Sunday, June 2, 2013

Author Spotlight: Lily Velden Releases Same Page (How the Light Gets In #1) June 14th

I had the opportunity to interview Lily Velden, author of Gay as Mardi Gras, once again as she prepares for the release of her second book, Same Page (How the Light Gets In #1). It's always fun to chat with Lily, so I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it! :)


Your latest book, Same Page, will be released June 14th. What was your inspiration for the story?

How I wish I could encapsulate it for you in just a sentence, M! I’m afraid it’s going to take me a bit longer than that! Fancy a writer wanting to blather on!!! What’s the world coming to???
I’ve always loved to read. I believe through a well-crafted story, told with a bit of imagination, you can go any place in the universe and beyond. Because of my fascination with the written word, I started, as a teen, keeping a notebook filled with phrases, passages from novels, poems, quotes, and song lyrics that appealed to me. You name it, if I liked the sentiments, I wrote it down. I won’t tell you how many of those notebooks I’ve filled—it’s a tad embarrassing—but let’s just say, it’s a few!
I always have at least one on me and if I’m waiting for a train, or having a coffee by myself, I’ll pull out my current notebook and flip through its pages. There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets, which are two lines of lyrics from a song by Leonard Cohen called, Anthem was added to my notebook when I was in my late twenties and my life had hit a rough patch. Have you ever noticed how, sometimes, a song, book, movie etc., comes into your life at just the right time? Well, those two sentences resonated with me so much they have been transcribed into each and every one of my notebooks for the last twenty years. It’s been two decades, but I still get the same feeling when I hear them repeated.  If that’s not a testimony to the power of the written word, I don’t know what is. Those words make me feel okay about being less than perfect. They make me feel okay about being a bit damaged and broken and scarred by life.
When I was going through a tough time a few years back, I read them umpteen times a day. They inspired me to sit down and write, not only my own story, but that of Jaxon and Liam. Two men: a little flawed, a little quirky, and a whole lot of wonderful. They’re not perfect—they each come with their insecurities and their frailties, but they also come with their humor and strength. Don’t we all? No, the boys aren’t perfect, far from it, but they are perfect together.

The main characters, artist Liam Lassiter and actor Jaxon Moncrieff, are each so different personality-wise. What were some of their strengths and weaknesses that you feel readers can most identify with?

I’m speaking for myself here, and hoping I’m not alone! Have you ever thought you knew yourself pretty well: knew your strengths, knew your weaknesses, and then you meet someone or come across a situation that throws you right off balance? Suddenly, everything you were sure of about yourself and the world around you isn’t so certain anymore. You don’t know what to think, what to say, what to believe, what to do.

That’s what happens to Jaxon when meets Liam. It’s like someone picked up the kaleidoscope that was his life and gave it a good shake and now the whole landscape is different.

Jaxon’s strength is that he doesn’t fight the change: he goes with it. He stumbles a bit, second guesses himself, but he doesn’t’ give up. And, God love him, he doesn’t lose his sense of humor!

And Liam? Dear sweet Liam. Liam is sensitive and idealistic, perhaps too much so for his own good, but having said that, it’s what makes him a good artist. Being so deeply responsive to life has at times saddened and hurt him, but it hasn’t hardened him. He’s most certainly capable of putting on a tough, cynical façade, as Jaxon found out the night they met, but inside he’s as soft as butter.

I always tell him: Thank God, for Jaxon, because without Jaxon, Liam would probably have crawled back inside his shell and never resurfaced! Jaxon showed him his scars may reveal what he’s survived, but they needn’t dictate where he’s going.

I like to think most of us are like that: life may throw us a few curve balls and maybe they slow us down a little, make us question, hell, maybe even bring us to our knees, but with a little help, we get up and carry on.

Fans already know that you're not only a writer, but also an artist. When you were creating the covers for the Same Page and its sequel, The Race is On, what feelings and emotions were you trying to convey in the images?

I like simplicity in design, and I also like a little ambiguity, so conceptual covers appeal to me. I like it when I
look at a cover and it makes me wonder what the story is about. A little mystery can be a good thing! It’s human nature to be curious, and so most of all, I hoped to inspire a little curiosity in a potential reader.

