A big welcome today to Sue Lilley as part of her forget me not tour with LoveBound Promotions for High Hopes
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
I’m a “Geordie lass” from Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north east of England The city is famous for Newcastle United, a newly promoted (again!) Premier League football team with aspirations but absolutely no results. It’s a university city and a well-known weekend destination if you’re wanting to party or “shop until you drop”. My lovely husband is an artist. We have a daughter and a beautiful baby granddaughter, which makes me sound very grown-up. So far, I’ve published two novels – Another Summer and High Hopes. The reviews have been great, which is a relief.
Can you tell us about High Hopes? What inspired you to write it?
High Hopes is my second novel. I’ve long had a fascination for secrets, how people go to great lengths to hide things and what happens when the truth comes out. In High Hopes, three old friends are confronted with a secret from twenty years ago. An adopted child traces her birth mother. The father knows nothing about her and when the truth is revealed, it rocks them to the core. They think they know everything about each other but are shocked to uncover jealousy and hurt simmering beneath the surface. High Hopes is the name of a place in the book and also represents the theme of having “high hopes” for the future.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Knowing when to stop! I love everything about writing and editing. I always want to polish and tweak until I drive myself mad. When I start waking up in the middle of the night because I’ve dreamed about one perfect word, I know it’s time to let it go. Finding time to write is enormously frustrating. I have a full-time job and a lovely family, so fitting in quality writing time requires forward planning and a tendency towards anti-social behavior, which does not come naturally to a closet rock-chick like myself.
How long have you been writing, and what inspired you to start writing?
I was always the child on her own in the corner, lost in the imaginary world of a book. I won a prize at school for writing a short story and was encouraged when my mother cried with pride. After having stories published in womens’ magazines, I moved on to longer works as I always wanted to know what happened next to my characters. I’ve now published two novels – High Hopes and Another Summer. Writing is my therapy and not as expensive as buying shoes.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
It’s important to put in the effort to learn the craft of novel writing. Although I decided to go down the self-published route, I’m confident my books are well written and entertaining reads. I’ve always believed a writer is what you are, not what you become. So I’d say never give up on the publishing dream. Also, write what you love. If you don’t love your work, why will anyone else?
Do you have any genres you prefer reading, and if so what are they? What book are you reading at the moment? What other novels do you adore/ writers you follow?
If I was ever stranded on a desert island, I’d want Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Scruples by Judith Krantz and something to get my teeth into, like any of the big and fabulous dramas from Penny Vincenci. At the moment I’m devouring anything from Adele Parks, Paige Toon and Freya North but my biggest influence has always been Rosamunde Pilcher. My all-time favourite novel is The Shell Seekers. I had it in hardback and read it so many times, it fell to bits and I had to buy another copy. Obviously before the days of the Kindle. I love everything about the wonderful characters, the sense of family history and the vivid setting. I suspect her writing inspired my lasting love of Cornwall, which features in both of my own novels. At the moment I’m half way through Spare Brides by Adele Parks, set in the world of society house parties after the First World War. I’m not usually a massive fan of the background detail in historicals but I loved all of Adele’s contemporary novels and she’s winning me over.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you write often? Is it on a schedule, or whenever you feel like it?
I like a brief outline so I know where I’m going. But other than that, the fun is in making it up as I go along. As I have a full-time job and a family, I write mainly at weekends and secret days off. In between, I walk around with a notebook and a purple pen, acting out my next scene. I have become that mad woman talking to herself on the bus. I normally start with a scene, a character or a snippet of conversation – it helps being such an eavesdropper! Another Summer was inspired by a holiday in Cornwall soon after severe storms and floods. I saw the remains of an ancient bridge destroyed by the river. There was a shiny motorbike trapped in the debris. I started thinking what if…?
Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about them?
I want my characters to have realistic human dilemmas and to get themselves into scrapes by making mistakes. High Hopes is about three friends who have known each other so long, they’re as close as family. Yet maybe they don’t know each other at all. I love a misunderstood rebel character, the bad boy with a soft centre. In Another Summer I wanted to write about someone trying to change and discover along the way if he means it. And then I wondered who would love him enough to put up with that behaviour and still believe in him?
