Interview with Historical and Paranormal Romance Author Lily Silver
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I first realized I wanted to be a writer and write romances about twenty years ago. As a mother with younger children, I needed something to do one summer that didn’t involve children and as an avid romance reader, I decided to try to write a romance. Actually, it was just my own romantic fantasy, but it turned into a 600 plus page book by the time I was finished at the end of the summer. It was my first manuscript and I wrote it longhand, on notebook paper.
How long does it take you to write a book?
My first serious book took years, as I was learning my craft and doing lots of rewrites. Since then, I’ve learned to write in under a year, usually about four to six months from beginning to finished copy.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I listen to epic movie soundtracks while writing. It helps me get into the storyline more as a historical romance writer. Usually I listen to Last of the Mohicans or Pirates of the Caribbean.
What do you think is the best way of publishing a book these days?
I have become enthralled with the new digital publishing platforms offered to Independent authors. It seems to be a mirror occurrence to the Impressionist Art Movement in the 1880’s. The Impressionist Artists were banned from the Paris Art Exhibitions as their work was so new and different from what was traditionally displayed each year in the Salon. So, the artists banded together and had their own art show, allowing the public to view their works. It was met with success as the art lovers decided they liked this new style of painting. In publishing, the same thing is happening today; the big publishing houses control what is available to the reading public, but with new digital platforms open to authors, we can take our works directly to the reading public. I feel this is an important change in the publishing world, allowing the reader to decide what is worth reading, not the editors.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I am a historian by degree, so I find inspiration in researching historical settings and events and then imagining what kinds of conflicts a set of lovers might encounter in a specific time or place.
When did you write your first book?
Summer of 1992
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I have also studied art and have a minor in art history. I am a photographer, mostly nature photography and I paint watercolors, again--nature scenes. I have recently taken up creating mixed media collage art.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned that not all 18th century doctors were quacks. Many physicians of the time were quite intellectual and used cause and effect methods to study disease. They discovered such things as Digitalis (foxglove) as a cure for heart problems, a drug we still use widely today. Another example is the Small Pox cure that was first discovered in the late 18th century by a doctor who noticed milkmaids developed a ‘pox’ on their hands from milking the cows and then seemed immune to the small pox outbreaks. This led a doctor to experiment with inoculation by the turn of the 19th century as a means to stem the tide of Small Pox, and as we know, it turned out to be highly effective
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written four completed books. The first two were the ‘training wheels’ versions, meaning, I learned how to write by doing them but won’t ever publish them. My two published novels, to date are Dark Hero and Some Enchanted Waltz. My favorite book is Dark Hero. I fell in love with Donovan, the mysterious hero in that book.
Can you tell me and your readers something about your main characters?
In Dark Hero, Donovan Beaumont is a physician, and also a nobleman. He escaped France after being tortured for a crime he didn’t commit, became a pirate for a time and then settled into life as a cane planter in the West Indies. He’s suffering what we would term today as PTSD, so he tends to hide behind elaborate disguises and uses them to distance himself from others. He’s a recluse with a somber, intimidating exterior but under all his bluster and blow he is really a closet philanthropist. He collects the broken souls cast off of society and gives them a sense of purpose, dignity and a reason to go on.
Elizabeth O’Flaherty is the heroine of Dark Hero. She loved to read Gothic romances as an adolescent girl. After her mother died, she became the strength of the family, keeping everything together by taking care of her elderly grandmother and her younger brother. She can see and speak to ghosts and has the gift of the seer. She is the opposite of Donovan, as he is all about logic and science and Elizabeth is more in tune with the mystical world. Elizabeth is a strong, resilient character but she is also an adolescent girl of 18, so her reactions to the events in the story are much different than would be coming from a mature woman in her thirties or beyond. She has never been able to trust a man due to past abuse by her alcoholic stepfather and yet she is thrust into circumstances where she is completely dependent upon Donovan and has to learn to trust him.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes, I do hear from readers. The most recent notes come from readers of “Some Enchanted Waltz” my new time travel romance. Readers have said that they would like to see a sequel to that story.
With “Dark Hero”, Readers often tell me they could not put it down. One reader recently told me she stayed up way past her bedtime last week trying to finish the story because she couldn’t wait until the next day to see the storyline resolved.
What do you think makes a good story?
Characters make the story. A reader must be able to connect with the heroine; we must like her, if you will, want her for a friend, or want to be her. Also, I believe in a romance the hero must be attractive as a character. It’s not enough that he’s handsome, he must be likeable to the reader--not merely a good looking jerk but the kind of guy you would want to meet and spend time with. The real world is full of jerks. Let’s have our romance heroes rise above that.
What are your favorite book genres in writing and reading? Why?
Historical romance mostly, for reading. I do read contemporary romances, too, but those are very few. I also like reading paranormal romances. As for writing, it is very much the same. I love the historical romance genre, and that is why I write it, because I enjoy reading it. I also like to read historical mysteries. I can’t say if I’d try writing one, however.
Who are you favorite authors to read?
Lisa Kleypas, Candance Camp and Jeri Westerson.
Lily Silver Author