What genres do you write besides erotic romance?
Erotic romance is my first love and its nearly always M/F contemporary. By that I mean set in the present day, no shape-shifters or blood suckers, just ordinary people meeting, having sex, falling in love (sometimes the other way around) and then finding their happy ever after. Menage is a sub-genre I come back to time and time again. I adore the dynamics of having three or more people in a relationship, not just in the bedroom but also out of it. I blog regularly at When One Is Not Enough – http://menageromance.blogspot.co.uk/
Having said that I have been reading a lot of paranormal lately and a sexy vampire story is staring to brew in my head. Soon I may have to set some time aside and get that written down. It’s going to be hot, naughty fun and the more I think about it the more I want to play with it.
What inspired your main characters?
For my latest release at Ellora’s Cave, Stockholm Surrender, the characters were already there, set in stone. Why? Because two years ago I had a short free story published at EC called Stockholm Seduction about Penny Tipping, the British Foreign Minister’s daughter getting held to ransom by a hunky Australian surfer.
Then about a year ago I was wandering around Amazon looking for something to read myself when I came across reviews for Stockholm Seduction. I was surprised to find that it either had the ick factor or the ‘more’ factor. Here are a couple of reader comments from either side of that spectrum.
“A woman is kidnapped, and decides to have sex with her captor? The message in this short story is disturbing on so many levels.”
“I was panting to know what happened when he found her next! I’ve read romantic short stories before, and they always left me hollow, but Lily’s left me craving. I would definitely recommend this e-book if you want a quick read with steamy scenes, hot men, and women that know what they want and are not ashamed to admit it. I get excited shivers thinking what the author could do with a full length book!”
This got me really thinking and I headed over to Goodreads to see what readers had said there. The overwhelming comments were to the effect of “this story is too short” and “where is the rest?” So me being me, I got my naughty mind whirring and over the next few weeks waited to see if the characters would talk to me again. I wanted desperately to oblige the people who had taken the time to comment on the book and give them the rest of the novel. Luckily Penny and Ty were desperate to have their steamy story told and soon Stockholm Surrender was evolving in my mind and flowing from my fingertips.
Where do you write?
At home, in my study which is up in the eves of the house and has amazing views from a big sash window. When I pause to let characters have a conversation in my head, or need to stare into space and imagine a location or dream up an image my gaze wanders across Welsh farmland and rolling hills dotted with sheep, barns and hedgerows – bliss!
What are you currently reading?
Not Her Type by Kay Jaybee
What book do you wish you’d written?
The Time Traveller’s Wife. Love the book, adore the film, particularly Eric Bana. The only trouble is I would have made it really raunchy!
You have to jump out of a plane w/ a holey parachute or edit your 100K MS by hand, what do you do?
The 100k any day. I would only jump out of a plane if it was about to crash, any other time, no way. I would die of fright, I just know I would. Not because I don’t have crazy moments and a sense of adventure, I do, but just nothing to do with heights. Give me speed, like belting around on a horse, or action, like white water rafting and I’d be first to put my hand up. But nothing to do with heights and coming down fast. Nope, just the thought of it makes be prickle with terror.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I write full time now. In a former life (it kind of feels like that now) I worked as a nurse in a trauma unit in London. But moving to the countryside changed all that and now I’m thrilled to be able to write to my hearts content. If anyone had asked me ten years ago I would have insisted that I would still be nursing right now, climbing the career ladder. But that all changed, and I’m glad. The pace of life was hectic and burn-out gets most people in the end, I’m pretty sure it would have got me.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I wouldn’t. There were however times I wished I could fiddle with things in the prologue, which is the free short story Stockholm Seduction, but because it was already published, out there in the world, there was nothing I could do about it. I had already set the characters physical attributes, some of their personality traits and speech quirks and the location. Luckily it didn’t prove too much of an obstacle and the novel came out just as I’d hoped.
I am writing my next c-author with Natalie Dae (aka Emmy Ellis). This is our third novel. The first is That Filthy Book – http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1604 , the second has just been contracted to Harper Collins new erotica line Mischief – http://www.mischiefbooks.com/ and this one, we haven’t decided on a name yet, is coming along swimmingly.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Just being able to type fast enough and get enough time to get all the stories in my head down. Also I write best in the morning, which is odd as I’ve never been a morning person, and sometimes it’s a challenge to not skip essential jobs and just sit down and write for hours after breakfast – I do that a lot, but guilt kicks in when a pair of big brown eyes look up at me and a tail won’t wag because my four-legged friend hasn’t had a morning walk! Its good for me to get out in the fresh air for some exercise though, staves off the dreaded writers bum!
