Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Sunday, October 31, 2010

An Interview With Lilly Gayle

Interview with Lilly Gayle

Today we welcome Lilly Gayle, the author of the phenomenally popular paranormal, Out of the Darkness, and a very good friend. I’m so privileged and happy to host this interview. I’ve known Lilly for many, many years and she is a valued critique partner and talented writer. So without further ado, here is Lilly Gayle!

Amy: I’m so pleased to interview you today, Lilly. Can you tell us a little something about what inspired you to become a writer?

Lilly: I guess it started in the 8th grade. My teacher, Miss Black had us use our spelling words in a short story. My story filled a spiral notebook. I was hooked on writing until I started college and life got in the way. I didn’t get the writing bug again until after my two girls were born. I began by writing stories for them. And I mentioned to my husband that I’d once wanted to be a writer. I must have mentioned it more times than I realized because in 1995, he bought me my first computer and told me to stop dreaming and start writing. My first attempts were half-hearted and aimed at children’s literature. But I realized I had to write what I loved to read. I completed my first novel in 1997 and it was so horrible, not a single copy exists today. But after 13 years of pursing publication, The Wild Rose Press released Out of the Darkness in May of this year. And it would never have happened without your valuable input and critiques or your suggesting I submit to TWRP. So, Thank you Amy!

Amy: What made you write about vampires? Is there anything about that myth that particularly resonates with you?

Lilly: When I was little, I loved Dark Shadows. I remember thinking Barnabas Collins wasn’t such a bad guy. He was just miserable and all he wanted was to be human again. After Dark Shadows, most other vampire movies were about evil vampires. Except Blade, but Wesley Snipes wasn’t really a vampire. He was a damphyr. Then there was the TV series, Angel. Angel was a vampire with a conscience but he still had a dark side. Cool premise. And it didn’t hurt that David Boreanaz is HOT. But I didn’t decide to write about vampires until the genre became popular And Barnabas kept whispering in my ear that he wanted to be human. Eventually, I listened to Barnabas and created Vincent Maxwell.

Amy: If you had to give one piece of advice to someone thinking about writing, what would that be?

Lilly: In the words of Jason Nesmith, aka Peter Quincy Taggart, aka Tim Alan from the movie, Galaxy Quest; “Never give up. Never surrender.” In the writing business, it isn’t always about talent. Sometimes, good stories never get published because the market is flooded with similar stories or the genre isn’t “hot” at the moment. Timing really is everything and timing and luck are co-conspirators. The only way to make it in this business is to keep writing and keep submitting and never stop learning the tools of your craft.

Amy: I love Out of the Darkness. How did you ever get the idea for that story?

Lilly: I have to credit author Dean Koontz. I loved his character Chris Snow in the Moonlight Bay trilogy. Chris has XP (xeroderma pigmentosum) a disease I knew nothing about until I read Mr. Koontz’s book. Then the Twilight series came out and everyone wanted to read about vampires. I put the two together and came up with Dr. Megan Harper, a woman seeking a cure for XP, the genetic light sensitivity disease that killed her sister and Vincent Maxwell, a vampire with conscience seeking a cure to his dark hunger. Then throw in my love affair with old movies and that movie Universal Soldier with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren where the government used dead Vietnam vets to create the perfect soldier, and you get Out of the Darkness.

Amy: Tell us about your writing process. Are you plot or character driven?

Lilly: Definitely plot driven. In fact, my trouble with characterization is the main reason I was rejected so many times before I was finally published. It took me some time to figure out that I couldn’t just make something happen to a character and then have the character react, I had to show (and not tell) why the character reacted the way he/she did. GMC. Goals, motivation, and conflict. I didn’t even know what that was when I first started writing.

Amy: If there’s one thing you hope readers will “take away” from your books, what would that be?

Lilly: That humans are fallible and imperfect and those who hold grudges carry an impossible burden. And that faith, hope and love can overcome just about any obstacle.

Amy: If this isn’t too personal, do you think your battle with cancer has changed you, or changed the type of story you choose to write?

Lilly: It definitely changed me. I used to have a bad temper. I never carried a grudge but if I was pissed, everyone knew it. I still have a tempter, but I’m slower to blow hot than I once was. And I forgive more easily than I did before. Life is too short to be angry or miserable. But I don’t think my battle with cancer changed the stories I write. It just made it easier for me to get into my character’s heads.

Amy: What are your working on, now?

Lilly: Into the Light, the sequel to Out of the Darkness.

Amy: Can you give us a brief taste of Out of the Darkness?

Lilly: Vincent Maxwell is a vampire with a conscience searching for a cure to his dark hunger. But when a scientist looking to create vampire soldiers captures and kills a fellow vampire, Vincent seeks out Dr. Megan Harper, a researcher seeking a cure for xeroderma pigmentosum, the light sensitivity disease that killed her sister.

When Megan meets Vincent, she believes he suffers from XP. Sensing a deep loneliness within the handsome man, Megan offers friendship and access to her research files. But they soon become more than friends and Megan learns she's entered the dark and unseen world of vampires and Vincent is her only hope of survival.

Here’s an excerpt.

EXCERPT From Out of the Darkness
“It’s been a long night,” she said. “I’d ask you to stay, but...” she glanced nervously up the stairs.

The knot in his gut loosened. He stepped closer. Her shoulder pressed into his arm just above his elbow. She tensed but didn’t move. “But you knew I couldn’t accept?” he asked softly.


“Yeah. Something like that.” She glanced nervously upward, finally meeting his eyes. She
looked wary. Afraid.

And oh so vulnerable.

He leaned in, his arm snaking around her waist, pulling her closer. Her muscles strained, but she didn’t resist as he drew her in and slowly lowered his head. “And would you have put me in your sister’s bed?” He raised a finger to trace the outline of her mouth.

She trembled, her breath escaping her parted lips in a breathy sigh. Warm air brushed his fingertips, stirring his senses. Heating his blood.

“I don’t know.” Her breasts rose and fell with each shuddering breath she took, her soft curves brushing the hard wall of his chest.

She pulled her plump bottom lip between her teeth and looked up with pleading eyes. Eyes that begged him to make the decision for her.

OUT OF THE DARKNESS: Available now from The Wild Rose Press-- Her research could cure his dark hunger if a covert government agent doesn't get to her first.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
A Final Note from Amy
Thanks Lilly! I loved having you here and hope we can "trade blogs" again soon.


Sherry Gloag said...

Lilly, Amy I've enjoyed the interview and your insight to your change of attitude, Lilly. Thank you for sharing.

Your book sounds fascinating Lilly, and I wish you continued success with it.

Lilly Gayle said...

Thanks, Sherry. Good luck with The Brat too!

Beth Caudill said...

Hey Lilly. I understand your pain with GMC. I've got the external stuff but that internal stuff is really hard.

Lilly Gayle said...

Writing is a learning experience, isn't it Beth. And the more I write, the more I learn. You think by now, I'd have mastered it. lol!