I had the pleasure of meeting Lily in Melbourne last month at Queermance. I was also lucky enough to hear her do reading – what a treat! Today she joins me to talk about her book, Heart Knot Mine.
Despite a successful college teaching career, Noah Daniels has become depressed. He feels he’s leading a monochromatic life: love has eluded him. When he’s offered a chance to teach in London as part of an exchange program, he accepts, hoping a change of scenery will do him good. But once he’s there, his outlook on love and sexuality changes in ways he never expected.
Robert Callinan is Noah’s English counterpart in the program. The men exchange not only their jobs, but also their homes, and it is what Noah stumbles across while staying at Robert’s house that sends him on a journey of self-discovery — both mentally and physically. A journey that puts color back into his life… just not in the way he expected. When the exchange program ends, Noah has to go home, but he doesn’t know if he wants to return to the life he left behind.
Thanks for stopping by today, Lily. I really enjoyed meeting you at Queermance last month, and hearing you read some of your work – I’ll never forget Buddy 🙂 It is an honour to have you visit my blog and thanks for agreeing to answer some questions.
I love the sound of the blurb and how lives can be changed by something unexpected. What was the inspiration for your story?
Lily: For the inspiration of Heart Knot Mine, I can thank my daughter, ‘E’, for her awareness of my love of a good romantic comedy. One night she brought over The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black. The cheeky minx told me she needed the entertainment of watching me lose myself in the movie. Apparently, seeing my face go through a roller coaster of emotions is more fun than watching the actual movie itself! (Remind me again, I love my children…)
I was instantly taken with the premise of the film—that of swapping lives. The idea of trying to change your state of mind by changing the scenery. It’s a bit like a woman when she comes out of a broken relationship. What does she do? She changes her hair and loses weight! Logically, we probably all know that any lasting change to our sense of ourselves has to come from the inside, but we still seem compelled to change jobs, change addresses, and change our looks in the hope that these things will spark a change in how we feel about ourselves and our lives.
The plot of Heart Knot Mine differs greatly to that of the movie, but it was the film’s concept of swapping lives in order to escape dissatisfaction and hopefully find a fulfilling new direction through a change of locale that fired my imagination.
I wrote the opening scene the very next day, but then I left it alone for months in order to allow Noah, the main character in whose point of view the story is told, to develop in my mind. I’m one of those writers who needs to get to know all the likes, dislikes, flaws, and quirks of my character, because once we do know each other, that knowledge dictates the course of his/her journey through the story.
Why London for Noah’s destination?
Lily: The simple truth is I’ve been to London several times and felt it was a city I could do justice to in my descriptions because of my familiarity with it. I wanted the readers to get a true feel for the places mentioned.
And, um, I took Noah there and he agreed with me that London is a fabulous city to spend time in. There is just so much to see and do. It has a bit of everything: Its modern, yet ancient. Its business, yet has the most peaceful parks. Its wide avenues and cobbled laneways. What you see is what you get, and yet, it has a sense of mystery. As if you could step into a narrow alley and stumble across something not seen in hundreds of years. London always feels like an adventure to me. I never tire of visiting it!
Can you share any secrets about Noah, something beyond the blurb to tease your readers?
Lily: Um, I have Noah shaking his head at me, saying, “No, Lily. Don’t tell them that!”
LOL, what the heck… Noah wasn’t just there for the spa and sauna!
What are you currently working on? What can your readers expect from you next?
Lily: Robert, Noah, and crew have been on my case to continue their story—and I will as there is still so much more to tell—but much to their disgust I’ve told them they have to wait for a bit as Jaxon and Liam from Same Page and The Race Is On have insisted I finish the third and final install of their story first. Jaxon, in particular, can be quite persuasive! (That’s a euphemism for nagging!) It’s called Happily Ever After? And will be out late in the northern summer.
After that, Jonah finally gets to have his story told (poor guy has been waiting years – yep, I do mean years for me to finish) I actually started Jonah’s story—Echoes of Mercy—before Noah from Heart Knot Mine started chatting to me! Jonah’s problem is he’s too patient! His good qualities are working against him! Anyways…. Echoes of Mercy is about his journey with his Guardian Angel. It’s a beautiful tale—it’s made me laugh and made me cry so many times I’ve lost count.
