🔦🔦SPOTLIGHT ON … LILY GRAHAM🔦🔦
HI Everyone and welcome to this weeks… Spotlight author interview. I am thrilled to welcome Lily Graham the author of THE CORNISH ESCAPE. 🏖🏖☀️☀️🏡🏡
Lily thank you so much for taking the time to chat… Firstly could you tell us a little bit about yourself in your own words?
Sure. I’m the author of The Summer Escape, A Cornish Christmas and The Cornish Escape.
I grew up in South Africa, but moved to England last year, with my husband and my snore monster bulldog Fudge. We live in the pretty county of Suffolk, where the sea and countryside play an immense part in influencing my stories. I’m an avid reader and daydreamer who is forever trying to give up chocolate.
And just for a bit of fun…
Tea or coffee?
Coffee. I cannot get out of bed until I’ve had two cups – filtered and from a cafetiere because life is too short for instant. I even take it with me on holiday the way some people take their pillows.
Sweet or savoury?
Sweet. It’s my downfall.
🏖🏖🏖🏖🏖🏖🏖🏖🏖🏖🏖🏖Ok so the The Cornish Escape is your latest release, can you tell us a little more about the story?
Definitely. It’s a story set in two time periods – 1905 and present day. It follows the story of biographer Victoria Langley who flees to Cornwall after her husband has cheated on her. There she finds an abandoned cottage and with it a diary that goes back to The Great War. It’s a love story, but also a coming of age story.
✍🏻✍🏻✍🏻✍🏻✍🏻✍🏻✍🏻✍🏻✍🏻✍🏻✍🏻✍🏻How would you describe your writing style and was it easy to find your ‘ voice’ when writing?
I would say its women’s fiction with comedic elements. I found that though I tried to write ‘chick-lit’ it ended up being a lot more dramatic and intense than would be the custom with that style, particularly as all my books have either a rather serious life issue to deal with or a mystery at the heart of it. I often get reviews and messages from readers who are surprised at how intense the books are, making them laugh and cry at the same time. It wasn’t something I set out to do initially, but I’m glad that it has become a sort of a signature style now, though it can sometimes make my books hard to brand and the covers can be deceptive, which is unfortunately not something that is in my control as it is decided by my publishers.
📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚Can you name three of your favourite reads and what it was that you loved about them?
I think I’ll choose three that have had a major influence on me and my writing as I don’t think I could just pick three. A Year In Provence, by Peter Mayle. We share the same birthday, 14 June. I read this book years ago and it first planted the idea in mind that you didn’t have to follow the conventional life path – that you could follow your dreams like he did, finally taking the plunge and moving to France. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella – this book made me fall in love with comedic writing and start reading again during a very low period in my life. The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman – I love all of Alice Hoffman’s books because of her use of language and the magical realism she weaves.
💭💭💭💭💭💭💭💭💭💭💭Where do you find inspiration for your stories and characters?
Stories come from everyday life and the things that I love. I’ve started to pay attention to that now – as certain things really help bring stores to life. Everything comes from something that I’m doing or seeing at a particular time in my life. There wouldn’t have been A Cornish Christmas – well, not the way it panned out, if I hadn’t discovered River Cottage, the series with Hugh-Fearney Whittingstall for the first time. The Summer Escape (was written during a time when I really wished I could run away, as I’d had an insufferable job eight years ago, and The Cornish Escape came about due to my love for the county and old abandoned cottages and coded diaries. There also wouldn’t have been a houseboat community in it if I hadn’t discovered the Pin Mill area close to my new home which has gorgeous houseboats in the Orwell River. The characters are a little more magical, they seem to appear out of nowhere, telling me who they are. For instance, I had no idea that Victoria’s best-friend in The Cornish Escape, would become an aging hippie who owned a floating bookstore and offered her ‘suspicious’ brownies until she appeared. Then again, I had been watching reruns of That 70s Show during the deadline so maybe not that surprising, grin!
📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝Do you have a favourite place to write?
It’s really my writing room now, I write in my little writing snug that is surrounded with the books and things I brought with me from South Africa. My shelves are apple-crates and they are brimming with books and I have two desks in the tiny room, one is a small writing desk that goes back to the second world war and helped spark the idea for the writing desk and the mysteries postcard in The Cornish Escape. It also holds the second of my dog’s three beds and when she’s feeling very generous she makes the trek upstairs to come and be with me, often lying on the blanket that covers my legs, forcing me to type rather slowly as she keeps wanting to be petted.
