Behind the Book with Lily Luchesi
This week I spoke with USA Today Bestselling Author, Lily Luchesi! I've had the pleasure of working with Lily in anthologies and I'm so thrilled to bring this interview to you.
Liz - Tell us a little bit about your part of the world, and have you always lived there?
Lily - I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and lived there until I was nearly eighteen. My family relocated to Los Angles, where my mother and grandmother previously lived when they worked in the music industry. I returned there with my mother to continue the family business, so to speak, and promote then lesser known rock bands, like Falling In Reverse, New Years Day, and the entirety of Hollywood Waste Records (a subsidiary of Century Media). We lived in LA for eight years, and in that time we switched from music to publishing, through which we received an offer to go to Arizona. After ten months in AZ, we were terribly homesick and returned to Illinois, this time to a suburb outside of Chicago. Most of my work is set here in northern IL, with a few things in England (where I have always wanted to visit) and in Los Angeles. Chicago is as much a character in my books as the actual people are; the city is amazing and magical in its own right.
Liz - You write both short stories and novels – which came first?
Lily - Neither, poetry came first. I composed my first poem at the age of three. Then it was short stories for school, starting in second grade. I always made up tales in my head my whole life, and my teacher taught me how to enjoy writing them down. I wrote my first novel (around 58k words) at age twelve.
Liz - What was the first short story you had published and what inspired it?
Lily - It was called “Kill ‘Em With Kindness”, and I still love it to this day. It was published in October 2014 in an anthology called Wishful Thinking. I believe the paperback is still in print, but I have taken the story and re-edited it myself with plans on re-releasing it in a collection sometime next year. It was inspired by how awful human beings are. Pessimistic, right? It’s a sci-fi horror tale that features exploding eyeballs, decapitation, and the feasting on the brains of rotten people.
Liz - As a paranormal writer, what other genre do you most like to pair it with?
Lily - Horror! I am a horror fanatic and have been my whole life. The feeling of fear is so visceral, so human; it’s fun to play with. I am not a big jump scare person; I prefer slow-burn horror that gets under your skin, inside your head, and lives there rent-free even after the tale has been told. Though, to be honest, I also love a good torture scene.
Liz - What inspired The Coven Series? Will there be subsequent books to come?
Lily - The Coven Series came to me in 2016, and it started as Salem Sinclair’s story. I had been thinking about a different book series and my favorite character, how his tortured arc would have been different had he had something good to live for, like a daughter. Somehow that turned into me writing about Harley, his daughter, instead of him. It was supposed to be a standalone, The Coven Princess, but readers and my publisher at the time were insistent I write more, so I did. It became 5 books, and while the series is complete, I am releasing a prequel story called Morgana’s Revenge, which will be included in the multi-author boxed set Just A Little Wicked, which I have compiled.
Liz - You also have another series called The Paranormal Detectives. Can you tell us about it and which characters appear throughout all the books?
Lily - PDS is my baby. Stake-Out was my debut, penned in 2014, and I still hold the characters close to my heart. The only characters who appear in all 8 books are Angelica Cross and Danny Mancini, partners (at first reluctantly) at the Paranormal Investigative Division of the FBI, contracted to catch supernatural killers, including vampires, witches, shifters, demons, and even an archangel. Angelica is my Devil-may-care antihero who actually cares too much. She’s trained in multiple forms of combat, is an accomplished swordswoman, and a novelist in her spare time. She’s everything I ever wanted in an MC growing up: curvy, Goth, tattooed, formidable with a golden heart at the end of the day. Danny is an ex Chicago detective who never believed in the paranormal until it believed in him. He has a few secrets that even HE doesn’t know about, revealed in the first book, and that grow through the end of the series. Other characters who have repeated appearances are Fiona, an evil immortal witch; Vincent, a rogue vampire; Brighton, a psychic chemist and marksman; Mark, Brighton’s husband and master strategist; Bart, a werewolf security guard; Sean, a siren and Angelica’s best friend.
Liz - You have a spin off called Never Again—is this a stand alone book, or do you plan to make this a series also?