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt that a short story can bloom into one big, fat novel if you give it time to fester. When writing the rest of Ty and Penny’s story I also thought of what Ernest Hemmingway said about short stories – the essential elements are a history, a present, and a future. In Stockholm Surrender I wrote my character’s future.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
One thing I have learned is once you’ve finished writing something, be it a short story or a novel, is put that manuscript to one side. Let it incubate, stew, rest, whatever name you want to give its time in the ‘finished’ folder. (Make sure you have it backed up.) Then go and have fun, spend time with friends, family, go to the movies, read a book, but just forget about your novel for a week or two and then go back to it with fresh eyes. A re-read will reveal flaws in the plot, typos, better word choices. Go through the ms again and pick up these things, polish it. I do this every time now and consistently surprise myself at how much I shift things around.
I have more tips on this page of my website – http://www.lilyharlem.com/tips-for-new-authors.html
Coffee/Tea? Tea – it’s my main source of fluid intake!
Cake/Cookies? – Cookies, but only if they’re fresh and have that slightly doughy texture in the middle.
Coke/Pepsi? – either as long as its cold.
Heels/Flats? – Oh, heels, so sexy!
BDB/The Order? – ? no idea
Vampires/Werewolves? – Vampires, mainly because I am a True Blood fan.
Cats/Dogs? Ah, I have both, they will never forgive me if I choose!
Fly/Drive? –Drive, again, it’s the height thing.
Thanks so much for having me today. Here are my links
Facebook author page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lily-Harlem-author-page/200182030094568
Stockholm Surrender – buy link
By popular reader request, the full-length story of what happens after Stockholm Seduction.
My soul was in turmoil. Ty Winters had not only kidnapped me in Oz, my heartstoppingly gorgeous surfer had also stoked my darkest desires, bringing all my fantasies to the surface. So Oxford wasn’t going well. Until, that is, he creeped from the shadows—desperate, sexy, dangerous and wanting a piece of me, literally!
He teased me with a taste of his carnal skills, leaving me burning with frustration then forced to stand by as he fought for his beliefs using my lust-addled body as his most powerful weapon.
Oh, my kidnapper knew just how to get what he wanted, giving me just what I needed, while hiding our relationship from the British foreign minister and police. Because sometimes two people are meant to be, even in the most unconventional circumstances and twisted situations. We could fight the world, but we couldn’t fight our passion.
Reader Advisory: This book contains a steamy scene where Ty shares Penny with his best mate—lucky girl!
He reached back onto the bed for a small, brown leather rucksack. He delved into it and pulled out a newspaper and a camera.
“It’s yesterday’s,” he said. “But your father will still get the message.” He tilted his head and smirked lopsidedly. “The message that I can get to you whenever I want, wherever I want, bodyguard or no bodyguard.” Carefully he laid the newspaper on my lap. It was sort of folded up onto my belly so that the headline was visible. He took a step back and held up a small, silver digital camera. “I would say smile,” he said with a shrug, “but I guess it’s not appropriate.”
That was the goddamn understatement of the year. Dad was really going to flip at this one. Me in my underwear, gagged, tied to a chair in my room with Roger snoozing outside, just a few feet away. The shit was really going to hit the fan. Big-time.
I heard the camera click once then Ty was back next to me. He folded up the paper and shoved it along with the camera into his bag.
“Mmmph,” I said, shifting on the chair.
“I’m sorry, so sorry,” he said, bending over me and peeling off the tape. It tugged and stung as it pulled my skin. “Baby, I’m sorry, I just needed to do that.” He shoved the tape into his bag too.
“For fuck’s sake,” I hissed. “That stuff is foul and what the hell are you playing at?”
He stooped and pressed a soft kiss to my lips. “Sorry, I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
I allowed my mouth to become pliant and open, let him in to search and gently tease my tongue with his in slow, languid movements. He tasted divine, like fresh water, a hint of vanilla and turned-on man. As he kissed me reverently, indulgently, my irritation with him dissolved as though it were a spoonful of sugar in hot tea. This was what I’d been waiting for, this moment with Ty. The man I shouldn’t want but did. The man whose tenacity and loyalty I admired even though everyone else thought he was a brutish thug who should be hung, drawn and quartered.
“Ty,” I gasped. “Please, untie me.”
“Mmm, in a minute. I kinda like having you at my mercy.”
He smiled, slow and sexy. “It gives me all kinds of dirty ideas.”