Spotlight Interview: Erotic Paranormal and Contemporary Romance Author Lily Vega

The fabulous Ria Boulay has turned the SavvyAuthors spotlight on me!

Here’s a recap of my interview by Ria Boulay on the SavvyAuthors’ website.

Join us as we spotlight various members in the Savvy Authors community. We’ll introduce you to recently published authors from our Authors, our hard working volunteers, members active in the Savvy writing community, editors, and agents.

This week the Spotlight shines on erotic paranormal and contemporary romance author Lily Vega. When Savvy Authors ran the Practice, Pitch and Publish event in February of this year Lily tossed her hat, and her story, into the ring. She nailed a trifecta, winning a contract not just for one book but an entire trilogy! Settle in on the porch and read on as we talk about how it felt to debut with a trilogy, her choice for a dream vacation, and what happens when you find yourself with a bad case of…the “Devil Inside”!

Welcome to the Spotlight Lily. Let’s start with the story that we all love to hear about, The Call. How did that go down and were you cool, calm and collected or babbling?

I pitched “Devil Inside” at one of Savvy Authors’ fantastic special events, “Prepare, Pitch and Publish” in February of this year and was absolutely thrilled to receive three requests. I’ve had a deep seated fear of submitting so it took me several months to gather the courage to put the finishing touches on the story, complete the synopsis and hit send. The next day after my hubby and I had finished having brunch at one of our favorite restaurants and while we waited for the check, I pulled out my phone to browse Facebook, Twitter and my email.

In my inbox, I found an email from Margaret Riley stating that Changeling Press was interested in contracting all three stories in the trilogy. I read the email several times, muttering to myself and then burst into tears of joy. My hubby kept asking me what was wrong so I handed the phone to him and made him read the email to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood. As you can imagine, the waitress was missing in action for a while after my emotional display. I was blown away by the fast response and Changeling’s interest in the trilogy. It was beyond my wildest dreams to have contracts for all three stories. My answer was an immediate yes and I am thrilled to be Changeling author. Everyone at Changeling is fantastic and welcoming. They make the entire process easy and fun. Also, I’m addicted to writing flash fiction for their weekly challenge. My editor, Katriena Knights, is wonderful to work with and I am in love with the beautiful cover Bryan Keller designed.

“Devil Inside,” Book 1 of the Devil May Care Series (Changeling Press) has officially hit the stands on August 28th and major congrats to you! Throw out a few teasers for us to nibble on.

“Devil Inside,” which takes place on Halloween night, was released on August 28 exclusively at Changeling Press and will be available at third party sites next month. “Devil Inside” was a fun story to write. Blake Owens, the hero, is in a really bad place emotionally at the start of the book. He’s divorced and doing everything he can to convince his ex-wife, Natalie, to increase his visitation privileges with his young son. Enter Arianna Prince, who is convinced hooking up with Blake will save her life.

When can your fans expect to see the next installment in the series and can you give us a peek at the story?

When I finished “Devil Inside” and gave Blake and Arianna their happy ever after, Natalie’s character stayed with me and I realized her story needed to be told. She’s a Wiccan healer and a single mother who has a fundamental problem with her ex’s demonic heritage. In “Devil Inside”, it’s revealed that Blake didn’t tell her he was a demon until after their son was conceived. In book two, Natalie has a brand new demon problem to deal with while on the journey to her own happy ever after. I don’t have a firm release date yet, but anticipate “Devil You Know” to be released later this year. The third story focuses on a character introduced in the second book.

Who are your favorite authors and/or books, and have they had any influence on your writing?

My favorite authors influence me by making me want to continue improving my writing craft. Jim Butcher, Dean Koontz and Stephen King blow me away with the development of their secondary characters and the sheer beauty of their writing. Butcher’s Harry Dresden adds an element of humor that has me fangirling and constantly seeking ways to add humor to my writing.

I’ve read three fantastic steamy romances recently, Louisa Bacio’s “Duel with Death” and “the Big One” and “Shattered Souls” by Delilah Devlin. These stories bring on the heat, while providing the reader with outstanding characters and a plot that makes it nearly impossible to put the book down. I’m also a huge fan of Entangled Publishing’s Brazen imprint. These lovely stories inspire me to improve my erotica.

