Lilly Maytree is in Alaska today...

Lilly Maytree is in Alaska, today...looking for adventure and divine appointments. Want to follow along? Enter her ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS PORTAL


A Visit With Author... E. A. West

Today, I'm looking forward to sharing a visit with my friend, 
E.A. West 
author of 
a wonderful book that you can find out more about by clicking on Lilly's Book Club link where I will be posting my review. But first, let's see if she will share a little bit about how she works, and how she comes up with such engaging characters...

Well, E.A., I know what's first on the top of my mind, and here it is... Writing is hard work! In a competitive industry, too, and you end up spending a lot of time alone. That said, what is it that keeps you going? What do you like best about writing?

I love creating new characters and coming up with plots. It is so much fun to take a character or two and ponder “What if...” Then I toss them in the scenario and see what happens. Can you tell outlines and I don’t get along? I think getting to see the story develop just as a reader would, although with a few more insights into where the story is headed, is so much more exciting than knowing exactly what is going to happen next as I write.

What are the tools of your trade? Are there any particular computer programs you use when writing?

For the actual writing, I use Microsoft Word. While working on a story idea, however (and sometimes during the writing process), I also use Mozilla Firefox. There are times when an idea for the story or the characters will come to mind and I need to do a quick bit of research before I write another sentence. Google has become one of my best friends over the years.

The Key to Charlotte has one of the most unique plots for a romance I’ve ever seen. Why did you write this particular book?

The idea originally came to me because I was trying to come up with a way to show autism from the inside. By writing an autistic heroine, I hope to give readers a glimpse into the mind of an autistic, albeit a fictional one. I had to rely a lot on my own experiences and emotions as an autistic adult in order to realistically write Charlotte, so it’s almost like sharing a piece of myself, although I’m nothing like Charlotte and nearly all of the details are the product of my imagination.

Which really worked out beautifully. Now, I can’t wait to see what comes next. What manuscript are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m doing a final read-through and revision on a sweet romance that involves kilts, a redhead, and a golden retriever mix. Once that’s submitted, which should be soon, I have an inspirational time travel romance and a sweet romantic suspense waiting for attention.

All kinds of good stuff to look forward to! You seem so comfortable with where you’re going in this business, E.A.. What advice encouraged you most along your writer's journey?

Write what you know, but don’t be afraid to learn something new so you can write about it. When I first started writing, I heard “write what you know” from a lot of people. The trouble was that the ideas I had usually involved elements I had very little or no knowledge of. Then I met another author who had trouble with “write what you know” as well. His theory was that you should write what you know when you can, but if you want to write something you don’t already know, go learn about it. If you want to get technical about it, once you’ve done the research you’re still writing what you know. What it all comes down to in my mind is that you should write the story that’s on your heart regardless of whether you already have the knowledge you need to write it or you have to do some research before you begin.

I couldn’t agree with you more. Now, just for fun, what does your dream "writing room" look like?

Lots of bookshelves line the walls. A desk with plenty of workspace sits near a large window that overlooks fields and/or woods. A comfortable couch occupies one corner — every author needs a place to dream up the next plot or to figure out how to get the characters from point A to point B, right? Most of the light in the room is natural, coming through windows and skylights, and a glass sliding door opens onto a deck for outdoor writing or taking a break on nice days. There are a few houseplants scattered around the room, but they are all hard-to-kill plants like air ferns and cacti. I have a bad habit of forgetting to water things in pots. 

It sounds absolutely wonderful, and here’s hoping you have exactly that someday. In the meantime, where can your readers find you if they want to stop by for a visit?

My website is 
and my blog is at
If you’re on Facebook, I post periodic updates from my writing life on my author page 
I’m also on Twitter 
and ShoutLife 

I’m so glad you stopped by to visit with me today, E.A. West. It’s been fun catching a glimpse of how you think, and the things you think about. Here’s wishing you much success with The Key to Charlotte, and many more successes in the future. 

Thanks for a great interview, Lilly! It’s always a pleasure to spend time with my fellow Pelican Book Group authors. 


A visit with author... Clare Revell

Well, my goodness! Today, I'm looking forward to sharing a visit with my friend, 
Clare Revell 
author of 

Welcome back, Clare! Let's start off with the question I always want to know first… Why do you write?

I write because I have to. That sounds daft, but for me if I don’t write I go insane. I find myself filled with stories all day long. Sometimes the muse goes on strike, but he’s rarely silent for long. Then he comes back with a new set of characters or a plot twist.

Creating characters is such a mysterious process. How, exactly, do you go about doing it?

Usually I start with the name. Then hair colour, eyes etc. Next I hit google and trawl through masses of photos/tv shows, etc until I find someone to play them. Sometimes its easy, sometimes it isn’t.

At that point the character takes over. He or she decides what his personality is like, what they like or don’t like. Quite often mid-story, and that means I have to go back and change things. It’s their story and they insist on it being written the way they want.

Fascinating. A lot like real people, if you ask me. What manuscript do you happen to be working on right now?

