Q. Lily, according to your bio, you lead a very full, interesting life! When it's time to write, how do you get in the creative zone? (Some writer's rely on music or hide in their offices with the door locked; others can read or write while life swirls around them)
A. If I didn't write when life swirls around me, I wouldn't get anything done! I have a netbook that I take with me anywhere I may be waiting, whether it's a doctor's office, my daughter's dance classes, or even a long car ride, and I pound out first drafts. For editing, it's better if I have less distractions and I tend to work on paper.
Q. I love that the setting for your book, No Strings Attached, starts in Las Vegas and progresses to Miami, and even travels to a remote Bahamian island. Is there anything special or surprising that you learned about those locations while writing your book?
A. My husband and I traveled to Las Vegas when we had our tenth anniversary. Initially I wasn't excited about the trip and expected it to be rather slutty. But we spent three or four days just walking around the various casinos and resorts, and I was amazed at the glitz. When I started researching some of the higher-end suites for my characters, I was thrilled that some of the suites offer butlers, and I was sold. Who wouldn't love a butler?
A good part of the book takes place on a large yacht, and when my family went to the Bahamas a few years ago, I became quite the stalker taking pictures of mega-yachts docked in Paradise Island. I kept waiting for someone to call security, but no one did. I guess the owners weren't famous enough. I kept imagining sailing on one of those, and how isolated you may feel if you weren't necessarily there by choice.
Q. Does your hero or heroine have something unique that developed organically as you wrote their story; something you didn't see coming?
A. Laura's fear of flying came out of nowhere. I didn't plan it, but it happened. Many people might be excited to travel by private jet, but Laura wants none of it. Fox inherited an office full of clutter, and felt oppressed with all the paper around. If you could see my work area, you would know he didn't get that trait from me.
Q. As writers, we transfer some of our personality traits, beliefs, etc. to our characters. If a relative of yours read your book what would they pick out and say "That is sooo Lily?"
A. My sister was a few pages into it and pointed out that Laura's leg bounces when she is nervous. Busted! It's a family trait that we all inherited from my dad, who can't sit still under any circumstances.
The cover art for No Strings Attached is eye catching! Can you whet our appetites with a blurb and an excerpt?
Laura Todd attends a conference in Las Vegas and meets Fox Thornton, a consultant to the hotel industry. Far away from her normally quiet life, Laura is swept away by her strong attraction for Fox. They both know the score, and neither expects to see the other again. After their hot weekend, circumstances bring them back together in Miami, where Fox is investigating a suspected embezzlement and Laura is the prime suspect. Can their brief romance rekindle in the real world, where suspicions and misunderstandings lurk behind every corner? Will their no-strings-attached affair evolve into a strong relationship, or is it destined to stay in Vegas?
A little tease:
As usual, the reception tested the limits of Fox's endurance. This time, instead of combing the crowd for potential clients, he looked for those blonde curls from the blackjack table. Over a thousand people jammed the ballroom, and a sea of dark suits pushed in waves toward the two food and drink stations. He threaded his way past the six-foot tall display of high-tech security systems, his eyes on the tops of the heads that went by.
A shiver crossed his back, and he spotted her talking to a salesman on the other side of the exhibit hall. Her eyes widened and she smiled before looking away. In that split-second connection, he felt like a trapeze artist catching his partner after a breathless spin. Timing was everything. He started toward her.
"Are you sure you don't want to go to dinner?" He could hear the man's whiny, nasal voice from ten feet away. Fox dismissed him as being of no import and nudged his way into the conversation.
Laura looked relieved to see him, and she stepped forward to take his arm. "Fox, sweetheart, this is Julian from Omaha. I told him we already have dinner plans. Are you ready?"
He followed her lead without skipping a beat. "When you are, darlin'." With his arm around her waist, he steered her toward the exit. Robert expected him to stay at the reception and work the crowd for more leads, but Fox didn't need the money and taking Laura to dinner appealed to him more.
"I thought I was stuck. Thank you for rescuing me," she whispered. "Again." She met his eyes over the rim of her wineglass as she took a sip and the hair on his neck rose.
"That's my thing. I rescue damsels in distress." She had changed into a navy blue suit with a bright pink scarf hiding the dip of cleavage. "Although I liked the silver dress better."
"I'm sure you did," she said, laughing. "Yes, well, now that I've gotten away from Julian, I'll just get back to mingling."
She would have pulled her hand away, but he lifted it to his lips. "Oh, I can't allow that. Conference trolls lurk behind every display. Seriously. Have dinner with me."
"Maybe I'm meeting someone," she challenged.
He wouldn't be put off that easily. "That might have worked for Julian, but I'm not buying it." He eased them around the line of blue suits crowding around the last food station before the double doors.
He hadn't won yet. Laura still hung back. "I don't know anything about you," she protested.
"I'll tell you all about me at dinner." He lifted the edge of her scarf, twirled it in front of his noise. "Don't make me call Julian back," he whispered, his eyes mere inches away from hers.
"That's low." She laughed and her eyes crinkled at the corners. "I suppose I owe you. Dinner it is." Her voice dropped lower and barely masked a little bit of a tremor. Did she want him as much as he wanted her?
Her lashes fluttered down and she ran a finger around the edge of her glass. Her nails were short with white tips, and he blinked at a mental image of those white tips circling his... He forced the thought away or he wouldn't be able to walk.
"I've got just the place in mind with a rooftop view to rival the Stratosphere. Besides, dinner with me is the least you can do after I lost all that money at blackjack."
Her cheeks pinked slightly at the compliment. "Oh, so that's my fault."
"Either that or I'm a terrible blackjack player."
"Maybe I'm just that good," she countered.
He leaned into her as they left the convention hall, committing her fresh scent to his memory. "I hope so," he whispered.
Q. Are you working on another project?
A. Yes. I linked romances that don't re-use the two main characters. No Strings Attached is the first in a trilogy that shares some elements between books. The second book, which I'm calling No Time for Love, tells the story of Lee, who is Fox's brother. It's over halfway completed. The third and final book in the series tells the story of Lindsey, Laura's sister, and it will be called No Ordinary Man. Both of these characters are prominent in the first book, and I think readers will enjoy getting to know the real story behind the siblings. In the first book, readers suspect that what Lindsey told Laura happened in the Bahamas isn't necessarily what really happened, but they will have to wait and see.
Bio for Lily:
Lily Bishop was born in a small town near Athens, Georgia. She attended the University of Georgia and received a Bachelor's in English, and then enrolled in the MFA program in Creative Writing at Purdue University. After a year, she left the program and moved to Atlanta. Like a siren's call, Athens wanted her back, and she returned to Athens where she received her Master's in Public Administration. She now lives in the Upstate of South Carolina and works full-time as a database administrator for a university. She is married to her best friend, and they have two children. When she is not writing, she and her family are playing German or Euro-style board games.
Lily writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense, and her goal is to blur the lines between romance, chick lit, and women's fiction. Her books are peppered with family members who make things complicated and couples who can't seem to find a way to be together. Lily writes with a Southern flair, but her characters find themselves in exotic locations and sometimes dangerous situations. She loves to interact with readers about her characters and stories.
** A fun picture of Lily at the beach with a print copy of her book, No Strings Attached.
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