Welcome to The FFBC’s blog tour for Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale! As the organizer for this tour, I got the opportunity to interview Lillie!
Interview with Lillie Vale
Hi Lillie! I’m Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl, and the tour organizer for the Small Town Hearts blog tour! I’m excited to chat with you and get to know you and your book better.
Hi Jana! Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today and coordinating everything for this fabulous blog tour!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
1. Tell us about your experience as a debut author thus far.
It’s one of the best, most indescribable feelings in the world to know that something so dear and so personal to you is meeting the rest of the world. I imagine it’s a lot like being a mama bird and pushing a (book) baby out of the nest, trusting that it will be all right. I have so much gratitude for getting to do what I love, and for the book community in championing this book that once upon a time existed only for me.
2. Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I think I was at home, scrolling on my phone, having a very ordinary night in. I was, of course, hoping for news, and knew that it would be sometime soon, but seeing a new email in my inbox was still a surprise! The best of surprises :~)
3. What have been some of your favorite recent reads?
I’m reading Crown of Feathers right now by fellow debut Nicki Prau Preto! I read this one a while ago but I can’t stop thinking about Rachel Lynn Solomon’s Our Year of Maybe (I think it would be a great read-a-like to Small Town Hearts!), and I’ve been super lucky to read some upcoming novels. 2019 and 2020 is going to be so great, y’all.
4. What are you up to when you’re not reading or writing?
I don’t bake often (I’ll live vicariously through Babe for all my sweet tooth fixes!!!!) but I love spending time time in the kitchen cooking up a great dinner. I also play Sims if I don’t have deadlines to meet, because let’s face it, that game is a black hole for time management! When it’s nice out, I like doing outdoorsy things, so I’m really happy about all this spring weather we’re having!
5. What’s your next project?
Nothing I can share just yet, but I am really excited to be drafting again! I finished an ownvoice Desi romcom a while back, and now I’m on to a new own voice project :~)
ABOUT THE BOOK
1. Pitch us your book in 5 words or less.
Bi baking barista in Maine or, if I’m being sneaky about word choice…BFF-breakup. Second-chance summer. Foodie. LGBTQ+.
For readers craving a more meaty description of the book, however, it’s a BFF breakup + found family novel taking place in the summer after high school, the last summer 19yo bi baking barista Babe thinks she’ll have before her friends Penny and Chad start college in the fall. She has a somewhat co-dependent relationship with the people she loves, and change has never been a good thing, in her experience, so she’s trying to hold on tight during a time when she has to learn how to let go. Matters are further complicated when her ex-girlfriend Elodie returns to their sleepy Maine village of Oar’s Rest at the same time as Levi, a mysterious summer boy, shows up to rent Babe’s mom’s cottage on the beach.
2. Your bio says you always write books where the characters either kiss or kill. Tell us what this story would look like if the characters were killing instead of kissing.
In a very very very AU “Kill” version of Small Town Hearts, Penny would have been a bit more murderous! 💃🏻🔥
3. The setting in Small Town Hearts is very quaint and picturesque. Tell us about your inspiration for Oar’s Rest.
I adored creating the world of Babe’s beloved Oar’s Rest (the lighthouse!! the beach cave!! the Busy Bean!!). Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved the small towns that never felt small. The places with a unique culture that felt larger than life. My earliest examples were author-illustrator Richard Scarry’s Busytown and Arthur’s Elwood City. With these charming idylls and every beach town I’d ever been to as inspiration, it came as no surprise that Oar’s Rest became the small town of my dreams!
4. This book should come with a warning that the reader will be craving ALL THE FOOD by the end. Tell us about all the food in this book, and which your favorites are.
Yes! Haha. I always joke it needs that disclaimer because I always get grumpy with great food descriptions that I can’t have! KEEP SNACKS ON HAND, FAM.
Mainers will recognize Moxie, whoopie pie, and all the blueberries! In addition to the New England classics, we also have clam chowder, seafood chowder, and plenty of smoky, grilled fish and shrimp. While I would happily gobble up any meals Babe prepared for me, she’s especially known for her baked goods at the coffee shop where she works, The Busy Bean. Her cookies, cakes, and macarons are not to be missed!
I’d definitely stop by Busy’s for an iced coffee and a cookie or two, then work it off by exploring the town, hiking up to Babe’s lighthouse, and then coming back to town for a delicious seafood feast at Lorcan’s beach shack!
5. What’s your favorite quote from the book?
“The cardinal rule of every beach town is that locals do not get involved with tourists.”
ROFL as you might imagine, this is a rule that certainly gets broken in Small Town Hearts…
Rule #1 – Never fall for a summer boy.
Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.
And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?
About Lillie Vale
Lillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many U.S. states, and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. She can be reached on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine. Small Town Hearts is her debut novel.