Jen: Today we welcome Molly E. Lee to Romancing the Book. Molly, will you share a short bio with us?
Molly: Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her romance novels, the Grad Night series and the Love on the Edge series. She is a 1001 Dark Nights Discovery Author for 2017. Molly writes Adult and Young Adult contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Molly: LOVE BETWEEN ENEMIES is the second standalone in the Grad Night Series! In this one, we get to go to the same epic grad night party but this time we’re seeing it from long-time rivals, Gordon and Zoey’s perspectives! Readers who read book one, Love in the Friend Zone, will finally learn what happened to them by the end of the party!
I was inspired to write this series when collaborating with my awesome editor Stacy Abrams. We thought it would be so cool to have three books spread across one epic grad night party, and see how the characters and stories would connect.
“Help me out here,” Gordon whispered, his cheek brushing against mine as he spoke in my ear. “I’m blanking.”
The breath stalled in my lungs with how close he was, and how his soft words sent warm chills across my skin. The notion that he thought I was someone he could ask advice from both thrilled me and made my nerves twist. Or that could be because I could smell him again, which seemed to have a direct line to my crazy-button. Because only an insane girl would be wishing her enemy would keep whispering in her ear like that—he could recite the alphabet for all I cared, as long as he kept talking.
“Um,” I said, stumbling over my own words. New experience. Not exactly fun. My eyes darted over the faces in the room—completely oblivious to the battle raging inside me, the one that screamed to give in to what I was feeling for Gordon, and the other side reminding me how he’d slayed me this morning. I finally spotted the quarter on the table and remembered how to use my brain. “Any time someone says quarter, they have to drink.”
Gordon smiled and I felt it in my bones. “Thanks,” he said. “What she said.” He spoke a little louder as he sat up straight again, and I instantly craved the warmth of his nearness.
I’m in so much trouble.
I focused solely on the game and on the plan, but my body…my heart…wanted what I couldn’t have.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Molly: This is a fun question because it never seems to fail that some of my best ideas come at the weirdest times! In the shower, while I’m driving, or when I wake up from a dead sleep with an entire chapter laid out in my brain (no seriously, this happened at two a.m. this morning lol) If I’m in the shower I normally use the tried and true “repeat it like your life depends on it” and then promptly jump out and write it down. If I’m in the car I use the very safe voice notes app where I can speak my idea hands free. And if it’s in the middle of the night I roll over and jot it down on a notebook or in the notes app in my phone. I’ve lost too many ideas by saying “I’ll remember in the morning” so I always find a way to jot them down. Now, sometimes they’re dream gibberish, but others, like last night…really change the course of the plot in the book I’m working on!
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write?
Molly: I’m a diehard fan of fantasy and paranormal. I’d love to dive head first into a PNR or Fantasy Romance project someday. It’s what I read when I need to get inspired and reboot from my normal reading. I love that all the rules change when it comes to these genres, and someday I will enjoy exploring every aspect of writing one!
Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?
Molly: There are so many incredible authors out there that have influenced me! Every time I read an amazing new book, or an old favorite, I’m reminded why I was determined to become an author in the first place. My love of stories started incredibly young (Beatrix Potter really hooked me on storytelling with her Peter Rabbit) and ever since I’ve been taking notes from those authors that truly move me. J.K Rowling, Stephen King, Molly McAdams, and Kimberly Derting to name a few. Each of these authors have the ability to make you lose yourself in the pages with such relatable and fantastic characters. They’re books are moving, fantastic, and basically just a rich reading experience every time.
Jen: If you could have dinner with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Molly: J.K. Rowling. Hands down. She never fails to amaze me and every time I go back to fall into one of her books I learn something new about craft. I would literally take notes throughout the dinner and simple absorb any gems she tossed my way.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Molly: The most challenging for me is definitely the time management. I have two toddlers who keep me absolutely busy throughout the day, so I do most of my actual writing at night. I can get some social media done during the day, but the real chapters come after they go to sleep. And by the time I clock in it’s usually after eight pm and I’m exhausted. I have to rally—drink coffee, listen to some good tunes, and then just dive in. Sometimes I run myself ragged trying to get a book done and I lose track of taking care of myself. It took me a great deal of time to learn that balance between family and writing is crucial to producing quality books.
The easiest is the passion I have for this craft, this industry. I’ve been in love with reading, books, and storytelling since before I could actually read a book to myself. By the time I was in second grade, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. An author. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, and waking up every day knowing I get to do what I love? That is what keeps the passion blazing on a constant basis.
The most rewarding aspect…no question…is the readers. I honestly have met/chatted with so many amazing people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Knowing that something I wrote touched them in some way, or even in some cases changed their lives for the better? That is the most rewarding thing in the world.
Back before my debut novel Edge of Chaos came out, my husband and I sat down and had a discussion about what I would personally define as a success for this book. What would make my heart happy after it was out there for the reader’s eyes? And the answer came easily. I said, “If one person reads this and understands that they’re not alone, that their experiences aren’t isolated, then I’ll be more than happy.”
The book involves some tough subjects, and after it was released I received more messages than I expected from women who had felt…moved by the experience of the character in the book. Some said it helped them get out of abusive relationships while others said it helped them understand family members that had been struggling with the same situations. While I was saddened there were so many dealing with such hardships, I was deeply moved and grateful the book was able to bring them moments of clarity and companionship when they needed it. To me, that is what is brilliant about the art of reading—the fact that we can open the pages and find ourselves with friends that seem created specifically for us. Being a part of that and meeting/speaking to the readers…it means more to me than they’ll ever know.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Molly: I’m hard at work on the third book in the Grad Night series! This one will focus on rock star Lennon Pryor and awesome-nerd Jade Aaron! Fans of the series will finally learn what they were up to while the biggest party ever was going on! I also have some super secret projects that I’m dying to discuss but can’t yet! The second I can I’ll be chatting in my reader group on Facebook!