When Lillian Marek was a little girl, her mother would constantly tell her to put down that book and go outside and play. She'd obey - sort of. She'd go outside, but the book would go with her. Lillian's love of words led to a career in journalism which eventually led her to writing fiction books of her own.
Now Lillian spends her day being wisked away by the wicked adventures of Lady Elinor and Viscount Tunbury but she did come into the 21st Century long enough to talk to us about her new book.
Tell us about your new book, "Lady Elinor's Wicked Adventure."
It’s a romantic adventure story, set mostly in Italy in 1856.
What was your inspiration for the book?
I actually started with a scene that occurs around the middle of the book. Then I had to figure out who these people were and how they got to that point. While I was trying to work that out, I came cross George Dennis’s book about the Etruscans, written in the 1840s, and that provided the perfect framework for the story.
"Lady Elinor" has been well reviewed and it's been noted it's historically accurate.
How did you get your start writing? Did you go to school for it?
I’ve always wanted to write. I’ve never taken courses, though I have seen some good advice from other writers online, and getting people to critique your work is enormously helpful. Mostly, I think, people learn how to write by reading.
What about Romance drew you in?
I used to work on a newspaper, and after I retired from that, I picked up a historical romance by Loretta Chase. It was great fun—the kind of fun I had as a kid reading Nancy Drew books. And when I write it, I can make sure the good guys win. That doesn’t happen very often in a newspaper.
How much research goes into writing a book?
I suspect the answer to that depends on how much you like doing the research. Personally, I love it. But it takes several months, at least. Is that a lot or a little?
How many "unpublished" books have you written?
Let’s call them “learning exercises.” I’ve got three book-length exercises in my computer. If they’ll ever end up in publishable shape, I don’t know.
How many times have your submissions been rejected?
What kept you going?
I have been having such fun writing these books, why would I ever stop?
How did your book deal with Sourcebooks come about?
Can you tell us a little about your writing practice?
I work at it every day, probably five or six hours, but that doesn’t mean I produce a lot of pages every day. I write slowly, and I end up tossing out at least half of what I write.
What advice can you give new artists and writers?
Have fun. If you don’t enjoy it, if you don’t get a real sense of satisfaction from it, do something else.
What's next for you?
It’s a four-book contract with Sourcebooks, so I’m working on the next ones. Number 2 is “Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey,” which takes Lady Elinor’s sister and family to Assyria in 1861. After that comes “Lady Susan’s Marvelous Masquerade,” set in a German principality before the unification of Germany. Number 4 is still pretty nebulous.
You have an author site here on IndieMade. How has that helped your business/career?
It offers a way for readers to find my books, which is really important these days when bookstores are vanishing. It also offers me a place to blog, which is another way to connect with people who share my interests, namely odd bits of historic information and food. And what is really lovely is that it offers a way for readers to communicate with me. Receiving praise from a total stranger is just awesome.
If you'd like to send along some priaise, ask a historical question or read a scene from "Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures" check out Lillian's side at http://lilmarek.indiemade.com.