Interview with Lily Velden, author of 'Heart Knot Mine'

Lily Velden lives on the east coast of Australia, her family having emigrated from Holland when she was a child.
She’s both a left and right brain person, holding qualifications in both Finance and Fine Arts. She tells her friends that her way with numbers will make her a profitable artist and writer… one day.
Lily has always had a love of language and a beautifully crafted sentence, and admits to having a fetish for collecting quotes, poems, and song lyrics. What she won’t admit to is how many notebooks she’s filled with those quotes… Her fascination carries on into her artworks where she often incorporates text. When a shoulder injury slowed down her art practice she decided to explore her love of the written word more fully and began writing. “I’ll paint my pictures with words.” 
Not that she’s abandoned artmaking in its entirety—Lily collaborates on the designs for all her book covers.
There are many things Lily loves, here are just a few of the PG rated ones: a good laugh (all the better if caused by a naughty joke), the smell of freshly baked goods and mown grass, a smile from a stranger, rainbows after the rain, and witnessing a promise kept.
Her latest book is the M/M Contemporary Romance, Heart Knot Mine.

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About the Book:

Despite a successful college teaching career, Noah Daniels has become depressed. He feels he’s leading a monochromatic life: love has eluded him. When he’s offered a chance to teach in London as part of an exchange program, he accepts, hoping a change of scenery will do him good. But once he’s there, his outlook on love and sexuality changes in ways he never expected.
Robert Callinan is Noah’s English counterpart in the program. The men exchange not only their jobs, but also their homes, and it is what Noah stumbles across while staying at Robert’s house that sends him on a journey of self-discovery—both mentally and physically. A journey that puts color back into his life… just not in the way he expected. When the exchange program ends, Noah has to go home, but he doesn’t know if he wants to return to the life he left behind.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us to the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

A:  Hi, The Writer’s Life! Thanks for having me over.

For Heart Knot Mine, I can thank my daughter for her awareness of my love of a good romantic comedy. One night she brought over The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, along with Jude Law and Jack Black. The cheeky minx told me she needed the entertainment of watching me lose myself in the movie. Apparently, seeing my face go through a roller coaster of emotions is more fun than watching the actual movie!

I was instantly charmed at the premise of the film—that of swapping lives. The whole concept of not being happy in our current life and hoping, by altering the scenery, we can change our state of mind. The way we want to believe a few simple changes to our environment will change our thoughts, our feelings, and somehow unlock answers to questions and provide direction to our lives.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this, and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

A:  I must admit I’ve found all my books difficult to write. I get so emotionally involved with my characters. They’re very really to me, as real as my flesh and blood friends. And so when they bleed, I bleed. When they laugh, I laugh.

I’m not a fast writer. I need time to get to know my characters. For example, I wrote the opening scene of Heart Knot Mine, with Noah sitting in the bar, the morning after viewing The Holiday, in the latter half of 2011, but didn’t complete his story until August 2013. After writing the first scene, I stepped back and got to know Noah. For me, taking the time to develop a relationship with a character helps me tell their story better. I need to know how they take their coffee, what their favorite color is, their likes and dislikes, their good qualities and their bad. I need to know what makes them tick. I need to understand them.

The development of a friendship with my characters takes time, and its why I often write more than one story at a time—while getting to know one, I may be at the writing stage of telling another’s.

I wish I had some profound advice to give to other writers that would be like a light going on in their heads and magically make the process easier for them, but all I can offer is a simple: write.

Writing is what makes a writer, so write.

If you’re bored, write. If you’re lonely, write. If you’re angry, write. Happy, write. If you’re blocked, still keep writing. Keep a notebook with you, and if you’re waiting for a taxi, for a bus, at the doctor’s, write. Let the need to put words on paper, to tell a story, consume you because, though writing may be, at times, a solitary and lonely thing, and most definitely a difficult thing, it is also an intensely rewarding one.

So that’s it. My advice is simply to write. I don’t know of any shortcuts.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them, or did you self-publish?

A: Dreamspinner Press is the publisher of Heart Knot Mine. I have published with them previously, and I found them through my best friend… Google! In other words, I found them through research.

Actually, that’s some advice I could pass on to other writers. Do your research and find the publisher best suited to your novel and submit to them first.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

A:  Heart Knot Mine is my third novel, but the depth of my emotional response when I finally got to hold the finished book in my hands was as moving and intense as it was for Same Page, my first novel.

In each instance, I was surprised at how powerful that emotion was. I cried like a baby to see months of work, of metaphorical, blood, sweat, and tears made real, made into something tangible, something I could hold in my hands. And though I blubbered like a baby, I can highly recommend it! That moment made all the hard times during the writing and editing process worthwhile.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on, and when will they be published?

A:  I have two works in progress. One being Happily Ever After? which will be Book 3 in the How The Light Gets in Series (Book 1 being Same Page and Book 2 being The Race is On) and picks up Jaxon and Liam’s story a few years down the line.

The other story I’ve been working on is Echoes of Mercy, which tells the story of Jonah and his guardian angel, and has a supernatural element. Jonah’s story will come out first sometime over the northern hemisphere summer. The poor guy has been beyond patient—he actually introduced himself to me before Noah from Heart Knot Mine!

Both are being published by my newly established publishing house, Wayward Ink Publishing.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

A:  *Hangs head in shame* Can I be honest and admit I’m dreadful with social media? I do have a blog and I am on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook, but I’m not savvy about them at all. It’s a failing I know I need to work on!

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

A:  *chuckling* Here is where I reveal my idealistic romantic soul. At its core, Heart Knot Mine is a love story. It’s about the power of love. About the courage and strength it gives us to step out of our comfort zone and its ability to inspire lasting change.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

A:  Thanks again for having me.

And now for some famous last words… let me see… For those that write—keep writing! For those that read—keep reading! We need each other! And the world needs more of both of us!

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