Please welcome the super fab Lily Harlem to the StudioBlog. She’s an awesome person, so kind and generous, and also a really, really good laugh. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting her in person, and she’s beautiful inside and out. Let’s get started with interviewing her then, shall we?

Studioenp: Silence or noise when writing?

Lily Harlem: Silence is golden!

Studioenp: Em’s maths teacher used to say that. He was a scary so and so. Now then, let’s get down to it. What’s your latest release?

Lily Harlem: Stowaways, the fourth book in my reverse harem series titled The Challenge.

Studioenp: Em loves these books. She’s a happy camper because she gets to read them first. She’s laughing manically here. Em? Em? Are you all right…? Blimey, she took quite a chortle turn there. Sounded quite evil. So, how did the plot come about for it?

Lily Harlem: Because Stowaways is a book in a series (best read in order), it’s part of a larger story arc. Though I’ll be honest, the title, which I came up with first, did shape the way this one went.

Studioenp: Yes, it just had to involve a boat with that title. Such a great story. And the kindness of the men in it… Em’s swooning like mad here. How long did it take you to write it?

Lily Harlem: Three weeks. As I write full time, this is my usual turnaround for a novel. I average 5k a day writing.

Studioenp: You’re so brilliant and dedicated! What’s next on your writing list?

Lily Harlem: The fifth book in The Challenge series, Breakaways. I’m two thirds of the way done with that now. I actually think it will be the last of Olivia’s adventures with her men—you read that here first!

Studioenp: Excited! Plotter or panster?

Lily Harlem: Panster every time. I just have an idea for a few characters, often a scene or two and a bit of dialogue, and I go. I couldn’t have come up with a five-novel series by plotting it all out first. I’d have changed it within chapters as new ideas and directions came to me.

Studioenp: Yes, that would have felt stifling to stick to a rigid plan. All the books read so fluidly, Em’s glad you’re a panster. So when the writing isn’t flowing, what’s your go-to form of procrastination?

Lily Harlem: Staring out of my study window, which is at the top of the house. I’m very lucky and have beautiful views of the Welsh countryside—rolling hills, a distant village, mature trees, big sky—and my mind drifts as I stare it. The fact we live on a hill really helps. I’ve also got a little summerhouse at the end of the garden; it’s mainly to sit and enjoy the peace—it’s a no-phone zone!—but sometimes, when it’s warm enough, I sit there and write. Watching the birds hop around is a great way to let my mind drift to other worlds.

Studioenp: Sounds lush. You should name the summerhouse a She Shed. Get a little sign made up proclaiming it as such. Keep everyone else out! How many hours per week do you write, then?

Lily Harlem: 30+. I do treat it as a full-time job, but I am on occasion distracted by trips to lunch with friends or to spend time with my parents.

Studioenp: Yay for friends and parents! What’s one genre you’ve always wanted to write but haven’t—and will you ever write it?

Lily Harlem: I used to say sci-fi, but I’ve written two sci-fi novels now (Master of Her World and Reckless), so probably children’s books. That’s not my thing at all. My work is definitely, without doubt, 18+.

Studioenp: No, can’t imagine you writing books for kids haha. What’s the best book you’ve written?

Lily Harlem: Them all! LOL. If I had to pick one, it would be Breathe You In, which is about a woman who falls for the guy who received her dead husband’s heart. I was inspired to write it years ago, when I was working as a nurse in a coronary care unit in London. There is something magical about the heart because of the way we believe it holds love. I really like the characters in Breathe You In; he’s tough and strong-willed, but also vulnerable, and she ends up in a very tricky situation which the reader can relate to as her attraction for him grows. It was named a USA Today Recommended Read of 2014. Find details of all my books on my website, and get a FREE ebook when you subscribe to my VIP Group.

