story a total of 5 times (after edits) before they're ready for the world to see.
*Note to self…new phrase (word vomit)*LOL
TEA: Have you developed a system of a certain place or time to write?
LILY: I usually write in the morning and always in my home office, which used to be my daughter’s bedroom. It holds 2 desks now, several file cabinets and a bookshelf bursting at the seams with books. I've tried writing in other spots in the house but I can't seem to focus. Something about being surrounded by office supplies makes me think I'm important so I stick to my desk most times. hehe
TEA: I believe you started writing in 2002, what did you do prior to that?
LILY: I was a stay-at-home mom for the most part. I did have a small part-time job I worked in the winter, when my children were at school. The need to talk to adults drove me to it!
TEA: Do you still settle in with a Sundrop soda and Hershey Kisses to write?
LILY: Oh, I can't write without it! It's an addiction I'll never be cured from. I'm not a coffee drinker, never have been, so I need my caffeine and Sundrop gives me a good kick in the pants. Plus…it just taste good!
TEA: Do you have a favorite book or series?
LILY: I love the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Also, The Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paullina Simons. They're both such epic love stories and one of my personal 'writing goals' is to one day write a book that resonates with readers the way these do with me.
TEA: What was it that drew you to write a western series?
LILY: I've read the western genre for years. It's my 'go to' category for books but they're so hard to find in bookstores. They're making a comeback now but at the time, finding a good one wasn't easy. I love Linda Lael Miller's westerns and have everything she's written on my 'keeper' bookshelf. When I ran out of things to read, my muse started whispering, as he's like to do.
Since I wasn't able to find what I wanted to read, my muse suggested I just write the books myself. It wasn't hard to convince me to do so, either. I can honestly say I don't think I've had as much fun writing anything like I have these westerns. I just LOVE the time period. The rugged cowboys and the ladies in those complicated fancy dresses. Of course, not too many 'pioneer' woman bother with all the finery those city ladies do but the west was a lonely place, so getting my 'fancy' heroines out there is part of the fun.
TEA: How did you choose the period that the series is written it?
LILY: My husband and I were very active in a local historical group and the time period I learned about was that of the civil war era. I had done a bit of research set in that time period so it was only natural to 'write what you know' so this series is set in the late 1860's.
TEA: Is it the boots, spurs or hat that draws you to a cowboy?
LILY: Oh gosh. All, I think! lol I'm not really sure what it is. I've always thought hard-working men were sexy and how much sexier can you get than a cowboy, wrangling horses and cattle, getting dirty and more or less kicking up a bit of dirt. I always envision my cowboy heroes as hard workers, with toned muscles and strong hands. I love a man's hands, crazy as it sounds. The bigger, the better, I say! Doesn't hurt when those same cowboys are too hot for their shirt either. Bare-chested. Just the way I like them! *wink*
*Ok ladies we will now take a break so everyone can visualize a half
nekked smexy cowboy and swooooon, where is Mancandy Monday
when I need it*
TEA: Do you still blush when you write a love scene?
LILY: LOL No. I finally got over my embarrassment of typing dirty words and I no longer worry if my mother is reading. I've told her not to but she always gives me this little smile that tells me she has read my stories. But that's okay. I'm 40-something now with 2 grown kids. There's no reason to hide what I write or be embarrassed by it.
TEA: Does your family read your books and do they have a favorite series?
LILY: My sister and my daughter read everything, before anyone ever sees the stories. They're always there to tell me what works and what doesn't. My daughter will flat out tell me if something is stupid but my sister is quiet, she always has been, and I usually just get a "It's good." from her. With the Outlaw, she said, "I LOVE it." I think I smiled for a week. I finally got a reaction from her than wasn't expected. As for what series they like most? Probably my Wicked Series. Hot rock stars. What's not to love about that?
TEA: What do you do to break the dreaded writers block when it hits?
