Welcome to a new and improved version of Indie Support Sunday, a weekly series I used to do exclusively on Instagram by featuring independent authors that I love and support. Starting today, I’m making this series a little more exciting by featuring these authors on my blog. These interviews talk about their writing journeys, the things they love and enjoy and why they chose romance as a genre to dive into. But most importantly, what it is about being an indie author that they love the most.
This week, I’m featuring Lila Dawes. Lila is an indie author based out of England, writing steamy, sexy and smart romances. Having started her author journey last year, Lila has two books out so far in her debut series, Citrus Pines. The first book, It’s Only Love was released in April 2021, followed by Color of Love which was released in November 2021.
Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Lila Dawes.
What inspired you to write—was it another author or books you read as you grew up?
I’ve always been a huge romance fan and I had loads of ideas in my head for so long but never thought I was good enough. I read The Hating Game and was like THIS….THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL! Sorry for the caps I just get super aggressively excited about that book. Then I decided to stop playing around with my ideas and start writing them down properly and…ta da!
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in?
I’m obsessed with HEAs! I love the push pull of romance novels, watching people obtain the one thing everyone on earth wants. I’m in love with love!
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
Honestly, I didn’t even consider trad pub—it crossed my mind for two seconds before I dismissed it. I genuinely didn’t think I was good enough to get picked up by them, they seem to like a specific formula or whatever romance trope is “trending” and I wanted to write what I wanted. I also wanted complete control over what I was putting out, I didn’t want to write a story I loved for someone to tell me I needed to completely rework it, that would be heart breaking.
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
The best part is doing what you love and getting to do it for YOU! I wouldn’t have said there was a worst part, just the hardest part is you have to do it ALL whilst being emotionally invested in the story, but trying to remain totally distanced from the “business” decisions. It’s really tough sometimes. I’ve had to make some real head over heart decisions but we learn and grow and adapt.
Do you write full time or is this something you do on the side? And would you want to write full time?
I work full time because I need to pay for food, fake flowers and candles. So once I finish my day job, I log off my work laptop and come upstairs and open up this one and start all over again for a few hours each night. I would love to do this full time but right now it’s not financially possible, maybe in future.
Other than writing, what is something you enjoy and are really good at? (ex: knitting, painting, etc)
Sleeping, I’m super good at that! I like doing crafty stuff stuff with flowers normally, I’m not great at it but I still do it anyway.
If not romance/or subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
I really don’t think anything else would interest me. I used to like crime so maybe that but even then…meh.
What are some of your all time favourite books—ones that you recommend to people or can reread multiple times?
The Hating Game is my favourite book but anything by Gena Showalter or Susan Elizabeth Phillips, love both of those. I love the Four Horseman series by Laura Thalassa and new to me Stay A Spell series by Juliette Cross.
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
1. Always have a notes app or somewhere you can jot down any thoughts, ideas or random pieces of dialogue.
2. TAKE A BREAK—if you need it, take it. There’s nothing wrong with putting you first, being creative is tiring so you need to take breaks and avoid a long ass burnout!
3. The thesaurus is your friend but not your life partner—do not over use. Sometimes simple words have the biggest effect.
4. It’s hard giving and taking critique. You don’t have to take it, but don’t be blind to others’ opinions. Also be gracious and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. How would you like to be given critique? Respectfully and truthfully.
5. We all have crushing self doubt, accept it when it comes and know that it will go away again. Mine comes in waves and I’m used to it now, it makes it easier to ignore, not always but most of the time.
Can you briefly tell me about the books you’ve published so far?
I’ve published two so far in my small town steamy romance series set in Citrus Pines which features broody, sexy muscular men and the sassy women who bring them to their knees! My first book It’s Only Love is about Christy & Dean and is an enemies to lovers, best friends stepbrother. The second book in the series, Color of Love, is about Christy’s friend Justine and the gorgeous new Deputy Sheriff Blake who reluctantly needs her help. It’s a forbidden romance with a sexy deal.
Both books contain steam, feels, laughs and swoons!
Of your books, who is your favourite character?
My favourite character is Taylor who is my heroine for book 3 which will hopefully be due out this year. She’s feisty, snarky with walls sky high and a full heart.
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
I heard a song on the radio by Luke Bryan called “Strip It Down” and book one came to me. I’m British so the whole American southern small town thing really intrigued me and then Christy popped into my head followed by Dean.
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
All my female characters have a piece of me. Christy is my physique and insecurity, Justine is my fierce independence fighting with my need to be taken care of and Taylor is my sarcasm and badassery!
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
I would love to have the readers drawn into the world I’ve created. The small town vibes, it’s characters and care about what happens to them like they’re part of their world. I want them to get all the swoons, feel the heat between them and get emotional when they get their HEAs. And if I’ve done my job right, then they will!
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
I want to tell stories that I wish I was living. I wish I was having these romance drama’s and meeting these gorgeous men and having them fall head over heels in love with me. Alas, I’m not, but this is the next best thing!
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
Taylor and Beau will be next which I’m currently working on, it’s an enemies to lovers with a painful history and hopefully it will have alllll the steam!
What are your most and least favourite tropes?
My favourite is enemies to lovers and I’m not a fan of surprise pregnancy/single parent.
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
I’ve got a friends to lovers which I’m really wanting to hurry up and get to but there’s too much that needs to come first!
Ebooks or audiobooks: Ebooks
Historical romance or romantic suspense: Historical
Single or Dual POV: DUAL ALL DAY LONG – Gimme that man’s POV stat!
Standalones or series: Series
Music or silence while writing: Music – I’ve got an 80’s playlist that I have on repeat.
Plotter, pantser or plantser: Plantser till I die haha!
Tea or coffee: Ew…neither, hot chocolate allll the way!
Cold or warm weather: Both in moderation.
Morning person or night owl: Night owl…hoo!
Illustrated cover or photo cover: Both are gorgeous