WEBSITE: www.lilyharlem.com

Studioenp: Ooh, loved Breathe You In, says Em. THE BEST BOOK! See, she’s even shouting she loves it that much. Made her cry then sigh with happiness. Definitely a book with all the feels. Well, it’s been marvellous to have you with us, so good luck—not that you need it—with whatever you write next, and we look forward to reading it!

Blurb for Castaways – Book #1 The Challenge:

One girl. Five men. A deserted paradise island. What would you do?

Olivia Bailey is up for The Challenge. Why the heck wouldn't she be? With mariner qualifications piled high, engineering experience to rival someone twice her age, she's ready to take on the mighty Pacific Ocean and win.

But what about her fellow crew? Five guys, four nationalities. A billionaire's heir who likes to take charge in every aspect of life, an outback expert with a heart-stopping smile, a Spanish chef with mouthwatering moves and sexy twins who reveal themselves slowly, until it matters, then they act fast.

An adventure was what Olivia wanted, it's certainly what she gets. Because things at sea happen in a heartbeat, friendships grow, tempers heat and desire flares. But what about when it all upends? When the unexpected happens? Will they pull together, or will fear drag the crew of Temptress apart?

Excerpt for Castaways – Book #1 The Challenge:

Moving to the bow, she enjoyed the way the hull sliced through the water. Small splashes frothed upward, a few landed on her deck shoes and ankles. Once at the very front she gripped the v-shaped steel bar there and looked over the edge at the water being pushed out of their way.

This is where she’d longed to be. All that time in the air and stuck in gridlocked traffic, she’d been waiting for this.

Suddenly she was desperate to feel the sun on her shoulders, likely the way Evan had. She peeled off her t-shirt and tucked it securely in her back pocket.

Instantly the warm breeze caressed her skin and the sun seemed to bring every last millimetre of her flesh to life. She checked all was in order with her bikini top, then closed her eyes and lifted her face to the sky.

The rush of the passing air filled her ears. The dampness of spray caught around her legs and her soul filled with contentment.

“Hey, will you be Kate to my Leo?”

Harry was behind her.

She opened her eyes, went to turn, but he’d pressed in close and placed his hands on the rail, next to hers.

“What?” she asked.

“You know, that scene, at the front of the ship. Titanic.”

She laughed. “Bad enough that boat was mentioned before we sailed. So I really don’t think you’re allowed to mention the name when you’re actually out at sea.”

“Sorry.” His mouth was by her ear, his breath warm as it spread down her neck.

A tingle went over her scalp and she realized that, like Evan, he must have stripped his top off because warm flesh pressed against her shoulder blades.

Damn it. What is this man trying to do to me?

“So will you?” he asked.

“Will I what?”

“Be my Kate, or is it Rose?”

“In the film it’s Rose.”

“Okay, Rose, it’s time to be king of the world.”

Without waiting for her to reply, he took her hands in his and stretched her arms wide.

Feeling a little unstable perched at the bow of the speeding boat and not holding on, she rested back harder against him.

The sensation of their bodies pressing together, with the wind circling, thrilled her.

“How does it feel?” he asked, excitement lacing his tone.

“Incredible.” She laughed.

His big hands gripped hers securely, and she pulled in a deep breath.

“We own the ocean,” he said. “All that is before us is ours to take.”

“It’s beautiful.”

“Everything here is beautiful.” His lips were against her ear as he threaded his fingers with hers.

It seemed so intimate, the way they were standing, flesh on flesh. She hardly knew him. But she didn’t mind. Harry was strong and sexy and had a way of making her feel at home in his company despite his status and wealth, and the fact he was the only person in the world to have ever gotten away with calling her Liv.

They stood like that for a whole minute, then Harry rested her hands back onto the rail. “That’s it,” he said. “I’ve had my fix.”

“What do you mean?”

“That was on my to-do list.”

“Didn’t take you long to get around to it.”

“It’s a long to-do list. Gotta get started.”

“Why? What else is on it?”

“Ah, that would be telling.”

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