LILY: I walk away. I usually read or veg out in front of the TV. Anything to engage my mind a bit. Most of the time, writer's block is just fear or a desire to not write a particular part of a book. The last time I suffered from it was when I wrote my last paranormal.. It took 2 months to get over it and get back to the story.
TEA: Do you find after a writer’s block that the story really takes off or does it gently trickle out?
LILY: It trickles out. As I mentioned in the previous question, the last book I suffered writer's block on, it was my fear of writing a huge, epic fight scene with a massive number of werewolf shifters. I dreaded the scene as I hate writing fight scenes and once I got back into gear of writing, the words were a struggle. It was like wading through molasses. Most days, I'd only get a few paragraphs written, but I finally made it through the entire thing and the scene is awesome! It took a while to get there but the end result was fantastic.
TEA: What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
LILY: Knowing readers enjoy my stories. I wrote for years, sharing those stories online with friends for free, and every comment, every email I received was gold to me. I'm compensated for stories now but even if the money wasn't there, knowing someone took the time to read my story, enjoyed it enough to tell me they did, makes it all worthwhile.
TEA: Are you still the ‘crazy cat lady’?
LILY: I wish! All my babies are gone now. Most of them were strays who would wander into the yard but over the last year, they all seemed to disappear. We have coyotes here and we can hear them late at night so I'm not sure if they've scared the cats off (or worse) or if they just found a different home. I only have 2 cats now. A female who still likes to roam and a male, Onyx, a solid black cat who thinks he owns the place.
TEA: You donated your hair to Locks of Love, tell us about that experience and would you do it again?
LILY: Which part do you want to hear? The part where I cried like a baby in the beauty parlor, to the point my mother had to consol me, or the part where I vowed to never cut my hair again? LOL
My hair had been long for 10 years when I got it chopped off and I was fine doing it at the time. I was ready for a change but the moment I heard those scissors slicing through my hair, my heart started racing. When they lady handed me that pony-tail, I just lost it. I cried like a baby, in a beauty salon full of people. LOL
I've gotten over my fear of cutting my hair. In fact, I cut it all off again this week. It's only shoulder length this time and sadly, wasn't long enough to send to Locks of Love. Maybe next time I'll let it grow long enough to do so.
TEA: Do you do a lot of research for your books?
LILY: For the historical's I find myself looking up a lot of things. The last research being, were nude photos available in the late 1800's. I was astonished to have found 'porn' that old. LOL The first nude photographs were taken around 1834 so it's been around for a very long time, even though, back then, they were more artistic than your average 'erotic pose'. Obscenity laws in the 1850's put a stop to the wide-spread distribution of it and ushered in the era of 'peep shows'…those small machines showing a series of nude photographs for 5cents a pop.
TEA: What is the most interesting or fun research you ever had to do?
LILY: The next book in the Willow Creek series is The Gambler and I did a bit of research into those old west gamblers and what it was that drew them to it. I was amazed at the amount of money floating around in that time period.
One gambler, Charles Cora, after winning $85,000.00 and breaking two Faro banks in New Orleans over a six-month period, was banned from the gambling establishments. He moved on to bigger cities and later shot a US Marshal in the streets of San Francisco and was hanged for his crime. Another gambler, George Wingfield, was reported to be worth 2 million dollars by the time he was 27. These gamblers made a living out of playing Faro and card games. They were smart, cunning, and probably a little bit dangerous. I found them all a bit fascinating.
TEA: Do you still sew 1800’s period clothing?
LILY: I haven't sewn any new dresses in a while but I have a stack of projects still waiting on me. They're all very complicated as I'm self-taught so it takes me a month to finish one project but wearing the dresses is so much fun! Well, once you learn how to stand, and sit, while wearing a corset. There's no wonder the women back then fainted all the time. They couldn't breath! If you'd like to see some of my dresses, I have pictures on my Hobby Page, located in the extras section of my website. http://lilygraison.com
TEA: As of not too long ago you were still working a 40 hour a week job, have you graduated to writing full time yet?
