Why I Write Contemporary Romance

Please welcome guest author Lily Harlem to the Cafe!

Thank you for inviting me today, I’m thrilled to be here. I’ve brought with me my new contemporary romance novel Breathe You In which is set in modern day England. People often ask me if I will ever write historical or sci-fi and I always say an emphatic no. It’s just not my thing. I’ll dabble with paranormal and even switch from male/female to male/male pairings, but stray from contemporary settings, nope, not for me.

So then I ask myself why? What is it about writing a novel set in modern times with modern characters that’s so appealing? I suppose the answer is quite simple really, the saying is ‘write what you know’, and since I’m living in this time and in this country that’s what I write.

I’m finding more and more that I’m using British characters too, something I’ve always done but the comfort zone of using British dialogue is a trait I’m settling into and become stubborn about straying from. If you met me you’d hear that I have an English accent and I’m often guilty of saying “whoops-a-daisy “and “oh, bloody hell!” (whoops-a-daisy takes the place of bloody hell if there are kids around!). So it’s just easier to have characters who speak like me rather than trying to add American or Australian or Canadian speech quirks into them, I’m sure it makes them more believable and relatable too.

Breathe You In is set in Northamptonshire, a beautiful part of the English countryside that I know well. In fact Elton John mentioned Northamptonshire in his song Candle in the Wind when he sang at Princess Diana’s funeral, he refers to it as ‘England’s greenest hills’.

Chorus

 And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never fading with the sunset
When the rain set in
And your footsteps will always fall here
Along England’s greenest hills
Your candles burned out long before
Your legend ever will

Princess Diana was from Northamptonshire and grew up at the beautiful Althorpe Estate – http://www.spencerofalthorp.com – which the Spencer family still own. She’s buried on an island in the lake here. I visited not long after her passing and lay flowers at the water’s edge.

Breathe You In is a story about a young life cut short, but from it another life lives on. It has some medical aspects to the story, which suits me as I worked as a nurse before I started writing (again, that’s what I know so that’s what I write), and also includes some other features of Northamptonshire. These include the fabulous balloon festival that’s held there each year and attracts hundreds of thousands, and also Silverstone Racetrack, home of the British Grand Prix.

Formula One and Minion hot air balloons in a historical or sci-fi novel? Nah? That’s why I’m a contemporary author, I love putting the ‘real’ touch to my stories and hopefully making a reader feel like they’ve visited a part of the world they’ve never been to by reading about my hero and heroine falling in love and having sexy, romantic times in a truly beautiful place.

Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll check out Breathe You In. I adored writing it and it really is a little bit different without having to step back in time or to another world.

Lily Harlem x

~  ~  ~

Breathe You In

Breathe You In CoverSoul-aching desire was only the first layer of emotion around a secret I had to keep for all of time.

If the road to heaven starts in hell, then I was ready to start climbing my way out and Ruben Strong was the man to accompany me. With his devastating good looks, seductively sexy charm and lust for adrenaline, he was sure to make it a sensual and erotic experience as well as one to re-awake the passionate, throw-caution-to-the-wind woman I’d once been.

I’d given Ruben something, though, without him realizing, and that gift had come from the man I’d loved before. But I couldn’t tell Ruben. I had to keep that a tight secret even on the nights our naked bodies wound together, sought out pleasure and hit the dizzy heights of ecstasy—because Ruben had my husband’s heart, literally, and that heart was still in love with me, so it seemed, and now I was in love with Ruben.

Emotions tangled with bliss and fears were locked away as I surrendered to the touch of Ruben’s hands, the taste of his skin and the sounds of his pleasure. I couldn’t deny that Ruben had brought me back to life the same way I had him, and there was no way I was giving up that feeling, not for anyone.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously self-published. It has been expanded, revised and re-edited for release with Totally Bound Publishing.


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