As you can see I've changed the design of the site. It was starting to get annoying going to other people's blogs only to see that we all were using the same template! It was a nice template, don't get me wrong, but I wanted something a little more customized. Thoughts?
Author Lily Harlem is here today with tons of advice for writers! This is her second time joining us - read her first interview here.
Shoshanna: Hi Lily! So, tell us what made you want to be a writer in the first place?
Lily: I have a very vivid imagination and ridiculously detailed and complex dreams at night that I recall to my husband at breakfast in tiny detail. He was always telling me 'you should write that down!' and so one day I did.
I also do a great deal of reading. Romance of the sensual kind but I do lose myself in just about anything and there are so many times over the years I have finished a book and thought I wish I'd written that or come up with that idea.
Of course writing is one of the most time consuming things to do on the planet - except for going into huge malls, they're possessed by a weird time warp - so until I reduced the hours in my day job I didn't have the energy to write just the ideas.
Shoshanna: When did you first get published? What was getting that acceptance letter like?
Lily: My first story in print - or rather e-book format - was a competition win. An odd introduction I know. I'd been doing a creative writing course and coming up with all sorts of short stories, but when I saw an erotic fiction competition with a healthy cash prize I set about writing something steamy. The result was 'Madam President', sort of an erotic West Wing style story about the first female US president having an affair with the UK prime minister. (You can read it for free by following the link on my website). I was so excited when I got the phone call to say I'd won, they were like "wow, where on earth did you get that idea?" I was on a high for days and realized I'd found my genre - erotic romance.
Shoshanna: Did you get rejections before that?
Lily: So after I won the competition I started rattling off all sorts of steamy short stories. Lots of hot little scenarios which had been rattling around my head for goodness knows how long! One kind editor who rejected a story - not sexy enough - advised me to check out www.erotica-readers.com for call for submissions. It was like finding treasure. There is so much on that website, everything you need to know about sensual writing, all the links, interviews, which publisher/editor is looking for what, word count, payment etc. I sent off a ton of stuff, some got accepted, some didn't, when they didn't I just looked around for someone else who was looking for that sort of thing, usually a bit more tweaking of the manuscript first, and the result is I feature in several really amazing anthologies.
Shoshanna: Do you have an agent? Do you want one?
Lily: I don't have an agent. I did send some full length manuscripts off to agents in the very beginning, but they weren't interested in my genre. Looking back I probably just picked the wrong agencies. Now I'm not sure if I would want an agent. I'm settled in my writing routine and with my publishers. I guess when you do it all yourself you become a bit of a 'jack of all trades', learning about web design, contracts and marketing as well as the actual process of writing.
Shoshanna: Thanks Lily!
Here is the buy link for Mattress Music, coming November 9th to Ellora’s Cave.
A quick introduction to the book
‘Mattress Music’ is an e-book due for release on 9th of November at Ellora’s Cave. It’s the first in a set of three short stories focusing on the London ‘rock and roll’ scene in a very literal sense! Look out for the others coming soon ‘Mirror Music’ and ‘Ménage à Music’ they bring a whole new meaning to the lyrics.
Lily Harlem lives in the UK with a workaholic hunk and a crazy cat. With a desk overlooking farmland, she allows her imagination to run free and revels in being able to use the written word as an outlet for her creativity. Lily's stories are made up of colorful characters traveling on everyone's favorite journey — falling in love. If the story isn't romantic, sexy and exciting, it won't be written, at least not by this author.