Prepare to be captivated by the enchanting world of romance as we sit down with the incredibly talented author, Lily Chu. A master of heartwarming tales, Lily’s latest creation, “The Comeback,” introduces us to a world where love and ambition intertwine in the most unexpected and delightful ways. Lily’s journey into the realm of writing wasn’t always on the horizon. While her childhood was not marked by the pursuits of a budding author, her love for reading provided a fertile ground for her literary aspirations. It wasn’t until her early twenties, amidst the vibrant atmosphere of a literary festival, that the spark of storytelling ignited within her. An idea, seemingly born out of casual contemplation, blossomed into a realization – she could be the one to craft the book she had always longed to read. With determination in her heart, Lily retreated to her basement apartment and embarked on her writing journey that very night. As she herself admits, the first attempt may not have been a literary masterpiece, but it was the humble beginnings of what would eventually become her creative signature.
Join us as we explore Lily Chu’s writing odyssey, her passion for romance, and the magic that transforms ordinary words into heartwarming tales. Her honesty about her writing journey, from its modest start to the heights of “The Comeback,” serves as an inspiring testament to the resilience and passion that fuels a true storyteller.
C.A: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your writing background? What inspired you to become a writer, and how did your writing journey begin?
Lily: I’m Lily Chu and I’m a romance writer! My latest book is The Comeback, and it’s rom-com about an ambitious lawyer whose life changes when she falls for a K-pop idol. I was never a writer when I was a kid, but I always loved reading. I came to writing in my early twenties, when I was at a literary festival and very casually thought of an idea of a book I’d like to read. Then I thought, Whoa, I could write that book. I went home to my sad basement apartment and started that night. The book, by the way, is terrible.
C.A: Could you share a glimpse into your creative process? How do you approach developing ideas and turning them into stories? Do you have any specific rituals or habits that help you get into the writing zone?
Lily: I generally start with a “what if”. Such as, what if you fell for a K-pop star, but didn’t know who they were? From there, I build out what could happen, and the characters. I usually don’t outline everything I want to put in a story, but I do like to have a general idea of where it’s going to go. Luckily, one of the rules in romance is that it has to have a happy ending, so I always know the final scene.
C.A: Who are some of your favorite authors or literary influences, and how have they shaped your own writing style? Are there any books or works that have had a profound impact on your writing career?
Lily: I read fairly broadly, and I love fiction and non-fiction. Some of my favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, Alice Munro, and historian Antonia Fraser. I also love reading fellow romance writers, like Farah Heron, Talia Hibbert, and Amy Lea. Non-fiction is wonderful for providing ideas for writers, and fiction for helping to look at structure and prose.
C.A: What challenges have you faced as a writer, and how did you overcome them?
Lily: The empty page or screen is daunting. It’s a bit scary to wonder how you’re going to fill in 90,000+ words of character and plot when all you have is three pages of a story idea. But the only way to write is to sit down and do it, so that’s what I do. I try not to think about it too much.
C.A: Where do you find inspiration for your stories? Are there any specific themes or topics you enjoy exploring in your writing?
Lily: I make sure to jot down anything I encounter that gets my attention. It might be a person I pass on the street yelling on their phone (Why? To whom? About what? What happens when they hang up?) or a social media post. If it sparks an, “Huh, that’s neat” reaction, then I write it down.
C.A: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer for you?
Lily: The most rewarding aspect of being a writer is when readers tell me how much they enjoyed my books. It’s lovely to be able to take someone away from their life for a few hours.
Editing and Revision:
C.A: How important do you think the editing and revision process is for a writer? Could you share your approach to editing your own work? Do you have any suggestions for writers on how to improve their editing skills?
Lily: I think of writing as working on a sculpture. First, you rough out the general shape with the first draft, then you refine and smooth out the edges until you get what you want through editing and revision. Both are equally necessary to the finished work. My process is to write, then take some time to get some distance from the draft. When I come back to it, I go through multiple rounds of edits, moving from big structural changes to grammar and typos and ending with an audio edit, where I listen to the manuscript to check the overall flow one last time.
Publishing and Marketing:
C.A: What has been your experience with the publishing industry? Any advice for aspiring authors on finding agents or publishers? How do you navigate the world of book marketing and promotion? Any tips for authors looking to build their audience?
Lily: I had just started querying when I found my agent through a Twitter contest. But it goes to show that you never know when an opportunity will come up! When looking for agents or publishers, it’s important to be able to work with people you respect and trust. Publishing is complicated, and you can’t be expected to understand it all.
Advice for Budding Writers:
C.A: What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are just starting their writing journey? How do you handle rejection and criticism in the publishing world?
Lily: Rejection and criticism are hard, and I wish I could say it gets easier to deal with, but no. It sucks. I try to remember that not everyone is the audience for your book, which helps with some of the sting. Mostly, I handle it by trying to avoid it whenever. I try not to read reviews.
C.A: What’s your favorite quote that keeps you going in life?
Lily: “Chance favours the prepared mind” – Louis Pasteur. I like to think that all the knowledge and random thoughts I collect will help me take advantage of opportunities as they come.
C.A: Could you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or books you’re currently working on? Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers and aspiring writers? Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers and aspiring writers?
Lily: My next book, The Takedown, is about a diversity consultant who takes on a gig in luxury fashion and will be out in audio Fall 2023 and print Spring 2024. I’m also working on another rom-com about an obituary editor, and a fiction book about an ancient family of Chinese perfumers who can change emotion through scent. You can read about my upcoming books on my website: lilychuauthor.com.