Today’s exclusive interview is with romantic suspense author and MTW2017 participant Lily Black, who writes from her home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her newest novel is called Storm of Attraction, available in both e-book and paperback format.
Here’s a blurb guaranteed to get you scurrying out to buy the book:
Love is worth fighting for.
Alexa Wolving has just one rule: never give a guy a second chance. That works just fine in the safe life she’s built. In the charming town of Willowdale, her day job as a librarian balances perfectly with her evening job as a black belt instructor. But when she attracts the attention of a stalker, Alexa’s carefully built world begins to crumble.
Drew Cosimo knows he broke Alexa’s heart five years ago when he took his first Ranger assignment and disappeared from her life. Now that he’s out of the army, he’s moving back home to Willowdale. He’s not looking for a fight, but making peace would be easier if Alexa hadn’t told the entire town he was a money-grubbing jerk. Despite the tension between them, Drew is quick to offer his protection when a stalker forces Alexa from her home.
As the stalker’s attacks escalate, Alexa and Drew are forced to face their painful past and the simmering attraction between them. They must fight to save each other before everything they care about goes up in flames.
Tell us something(s) about the book that the blurb doesn’t reveal:
This book is an interesting mix, because on the one hand there’s some very practical self-defense stuff and the stalker, who is freaky scary. While on the other hand, there are some lovely scenes with cozy cooking in a grand old house that has a gorgeous library, which my librarian heroine instantly falls in love with. I really enjoyed writing this juxtaposition, which takes me and the reader on a real rollercoaster!
Any Upcoming Promotions/Giveaways/Events We Should Know About?
Storm of Attraction will be on sale at a nice promotional price for my loyal fans on the day it comes out, which is Feb. 13th. Pick it up then! My publisher will also be sponsoring a Goodreads Giveaway of three paperback copies of the book from January 30th through February 12th I will also be participating in a big literary event with some ten or so other Red Adept authors on the Saturday before Memorial Day, here in the Raleigh NC area. My website will have all the details!
What was your favorite or most surprising comment/review about the book?
My favorite so far was a gentleman reader/reviewer who said he didn’t like romances generally, but this one was good and it didn’t have to be read as a romance if you didn’t want to. I happen to like the romance angle, but I appreciated his support!
If given a chance, which author (living or dead) would you like to meet?
This is such a great question! There are so many authors (living and dead) who’ve influenced me, and I look up to. However, I’m going to go with Jane Austen. Despite the fact that I don’t write historicals, her work has inspired me on so many levels, and I also really admire her as a person. I think we’d ditch tea and take a long walk through the gorgeous countryside, and talk writing. Like how to know when a draft is done, and when to rein your characters in vs. letting them lead the story.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast as which characters?
Hmm, that’s a tough one! I’m going to say Michelle Rodriguez or Ginnifer Goodwin for my heroine, Alexa, though both of them would have to change their hair to honey-blond. And for my hero I’m thinking Jake Gyllenhaal or Oscar Isaac.
What is your favorite quote from the book and why?
No way can I pick one! But here’s one I’ll share, from early in the book when the heroine has just learned that she’ll have to leave her home and hide with the hero. The detective’s role in the story isn’t super big, but she won a place in my heart from this scene alone. Here you are:
“So, a safe room, huh?” Something in Detective Rawlings’s voice snagged Drew’s attention.
“That’s right.” He couldn’t read the detective’s expression. Was she laughing at him? “Nothing fancy, not like the movies. Just a room that’s been reinforced where possible. I installed a sturdy frame and a solid, reinforced door. Then added two deadbolts that slide straight into solid wood.”
Detective Rawlings nodded. There was definitely a glint in her eye, and a smile played about her lips. “And that room would be… where? Not the kitchen or living room?”
“My bedroom, actually.” Drew caught the suggestion in her look and shook his head emphatically. “Only to be used in emergencies. Besides, the guest bedroom is also a safe room.” He didn’t add that he only considered the guest room a backup, considering it was on the main floor and had a window with easy access to the ground.
The detective grinned. “I only ask because I don’t want to save Alexa from the stalker only to charge her with assault and battery. She doesn’t like you very much.”
Do you have pets?
I have a dog named Zeke (who now considers himself famous, since he’s in my author photo on the back cover of Storm of Attraction!), and a cat named Apricot. At one point Apricot, who is orange and striped, had put on a bit of extra weight and the vet put her on a diet. My kids were young then and found this hilarious, so they started calling her Garfieldina, after the food-loving cat in the comic strip. So when I realized my heroine in Storm of Attraction was going to have several cats, one of them got named Fieldgar (Garfield backwards) in honor of all chubby orange and striped cats everywhere.
What are you working on next and when do you expect it to be on the shelves?
I’m well into the companion novel, which is tentatively titled Storm of Deception. In it we have a Senator’s daughter, a wounded warrior, and a shadowy bad guy who’s looking to score some political blackmail while killing off the hero and heroine before they can uncover his secrets.