What are your top three tips for aspiring writers?
There are no perfect books. Make your goal a finished book – set a deadline, a year is a good goal anything more because too long and anything less can feel daunting for the beginning writer. Write everyday – make it a habit, even if its ten minutes a day, you’ll be surprised at how much you can do with a paragraph a day over a year. Forget about writing what you know – write what you love, and if you don’t know, start with what you love – it may be spaceships or cowboys or vineyards or old diaries. Add more in and you’ll be surprised at how much fun you can have.
💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟What is your favourite part of writing, and is there any aspect that you struggle with?
I love writing the first chapter – launching into the initial idea. I can’t describe just how much that excites me. I could write them all day every day. It is not work at all. Beginnings excite me – I have several half-abandoned manuscripts because I always want to write the beginnings of a new story. Keeping going after that initial burst is my biggest most torturous struggle because I haven’t really worked out the rest of the story and I’m afraid I’ll mess up what seems really promising at the start. But I keep going – sometimes by sheer force, as that is the only way I can finish the book. It helps that I’m under contract otherwise I’m quite sure my last two books would have been non-finishers too.
👣👣👣👣👣👣👣👣👣👣👣👣Can you describe your journey from concept to publication?
Sure. What happened with my most recent publishing contract was that I was invited to pitch a few ideas for the next books, which I did. My publishers now ask for an outline so that the story is mostly worked out – this way they can tell if there’s plot problems etc. This was new for me as the first three books I wrote were unplotted, but it makes sense to create an outline now as my publishers are digitally focussed, and as such we write much faster than traditional print-based authors, with two to three books out a year as opposed to one, which means you can’t be struggling with the story plot while trying to write the book in three to five months while editing the other. So, after the pitch is accepted I get started, I’ve had about three months for my current one which is due in two weeks and after that it’ll be a structural edit, followed by a copyedit, and finally a proofread during which time I’ll be working on the next book as well. The editing can take up to two months back and forth then it will go onto pre-order and be released a month or two later. It’s a very demanding schedule but it is rewarding too as you see your stories out in the world quicker.
👓👓👓👓👓👓👓👓👓👓👓👓And finally, do you have a current project, and if so can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yes, I’m currently working on my fourth novel, it’s set in beautiful rural Yorkshire and follows the story of a family of magical cooks and the recipes they make and the legacy its left – good and bad in their lives. The main character, Emma Halloway is a food historian, who has turned her back on her family legacy yet finds herself needing it more than ever during a very dark time in her life.
A huge thank you Lily! The answers bare really interesting and I love getting an insight into your life as a writer, I hope everyone else enjoys reading it as much as I did…
Heres a little bit more about Lily Graham
Lily grew up in dusty Johannesburg, which gave her a longing for the sea that has never quite gone away; so much so that sometimes she’ll find sand grouting the teaspoons, and an ocean in a teacup. She lives now in the English countryside with her husband and her sweet, slobbering bulldog Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.
Her first two novels were Amazon bestsellers, and have since been re-published by Bookouture, with The Summer Escape (previously published as An Invincible Summer) and A Cornish Christmas (previously published as The Postcard) out now, her third novel set in Cornwall will be out in April.
THE BACK PAGE BLURB…
Get swept away along the beautiful Cornish coast, where a love story in a long forgotten diary has the power to change one woman’s life forever.
Victoria Langley’s world crumbles when her husband leaves, but she knows exactly where to go to mend her broken heart. The rugged shores of Cornwall will be her perfect sanctuary.
In the quaint, little village of Tregollan, nestled in the sea cliffs, Victoria is drawn to Seafall Cottage, covered in vines and gracefully falling apart. Inside she finds a diary full of secrets, from 1905.
Victoria is determined to unravel the diary’s mystery, but the residents of Tregollan are tight-lipped about Tilly Asprey, the cottage’s last owner. Just as she reaches a dead end, Victoria meets Adam Waters, the lawyer handling the cottage’s sale. He’s handsome, charming, and has a missing piece of the puzzle.
Tilly’s diary tells a devastating love story that mirrors Victoria’s own. Can Victoria learn from Tilly’s mistakes, and give herself a second chance at love? Or is history doomed to repeat itself?
Find out more! CHECK OUT LILY’S WEBSITE FOR LOTS MORE INFO Check out the Newsletter – Readers who follow this link and join will receive a free book!!!