A warm welcome to author Lily Velez joining us today to talk about her new release Lavender in Bloom.
Welcome Lily 🙂
LAVENDER IN BLOOM BY LILY VELEZ
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Lavender in Bloom by: Lily Velez
Publication Date: July 25th, 2016
Genre: Historical, Coming-of-Age Romance
It’s the year 1802 in Avignon, France
Noah Capet has spent most of his young life living simple and unvaried days in the hushed countryside of southern France. Quiet, reserved, and diffident, his preference for existing is to do so in solitude, keeping to himself both in town and on his family’s farm—a predilection that’s altogether disrupted when a newcomer to town by the name of Jeremie Perreault begins an unremitting quest to befriend him.
Jeremie is everything Noah is not. Charismatic and gregarious, he leaves a trail of charmed admirers in his wake wherever he goes. Expressive and idealistic, he talks without end about his deep love for old books and his spirited dream to one day travel the world on a literary pilgrimage.
Over the course of a single summer, the two form an unlikely friendship, but just as quickly as it develops, it soon entirely dissolves as they’re forced to face the truth of what has unexpectedly emerged between them.
Lavender in Bloom is a tender and tragic coming-of-age story about first love and self-discovery, and a poignant reminder that time is fleeting and always takes with it the choices we’re too afraid to make.
Can you tell us more about the characters and settings in Lavender and Bloom and how you developed them?
Characters are what I most love about the writing process! 🙂
In Lavender and Bloom, the two main characters are Noah Capet and Jeremie Perreault, who couldn’t be more opposite from each other. Noah, for his part, is quiet and reserved. He prefers to keep to himself, and he likes to get lost in his work as a farrier (that’s someone who takes care of horse hooves and who nails on horseshoes). Jeremie, on the other hand, is outgoing, gregarious, and charming — the type of person who leaves an effect on people.
They come from very different worlds. Noah has spent most of his life in the hushed countryside of southern France, where things are peaceful and tranquil, and where the days are more or less unvaried. Jeremie, though, hails from high society. The life he’s known has been filled with social graces, dinner parties, and world travel.
Finally, they also have a different way of looking at the world. Noah has never given much serious thought to life beyond his family’s farm. The idea of striking out on his own is a little daunting to him, and he prefers to stay within his comfort zone. Jeremie, though, wants nothing more than to leave his old life behind. It’s one of the reasons he’s come to Avignon (where the story is set). He establishes a bookshop there (books are his number one passion) and he talks of wanting to begin a trade as a bookbinder (unheard of since he’s the son of a wealthy businessman and is expected to follow in his father’s footsteps) and of wanting to travel the world on what he calls ‘pilgrimages’ (such as visiting the most beautiful libraries in the world or visiting places where his favorite stories are set).
Despite their differences, however, Noah and Jeremie end up developing an unlikely friendship, and Lavender in Bloom basically follows the development of that friendship, as well as what happens when the two realize that something unexpected has begun to emerge between them. 🙂
I have so much fun developing characters, and my process is pretty straightforward. Usually, I start with a face. I might see an actor while watching a movie or TV show and think, ‘wow, I need to make them a character!’ And then once I grab a picture of them online, I’ll flesh out things like their name, age, personality, occupation, and family tree. Lately, I’ve even started making Pinterest boards for characters (way too much fun!), which allows me to think about what their home might look like, the pets they have, quotes or movies or decor that they’re into, and so on. So this is basically the process I followed for developing Noah and Jeremie over the years (in addition to writing tens of thousands of words’ worth of scenes between them).
As for setting, I knew I wanted the story to be set in southern France because that’s where you mostly see the lavender fields that come into bloom every summer. After a great deal of research, I found this beautiful walled city called Avignon, and after looking at pictures online and watching videos on YouTube, I knew it was perfect for the story.
I didn’t just want the story to be ‘set’ there, though. I wanted the soul of the place to be woven into the narrative, so I did extensive research on what life would be like there in the 1800s, I recorded the names of certain streets I’d want to mention and why they were important, and I read up on the history of the city and its many claims to fame (such as the fact that it used to be the residence of the popes before they moved to Rome!). I mention a lot of landmarks of Avignon in the story including a 12th century bridge called the Pont d’Avignon and a rocky outcrop that has a park on top called Rocher des Doms. Hopefully, as a result, people will feel like they’re right in France as they’re reading Lavender in Bloom! 🙂
Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she’s not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at www.lilyvelezbooks.com.