Hello Bookworms, I am thrilled to chat with Lillie Vale, the author of The Decoy Girlfriend! This novel is released in just a few days, so keep reading to learn just how the book was constructed, revised and drafted!
Erin : What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?
Lillie : I revise significantly while I write, so the draft I deliver to my editor usually ends up in pretty good shape! I just need to tighten/delete some scenes, move dialogue around, or expand on the foundations already in place.
Erin : What would be the ideal date for your characters, Freya and Taft, in your book The Decoy Girlfriend
Lillie : Definitely another bookshop date like the one they have at Skylight Books! Taft would be utterly enchanted watching how animated Freya gets when talking about books.
Erin : What is your favourite word, and why?
Lillie : Labyrinth!
The short version: it’s a remarkably satisfying word to say and type!
The long version: I use this word in in every novel. A labyrinth consists of winding, confusing paths that are easy to get lost in—this parallels the emotional journey of the characters I write. They’re all trying to find their way, and while they may experience frustrations and setbacks, labyrinths are always leading to somewhere. And I think labyrinths reflect this really human idea of destiny—of eventually bringing us where we need to be as long as we keep moving forward. Nothing is ever hopeless, nothing is ever a true dead end. I tend to write about teens and adults who are gutsy, ambitious, but also, in their own ways, a little lost. In whatever labyrinth they lose themselves, they have the opportunity to find themselves, too.
Erin : How did your work on this book change you?
Lillie : I was in a bit of a labyrinth of my own while writing The Decoy Girlfriend, struggling to reach The End while feeling tripped by other people’s expectations and very anxious that in trying to meet and conform to those expectations, I wouldn’t be writing the story in the way that I found most compelling. My way through was in embracing everything I loved about the book, listening to trusted feedback, and silencing what tried to diminish me.
Erin : What’s the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Lillie : Writing from/identifying with a male POV isn’t new to me! So it was very natural and fulfilling.
Erin : And here’s a final fun question, can you share a link to a recipe you love?
Lillie : I’m a sucker for a hearty summer salad! I’ve been eating variations of this one all summer!
Writer Freya Lal has a huge secret: she’s a dead ringer for It-girl actress Mandi Roy. Her second novel is due in a month, but inspiration is nowhere to be found. Desperate to shake off her writer’s block, Freya leans into her look-alike abilities and indulges in some mistaken identity for simple perks, like scoring a free mimosa or getting into a trendy nightclub.
Actor Taft Bamber appears to have it all: gorgeous, talented, and Mandi’s love interest both on- and off-screen. But what nobody knows is that their relationship is a PR stunt, and after years of playing make-believe, he’s yearning for something real.
When Freya’s latest impersonation of Mandi goes viral thanks to Taft’s accidental interference, rumors of a breakup threaten Hollywood’s golden couple. To make amends, Freya is forced to give Mandi a little time off: she’ll pretend to be the actress for a month, move in with Taft, and squash the rumors by acting completely in love. But as Freya and Taft play house, it becomes impossible to ignore that their instant chemistry isn’t just for the cameras. While faking it, they might have just found the real thing.
Lillie Vale is the author of books for both teens and adults, including The Decoy Girlfriend, Beauty and the Besharam, The Shaadi Set-Up and Small Town Hearts, an American Library Association’s 2020 Rainbow Books List selection. She writes about secrets and yearning, complicated and ambitious girls who know what they want, the places we call home and people we find our way back to, and the magic we make. Born in Mumbai, she grew up in Mississippi, Texas, and North Dakota, and now lives in an Indiana college town.