Do you have any other awesome projects in the works?
Why yes, I do, thanks for asking! Many years ago when I first started reading romance, I discovered that the heat level I enjoyed was much lower than that of some of the books, and the cover could only tell me so much. Out of this desire to better be able to pick my new reads my husband and I developed the Book Ninjas Blush-O-Meter. We’re still adding to the book catalog (and probably always will be) but we now have several hundred romance, YA and chicklit books in every genre sorted by blush level in the catalog. It’s super easy to use, so check it out and discover the new read that’s perfect for you! www.book-ninjas.com/blushometer.
Are you traditionally published or self-published and why?
I’m with a small traditional press. For me, it felt like the best of all worlds since Red Adept is able to provide a gorgeous cover, editing, and advertising much like the big presses, but I get to keep a larger percentage of royalties and grow creatively in the direction I want with my publisher’s support.
What former author training/writing have you had, if any?
I attended RWA Nationals around the same time I wrote Storm of Attraction but spent the next several years focused on my YA and MG books, while also working as a content/developmental editor. During the same time I also participated in Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp, and of course honed my skills in a variety of other ways. When I came back to romances I found that my skills had grown, and was pleased to be able to implement much of what I’d learned in the revision process!
What conferences have you attended and what value have you found in attending conferences, if any?
Because I write across niches/genres I’ve attended a lot of local conferences as well as the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Nationals, WorldCon (where I paneled and promoted an anthology I was part of) and Romance Writers of America (RWA) National Conference. Each has their own particular strengths, and I’ve loved them all. However, I was most impressed with the curriculum and professionalism of the RWA national conference. It was so valuable that I actually forked over the cash both for that year’s recorded lectures and the year prior’s. Amazing insights into the craft and business of writing!
Lily was generous enough to share an excerpt from Storm of Attraction with us below:
Drew shifted from one foot to the other. “There’s a cut in the tire wall, so you’ll need a new tire. It can’t be patched, and it looks like it’s—”
When Alexa realized where he was going, the keys slipped from her fingers and jangled onto the porch steps.
Drew reached down and picked them up. He flipped them once in his hand then met Alexa’s eyes. “Your tire’s been slashed. Do you know anyone who would do that? Anyone who might be angry or holding a grudge?”
“Besides you?” Alexa smiled sweetly at the astonishment on his face then turned her back on him. Okay, so maybe that was uncalled for. Between the stalker, slashed tire, and Drew showing up, acting as if he had a place in her life, she wasn’t sure which way was up or down anymore.
Something in the living room window caught her eye.
Ragbag, her kitten, stood on the ledge inside the window. He was soaking wet and dripping. He meowed through the window then bent his head to lick his wet fur. His balance was off, and he wobbled before tumbling off the ledge.
“Ragbag!” Alexa snatched the keys from Drew’s hand and unlocked the door in record time. Dumping the big box on the couch, she bent beside Ragbag and examined him carefully. He was even soggier than he’d looked in the window, but he appeared okay aside from that.
Drew had followed her and stood in the doorway with his head cocked. “Is that running water I hear?”
“Running water?” Alexa caught the sound and got up, running as fast as she could manage down the hall to the bathroom.
Her two adult cats were in the bathtub, trapped underneath a laundry basket that had been flipped over to make a cage. The tap was turned on, and the water level in the tub had risen to the point that the cats were just barely keeping their heads above water. Even as she watched, Fieldgar’s head slipped beneath the surface.
Snatching the basket out of the tub, Alexa tossed it aside and pulled Fieldgar free. She passed him to Drew, who crouched beside her, ready with a towel. Then she reached back for Oreo. When her black-and-white kitty was bundled in a towel, she looked around for Ragbag, who had followed them in, but Drew had already wrapped him in another towel.
“I… I don’t…” Alexa stuttered to a stop. She put her face down close to Oreo’s face and worked to calm her racing heart enough so she could get words out. Falling apart wouldn’t help her cats—figuring this out would. She drew on the calm she reached for when sparring and lifted her head. “How did they get in the tub? And why was the water running?”
Instead of answering, he picked Fieldgar up and rubbed him vigorously then held him out to Alexa. “He’s so limp, almost like he’s asleep. Is that normal?”
She took Fieldgar and cradled him in her lap. She stroked his tiger-orange face then tickled him under the chin but got no response. “The water was cool, and cats hate water. Maybe he’s in shock?”
“Maybe,” Drew answered grimly. “But I wonder if that’s all.” He stood and started searching around the edge of the tub. After a minute, he held up a squeezable tube for Alexa to examine. “What’s this?”
Alexa gasped. “Their sedative! I use it when they travel.” She grabbed the tube then looked at her sleepy cats. Fieldgar was just this side of conscious, and Oreo wasn’t much better. “I don’t know how much they were given or how long they were in the water. I have to get them to the vet!”
Copyright 2016 Lily Black. Reprinted with permission.