lillychristine

Name Lilly Christine

 

Age I don’t say anymore!

 

Where are you from;

 

I’m originally from Philadelphia, PA, just like Tess Bamberger, the heroine in my debut novel “Crashing Into Tess”

 

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc  .

 

I’m second oldest in a family of seven. I’ve always loved horses, dogs and cats, so my hero and heroines do too. My favorite toys as a kid were my Johnny and Jane West stable, rocking horse, and I loved Big Valley. I read a ton as a kid; it was my favorite escape. I also drew and made dollhouses, all of which comes in handy when I dream up characters and create plots. I love all of my characters; their struggles seem real to me, and writing their stories feels like therapy.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

 

I’m just about to embark on a national book tour, following the journey Tess takes in Crashing Into Tess, along Route 70 Philadelphia to Denver. Tour dates are July 30-August 4. I invite readers to follow the tour on my “Where’s Lilly?” Facebook Event Page.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

 

I have a BFA in fine art; I was sick with Lyme’s disease for awhile. On day, stuck in bed, I didn’t have a book to read so I wrote a story.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

 

I felt bona fide in 2013 when the first chapter of Crashing Into Tess won the Toronto Romance Writer’s Catherine Award.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

 

Libra Press calls Crashing Into Tess a “James Herriot meets Bridget Jones”. I love animal stories, so making Tess a veterinarian was a no brainer. I wanted it to be a sort of coming of age story, and a little madcap besides. The struggles of Tess forging out on her own in a new place, small town drama,  her overprotective parents, his ex-wife, the confused little girl all sort of related to situations I’d experienced. And I needed a hero at the time, too. Jake became sort of reluctant hero, older and by no means as niave as Tess, but with an inscrutable character and really concerned for her and loving in a very unselfish way.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

 

I’m a pantser, and I obsess. By the time my “first draft” is finished, the book is finished. I use the first third of the book to get to know my characters, and that informs their journey. I start with a synopsis, but it usually changes as I write and replot. I’m experimenting with voice to text software as a way of generating a first draft, so it’s not so hard on my wrists and shoulders; time at the keyboard can be painful, literally.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

 

Crashing Into Tess came from my idea for the inciting action, and the Dave Matthew’s tune that Tess and Jake dance to, Crash Into You. When I discovered “Jake” the  “McGreers” series was born, because of course I wanted to continue to develop a whole bunch of heroes who were as benevolent and generous and supportive of their women.


Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

 

In “Crashing Into Tess” , Tess learns patience and perseverence: I wish I could say with patience and perseverence, we’ll all find a Jake, but I do think you’ve gotta believe in love, and it takes time for things to fall into place.  I try to write romances that read like real life; maybe a little funnier, but I want my readers to feel the same heart and passion and confusion my characters do as they fall in love. I also write women who aren’t fluffy, or two dimensional. My novels aren’t just about getting “the guy”, the quality of the relationships between the women matter, too. Aunt Olivia and Jake’s ex Vicki and Alice and Cassie have an impact on Tess’s life, as do her sister and mother. It’s the same with the rest of the McGreers Series, Daisy and Daphne are sisters and best friends, and the love and friendship they offer Janie and Lulu and Lindsay has an impact; the men in their lives are awesome, but finding true love isn’t enough. Women need real women friends to feel happy and satisfied and understood.


Fiona: 
How much of the book is realistic?

 

Crashing into Tess and the rest of the McGreers are about as realistic as romance novels get; I’ve dealt with chemical dependence, the challenges of step parenting, “mean girls” , vicious gossip, and big life changes. The rest of the McGreers is the same. I particularly love Kyle and Janie in Loving Lulu; Kyle’s back from Afghanistan and suffering the effects of a head injury and PTSD, and Janie’s a sexual abuse survivor. My characters triumph through adversity, and that’s what my readers want to read.  Those of us that love romance novels aren’t reading for some sobering commentary on today’s society; there’s already too much of that on the news as it is. What romance novels can do is to remind us of how the human spirit can triumph, especially when helped along by love and understanding and compassion.


Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

 

I totally write from life experience, but nothing is taken straight from life. My female characters definitely show aspects of my personality, secondary characters are people I know or wish I did, and my male heroes are some amalgam of the best of the men I’ve loved.


Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

 

I read Jane Austen exhaustively, and I’ve tried to imbue my stories with the best aspects of her books; the faithful female friends, the sometimes comedic aspects of expectation vs. reality in interpersonal and town/ group situations, and the very real love the hero shows the heroine. On the other end of the spectrum, I also love Annie Proulx. I love the grit and simplicity of her prose, her incredibly efficient characterization just through a few lines of dialogue; so often what isn’t said is as important as what is. To me, she’s one of the consummate Western writers.


Fiona: What book are you reading now?

 

I just re-read “Little Ray of Sunshine” by Lani Diane Rich, and “Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing” by Melissa Bank.

 


Fiona: What are your current projects?

 

I’m working on a very funny series of holiday shorts all based in Philadelphia, the first a New Year’s Eve story called “It’s a New Year, Baby!” and “Eva Smashing and Dashing” about a penniless heiress on a New England island inspired by “Grey Gardens” and Lindsay Lohan. I’ll release McGreers #7 “Candi for Christmas” a new adult story featuring Tess’s cousin Candace Bamberger and Jake’s cousin Shane McGreer, a professional snowboarder, and McGreers #8 “My Kinda Bull” pairing geologic petroleum engineer Heath McGreer with Julio’s sister, Greenpeace activist Christina Rodriguez.


Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members:

 

I’ve gotten amazing support from other romance writers, from story feedback to career advice to just general camraderie. My readers are also incredibly supportive; I love my social media communities.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

 

 It’s really more of a passion than a career, although to be financially successful, a writer needs talent, timing, luck, good feedback, and most of all, perseverence.


Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

 

I’m re-plotting Eva, so yes. The last novel I released was “Whole Lotta Bull” McGreers #6, and there’s nothing I’d change; sometimes I sneak a peak at it so I can re-read the Hank and Daisy wedding scene. I thought I wanted to change something about the book that preceded it, McGreers #5, but then I read it and decided not.


Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

 

Massive consumption of books as a kid: I read on the bus to school, during spelling tests in school, on the bus home and finished my book instead of my homework!

 

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

 

This is from “My Kinda Bull” when Heath spots Christina: 

 

He pulled the white truck clearly labeled with the Oil and Gas Engineering firm’s logo into the parking lot at Hawk’s, too hungry and tired to care about the Greenpeace crew, maybe feeling a little reckless, himself, after what he’d seen in ANWAR. The fact he’d gotten no sleep didnt’ help.

“Will you look at those hippies?” his partner scoffed.

“Hey man, just leave ‘em alone. We’re done here tomorrow, and I don’t want trouble.” Heath glanced at the scene outside through his rear view mirror, sizing things up.

A striking girl was speaking to the Greenpeace crew. Dark-haired, red cheeked, her petite frame was shapeless in layered gore-tex. A fancy digital camera around her neck, she wore jeans and boots and looked very in charge.

Why does she look so familiar?

Heath shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs after three days of mostly work and little sleep.

There was no way he knew this girl, three hundred miles into the Arctic circle. His attraction was some bad combination of sleep-and-woman deprivation. She was just too pretty, that was all, and he hadn’t had a real girlfriend since college-another thing his mother didn’t like about his vagabond professional lifestyle, besides the bad food and crazy sleep.  

 


Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

 

I love being immersed in story; it’s a bit of an addiction, I’ll admit. When I’m not creating I get antsy.

 


Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? 

 

My travels have definitely inspired my settings; each setting is a made up place, but it’s very firmly anchored in places I’ve been. I also keep very active Pinterest boards for each character, and this helps with setting ideas and descriptions, too.


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

 

I do. It’s a selfish pleasure.


Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

 

Letting go; I always choke two thirds in and the scenes come slower.  I have a hard time finishing.


Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

 

The biggest surprise is that I can write a book that pleases me immensely, and then when I share it with my readers, they are as excited as I am.

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website?

 

If so what is it? I’m very active on Facebook at Lilly Christine and Crashing Into Tess, @LillyChristine1 on Twitter, and my website is LillyChristine.com

 

Amazon Authors page http://www.amazon.com/Lilly-Christine/e/B00GLY93A2/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1438149557&sr=1-2-ent

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