Through a mutual friend, I had the great fortune of being introduced to a wonderful, vibrant, crazy, and wildly talented individual - Lily Velden. She has an energy and lust for life that invigorates everything and everyone around her. I am now fortunate enough to be published with her publishing company Wayward Ink Publishing This is definitely a publishing company to watch for the future.
I am now thrice fortunate to be able to introduce you to the woman herself in this interview. I hope you enjoy.
1. What was it that led you to write about gay relationships?
It was one of those situations where a few things came together at the same time—like the planets aligned themselves.
I was “self-medicating” by writing about a very difficult time in my life that I hadn’t been able to bring myself to speak of to anyone in over thirty years. At the same time I stumbled across a well written fanfic about two men, and lastly, two good friends of mine, who happen to be a gay couple, told me their story.
The next thing I knew I was writing about Liam and Jaxon from the How The Light Gets In series! They were therapy for my self-imposed therapy!
2. Where do you get your inspiration for your characters?
All sorts of places and ways! It really is quite random. It can be from friends or colleagues or someone I saw in the checkout queue at the supermarket. It could be something they said, their reaction to some news or event. It’s happened to me while reading a quote, watching a movie, listening to the radio, and talking to friends. **snort** If I’m being perfectly honest, it’s happened to me while pulled up at a stop light and in the waiting room at the dentist!
3. If you could have one wish what would it be?
Hmm, tough choice—there are so many things I wish for this poor beleaguered planet of ours, but I guess I’d have to go with Man as a species being more tolerant. By that I mean, tolerant of differences in belief, colour, sexual orientation, race, as well as in smaller ways like choices in dress and self-decoration. I truly believe the world would be a better place if we could all be just a tad more tolerant and accepting of each other’s differences.
Personally, it’s those differences that I find the most fascinating in other people. And let’s face it, the world would be a boring place if we all looked and thought the same!
4. What's your deepest fear?
Something bad happening to one of my children. I’m not sure I’d survive losing one of them. Every time I see on the news, or read in the papers about a parent losing a child I send up a silent prayer for those parents, wishing them the strength to survive their loss, and I plead with the Universe for it never to happen to me because I think such a tragedy would break me.
5. You’re planning a dinner party. I’m invited of course.
• What would the menu be?
**chuckling** Well, cheese sauce (it’s a food group!!!) and caramel would have to feature on it somehow. I know I should probably try to appear ever so sophisticated and cultured and name a mile of fancy impressive dishes, but the truth is I LURVE cheese sauce! Would it sound better if I called it a mornay sauce????? We could have it on lobster!
Maybe start with some duck or goose liver pate and after we’ve had our lobster chee….. mornay we could finish with crème caramels! I’ll even do some choc-dipped strawberries and cherries for us to have with our coffees and ports!
• Which two of your own characters would you invite?
Please don’t make me choose! That would be like asking me to choose between my children! Can’t I bring them all? They’re a wonderful bunch of guys and I have dinner parties with them in my head all the time so I know they’d behave themselves… well, some of them would behave themselves! And the others, well, they would, at the very least, be entertaining! Just check Jax’s pockets on his way in to make sure he hasn’t brought one of his lucky pennies with him… then again, if we got to watch… don’t suppose you own a video camera, Nephy?
• Which two characters from someone else’s work would you invite?
Dear Sweet Lord, you are cruel, Nephy! That is SO hard. I’ve come to adore so many of my fellow MM writers boys. Ugh, I don’t think I can do it – let’s invite them all and make it a celebration of all things MM!
• Which character from literature would you invite?
Um…. Don’t shoot me but I think I’d invite Hannibal Lecter (but don’t worry, guys, I won’t let him do the cooking…)
When you read the whole series, he such an interesting character!
• Which person from history would you invite.
More tough choices, but I’d have to go with Leonardo Da Vinci, methinks.
I mean, he was a scientist, engineer, artist, sculptor, architect, and musician, as well as an accomplished poet. On top of that he was gay! LOL, he’s a dinner party all on his own!
6. You’re having a conversation with two or more of your characters. Who would talk the most and what would they say? Who would talk the least and what would they think?
Who to pick? The pressure to pick a name… Hmm…
Okay, I’m going with Jaxon as he loves to regale everyone with funny stories. He’d have us all in stitches. Word of warning: it would probably be best to time sipping your wine when he stops to draw a breath so you don’t spit it out LOL.
