Q&A With Belinda Mary
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Q&A With Belinda Mary
Today’s Q&A is with author Belinda Mary. Belinda has her debut novel “Love Lily,” coming out soon in 2023.
Q: When you started writing, what made you realize you wanted to write romantic comedies? At what point in your life did you realize writing was what you wanted to do?
A: I have been a reader all my life! I read a wide variety of novels, from drama to serial killer thrillers and everything in between. But I have always gravitated to romance novels, generally romantic comedies because I like the certainty of knowing there will be some laughs and a guaranteed HEA at the end. So, when the urge to start writing really took ahold of me, it came naturally to me. Once Lilly and Oliver entered my mind, there wasn’t any doubt that theirs would be a love story, with some fun banter and comedy along the way.
When I was younger, I wrote so many stories. I loved writing! I would fill notebooks with poetry and mini-novels, and thought I would be an author when I grew up. I even studied English Literature at University, but then ended up completing a PhD in Molecular Biology (crazy, hey?) and pursuing a career in scientific research.
After working in the healthcare industry for over 15 years, and having two kids settled into a routine at school, it just felt like the right time to get back to my one true love. And so, I sat down with my trusty notebook and hand-wrote the first seven chapters of ‘Love, Lilly’. And I loved every minute of it.
Q: Can you tell us what “Love Lily,” is about? The readers of my blog and I are very excited about reading it.
A: ‘Love, Lilly’ is a friends-to-lovers story, focused on the FMC Lilly trying to get her life on track with the help of her best friend’s older brother Oliver (who is her long-time crush). Lilly has been floating along in life, and after one disaster too many, she decides to makes 4 New Year’s resolutions to get her life on track. What ensues is a series of comical adventures, as she bumbles her way through trying to make her dreams into reality. Oliver is Lilly’s polar opposite, and though they shouldn’t work as a couple, given how completely different they are, the chemistry when they are together is undeniable. Oliver is my perfect book boyfriend- he is so supportive of Lilly; I want one of him for my very own!
Also, at the core of this love story, is a journey of self-discovery. Lilly needs to first learn to love herself, before she is able to accept the love from the one she wants it from the most.
Q: What steps would you give to anyone wanting to write a romantic comedy book? How did you get through writers block and how would you advise someone to do the same?
A: My only advice to anyone wanting to write a romantic comedy is to first read as many romantic comedies as possible. Two years ago, my husband bought me a Kindle and a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, and I have devoured 100’s of Rom Coms since then. Once you know what you like to read in a romantic comedy, it becomes easier to write it!
I was lucky with ‘Love, Lilly’ that I didn’t experience writer’s block, but I did have a few chapters that felt like ‘hard work’. When that happened, I would skip ahead in the chronological timeline of the story and write the chapters that were ready to flow out of my fingers. It helped! Then I went back and wrote the previous chapters and they came easily. I found that when a chapter felt hard to write, it wasn’t that much fun to read!
Q: Is it fair to say that the characters in “Love Lily,” are based off of people you know? I saw on your Facebook page that Lily and Oliver’s story takes place in Melbourne Australia. Australia is one of many places I hope to see someday.
A: Lilly is the opposite of me. She is impulsive, gets distracted easily, makes friends with everyone, and can be a bit of a disaster. But she is an incredible person to know and friend to have. I based her loosely and lovingly on one of my close friends, who also stumbles through some disasters in life, but does so with a smile and a positive attitude. I love this friend very much and so I love Lilly. She is a delight!
The story is set in my hometown of Melbourne, and I hope the readers enjoy seeing an Australian novel set in a metropolitan city, and is not a stereotypical ‘outback romance novel.’ The location doesn’t play too much of a role in this story (other than the seasons being the opposite of the Northern hemisphere- January here being the peak of summer weather), but I’m hoping for a bit more of the Australian culture and traditions to pop into the next books in this series.
You should definitely come and visit us down here. Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world! 😊
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is a new writer dealing with negative feedback, online trolls, and friends and family members who are unsupportive?
A: Oh, my goodness, I have no advice for online trolls or negative feedback, as I haven’t experienced any (yet!) I don’t think I will deal with it very well; I like my feedback to be constructive and gentle and positive! 😊 So far, my family and friends have been very supportive, but I did just spring the book on them once it was written and ready to go. I kept the writing of ‘Love, Lilly’ a secret from everyone, including my husband until it was done. I wanted to know I could complete a novel before telling anyone about it.
Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If so are you allowed to reveal any details?
A: I mentioned earlier that ‘Love, Lilly’ is the first in a series of novels. The second one is centered on Lilly’s best friend Amy (who features prominently in Lilly’s story) and is also a romantic comedy with an Enemies to Lovers trope. I love Amy, she is a lot like me and therefore is easy to write. I hope to have the second novel out in mid-2023!