Jen: Today we kick off contemporary erotica week with a visit from Lily Harlem. Lily, will you share a short bio with us?
Lily: Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is an award-winning author of contemporary erotic romance. She writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including Ellora’s Cave, HarperCollins, Totally Bound, Xcite and Sweetmeats Press. Her series regularly receives high praise and industry nominations and awards.
Before turning her hand to writing Lily Harlem worked as a trauma nurse and her latest HarperCollins release Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse, draws on her many experiences while nursing in London. Lily also self-publishes and The Glass Knot and Scored have been blessed with many 5* reviews since their release in 2012.
Lily writes across the entire scope of erotica from sexy vanilla like Breathe You In – a USA Today Reviewer’s Recommended Read of 2013 – to hot ménage a trois, The Silk Tie and Shared to dark and edgy BDSM – check out the Sexy as Hell Box Set Trilogy available exclusively on Amazon.
One thing you can be sure of, whatever book you pick up by Ms Harlem, is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Lily: My latest release is The Silk Tie a steamy m/m/f ménage a trois story. I was spurred into writing it after the many 5* reviews that came in for The Glass Knot, a novel with a similar theme. It’s completely different characters and a different setting but because I really enjoy the dynamics of a threesome I was compelled to write more and it didn’t take long for a plot to start forming in my head. I set The Silk Tie in London—my most favourite city in the world and somewhere I still spend time— and the places and the people soon gave me an idea about a married couple, both lawyers, and a rich business man who enters their relationship, but he’s not interested in her (to start with at least) it’s the men who have the attraction. The story grew from there and I adored writing it. So far it’s getting great responses from readers and reviewers.
Jen: You have an impressive backlist featuring various sub-genres within contemporary erotica. Which one is your favorite and why?
Lily: That is such a hard question to answer, I love all of my stories for different reasons. I think I’d have to say, though, that my Hot Ice series is my favourite as a collection (they are all standalone reads and don’t have to be read in order). I love sport, hockey, soccer, tennis, equestrian and I watch it all. Hot Ice encompasses my love of athletes, appreciation of talent and erotic romance. Plus Hot Ice for me, as an author, is the book that just doesn’t end. I can keep adding to my Viper team and spending time with new players and the women who tame them – eventually!
Jen: Your website says that if the story isn’t deliciously romantic and down and dirty sexy, it won’t be written by you. What authors influenced your writing style?
Lily: Lots of authors have influenced me and not just erotic romance or romance authors. I did a creative writing course at uni and fell in love with the craft of writing. I suppose it’s like anything, once you know how to do something properly you appreciate the art of it and can sigh over beautiful lines and descriptions and admire people who are so damn good at it.
Jen: You are from the UK, and the Hot Ice series features some blistering hot hockey action. What’s your inspiration?
Lily: Hockey is nowhere near as big here as it is in the US. It’s never televised and most people wouldn’t know the name of their local team. I however do, I support the Cardiff Devils and follow the Elite League – our version of NHL. But, apart from seeing the odd game, my inspiration for Hot Ice came from reading and enjoying other sports romance novels. At the end of the day, though, these books are boy meets girl, (or boy meets boy, or girl meets boy and another boy!) and are romantic, sexy and fun, the plot just revolves around the guys’ job, which is playing professional hockey.
Jen: What are the pros and cons of novellas vs. novels and which do you prefer?
Lily: I prefer novels. I often start out thinking this will just be a novella, I’ll tap it out in a day or two and before I know it the word count is romping up and whoops, it’s another novel. Characters start talking to me and plot twists jump off the page and I just get carried away. I guess I like to get my teeth in to things, which reminds me I have Bite Mark coming out soon, which is my first paranormal. I got carried away with that too and as I came to the last page an urge to carry on gripped me and I left it on a cliff-hanger. I then had to write the sequel! So that was originally a short story that turned into two novels, Bite Mark and Claw Mark.
Jen: You also co-write with Natalie Dae as Harlem Dae. How would you say those books differ from the self-authored books?
Lily: I adore writing with Natalie, (as Harlem Dae)we’re great friends and she is an incredible writer. My work, and I didn’t plan for this to be the case, tends to be much darker and edgier when I’m writing with Natalie. Maybe it’s something to do with having the safety net of each other, we push boundaries, explore taboos and make up the most amazing characters, who you’d think were real if you heard us out having dinner and talking about them. When we wrote Sexy as Hell we were both head over heels in love with Victor Partridge but we shared him so sweetly, it was our very own little ménage a trois relationship!
Jen: Most interesting scene you have ever written?
Lily: Some in Sexy as Hell are pretty out there, particularly in the last book and one in The Harlequin which is about ‘sounding’ (medical fetish). Other than that I have a great scene at the end of my soccer novel Scored which shows England (for once) doing really well in a cup final match – a girl can dream!
Jen: What’s next for you?
Lily: There is always something. My paranormal books are due for release soon from Ellora’s Cave as is the 7th Hot Ice book, Russian Heat. I also have a free short hockey story Rookie Rules due out. I have several short stories in anthologies due out including Burning Rubber (about a bad ass biker!)and in the New Year two m/m novels at Totally Bound, Dark Warrior and Caught on Camera. I’m going to be getting my head down on another romance that’s similar to Breathe You In. It’s not kinky but it is incredibly sexy and it will certainly tug my characters emotions around, that’s all I can say for now, that one is still a baby!