January sees us feature two author spotlights that will give us a little more insight into books we are sharing with the Beauty and Lace Club members.
Today we hear from Lily Malone, author of the Chalk Hill series. Water Under the Bridge was featured in 2018 and members will be reading The Café by the Bridge this month.
Hi Lily, Welcome to Beauty and Lace. Thanks for talking with us.
Can you tell us a little about how you became a writer?
I was always much more of an English brain than a maths girl… fractions just about killed me. So when I finished school I went into journalism, and most of my career involved writing and then editing newspapers and magazines. I’d always worked and been on quite a challenging career path and it meant when I had my second boy in 2009, I found myself not working ‘officially’ anymore, and with time on my hands while my little angels were sleeping. In this burst of creative energy I tried baking, then painting, both VERY unsuccessfully and when my youngest son (he was then 1 year old) put the handle of a golf club through the paint canvas I’d been working on, I thought: ‘right, that’s that. I’m going to write a book instead!’
Café by the Bridge is your latest release, can you tell us a little about it?
Cafe is Abe Honeychurch’s story, the youngest of the Honeychurch boys. When this story starts, Abe is in a pretty dark place. He’s come home to Chalk Hill after being scammed by the woman he loved and losing his restaurant business as a result and he’s not having a fun time of life in the new cafe he’s started up in town. When Taylor Woods arrives in Chalk Hill asking questions about the woman who scammed him – Abe’s on the back foot. All he wants to do is forget. Taylor’s in town because she knows that the same woman who scammed Abe has also been involved in a scam that has gutted her brother. Her brother won’t talk about it or go to the police to get justice, and Taylor hopes that if she can find Abe, he can help her bring the scammer to heel.
Taylor is a natural born ‘fixer’ – she likes solving problems and saving people… but she can’t save everyone, and in this story both Abe and Taylor’s brother, Will, have to work out how to save themselves.
This is book 2 of the Chalk Hill series. Can you tell us about the inspiration and location of the town? Does it actually exist?
Chalk Hill is a fictional town in a ‘real’ area. It’s on the Muirs Highway in the southern wine region of West Australia, about halfway between Manjimup and Mount Barker. The inspiration came for the series during a visit to the Porongurups and Albany in our camper van with the family in 2016. It’s a stunning part of the world. One night in the camper van it was raining and I was wide awake, and the Rio Olympics had either just been or were still on. I got the idea for the first story (book 1, Water Under The Bridge) by thinking about a girl who almost made the Olympic swimming team, but didn’t. And then was thinking: what would make a near-Olympic swimmer never want to swim again… and that was the kernel of the idea for the Chalk Hill series and particularly the first book. Everything else flowed from there.
There are three Honeychurch boys… does that mean we will get a 3rd book? And can you tell us anything about it?
Absolutely there is Book 3, which is the story of Brix and Jaydah (we get a quick intro to them in The Cafe By The Bridge). Book 3 is a bit darker than the first two books in this series, because Jaydah is a darker character. She’s had a very hard life, and the new story will be about Jaydah’s journey to a better place.
A new book often means getting out and about for author events. Where can we come see you?
Well, a lot of my events have been in December and January. I had a book launch at my local bookshop in Margaret River, and a tour of Big W bookstores in Bunbury, Mandurah, and then Perth. As I write this, I’m about to do Books In Bars (love that name!) in Busselton tonight with lovely Aussie author, Rachael Johns. On January 30 I’m doing another Books In Bars (sensing a theme here?) in Bunbury thanks to Collins Booksellers. After that I’m part of the ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Association) book signing in Perth in late March.
They say writing can be a lonely job but many authors build a writing tribe. Who is in yours?
Do you know? There are too many to single out because I’ll forget someone, I know I will. So I’m going to settle with some of my best writing buddies, critique partners and my writing groups. So my critique partners have always been Juanita Kees and Kylie Kaden. I have my writing group called The Lollygaggers. Tess Woods and Jenn J McLeod and Catherine Evans are hugely supportive, but honestly – the entire West Australian writing community that I’ve come across are awesome. The other important parts of my ‘tribe’ are my card girls… card-playing mates who live in my area. We have a lot of fun. They definitely keep me grounded!
What was your favourite book of 2018?
I really liked The Light Between Oceans by JL Stedman, The Choke by Sofie Laguna, and then Maggie’s Run (part of Outback Brides series) by Kelly Hunter, and Return to Roseglen by Helene Young. That’s not really picking a favourite but that’s all I’ve got!
In 2019 which book release are you most looking forward to?
Kylie Kaden has a new one out in August 2019 and she’s amazing, but I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say yet!
What is the most important piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Grow a really thick skin. Understand you are not the next JK Rowling (well, the odds are against it). It’s a lonely job. It’s hard work. You will get rejections and feel rejected. And don’t get into writing because you think it’s a way to make money. It’s not. (Did I mention it’s hard work?)
Thanks for your time Lily and good luck with The Café By The Bridge.
The Café By The Bridge is published by Harlequin Mira and is available now where all good books are sold.