- What inspired you to first start writing?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I was little, back before I knew what being a writer meant, I knew that I wanted to create the stories in the books that were read to me.
2. Can you tell us a little about One for All?
One for All is a gender-bent reimagining of The Three Musketeers that follows Tania, a girl with a chronic illness (POTS syndrome), as she seeks for the truth behind her father’s murder and trains as a new kind of Musketeer. It’s full of dueling in ballgowns and found family.
3. Can you describe your story using only three words?
Secrets, sisterhood, and swords!
4. What inspired you to set your story within this particular era?
I knew that I wanted One for All to be historical fantasy, like the original 3M by Dumas, but I also wanted to approach the story from a later point in time, in between La Fronde and the rise of the Sun King, because it provided a lot of room to explore, ample amounts of political intrigue, and would allow me to create a new mystery with certain political figures that would differ from the original.
5. How long have you been writing? When did you first start?
I finished my first novel when I was twelve, though I’ve locked it away where it will never see the light of day! But I was writing stories long before then. My first story was three sentences long and about a girl who got a pet goldfish.
6. How does it feel being a published author knowing readers are really enjoying your stories?
Wonderful in a very surreal way! It is a strange feeling, knowing that characters and a world that only existed in your head for so long are now out in the world. But I’m thrilled that so many readers have seen themselves in Tania, Portia, Aria, and Théa.
7. What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
8. What advice would you give to those who are writing their first book?
Don’t listen to any advice that doesn’t work for you! Especially that “you must write every day to be a writer” nonsense.
9. Where is your favourite place to write?
I wrote the first third of One for All in Kew Gardens, so it will always have a special place in my writer’s heart.
10. Which authors do you most admire and why?
Oh, this is such a difficult question—there are so many! Leigh Bardugo for her characters and world building, Tracy Deonn for her close attention to themes and symbolism, Lauren Groff for her ability to jump between genre and form…
11. What are common traps for new authors?
Letting worry about the end-product keep you from actually writing the book. Although that is definitely something all authors can struggle with (including me).
12. What risks have you taken with your writing that have paid off?
Writing a historical adventure/fantasy about a girl with a chronic illness, a disabled main character who isn’t magically cured and learns to accept herself, is a huge risk in and of itself. For the longest time, I was told that OFA wasn’t marketable and that there wasn’t readership. There are very specific narratives about disability and disabled characters that publishing favors far too much. So, when disabled authors tell our own stories, we don’t usually get as much support as nondisabled authors do.
13. Who do you trust for objective and constructive criticism about your writing?
My critique partners!
14. What were your favourite books growing up?
I adored The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine (I just found out there’s a sequel and I’m so looking forward to finally reading it when I have time!)
15. Does the publishing process in America differ to here in England?
As someone whose debut novel came out in America in March 2022 and will come out in the UK in February, I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer that question since I don’t have a direct comparison! One for All was already edited when Titan Books acquired it, so I didn’t go through more rounds of edits, although that would of course be different if I had published One for All in the UK first! Perhaps I’ll have more insight come February, but so far, the biggest change is that One for All is coming out immediately in paperback in the UK rather than a hardcover, like in the US.
16. Have you managed to travel to promote your book?
Between 2020 and the beginning of 2022 in-person book tours weren’t really a thing, but I’m excited to have the chance to travel to a couple upcoming book festivals (festival organizers, please reach out—I’m always thrilled to come and talk about One for All and books and writing.) And I’ll be in England in February for the UK launch of One for All!
17. Are you writing anything else at the moment? If so, are you able to give us any clues?
I’m always working on too many projects at once. So, I have three main novels I’m working on (which are all VERY different), a few on the backburner, and then a few short stories, too. I can’t really talk about any of them yet, but hopefully soon!
I want to say a huge thank you to Lillie for taking the time to answer my questions and feature on my blog. You can buy all Lillie’s books using booksellers, online and of course using any independent local bookshops.
You can follow Lillie on social media. Twitter: @lillielainoff and Instagram: @lillielainoff
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