So excited to have the chance to interview Hilary. Not only was I totally sucker punched by her novel, Stay, I was also really excited to find an author so easy to approach and talk to.
You can click here to read my review of Stay, and also don’t miss out on the chance to win an e-copy of it! The link is here –> a Rafflecopter giveaway, as well as at the bottom of the page. As my dad likes to say to me: “you have to be in it to win it!”
Hi Hilary! It’s great to have you on the blog!
Thank you, Sarah. It’s great to be here.
I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t convinced Stay would be my cup of tea. But I made a promise to myself that I would move out of my ‘go to’ zone more often. Let me also say this: You had me clinging to my Kindle after the first few pages. Well and truly won over. I felt a personal connection with Alexa, not least because we’re the same age. But did you have a target age group in mind?
So glad to hear that you took a chance on ‘Stay’ and liked it. It’s great when that happens! I’m in the 35-45 year old range and I had a feeling that I would engage a lot of readers in this group, but I did hope to gain a fan base amongst twenty-something’s. I thought they would best relate to my characters.
What made you do it? When did that proverbial ‘kick up the backside’ come to make you decide to sit and write a book?
I’ve always wanted to do it, but it never was the right time. About a year ago I went on a reading binge and literally read about fifteen romance novels in two weeks. There were things I loved and things I hated. I saw a market to tap into and felt I had a unique story to add to the mix. I told a friend about the story and she was intrigued and encouraged me to write it down. A few weeks later I gave her about thirty pages and she was hooked. I jumped in after that and haven’t stopped.
Shoes. I have to mention the shoes. There are some drool-worthy foot holders in this book. Firstly, thank you for that! I’m partial to some shoeage myself. Are you a shoe person too? If so, what’s your favourite style?
Me, a shoe person? How did you guess? Seriously, I love all shoes and have the closet to prove it. To be honest, I am a beach girl at heart so sandals are my favourite. Nothing beats a perfectly worn in pair of flip flops. I actually shopped for Alexa’s shoes online… for hours. That was fun!
Speaking of ‘drool worthy’… Julian. Did he pop into your mind ready-made? Or did he change as you began to write him into the story?
Julian, Julian, Julian. I’m not going to lie, he came ready-made as I sort of physically modelled him off a particularly handsome and sexy Latin actor. His personality and character developed throughout the book as he interacted with Lexie, and he ended up being way more layered than I had originally planned. You will get to know a lot more about Julian in ‘Hold On’, the sequel to ‘Stay.’
You absolutely made my day by mentioning a sequel. A trilogy even! But are you working on anything else? Do you have any other ideas put back, or in the works, for the future?
I plan on finishing this series and then moving on to another type of novel. I have a few ideas for some adult fiction stories. I think all of my work will deal with interpersonal relationships, but not so much in the romance genre.
The characterisation of Alexa made me incredibly happy, because she wasn’t ‘magically’ healed by ‘super hot guy’. She has her demons, and I was glad that Julian wasn’t an insta-cure. I was also impressed by Alexa’s realism. She has her priorities (work, friends, self-respect, as well as working with her own insecurities) and that is something encouraging for me, a very ‘real’ kind of heroine. Was it hard to capture the right balance? (sorry about the long run-up to that question, I just wanted to word it right..)
This is the best thing to hear. Period. I tried very hard to make Alexa real. When I made the decision to deal with such deep subject matter, I knew I had to deal with it in a realistic and thoughtful way. Alexa does have a clear idea of where she wants to go, she’s just struggling to get there and I think considering what she has dealt with, it’s understandable. I know some of my readers got very frustrated with her and would have liked her to just ride off into the sunset with Julian, but it isn’t in her character to be able to believe in a happily ever after just yet. She is getting there though.
Stay engaged me in a way I could never have predicted. But for those who are yet to experience it, what 3 words best describe it for you?
Passionate – Engaging – Relatable
Finally, in keeping with my blog title – Is there a book, or series, that you feel like you should have read by now?
Yes, yes and yes. I have given up reading for the time being due to a very hectic writing schedule and I miss it. I’m a huge Khaled Hosseini fan and am ashamed I haven’t read ‘And the Mountains Echoed’ yet. When I have time I will be reading that along with ‘Palisades Park’ by Alan Brennert (another favourite author) and “The Girl you Left Behind’ by JoJo Moyes.
Thank you so much for participating in this Q+A. Stay really was the right book at the right time for me and I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!
I am so thrilled to hear it and thanks again for having me. ‘Hold On,’ should be out early April if all goes well. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Click me! —> a Rafflecopter giveaway