Are you obsessed with stationery? And if so, what and why?
My all-time favourite question! It’s pretty sad to admit but I’m totally in love with stationery, the more glitzy and sparkly the better. I adore a purple pen and can never sign anything anonymously. Friends buy me notebooks for presents and colleagues bring back souvenir pencils from anywhere they visit. It might be coincidence but my granddaughter makes a bee-line for every purple toy. It’s clearly in her genes!
If you could have any superpower or magical ability, what would it be and why? What would you do with it? And yes world domination is an acceptable answer.
I’d love to be invisible. I’m such a people-watcher and eavesdropper, it would be great to get in closer without being noticed.
What are you working on at present?
I’m working on my third book but as I have a full time job to pay the bills, it’ll take me to the end of the year. I also have some short stories in progress. Readers loved my story Painting Rainbows so I’m hoping they’re keen for more while they’re waiting for the next novel. All my work is stand-alone, although I do seem to have developed a common theme of placing a house at the centre of the action.
What are your writing and personal goals for 2017 and beyond?
I feel that after twenty years of trying, I only just dipped my toe in the water. I’ll continue to write when I can and will learn more about promotion and marketing. I’ve booked to go on a writers’ conference so I’m hoping for a spot of networking over a glass or two of wine. Personally, I’d like to see my daughter settled back at work after her maternity leave and my granddaughter continuing to thrive.
Title: High Hopes
Author: Sue Lilley
Publisher: Sue Lilley
Cover Artist: Humble Nations
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Romance Genre(s): Contemporary
About the Book
“It was one stolen night. He was my soulmate and I’d never felt more alive. I couldn’t tell him I got pregnant. It would’ve ruined everything. But now his daughter wants to meet him and I need to make things right.” Another tear escaped down her cheek. “Everybody’s going to hate me.”
Three friends are rocked when a 20-year secret blows their world apart. Steamy, passionate, and unpredictable. If you like sizzling love triangles you won’t want to miss it.
Grace has kept her heart-breaking secret for twenty years – a love child she gave up for adoption. She was a penniless student – how could she raise a baby alone? Then she receives a letter out of the blue. Her long-lost daughter is searching for answers.
Her two best friends are married and don’t know one of them is the girl’s father. If Grace confesses now, the marriage will be destroyed and it will surely be the end of their lifelong friendship. But what choice does Grace have?
Set in the wilds of Poldark-country – the stormy cliffs and windswept beaches of picturesque Cornwall – an engrossing saga filled with suspense, simmering jealousy and heartbreak. Can a future be built on the quicksand of secrets and lies? Surely there can be no second chances when three friends discover they don’t know each other at all.
About Sue Lilley
Described as an exciting new voice in Women’s Fiction, Sue Lilley lives in the north east of England, when she isn’t escaping somewhere else in her imagination. She is often found eavesdropping for inspiration. Her first two novels were well received. Another Summer is “an alluring example of its genre”. High Hopes is “a story that holds immense appeal for readers who like plots containing sizzling love triangles.” She is hard at work on her third novel.
Connect with Sue
Author Interview with Amy’s Bookish Life
Book Review by Booklove
Author Interview with Drops of Ink
Exclusive Excerpt at Obsessed by Books
Exclusive Excerpt at The Bookworm Lodge
Exclusive Excerpt at Happy Ever After
Exclusive Excerpt at My Fiction Nook
Book Review by EskieMama Reads
Exclusive Excerpt at A Naughty Book Fling
Book Review by Dandelions Inspired
Exclusive Excerpt at Up ‘Til Dawn
Exclusive Excerpt at Book Lovers 4Ever
Book Review by Underneath the Covers
Book Review by All Things Bookaholic
Exclusive Excerpt at Shh, I Am Reading
Author Interview with Liz’s Reading Life
Exclusive Excerpt at Lori’s Reading Corner
Exclusive Excerpt at NerdGirl Official
Exclusive Excerpt at Books, Dreams, Life
Book Review by Wicked Babes Blog Reviews
Book Review by The Bookery Review
Exclusive Excerpt at CelticLady’s Reviews
Book Review by Always Love Me Some Books
Author Interview with I Heart Reading
Tour Hosted by LoveBound Promotions