Saturday, September 5, 2015

Q & A with Lily Graham, author of An Invincible Summer

On this gorgeous Saturday morning here in a suburb outside of Rochester, New York, I have the pleasure of talking to Lily Graham, the author of An Invincible Summer!
I have also had the great pleasure of reading :

If you haven't already had the chance to read these amazing stories, please do!  You will not be disappointed!
Lily, thank you for taking time out of your busy weekend schedule to chat with me at One Book At A Time today!

Lily let me begin by saying, I am in love with your newest addition! LOVE An Invincible
Summer - Where did you get your inspiration for this book? 

Oh wow! Thank you so much, I’m so touched! The story for how An Invincible Summer came about is a story in and of itself. I got the basic idea about eight years ago when my mother had breast cancer, it was such a tough time and I realized that I wasn’t doing what I wanted with my life. Facing the possibility that I may lose her it made me question life death and everything else. Thankfully she’s fine now but it had such an impact on my life. I became inspired by people who made dramatic changes in their lives, people who choose to live life to the full, and I especially like the idea of 
running away to find yourself again. I started writing the first draft of what was called then The Jasmine Garden. It stayed in a drawer for the next few years until my best friend told me that she thought there was something there. I decided to take her advice and finally finish it. In the end I rewrote it in its entirety, using much deeper themes and setting it in Crete – one of the most beautiful places in the world.

If An Invincible Summer was made into a movie - who do you see as your cast of characters? There are so many I would love to know - Ria, Tom, Tony, EVERYONE! 

I love this question, I am so glad you asked! I have a very specific answer for Tom – he is very much 
based on Tom Hiddleston. I have never done this before but he really inspired my Tom. I know 
readers picture their own versions but that’s who I pictured when I wrote it … dark, brooding, 
handsome with an intellectual bent, almost too good-looking for his own good which causes him 
some problems. Ria is a bit of a combination, I think a young Diane Lane or Ellen Pompeo – she has 
that sort of irreverent wit that they share.
Caroline would be the one and only Joanna Lumley, witty, naughty, deliciously wicked … Tony is 
Jason Straitham? Possibly not. Christopher would be someone like Armie Hammer (love him), and 
Iliana would be Eva Longoria – she’s beautiful, and can definitely act the spoiled yet sophisticated 
temptress that I pictured Iliana as.

WHAT GREAT CHARACTER CHOICES!  

Your details about Crete and the vineyard and the ocean were so vivid, did you visit the area
before writing this book? How do you do your research? 

Thanks so much!  I’ve visited Crete before but not with the intention at the time to set a book there, 
but when it came time to rewrite An Invincible Summer, I decided on Crete because of the vineyards 
– some of the most famous Greek wine comes from the island. There’s only so much you see though 
in a short visit, so I did a lot of research at the library, reading travel books online, watching videos 
about the culture etc – I love the research part. Possibly too much as I went down a bit of a rabbit 
hole for a while.  I spent two weeks learning how a vineyard worked! I interviewed one of the 
owners at Manousakis Winery in Crete as well – they were so helpful. Still I had to change some 
things for the story, so I had to take a little poetic licence, I hope wine aficionados will forgive me! 
The pinotage is a reference to my South African ancestry. I’m a big pinotage fan.  

When you aren’t writing, what do you do for fun?
Reading! I am such an avid reader with eclectic tastes. I love children’s books, fantasy, travel 
memoirs, if I don’t have a good story to read I get a bit grumpy. It’s partly the reason I became a 
writer. I became frustrated as there was a story I wanted to read and couldn’t find it so I wrote it! 
The other great love is of course travelling though I don’t get to do it as much as I would like. I also 
love painting. I’m new to art, only learnt how to draw in my twenties but it’s a real love affair.

Lastly, for your devoted readers such as myself, do you have any other books in the works? Any details that you would like to share? 
Ah thank you so much! That means the world! Yes, at the moment I’m finishing up a children’s story that will be published under another name, hopefully soon. But I have big plans for my next Lily 
Graham books (sorry to use third person, lol). I’m thinking of writing a non-fiction book to help 
women be kinder to themselves. It’s a topic so dear to my heart. We’re all so hard on ourselves, and 
it just gets in the way and keeps us from realizing our dreams. We say things to ourselves that we 
would never dream of saying to to our friends. So that’s a passion project I want to work on soon!

I’m also working on Dreaming of Elephants, a sweeping saga set in Africa and Cornwall about a man who is given the heart of a woman during a transplant and how seeing the world with a woman’s 
heart begins to change him.  It’s slightly magical, a bit esoteric. I’m excited for this one. I’ve also got 
plans for a book set in World War 2 about a woman’s sewing circle for the war effort. Lots of plans, 
just got to get it all done! But that’s the exciting bit.

I am so excited about each of these new ideas!  I can't wait till they come to life!  

Lily, THANK YOU so much for visiting One Book At A Time this weekend!  I had an amazing time catching up with you and helping your readers learn more about the woman behind such amazing stories!  I look forward to hearing more about this future endeavors when you are ready to share!  You will have o stop by and fill my readers in as well!  

You can find Lily at the following links:
Twitter
Amazon
Facebook

HAVE AN AMAZING HOLIDAY WEEKEND FRIENDS!!!

Bethany