Are you a plotter or pantser, and what are your strongest and weakest points as a writer? Do you have word counts, magic formulas or other tools/structures you rely on?

To me, plotting and pantsing are on a continuum. When I’m writing erotica, I live in pantser territory. When I started writing “Devil Inside,” I didn’t know Blake was a demon, just that he was a supernatural creature. However, wanting to keep some constant elements throughout the trilogy, I’ve done some very loose plotting for books two and three. When I am writing outside of the erotica genre, I’m much more of a plotter in that I have, at minimum, a plan for each of the plot points.

My strongest points as a writer are that I am constantly coming up with new stories and characters that beg to be written, which makes it one of my weakest points as well. I could lead a Shiny Object Obsession support group, because I had a bad habit of abandoning my current project for a shiny new one. I’ve learned to deal with it a couple different ways such as working on shorter length projects and flash fiction and resisting the urge to move on to a new project when I’m struggling with my current project.

I’ve found Jami Gold’s story planning sheets and beat sheets to be extremely helpful. I love using my kitchen timer to make sure I get my writing time in. I just bought Write or Die 2 and Scrivener and can’t wait to start using them.

What made you decide to venture into erotic writing, and do you plan to write in any other genres?

This is such a funny question because every time I think I’ve defined the scope of my writing, I develop the desire to attempt another genre. For example, I never thought I’d write young adult and I just completed a YA project. For me, the characters come first, then the story and the genre. For my erotica stories, the sex is an integral part of the plot. The majority of the stories I write are paranormal, but I’ve also written contemporary romance and mystery.

How important are groups like Savvy Authors to the career of an aspiring writer and how can writers make the most of them?

Groups like Savvy Authors are incredibly important. I never had the knowledge or discipline to pursue my dream of being a published author before I found Savvy Authors. Once I found Savvy Authors, I took my writing seriously and made time to write and learn the craft of writing. I adore the workshops and love the variety of topics available. I wrote the first draft of the first scene of Devil You Know in one of the workshops and many workshops have provided inspiration for other projects.

Savvy Authors’ Special Events are a game changer. Riley Darkes, Savvy’s Special Event Coordinator, is a true goddess. Every single event moves me forward in my writing career. The pitch event helped me get my contract. Events like Revision Frenzy keep my butt in the chair as I edit two projects that were on the back burner. Digicon gave me a whole new appreciation for the work involved in indie publishing. Savvy Summer Symposium is a smorgasbord of goodness with pitches, chats, workshops, prizes and more. The events where writers work with the editors like Publisher’s Blue Print and Entangled Smackdown are off the charts amazing. Last but not least, the Wednesday night craft chats are wonderful. I love having the opportunity to ask the host questions real time.

Now we get a little peek into what that demon writing soul of yours really wants! You have won your choice of one of the following. Which would you choose, and why?

a) A historical tour of Ireland’s castles, ancient Celtic sites and of course, a few nights in Dublin visiting their many famous pubs;

b) A guided Montana wilderness pack trip on horseback exploring the Continental Divide, camping under the stars each night with lodging provided and meals prepared;

c) An all-expense paid shopping trip on Broadway, complete with a show, while staying at the Plaza Hotel in a suite overlooking Central Park?

Definitely A, even though B and C would be fun too. I am very interested in Celtic mythology and beer is one of my favorite things in the world. (Dare I say, you had me at Guinness?) I traveled to Scotland a number of years ago and absolutely loved the trip. The tour guide had to drag me out of Roslyn Chapel and I had to drag my hubby out of the Scottish Whiskey museum. Castles, ancient Celtic sites and pubs sound pretty much like nirvana and a sure thing to generate story bunnies.

Ria Boulay writes contemporary and paranormal romance. With Savvy Authors since 2011, she is Editor of the Spotlight On column. The Spotlight is dedicated to acknowledging the work of our member authors and volunteers, as well as informative interviews with editors, agents and publishers. You can connect with Ria on Twitter, Goodreads and at her website.