With the cover of Same Page, my aim was to showcase Jaxon and his beautiful blue eyes, but I also wanted to hint at Liam, and so reflected within Jaxon’s iris is a magnolia blossom. Anyone reading the book will soon learn of its twofold meaning in regard to Liam—namely his lovely English skin and one of his artworks.

With The Race is On, I reversed the focus. We get to see Liam’s unusual russet and gold eyes and reflected within their depths is an aspect of Jaxon’s life—the paparazzi with their cameras!

Speaking of the covers, I can’t fail to mention my gratitude to Kristy and her team at Design Bug, who took my sketches, photos, rough drafts, and notes and translated them into the appropriate software for Dreamspinner Press to be able to use.

As an artist, do you find it difficult to express your ideas for covers when the process of creation is in someone else's hands?

LOL, are you asking me if I’m a control freak, M??? God, maybe I am! I hope to God, my ex-husband is not reading this interview! What can I say? The man had no taste! Crap, I shouldn’t say that, should I? After all, he picked me, LOL!!!!!!!! Um, I was the exception that proves the rule!

Okay, back to serious… Perhaps, because I think visually, I might have a stronger than average idea of how I want the cover to look. And knowing I was artistically capable of doing the design, certainly made me very keen to do it myself. I am beyond grateful to Dreamspinner for giving me the opportunity—they have been very encouraging.

Do you plan to create all of your covers in the future?

If Dreamspinner is happy to let me keep doing them!

My ideal life would be spent writing and making art (I include design work in that description). I not only love to create, I need to. I get very depressed if I don’t have a creative outlet.

I’d also like to design for other authors, so drop me a line people!

You will be attending the GayRomLit Retreat in Atlanta, Georgia later this fall. What are you most looking forward to at the gathering?

Most of all, I can’t wait to meet the readers. I may be a published author now, but I’m also a reader. I want to meet other readers and swap notes and recommendations.

And I can’t believe I’m saying this, M, but I hope I get to do a reading. The idea terrifies me, but at the same time I’d love to share aloud some of the boys’ story. If they let me do one, I’ll be the blonde lady with a face like a tomato who’s shaking like a leaf!

What does the second half of 2013 have in store for Lily Velden?

Finishing manuscripts!

I have book 3 of How the Light Gets In underway, but I also have another manuscript just about finished called Questions and Answers which has two university lecturers of Art History—Noah and Robert— swapping jobs, homes, and cars for a semester as part of their respective colleges newly formed ‘partner’ relationship. Let’s just say they learn a few very interesting facts about each other!

Speaking of facts, I hope “my” facts weren’t too boring!

Take care, everyone, and HAPPY READING!

Thanks for having me, M!


Thank YOU, Lily!!! It's always a pleasure! To pre-order your copy of Same Page, please visit the Dreamspinner Press website. To learn more about Lily, her books and free reads, visit her blog.

~ M


  1. I just started reading Lily's stories and I'm hooked! I can't wait to read more and to find out what she has cooked up for us fans :)

    1. KC, you have no idea........... LOL, it's quite a range!
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I'm a bit of a latecomer to Lily's books but I agree with Kc, once you read a lily book you're a fan for life! Great review... Oh and she's a total sweetheart as well as a great writer! :)

    1. Thanks! I agree! Not only are her stories great, but she also has a big heart!

    2. Says she with an even bigger one!

  3. WOW, thanks, Maxine - you are always so generous. It's always a pleasure to chat with you!

  4. Great interview ladies!

    You're going to WOW a lot of readers with your talent and stories.

    Good luck!

    1. You, young lady, are the reason I want to do a reading! Ever since you commented that you'd love an audio of the boys' story, the idea has been simmering away inside me!
      So, if I pass out from nerves at GayromLit it will be on your head, BB!!!
      Jokes aside, thanks so much for your continued support.

  5. Awesome interview. I have been following your writing career since the beginning of "There's a Crack in Everything..." and I am so excited to see it in book form. You go girl!

    1. Thank you! Like you, I've been a fan since TACIE, so I'm really looking forward to this new series!

    2. God, JoAnn, I'm just so touched by everyone's support. I'm sitting here grinning but with watery eyes - I know, stupid sentimental old cow that I am!
      Thank you so much.

  6. I'm just dropping by to say hello - I don't think I need to say more, but I am excited for the release - and book two is so soon to follow - how delightful. :)


  7. Thanks for stopping by, Andy! Give 'lil q a hug from her friend in Australia!