LILY: Yes. Unfortunately, the place I worked suffered as the economy took a nose-dive and they shut their doors. I had been contemplating turning in my notice as I wanted to devote all my time to writing but never did as I really enjoyed the job. Didn't hurt I was supervisor over an entire department. LOL But, the closing of that business was a blessing in disguise, for me. I converted my daughter's old bedroom into an office, bought a new desk, and haven't looked back. I LOVE my job now. I can work in my pajama's and there's no clock to punch. It's the perfect career choice for me.
TEA: Who are your favorite authors to read and what are your favorite series?
LILY: There's so many! Favorite authors: Linda Lael Miller, Diana Gabaldon, Paullina Simons, C.L. Wilson, Elizabeth Vaughn, Karyn Monk, Julie Garwood, Johanna Lyndsey, Karen Marie Moning… I'll stop there or we'll be here all night!
The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning.
The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
C.L. Wilson's Tairen Soul series.
Elizabeth Vaughn's Warprize series.
TEA: Of other authors leading men, who makes you swoon?
LILY: Jericho Barron's in Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series! My goodness, that man is so bad but I want 3 just like him. LOL
I would also like to put in an order for one Jericho Barron’s please *grin*
TEA: Will you ever write a Scottish highlander series *I have a thing for kilts*?
LILY: I actually have a highlander story plotted out. I'm not sure I'll ever write it though. I already write in 3 different genres and my readers are probably confused enough as it is. BUT…if I ever 'do' write that highlander story, I'll also finish the 2 fantasy romance stories I have stashed away. Maybe I just need a new 'pen name' to write all these new stories under. That would work, wouldn't it?
OK excellent Idea for a way to win your free items, EVERYONE suggest a new pen name for Lily to write under…. This could REALLY be fun! Oh, and keep it clean ladies :)
TEA: If you could have any supernatural/paranormal power what would it be?
LILY: Hmm…that's a tough one. Maybe the ability to 'think' of something and my words would appear on the page magically. Or the ability to eat anything I wanted and it not end up on my behind!
TEA: Us girls on Tea and Book have discussed the pros and cons of a man reading romance books. Do you think that reading a romance book would give valuable insight into what a woman wants and well you know……?
LILY: I don't think most men would even 'get it' then and would probably feel a bit inadequate when they found out what most women really think. Men like their little 'bubble of happiness' and finding out they're doing it all wrong would be soul destroying. LOL. Besides, it would take a special type of man who would even look at what they read and apply it. Most think they're right, anyway, don't they?
TEA: What is your favorite movie?
LILY: Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightly version) or Avatar. I watch both endlessly.
TEA: What book are you waiting to be released so you can read it?
LILY: Written In My Own Hearts Blood, book 8 in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. It's set to release sometime in late 2013. Her books are massive, 1,000 page monsters, and they take her nearly 4 years to complete. She also left a cliff-hanger at the end of the last book so imagine my distress! I can't wait to get my hands on this book.
TEA: Tea or coffee?
LILY: Tea, but only if its sweet and ice cold!
TEA: Dark or Milk Chocolate?
LILY: Either. I love it all.
TEA: Favorite restaurant?
LILY: The Olive Garden.
TEA: Favorite food?
LILY: Chicken Alfredo from the Olive Garden! I could eat it everyday.
TEA: Who cooks at home? You or your husband?
LILY: Me, most of the time, but my husband will cook on his days off.
TEA: What do you do when you are not writing?
LILY: I read a lot and sew. I've never been a big TV person but Sunday is my TV time. There's too many great shows to miss then.
TEA: Chocolates, Flowers or Poetry?
LILY: Oh, chocolate! Always.
TEA: Do you prefer the hero or the bad boy?
LILY: Give me the bad boy. They're always the most fun! *wink*
Thank you so much Lily, this has been so much fun! Ok, the floor is open for all to ask questions, make comment AND don’t forget to make pen name suggestions for Lily to write a highlander series under……I REALLY NEED A HIGHLANDER SERIES!!!!!!! *SWOON*
You can find Lily at: