Hi, Lily, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I’m a displaced NYer living in Virginia. I’ve worked at a few different things, I was a data entry operator for a long time, then worked as a merry maid for a few months. But I just love the creative arts, so I’ve done writing and drawing/painting too. Not as much in the latter as I’d like though.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
My first book was The Finest Thing. Published by Dreamspinner Press. It took a few months from the time I submitted it to get published.
When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
I started writing M/M romance after I’d watched Brokeback Mountain. I started with fan fiction, some of the authors in the fandom started writing original fic and getting them published, so I decided to try my hand. I grew to love man love, that is what drew me to the genre. Before that I was writing Star Trek (I’m a trekkie) and stuff for the Kung Fu TLC fandom.
How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far? It took a few months from the time I submitted my first book.
So far I have 4 books written and 2 stories in an anthology.
Do you write full time?
No I wish. I have other things standing in my way, like work, among other things.
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
I’ve always loved writing, but didn’t really focus on it until I started writing fan fiction. It was something that I fell into.
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
I don’t think my writing day could be called typical. I tend to write whenever the muse strikes me. And it could be anywhere, that is why I take a writing pad with me. I tend to like to write in long hand then put it into the computer.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I write through and then go over it and send it to my editor to go over it too.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I do both, I’m a bit of a panzer.
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
It depends on the subject matter. I will do a google search and go from there.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
Oh I’d say I’ve written many people I’ve met along my life’s journey into my book. I would draw the line with torture or child abuse or rape.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?
The only person I really let read my book before publishing is my editor and some select friends who I use to bounce ideas off of and get their opinion as I write.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
I have had writer’s block on and off but last year I had the most severe one I’d ever suffered through. I started a story last summer and only just a few weeks ago finished it and had it edited. I haven’t done the changes as of yet.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
I hope they were entertained, that the story made them smile, hope and feel good.
Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?
How hard writing is, that editing can be a bear (my least favorite part of the process)
Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
I tend to put a title to it, even if it’s a working title that I’ll change later. Then I start my first sentence.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I think I have a wicked sense of humor and two comedians make me laugh Ellen Degeneres and Jimmy Kimmel. I tape their shows every day during their season.
What is the most frequently asked Lily Sawyer question?
Probably about how I got the idea about my Merman story Catch of the Day. Jaran my merman.
What are you working on now?
I just began a story for Silver Publishing’s submission request “A Special Kind of Love” dealing with people with disabilities.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?
To write what I wanted and not worry about what anyone else thought. If an author isn’t happy with what they wrote chances are the readers won’t be either. So I have to please myself first before I can please them. I loved the idea of a merman so I wrote that element into my story.
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
I enjoy doing blog hops, interviews and just spreading the word around yahoo groups.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I love to read contemporary m/m stories and non-fiction. Right now I’m reading Ellen Degeneres “Seriously, I’m Kidding.” Book.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
I’d love to be an artist.
Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?
Many from real life issues, sometimes new stories will strike a cord. Like in my “Love on the East End” I was writing that at a time when teen suicide was the headline in the news. So I incorporated that element into my story.
When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?
I love the way they convey the tone of my stories before you even read one word. I can’t say there is anything I dislike about them.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I love to garden, read and meditation.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Well if I can get off my butt and finish the editing of my finished work you might want to look out for “Four Doors Down.”
What future projects do you have in the works?
The story I am currently working on is for a Silver Publishing submission request. It deals with people with disabilities. My character is suffering from depression. Something that I feel needs to have a light shed on.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
Here is my blog http://lilysawyerbooks.blogspot.com/
Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?
From Catch of the Day.
Kellan felt the rays of the sun filtering in between the blinds and shining on his face. He stretched as layers of sleep melted away from his slim body. He lay in bed for several minutes, trying to figure out if having a merman in the house was something from one of his crazy dreams.
There was only one way to find out. He got out of bed and padded down the hall to the guest room.
“Jaran?” He knocked softly as he didn’t want to startle his sleeping guest. When he didn’t get a response he carefully opened the door. The first thing he noticed was the empty bed and rumpled sheets. Jaran was indeed here. He went to check the kitchen and living room, but he didn’t find him. The house was locked up tight and the alarm was set. The sound of splashing water drew his attention and he walked to the guest bathroom. Sure enough, he discovered Jaran lying in the tub. Kellan noticed he’d turned back into a merman.
He stood at the open doorway, staring at the handsome creature. His eyes feasted on the dark hair, blue eyes and muscular chest. He couldn’t help looking at the tail that hung over the side, resting partially on the bathroom floor.
Jaran’s eyes fixed on his and Kellan stared down at the floor. His cheeks got all warm with embarrassment.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to stare, not polite,” Kellan whispered as he turned to leave.
“It’s okay,” Jaran assured him with a bright smile.
Kellan couldn’t help returning the happy grin. “How come you’re in here and not in the bed? Wasn’t it comfortable?”
“Well—” Jaran sat up, leaned on the side of the tub and crossed his arms. “After so many years at sea I guess sleeping in a bed again will take some getting used to.”
“I guess.” Kellan was trying hard not to stare again. “Does this mean you don’t want coffee?”
“Coffee!” Jaran attempted to stand up, forgot about the tail and ended up soaking the floor. “Oops, sorry, I’ll clean that up, but yeah, I want coffee.” The tone in his voice was that of a man desperate for a cup of java.
Kellan laughed. “Sure thing. How about some pancakes too?”
Kellan gave him a sharp look and shook his head. “How’d you know I love strawberry pancakes?”
“Great minds think alike?”
Kellan left Jaran and got to work making breakfast.
By the time he’d made the first stack Jaran had joined him. He was dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans and had a pair of legs.
He sat at one of the stools at the counter and Kellan placed a cup of coffee and a plate of pancakes in front of him.
“Do you want sugar and milk for your coffee?” he asked as he put a small jug of maple syrup on the counter.
Kellan joined him and he couldn’t help but notice the pleased look on Jaran’s face after he took the first bite of pancakes and sipped some coffee.
“Ah, oh man, I forgot how much I missed this.” He eagerly took another bite.
Kellan dug into his own stack. Taking a sip from his glass of orange juice, he began thinking about Jaran and his own life. He loved what he did, being out in nature and sharing his love for the sea with others who could really appreciate nature like he did.
But no matter how happy he thought he was he’d still come back here at the end of the day to his lonely bungalow and crawl into his bed, alone.
“Hey.” He felt a hand on his arm and he stared into Jaran’s concerned blue eyes.
“Yeah.” He gave him what he hoped was a convincing smile. “Just thinking about stuff.”
“What kind of stuff?” Jaran had moved closer to Kellan until their thighs touched under the breakfast bar.
“About my life, I mean I’m the luckiest guy. I have a nice home, a successful business, just…”
“Just?” Kellan could feel Jaran’s hand on his thigh and his face getting closer to his. A pair of lips softly touched his. He pulled back like a jolt of lightning had hit his body.
“Jaran.” He touched his fingers to his lips.
“I’m sorry, it just seemed like the right thing to do. And I was hoping you’d want it, too.”