Welcome to Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. Here to share a pot of tea and to chat about her new book, The Cafe by the Bridge is Lily Malone.
Lily Malone might have been a painter, except her year-old son put a golf club through her canvas. So she wrote her first book, His Brand of Beautiful instead. Lily has now written three full length rural romance stories and a novella all published by Harlequin Escape. Her debut trade paperback, The Vineyard In The Hills, was published by Harlequin MIRA in September 2016. When she isn’t writing, Lily likes gardening, walking, wine, and walking in gardens (sometimes with wine). She also doesn’t mind the odd came of cards and is a demon at 500 and not quite such a demon (but learning all the time) at Canasta. She lives in the Margaret River region of Western Australia with her husband, and two handsome sons who take after their father.
Hello Lily. It is my pleasure to warmly welcome you to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews. Thank you for joining me for Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. To set the mood for our tea infused interview, what is your preferred beverage, tea, coffee or other? And side accompaniment, scone, cake or other?
I like a cup of tea first thing in the morning… it’s how I get out of bed. I make the kids lunches for school, make my cuppa, and jump on social media for a while to see what’s going on in my world. I like a coffee, but I’m a snob these days – it has to be a machine coffee, I just can’t do instant anymore. I usually have one good coffee a day and when I’m writing, coffee o’clock is always my first break of the day. Mid-morning, and I take it out in the garden and wander around with it and drink it slow.
Can you tell us what genres you write for and how many books you have had published?
I write rural romance which are all published with Harlequin (Escape Publishing and MIRA), now Harper Collins publishing. I’ve written 6 stories for MIRA across a range of e-book only and then the later ones in print. I’ve also self-published two stories (Butterfly House series) which are more romantic comedy/cozy mystery set in my home town. So it’s 8 total.
The Cafe by the Bridge was released late last year. Can you describe it in just a sentence?
A bloke who wants to say ‘no’ meets a woman who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
How long did it take you to write The Cafe by the Bridge?
Most of my stories take 4-5 months to write if I’m drafting the story, then another month in beta-reader feedback/revision and then another month in the edit process with the publisher. I’d say for me it’s about a 6 month solid job per book. Some writers switch between projects but I’m the sort that has to start and finish something before my brain gets space for the next idea.
Where did the inspiration for the lead characters of Abe and Taylor come from?
I’m not sure about Abe, but Taylor has some part of my gorgeous friend Julie-Ann. Jules’ fashion-sense is a big part of what makes Taylor tick.
Can you tell us more about the beautiful West Australian locations featured in The Cafe by the Bridge?
Chalk Hill is a fictional town set on the Muirs Highway, about halfway between Manjimup and Mount Barker. The inspiration for setting the series there came during a visit to Albany with my family in our campervan in late 2016. We climbed the Granite Skywalk (which features in The Cafe By The Bridge) and visited Little Beach in Albany (also in the book). I am very proud of this corner of West Australia and I love to think I can promote this area through my stories.
Is there a particular scene in The Cafe by the Bridge that you are proud of?
I actually really like how it opens with Taylor playing Private Detective as she tries to work out the connections between her brother, Will, and the woman she suspects is scamming him, Amanda. I love the closing couple of paragraphs, when the little girl swears in the playground, and you see the adults’ reaction to that. I think this sets the scene for the type of upbringing the young girl has with her mother.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading The Cafe by the Bridge?
I always want my rural romance stories to be uplifting reads that offer a comfort and an escape. I get great satisfaction when people tell me there is a line in the book (or several) that make them laugh out loud, and I like to think that when you sit down with a Lily Malone read, it will make you smile.
How did you celebrate the official release day of The Cafe by the Bridge?
Uh oh! I can’t remember! I think it was a Monday. I think it was just a normal day for me. Don’t get me wrong – it is always exciting having a new book – but I guess I know now that life goes on. Kids still require lunch boxes to be made and there’s always a load of washing to put on, hang out, take off the line; and at that time last year (December 17) I would have been packing for our Christmas holiday.
Can you tell us about your creative working space, where do you write and is there anything vital you need to get started?
I have a writing room off my bedroom. For someone else it would probably be an awesome walk-in wardrobe… but I’m not much of a clothes-girl, so for me it’s the perfect size for writing space. The thing I need is quiet! I don’t have music in the background and I definitely can’t write with kids in the house or interruption.
Aside from writing, do you have any interesting hobbies?
I love playing cards – 500; Poker (Texas Hold-em); Canasta. At the moment my boys are into a game their Nanna taught them at Christmas, called Switch – so I play that with them. I am very lucky to live in close proximity to a bunch of mates who all like cards, and we (the Card Girls) get together most Thursdays to play 500… and eat salty chips (crisps) and drink wine!
Here is Lily pictured with The Card Girls (they also get roped into her book launches!)
What is next on the horizon for Lily Malone? Do you have any writing projects you would like to share with us?
Well, the next thing is Chalk Hill Book 3 – currently called A Bridge To A Better Place. This is definitely a darker story than the first of the two Chalk Hill books, but I’m still hopeful it will have those bright/light and uplifting beats. That is Brix Honeychurch and Jaydah Tully’s story (we meet these two briefly in The Cafe By The Bridge). I also have a non-romance story finished, but so far I haven’t been able to find a publisher for it. I want to rework that story and see if it can find a home… but if not, I’m prepared to self-publish it. It’s called ASHES and deals with a bloke who gets terribly burned, and the events leading to that, and the aftermath of this accident. It was inspired by a true story but the story I’m writing is fictional.
What 2019 book releases are you most excited to read?
My beta reader mate, Kylie Kaden has a new book out in August called The Day The Lies Began. I’m busting to read that one. Tess Woods also has a new book, Love And Other Battles and I will be lining up to get at that one.
Finally, wrapping up our tea themed interview, who would you most like to share a pot of tea with?
Here’s my answer to all these type of questions whether it’s dinner, tea, wine, or a beer and my poor mates all shake their heads… but it’s Warnie (yes, the loutish cricketer). I’d love tea with Shane Warne (not even sure if he drinks tea though?) and the chance to talk cricket.
Thank you for taking the time to visit Mrs B’s Book Reviews for Tea with Mrs B Lily. Congratulations on the publication of The Cafe by the Bridge!
Fresh and down-to-earth in style, Australian author Lily Malone returns with a sparkling new ‘Chalk Hill’ romance that will appeal to all romance readers, from contemporary to rural romance. Perfect for readers who love Rachael Johns.
Child psychologist Taylor Woods needs a man. Flashy restaurateur Abel Honeychurch to be specific. Abe can help her get justice for her brother, Will. Taylor knows Abe, too, was scammed by the same woman who broke her brother’s heart and stole everything in his pockets.
But bringing a lying, cheating scammer to justice isn’t easy when all Abe wants to do is forget the whole sorry saga. He’s returned to his home town of Chalk Hill to lick his wounds and repay his debts, renovating his nanna’s house and opening the Chalk ‘n’ Cheese cafe.
He’s miserable. And it would be easier to stay miserable if everyone else around him wasn’t so darn cheerful. It’s wildflower season in Chalk Hill with a cafe full of upbeat bushwalkers, and it’s all Abe can do to remember to put sugar, not salt, in his customers’ cappuccinos. He definitely has no time for the mysterious red-headed guest who admires his cheesecake and adores his flat white.
Taylor’s mission to help her brother seems doomed – how will she gain the trust of a man whose every instinct tells him never to trust a woman again?
The Cafe by the Bridge was published on 17th December 2018 by Harlequin – Mira AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
Connect with Lily here: