Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing Romance Author Lillie Spencer. Lillie’s book MANHUNT is available now.
Kim: Could you tell us a little about your non-writing?
Lillie: My degree is actually in wildlife biology, with a specialization in animal behavior. Believe it or not, I’ve learned a lot about people by studying animals. My kids have all kinds of unique firsts in their baby books – “First time I held a baby kangaroo”, “First time I raced a leopard”, that kind of thing.
Kim: What kinds of books do you read? Are they in the same genres in which you write?
Lillie: Oh, I read a little bit of everything. I love romance in all its forms, and of course the classics, but I am also a sucker for a good mystery, and I love autobiographies.
Kim: There was a place from your past that you’ll always remember. How do the memories of it influence your life/writing?
Lillie: I grew up in a small steel-mill town in West Virginia. I have many, many happy memories of that small town. Recently, I drove through it again and it was this depressing mix of gambling cafes and abandoned storefronts. My favorite pizza place was still there, but that was about it. It was like Cars, or maybe the Back to the Future where Biff took over the town. It was so sad. Bruce Springsteen has a new song out – Death to My Hometown, and that’s exactly how I felt driving through my beloved childhood home. I am sure it will work its way into one of my stories one day.
Kim: You often receive what compliment about your writing? Why do you think your writing stands out in that regard?
Lillie: I get a lot of compliments about my characterizations digging deep and touching people with their realism. My good guys are not pure, and my bad guys are not simply evil. I don’t think that heroines have to be either a damsel in distress or uber-independent warrior princesse, with no happy medium. I love really trying to get into a character’s head, even a minor character – what makes them the way they are, what has happened to them that shaped who they became?
Kim: What is your writing “system” like, and how has it evolved over the course of your career?
Lillie: I used to be an OCD plotser. I drew up painstakingly detailed outlines of the novel and how I wanted it to go, and then would try and browbeat the story into submission when it veered off my perceived course. I’m a devout pantser now. Mind you, I am still addicted to One Note and have pages for locations, characters, and plot points, but I put my fingers on the keyboard like a Ouija and see where the story takes me. It’s a much more organic way of writing and I enjoy it much more.
Kim: Do you have beta readers in your family or circle of friends, or do you trust your own instincts before you publish your works?
Lillie: I trust my own instincts, but I also know that an unbiased perspective is never a bad thing. Two very dear author friends of mine, Jennifer Hart and Saranna DeWylde, critique for me and I consider their input absolutely invaluable. I also send everything I write to my sister, because she’s the one person I can always trust to tell it like it is.
Kim: Which author do you model your work after, or do you not see any parallels with past works you’ve read.
Lillie: Oh goodness, I don’t know. I’ve had readers compare me to Nora Roberts, I’ll say that, which I was extremely flattered and humbled by.
Kim: What is your most recent book/story release? And could you tell us about it?
Lillie: MANHUNT is a romantic suspense novel about a young woman, Nikki, who wakes up in the hospital seriously injured with amnesia. A gorgeous stranger rushes into her room covered in blood and insists she leave with him at once. She has no idea why, but she goes with her gut and lets him whisk her away on a cross country adventure. Michael claims to be her high school sweetheart/one true love and she finds herself falling for him, despite the fact that he’s essentially kidnapped her and is wanted for the murder of her ex-boyfriend. It’s part romance, part mystery, but it’s truly a story about love, loss, and redemption in all its forms.
Kim: What led you to tell this particular story?
Lillie: It sounds so cliché, I hate to even admit it but it’s true – it just came to me. I was actually working on another story altogether when this one popped into my head and absolutely refused to leave until I wrote it.
Kim: Will there be sequels/other stories connected to this one? Or do you plan on exploring other realms or even other genres next?
Lillie: Michael and Nikki’s best friend, Christian, actually became the character nearest and dearest to my heart and he’s become a fan favorite as well. He’s a badass criminal with a quick wit and a heart of gold, and I love him. I am working on a companion piece that tells his story.
Kim: If you had an unlimited advertising budget, how would you “get the word out” about your latest release?
Lillie: Oh – that’s an easy one! You know how in The Hunger Games the announcements would appear in the sky above them? I would invent a satellite that would make my book cover appear in the sky, all over the world, and have it so that if you reached towards the sky and tried to touch it, it would transform into one-click buy links. That would be awesome. 🙂
Kim: So where can we stalk you?
Kim: Thanks for taking the time with me today. I’m fortunate to have some of the greatest readers in the world and I have every faith that many of them will be looking up your stories as soon as we finish up here.
Lillie: Thank you so much for having me! I enjoyed being here!