Inspiration for characters comes to me from a variety of different places. For example in Dark Warrior (an MM novel set in Kenya) I’d seen a gorgeous picture of a man from behind who grew in my imagination to become Malik, a strong tribal man who is full of passion, very brave and modern thinking.
Thank you for inviting me to Fresh Fiction today it’s great to be here. I’ve brought with me my new novella HEAT OF THE DAY. It’s a ménage a trois story with M/F, M/M and M/F/M scenes in it and set in beautiful Southern Spain.
I’ve been lucky enough to spend quite a lot of time on the Costa Del Sol in and out of the holiday season. It’s a beautiful place, there’s always something going on and the people watching—if that’s something you enjoy doing, which I certainly do—is incredible.
Joyce: Welcome to HEA, Lily! Please tell us a bit about your new release, Rule Breaker.
Lily: Rule Breaker is a dark erotic romance set between London and France.
Jen: Today we welcome Lily Harlem back to Romancing the Book. Lily, will you share a short bio with us?
Lily: Lily Harlem is an award-winning, best-selling author of contemporary erotic romance. She lives in the UK with a workaholic hunk and a crazy cat.
Okay, today lets talk about something often overlooked in erotic romantic fiction – ‘maschalophilous’. You maybe don’t know what it means but I bet a rather high proportion of you would appreciate a little more literary dedication to it. Here’s a clue…
What can we expect from Dark Warrior?
Dark Warrior will take you far, far away, to the dusty, dangerous plains of central Kenya. You’ll be able to admire majestic Kilimanjaro and the wild predators that stalk the foothills. It’s a story of voyage not just miles but also in the journey the characters, Leo and Malik, must take to admit what they want and figure out how that can be achieved. No journey is easy, though, especially when faced with lions, pirates and disease but this just makes reaching the destination all the sweeter.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
The erotic romance genre found me! I won an erotic fiction competition five years ago after completing a creative writing course and that was it, I was hooked! Now I write full time, enjoying the view from my attic study which looks out upon the beautiful rolling hills of Wales.
You have many pairings and genres in your backlist. Which is your favourite?
I write GBLT, menage a trois and Male Female. I think Male Female is a favourite, especially when tackling themes like those in Breathe You In.
Three of my favorite vacation destinations:
I adore traveling and I have wonderful memories of distant places and grand plans for future adventures.
• London is always a favorite and luckily close at hand for me. Whenever I'm there I feel like I'm stepping through time. The cobbled backstreets without the crowds are always inspirational.
I always enjoy thinking up locations for my novels and Caught on Camera was no exception. This serial is about the making of a porn movie and the first part, to get you in the mood for hot man on man action, is FREE.
How did you come up with the idea for this serial?
I was browsing the internet - as I often do - and needed some cute 'guy love' pictures for a blog post. I stumbled across a short documentary about the making of a porn movie in the US. It was something the presenter said that got me "I've never seen two actors fall in love on camera before." I was curious by this. What did he mean? Of course I then watched the whole documentary and saw that while it was very graphic, the camera right there recording the action, I could see what he meant when he said the actors had chemistry, that they were falling in love.
Wow, that makes me sound like Tarzan flying through the trees! What I actually mean is that I’m a complete floozy when it comes to sticking to one genre in the world of writing erotic romance. I swing and slide and fling myself around them all! I’m completely unfaithful. I should have pampas grass growing in a tub by my laptop.
These stories make for a very gritty read. Did you enjoy writing a non-traditional romance?
Do I enjoy writing non-traditional romance. That's a Yes, a big YES! I really do, I find it more and more compelling the more novels I write. I want to create characters that like people in real life don't always play by the rules or make sensible decisions. I'm not saying stupid, mean or irresponsible characters, just more real and less formulaic. People make mistakes, people feel vigilante, they let passion rule their thoughts and couples from all walks of life hook up and make it work. I want readers to be able to put themselves in the head of a character and understand choices they wouldn't make themselves but still can invest in. That to me, is escapism.
When it comes to writing about the physical act, Harlem says that authors shouldn’t be afraid of including practical details. And they should focus on reality, rather than trying to obscure facts in metaphor.
“A lot of writers aren’t confident enough to write about what’s actually happening. They talk about other things like stars exploding above them, rather than talking about how it actually feels and the emotions,” says Harlem.