Jan 16, 2013

Legends on LoveCats ........ Lilian Darcy

LoveCats DownUnder are delighted to welcome the wonderfully talented Lilian Darcy to our Legends segment today.

1/ Please tell us a little about your journey to first getting published?
 In two words, short and clueless. The very first romance I wrote was accepted by Mills & Boon in London, but although this sounds enviable it actually wasn’t good for my long-term career for quite a while. The book only just squeaked in as being of “publication standard” and it took much honing of craft before editors and readers began to take me seriously. It would have been much better to hone the craft in private, and leave those early and now quite old-fashioned books buried in a bottom drawer! Fortunately, I’ve now had the rights to most of those reverted to me so that they won’t be out there in ebook land, ambushing some poor unsuspecting reader.
2/ How many books have you had published so far in your career?
 81 category romances, 3 women’s fiction novels, 2 on-line serials, so I’m going to say 86.
3/ The world of publishing is ever evolving, how have you stayed on top of trends and continued to give your readers what they want?
 By caring about what I do and focusing on what I love. You can’t please everybody, so I think you just have to write stories and characters that you find gripping and engaging yourself, and hope that enough readers feel the same way.
 4/ What has been the highlight of your publishing career so far?
 Receiving two Rita nominations in two different categories in 2003 was pretty cool. Also, embracing the brave new world of self-publishing has been very exciting. I obtained the rights to my Mira Australia novel “Cafe du Jour” and re-published that, and since then have also published another women’s fiction novel “All Dressed Up” and a historical women’s fiction novel, “Saving Gerda.”
5/ Which of your books is your favourite, and why?
 That’s a hard one. “Cafe du Jour” and “Saving Gerda” are both very much books of the heart. One reader email or positive review for these books will make my whole day. Of my more recent romances, “A Marriage Worth Fighting For” is one I’ve especially loved, as it’s such an unusual story, with a heroine who doesn’t sound all that likeable on the face of it. How often do you have a romance heroine who admits to herself that she married her husband for his money? I love that readers have seen beyond this to what Alicia is really like, because I adore her.
 6/ Are you a plotter or a panster?
A horrible, messy mix of the two. I dive right in, then realise I don’t know where the story is going and plot for a bit, then write again and the story goes off in a way I didn’t plan so then I have to revise my ideas on where it was heading, etc, etc.
7/ What’s the one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Pay attention to your process. Understand it, nurture it, track what you need to do to make it work at its best. Don’t neglect it, and don’t neglect to re-fill the creative well, or you will burn out sometime down the road and have no idea what to do about it.
 8/ What do you love most about being a romance author?
 Making a living on the stories in my head is a real privilege. It has it’s downside, but the freedom and flexibility, the celebration of creativity, the thrill of knowing that I’m reaching and touching readers. The other huge plus is the friendships with other writers - gorgeous, funny, warm, fabulous women.

Lilian's most recent release is Saving GerdaSaving Gerda” available through www.backlistebooks.com
and A Marriage Worth Fighting For” from Harlequin Special Edition 
Leave a comment to go into the draw to win an Amazon voucher for an Ebook copy of either, Saving Gerda, All Dressed Up or Cafe du Jour - winners choice!

Thank you Lilian for visiting LoveCats today and sharing your wonderful journey . . .


  1. Welcome to the LoveCats, Lilian! It's fabulous to have you visit and I'm going to indulge in a fan moment and say how much I enjoy your books!

    I've heard you speak about your journey to quick publication and the pitfalls you found - you're advice about leraning the craft in private really resonated with me!

  2. ooops, that's learning! Mmmm, speakign of learning - I should have proof-read before I pressed publish! LOL

  3. Lillian, welcome to the LoveCats! It's such a thrill to have you here. I loved Cafe du Jour and I can't wait to read Saving Gerda.

    Your writing advice about nurturing your process really resonated with me. I wasn't a "quickly picked up" author and it's only about now (writing Book 13) that I've recognised the value in that.

    Looking forward to having you come back and celebrate Book 100!

  4. Thanks for saying such lovely things about my stuff, Sharon and Michelle.

    I'm glad the advice on process resonated. The industry is changing so much that it's hard to give advice on that side of things now, but paying attention to process is an enduring part of a writing career, and I think a lot of people don't do enough of it.

    Not sure about getting to Book 100. We'll see...

  5. Hi Lilian,
    You may not have had the best start... but 86 books... wow! You sure kept going!

    Learning in private is a great way to think of my (long) journey to publication - I'm going to keep that in mind, thank you.

    And I'm going to remember to nurture and feed my process.

    Thanks for some inspiration today :)

    Cath xo

  6. Hi Lilian ~ I have your McKinley Medics in my TBR and probably some of your HMED's as well. I just figured out that you have written almost 3 books a year so you just have to keep up the pace for another 6 years or so to hit 100. I'll be watching for it as long as it is in book form. Oh heck maybe six years from now I will have an ereader.

  7. Catherine, I'm glad to have been of help. If you love writing, you should keep doing it, no matter how long your journey to publication might be.

    Kaelee, you gotta get that e-reader! More and more great writers are republishing their backlists in ebook form (e.g. at www.backlistebooks.com) and putting out new releases that way, also.

    I know, I know, we're never going to stop reading REAL books, but it doesn't have to be a choice between the two. I go back and forth between reading print books and reading on my Kindle all the time.

  8. P.S. Meant to say, hope you enjoy the McKinley Medics.

  9. Hi Lilian - thank you so much for joining the LoveCats tody. Your wonderful career is inspirational and I just downloaded Saving Gerda and can't wait to start reading it.

  10. That wa a terrific read. Really, Lilian, you look way too young to have done all that you have. I agree with Helen, your career is inspirational.

  11. Welcome to the Cats loop, lillian. It's great to have you drop by. As Helen says, your career path is inspirational. A lot of very good books out there by you.

  12. Hope you like Saving Gerda, Helen. It is very different to my contemporary romances, but still "me" if you know what I mean.

    Thanks, Maria. (Note to self - could it be time to update my photo? Nah...)

    Lovely to be here, Sue, especially when people are saying such nice things!

  13. Gosh Lilian, such an awesome career, and one to definitely try and emulate. I love your creative process, sounds a bit like mine, and also your advice about refilling the creative well, one of my 2013 resolutions.


  14. Both of those things are so important, Jane.

    I have a blog that I've let slide for the past six months due to health stuff, but I'm hoping to get it going again with a focus on process and writing life issues, because it seems to me that in a changing industry, these are the things that DON'T change.

    I'm concerned that too many writers are focusing on the industry and promotion stuff and forgetting to keep tabs on their process and their creativity.

  15. That's amazing you've written so many books.


  16. It's like water on stone, bn100, word by word by word...

  17. The sheer volume of books is just so impressive. Thank you for sharing. It's always a pleasure to place a person behind the books.

  18. You're welcome, Mary. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer reading (and writing!)

  19. Hi Lilian, it's terrific reading your interview and having you here today. I've enjoyed your talks at RWAus conferences because your advice is so down to earth and thought provoking - I always get something out of it. It's wonderfully encouraging to hear about your amazing volume of publications coupled with your continued enthusiasm for writing. I'm looking forward to dipping into your latest soon.

  20. Thanks, Annie. I'm glad you feel that my advice is down to earth, because I hate when some writers give out this airy-fairy advice that doesn't really represent how hard a writing career can often be. There's no point at all in dishonest advice.