I have a few other stories I’m working on apart from those mentioned but I’m worried if I describe those in any kind of detail that I’ll either scare off your readers or bore the pants off them!
Hang on a minute… if any of your readers look like Matt Bomer or Johnny Depp maybe boring the pants off them wouldn’t be such a bad thing…
Let me see, we could talk about Thomas, Callum, David, or Sean…
I’d love to know about your reading habits. What book is currently on your bedside table? Anything interesting you would recommend.
Lily: Since starting Wayward Ink Publishing, most of my readings is submissions, and I have to say, they have me so excited about the next few months.
Let me see… there’s Speedy Rewards Book One of the Working Class series by Jeff Erno which has an ensemble cast all connected in some way with the local Speedy Mart. OMG! I laughed. I cried. I held my breath and I cursed like a sailor. This is Jeff Erno at his best and I so can’t wait to see it released in June.
Another release I’m over the moon thrilled to be publishing is Tyler Knoll’s Just For Fun by A.B. Gayle. This one had me rolling in the aisles. It’s a satirical piece and I may need to issue a warning to readers and reviewers alike to don protective clothing before turning to page one! Certainly, bring your sense of humour with you! No one is safe from A.B.’s beyond funny insights into the writing/publishing world. Writers cop it! Readers cop it! Even editors, publishers, and reviewers. Somehow, though, Tyler Knoll is so disarmingly cute and naïve that you can’t help but adore him even as you’re silently saying, “Oh my God! That’s me! I’ve done that!”
And then there’s Sedonia Guillone’s Danny’s Dragon which is a beautifully told story of love between an Irish ex-cop and a shy gentle man—Danny—from China. If you want to read an interracial tale told with sensitivity that has wonderful plot and character development, then this is the story for you.
And I can’t not mention Ari by Nephy Hart. This story drew me in from page one. It’s a transgender story with a difference. I defy anyone not to take Ari to their heart.
I wish there was space to talk about all the upcoming Wayward Ink releases because these people can tell a story!
LOL, though it may be easier just to say keep an eye on the Wayward Ink website and Facebook page!
When you’re not reading, writing or publishing, what do you get up to?
Lily: Time with family! I also like to potter around making art. Some of my works can be seen on my blog. And I love to travel. I try to go on at least one trip a year, usually timing it so I can attend a convention of some sort at the same time. Many of my friends live interstate or overseas and I treasure the trips because they provide an opportunity for me to catch up with the people I love. Hopefully, you and I will be able to catch up at one soon, Nic!
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions.
Thank you so much for having me, Nic. It’s been a blast. Your interview questions rocked!
And Buddy said to tell you he’s putting on a matinee performance soon…
Thanks for the great answer. I’m looking forward to catching up with you again soon, hopefully sometime in the near future. And I’m looking for forward to Buddy’s next performance!
Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K2NT2MW
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00K2NT2MW
Amazon AU http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00K2NT2MW
Amazon DE http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00K2NT2MW
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About the author
Lily Velden lives on the east coast of Australia, her family having emigrated from Holland when she was a child.
She’s both a left and right brain person, holding qualifications in both Finance and Fine Arts. She tells her friends that her way with numbers will make her a profitable artist and writer… one day.
Lily has always had a love of language and a beautifully crafted sentence, and admits to having a fetish for collecting quotes, poems, and song lyrics. What she won’t admit to is how many notebooks she’s filled with those quotes… Her fascination carries on into her artworks where she often incorporates text. When a shoulder injury slowed down her art practice she decided to explore her love of the written word more fully and began writing. “I’ll paint my pictures with words.”
Not that she’s abandoned artmaking in its entirety—Lily collaborates on the designs for all her book covers.
There are many things Lily loves, here are just a few of the PG rated ones: a good laugh (all the better if caused by a naughty joke), the smell of freshly baked goods and mown grass, a smile from a stranger, rainbows after the rain, and witnessing a promise kept.
Lily Velden can be found at:
Twitter Name: @LilyVelden