It’s called Thursday’s Child. The heroine is called Niamh (pronounced Neeve). She’s a prosecution barrister for the Crown Prosecution Service (think the UK equivalent of the DA). She's married to Jared, a firefighter. Injured in a car accident, Niamh has no memory of the last ten years. Unfortunately this means her husband is a total stranger. As far as she is concerned she’s 26 and single, rather than 36 and married. Jared is determined to woo her and make her fall in love with him all over again.

That sounds gripping. Is there a theme you most like to write about?

I love romance and crime/mystery/drama. Hence I combine them all and write romantic suspense. I also dabble in fantasy and sci-fi.

And why did you write Cassie's Wedding Dress? 

It was inspired by the Royal Wedding. Very much a what if the dress was damaged and they asked if they could use mine. Then I was watching the horse racing and a jockey was injured. Several of my books used Pastor Jack and he’d been demanding his own story for a while. So the three things got combined.

And what a great way you combined them, I really enjoyed reading it! Just for fun, what Hollywood director would you most like to work with, if your book were to be made into a movie?

Any! Seriously, it wouldn’t matter who they were, so long as they did the book justice. So many films are nothing like the books.

I agree. Could you tell us where readers might most likely bump into you when you are on vacation?

They’d have to come to the UK. I haven’t had a holiday in about three years, now.

Ah, maybe a picnic by your nearest lake, then. What kind of computer programs do you use when you write?

Usually word. Occasionally ywriter – that’s good for planning and for nanowrimo. Which is coming up way too fast. But draft one is always done by pencil and paper. Narrow feint paper and a propelling pencil. 

Finally, where can your readers find you if they want to pop in for a visit, now and again?

Thank you ever so much for sharing a bit of yourself with us, Clare. It's intriguing to hear how a particular author weaves their words into stories. And you always seem to be working on something new, which I'm sure makes your readers happy. I know it does me!


Someone You Should Know...

Well, as I say at the end of every one of these blog posts, I am hard at work on the next book in my "women of adventure series," THE PANDORA BOX. And an amazing adventure it is turning into. The famous "past lady of adventure" that I am linking up with my new contemporary story is the one and only, Nellie Bly. And even though it's been nearly one hundred years since she made her mark on this world, her footprints are still easy to follow.

Known as our first woman reporter, over here in America, this gal had audacity from a very early age. Not only was she a thinker (an out-of-the-box thinker at a time when such things were looked down upon), she was a brave doer, as well. I admire that in a heroine, especially a true-to-life one. And of all the history that has gone on between her time and ours, I have heard of no one who has attempted to do even half the brave things she did. Much less, succeed at them. The most famous of which was her descent into madness. Why would she do such a thing?

Because she had heard of the deplorable treatment of patients within the walls of what was then known as "insane asylums" -- the most notorious of which was Blackwell's Island, in the East River of New York Ciy -- where it had been rumored it was impossible to return from, even if you were put there by mistake. Which an alarming number of people were, during those days, especially if you were a vagrant with no place to go. Oh, but who would believe such things were really going on, without someone who could actually prove it?

Well, in trade for a position on one of the most prestigious newspapers in New York, Nellie Bly offered to do just that. She intended to get herself committed to that dark place, and have a look at it from the inside out… as long as her employer promised to do whatever it took to get her out, again, after two days. Which he promptly did. What a sensation a story like that would make! Except he had no idea when he made that promise, that it was practically impossible to get anyone out of there, no matter how much influence they had in the city.

Nellie was barely twenty-three years old at the time, and here -- in her own words -- is what she was thinking on the eve of her "departure"…

"I remembered all I had read of the doings of crazy people, how first of all they have staring eyes, and so I opened mine as wide as possible and stared unblinkingly at my own reflection. I assure you the sight was not reassuring, even to myself, especially in the dead of night. I tried to turn the gas[light] up higher in hopes that it would raise my courage.

...when I thought of what was to come, wintery chills ran races up and down my back in very mockery of the perspiration which was slowly but surely taking the curl out of my bangs.

…who could tell but that the strain of playing crazy, and being shut up with a crowd of mad people, might turn my own brain, and I would never get back. But not once did I think of shirking my mission. Calmly, outwardly at least, I went out to my crazy business…"

Well, she barely did get out, and she very nearly went mad waiting for her rescue. Because it was a whopping ten days instead of the agreed upon two (with no word from the outside) before the publishers finally succeeded in appealing to the highest authorities in order to get her released. But because of her daring mission, Blackwell's Island was exposed, laws for the treatment of the insane were changed, and Nellie Bly rocketed to fame. That was only the beginning of her many audacious ideas.

I am nearly finished with my encounter with this lady, and I can honestly say that the many hours I have spent with her on this project have been beyond inspiration. She has whisked me back in time, and got me thinking. More importantly, she got me to believing strongly about some things. I feel very privileged to have "walked with her" for a while. Which is why I thought I should introduce her to to you. Because the amazing thing is, that even after all these years, Nellie Bly still has the capacity for making an impact on people.

Imagine that!