Lily - Never Again features the aforementioned Sean. It’s his life story, from his birth in 16th century Israel, discovering he’s a siren, being ostracized from his homeland, traveling the world, and being a soldier in World War 2, facing off against the Nazi-controlled demons. And that is before he becomes a rock star. One thing readers should know is that, while Paranormal Detectives is urban fantasy, Never Again is straight up horror. Especially being set during WW2, it can get unpleasant, to say the least. Originally, Never Again was supposed to stand alone, and it will, but I decided to expand it as a series of standalones based on paranormal rock stars. Think The Vampire Lestat written by Stephen King and Marry Shelley. The next book is slated to release Halloween 2021, and will be titled Make Me Bad. I LOVE rock music, and each book will have a song title as its title,paying homage to the music that inspires me.
Liz - What draws you to write series rather than stand alone novels?
Lily - I don’t have an answer for that! I read both equally growing up, and usually I intend to write standalones. Both The Coven Series and The Paranormal Detectives started out as standalones, and then the characters started taking over, and readers wanted more, and it all snowballed. It wasn’t intentional
Liz - March 2021 will see the release of the anthology, Just A Little Wicked, which features your work. Can you tell us about your story?
Lily - As I mentioned somewhere above, it’s a prequel to The Coven Series, titled Morgana’s Revenge. I am bastardizing Arthurian legend and incorporating it into my world. The lead is obviously Morgan Le Fay, and it will see her journey to becoming The Morrigan. Arthur, Merlin, and Guinevere play key roles in the whole tale, and Accolon makes an appearance as well. Since it’s upper YA, I wanted to make sure it was as inclusive as possible. As a teenager, I never saw a bisexual character, so I wanted to make sure that other readers, especially teens, get to see the representation I never received, so Morgan is bisexual, and Arthur is aromantic. The basis of the plot is best explained in the official blurb: When King Uther Pendragon succumbs to a strange malady, his son, Arthur, declares war on the magical kingdom outside Camelot. Believing them to be the ones who sent the illness as a curse, he makes an offer: move to Camelot, renounce magic, or die. Can Morgan, a lone teenage witch, change his mind, or will she be forced to resort to the Darkness building up within her soul?
Liz - You’ve recently participated in some on-line live readings. How did this come about and how did you find it?
Lily - Mostly, I find them via friends in the author community. My most recent one last month was with an author I’ve known for seven years, Joanne Marlowe (aka Strangegirl); she was a friend from when I was only blogging, not writing professionally. A few others were podcasts, and I have another one with horror author Armand Rosamilia in February. I have a large networking pool with amazing people who refer each other to new avenues all the time, because we want each other to succeed.
Liz - Aside from writing, what do you like to do when you have some free time?
Lily - I LOVE to cook. It’s fun and another creative outlet. I also love going to concerts (well, not this year), getting tattoos, and being the homebody and creepy person I am, I watch a lot of crime shows, murder documentaries, and horror TV.
Liz - Has covid life changed the way you write and/or how/where/when you get to do it?
Lily - No, because I have a full time job as co-owner of Partners In Crime Book Services, where I provide social media management for authors, cover design, and professional editing and proofreading. So I spend most of my time working from home anyway, and I write for 1-2 hours a night after work is done.
Liz - What are you working on at the moment?
Lily - Refining Morgana’s Revenge, writing a Victorian gothic horror novella called Dead Memories, which will release in June or July, and also Make Me Bad, as I mentioned above. Make Me Bad has given me some extremely interesting research material: Victorian autopsies, human skull preservation, taxidermy, and electronic nerve reanimation in corpses. So I’m having fun. For my pen name, Samantha Calcott, I have a rockstar romance I’m halfway through, and am working on Training My Dom, a BDSM dark romance for release in 2022.
Liz - Where can your fans follow you?
Lily - Readers can find me at the following links. http://facebook.com/lilyluchesi http://twitter.com/lilyluchesi http://instagram.com/lilyluchesi http://smarturl.it/LilyLuchesiNL http://smarturl.it/LilyLuchesiAmazon https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lily-luchesi