Liam, Jaxon’s partner, would most definitely be the quietest as he’d be too busy praying Jax won’t tell one of those stories. *Wink. Wink*
7. One of the guests at the dinner party proposes a toast to you. What would they say
“Shut up, Lily. Finish your meal. Time to put pen to paper—you’ve left me hanging for my first… kiss long enough. No, you don’t have time to eat that choc-dipped cherry. Sorry folks, I need to take charge—bad case of blue balls—I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. She’s probably done it to you too. She’s kind of evil that way. Lily, you heard me. Don’t make me get physical. Step away from the cherries.”
8. What was it that made you decide to start your own publishing company?
A few things, really.
I’ve come from a family of self-employed people and I’ve been self-employed most of my adult life—the last few years as a Finance and Admin Manager is the longest I’ve ever been an employee—so I guess, for me, beginning my own publishing house doesn’t feel strange or unusual, but more a natural progression.
Add to that my passion for the arts—in particular visual (I have a degree in Fine Arts) and literature—and my desire to see more creative output in the public arena. I believe the world needs more creativity to offset the destruction we see all around us through crime and war etc., and so, once again, it made sense to be proactive about the changes I’d like to see in our society.
And last, but by no means least, it’s a wonderful feeling when you’re able to help another writer or artist move one step closer to reaching their potential, when you can help them, even if only in a small way, polish their ‘baby’ to a brilliant sheen. Definitely worth getting out of bed for!
9. What is the hardest part of running your own company?
Without a doubt, saying ‘no’ because no matter why the manuscript wasn’t suitable I hate being the one who has to tell someone that I can’t publish their baby, the novel they’ve spent hours, days, months, or maybe even years on.
10. What's the most rewarding part of running your own company?
That’s easy—helping another creative soul get one step closer to their dream.
11. What do you prefer writing. A one off novel, a series, or short stories?
Hmm, it’s a toss-up between a one-off novel and a series because many of my stories start off with the thought that it will be a one-off, but then the boys start talking to me and… hey presto I have a series on my hands. LOL, even the guys in my short stories tell me to write a novel about them… I’m beginning to think they’re all attention hogs!
12. What kind of books do you read (if you have time to read)?
My tastes are quite eclectic. I enjoy crime, thrillers, who-dun-its, romance, paranormal, sci-fi, historical… the list goes on.
I must say, though, that since being introduced to MM Romance I rarely find an MF Romance that draws me in to the same extent anymore. There’s just something about the dynamics of an MM Romance that is quite addictive.
With Wayward Ink I’ve set up two arms to our releases—those that specialise in romance and those that are straight (pardon the pun) gay fiction. I’d love to receive some manuscripts with gritty, dark themes or some quirky detective novel, maybe a dystopian future... A story where there may not be a love interest at all.
Wayward Ink first Anthology
13. Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in 5 years time?
I see myself as a full-time writer and publisher who is busy helping other writers and cover artists also work full-time at what they’re passionate about. And through all our mutual passion for the MM genre we’re helping make the world a better, more educated and tolerant place for our children and our children’s children.
14. Are you working on anything else at the moment?
I’m a bit of a sucker for punishment—I tend to work on more than one novel at a time. Having spoken to other authors, though, I’m relieved to say I’m not alone in my lunacy!
I guess the easiest way to explain it is that on any given day one of the guys will be more chatty than the others. I write whoever is talking to me the loudest! And I must admit, when it comes to writing difficult scenes, I’m guilty of procrastinating. When one of my boys hurts, I hurt, so I can be a terror for ducking and weaving and avoiding them when I have to write something sad or bad! LOL, Keanu Reeves from the Matrix movies has nothing on me at those times!
So let’s see what am I working on currently…
I’m almost finished the third install of Jax and Liam’s story called Happily Ever After? It will be out in the first half of 2015.
And then there’s Jonah and his Guardian Angel in Echoes of Mercy which will be out in the latter half of 2015.
And, I have been adding a word or three to Callum’s Story…. And, um, Thomas likes to chat to me too…
See what I mean? Glutton for punishment!
15. Is there anything you'd like to say to close... personally or professionally.
There is, actually, and I hope it comes across right!
To those thinking of writing that story that is niggling away inside them, almost irritating, and most definitely impossible to ignore, like a pebble in your shoe, do it.
And for those who’ve been chipping away at a novel for months or years, keep going.
Writing is hard.
Creating is hard.
But it’s worth it in the end.
I promise you, doing the hard yards to make your idea real, make it something tangible that you can hold in your hands, something you can view on a screen, is worth it.
Ask any writer what it feels like to see their work published and they will tell you what an emotional high it is.
Don’t give up.
And when you’re ready, or if you need a nurturing, encouraging hand, drop me a line!
Where to Find Lily and Wayward Ink