I’d like to welcome romance writer Lillie Spencer, author of Manhunt, a romantic suspense novel. Before we learn about Manhunt, let’s see what Lillie has to say…
1. When did you start writing?
My mom recently gave me a velvet covered journal I had filled with poetry and short stories back in elementary school. I guess it’s always been in my blood.
2. Sum up your current WIP in one to three sentences.
An immortal, shapeshifting druid has spent thousands of years alone, hiding from Roman assassins who want him dead. What will he do when he meets the one woman in a millennia who makes him want to stop running?
3. What kind of characters do you enjoy writing the most?
I like characters who are three-dimensional and have depth. None of my heroes are pure and none of my villains are totally evil. That being said, I love writing bad boys, especially ones who are broken in some way.
4. If you have pets, what are they and what are their names?
Buttercup – a Cockapoo we found on the street in a thunderstorm, and Tootsie, an overweight Persian cat I inherited from my papa when he passed away.
5. Do you have the hots for one of your characters? Who and why?
Christian, the hero and heroine’s best friend. He’s funny, sarcastic, and gorgeous. He’s also the guy to call if you need to make a body disappear.
6. Where does your story take place? Why did you choose this location?
Hershey, Pennsylvania. Because I want to live in Willy Wonka’s factory, but since that isn’t going to happen, I’ll settle for Hershey.
7. How do you overcome writer’s block?
I’ll switch to a different story for a while. For example, the other day, I hit a snag on the WIP I mentioned earlier, so I started sketching out a companion novel to MANHUNT that tells Christian’s story. Oddly enough, it didn’t take long before the solution to my problem came to me. Probably makes me a little schizophrenic, but it works.
8. Are you a plotter, pantser or a little of both? Describe how a story comes together for you.
I’m a devout pantser. I used to be a plotter. I would painstakingly detail every step in the story with a bullet point and then brow-beat the story the way I wanted it to go in order to connect the dots. Now I put my fingers on the keyboard like a Ouija and watch the story unfold. I still have my character profiles written out, and a vague sketch, but that’s it. It’s a much more organic way of writing, and I find I enjoy it a lot more. I read a PIXAR quote somewhere that said something to the effect of — you don’t know what the story is really about until you’re done writing it. Then rewrite to make it work. That makes sense to me.
9. What advice do you have for writers who are on their own path to publication?
Don’t give up! I wrote MANHUNT in 2009. It won a couple of awards and I was so excited, I thought it was going to be so easy. It wasn’t. It was a longer, harder road from there to here than I thought it would be, but it was worth it.
10. Describe a marketing tool or method that works for you.
I’m addicted to OneNote. Even with my recent party-change to pantser, I have to keep organized. With OneNote, I have a page for each character, a page for each pivotal location, a timeline, synopsis, et cetera. Especially when writing a story with a suspense/mystery element, you have to keep your ducks in a row.
Sometimes you have to forget it all to remember what really matters.
Michael Brennan’s life and career come to an abrupt halt when he receives a phone call telling him the love of his life, Nikki Wright, is in the hospital after another attack by her ex-boyfriend Sebastian Cross. Rushing back to Hershey, PA, Michael turns up at Nikki’s hospital bedside covered in Sebastian’s blood and tells her they have to leave immediately. Though her injuries have induced amnesia, Nikki inherently feels she can trust this man with her life. Soon, they find themselves on the run from both their own troubled pasts and authorities hunting for Sebastian’s killer. With each new day and each touch drawing her further into Michael’s embrace, Nikki remembers more about this fugitive she once loved, and who still loves her enough to risk everything to protect her and keep her safe. But can she love a man who just might be a murderer?
If you liked the blurb, take a peek at the excerpt for Manhunt:
Forty-seven minutes later, Michael ran into the emergency room, searching for Nikki, nervously tugging his shirtsleeves over his red hands as he ran. His father spotted him from down the hall. Aaron moved quickly, his eyes flickering around the room at a dizzying pace, and dragged Michael into the scrub room, throwing the water on as hot as he could before shoving Michael’s hands underneath. Upon closer inspection, Aaron could see that under the jacket and long sleeves, Michael’s forearms and hands were covered in blood, drying and coagulating in some spots, still glistening wet in others. There were dark, wet patches on the knees of his dress slacks. The implications made his stomach churn with dread.
“I don’t have time for this, Dad. Where’s Nikki?” Michael’s voice was frantic, his mind working a mile a minute.
“Like hell you don’t,” Aaron hissed. “Nikki’s awake, but she’s in a fragile state. No way am I letting her or anyone else see you until you have gotten every drop of blood off you. Seriously, Michael? What the hell were you thinking? I don’t know what you were trying to accomplish, but I assure you that while beating the crap out of Sebastian might have felt damn good for a second or two, the consequences will be far reaching. I’m not sure that’s something you took into consideration.”
“Where’s Nikki?” he repeated, drying his now clean arms off as he glared at Aaron, completely ignoring anything not related to the room number he sought. He was just about to go on a mad dash through the E.R., opening doors and throwing back curtains until he found her. “Exam Room 9,” Aaron whispered.
“Nikki!” Michael half-screamed, half-sighed as he walked in the room. On the hospital bed lay a vision of beauty, despite being gaunt from either a lack of food or sleep and covered in cuts and bruises, her entire torso wrapped up in gauze and tape.
“Who are you?” the girl asked, looking skittish.
“It’s me, Michael.”
She tilted her head and scrunched her eyebrows, the way she always did when she was trying to understand something that confused her.
Michael’s heart broke at the realization; she was suffering from amnesia. He shook his head to refocus on the task at hand and began searching through supply drawers for her clothes. Finding none, it occurred to him that they had probably been bagged as evidence. He quickly unbuttoned his dress shirt, which was far from clean but would have to do, leaving himself in just his white undershirt, and returned to the bed.
“No time to explain. I’ve got to get you out of here.” Without another word, he removed her IV, took her hospital gown off without a thought for her modesty and pushed her arms through the sleeves of his shirt as delicately as he could.
The injured girl tried to fight back, but didn’t scream. He took her face between his hands and pleaded with her.
Thanks for visiting, Lillie.