Hey folks! We are so excited to be part of the blog tour for Lillian Keith’s book Should We Tell Her? It is soooooo good! And we’re excited about this! First up, we have an interview, then some book info and stay tuned for a fun giveaway and a sneak peek!!! Eeek!!! Let’s get started!!!
Interview with Author Lillian Keith
Hello Lillian, thank you so much for joining us today! Congratulations on the release of your second book! Should We Tell Her? Is such a fun read! We seriously cannot wait to start this interview, so let’s jump right in!
Eep! I’m excited to be here!
1. Why Middle-Grade fiction? What made you want to write this specific genre?
Admittedly, it was partly due to romance XD. Okay, let me clarify; I’m not a romance writer (mostly because I have little to no experience in that area Lol.). Instead, I wanted to focus on other kinds of relationships, like family, friends, and sibling bonds. When I got older, I learned the difference between YA and MG stories and realized my vision for storytelling fell more toward the MG spectrum (yes, I suppose some MG books deal with first crushes, but the ones that I loved also explored other relationships.) Couple that with the fact that I grew up reading way more middle-grade books than YA, which I absolutely loved, it became clear to me that I wanted to write for kids. Maybe someday I’ll write YA, when I’m brave enough.
That’s awesome! We read a lot more MG too, and we totally get the romance thing…lol…
2. Who would you say has inspired you the most in your writing journey? (i.e. an author, family member, friend…)
I’d have to say two people: first and foremost my mom. She encouraged me to grow in my writing skills and helped me find classes on writing. Second, Elizabeth George Speare, an MG historical fiction writer. I’ve always loved telling stories, but after reading her books in middle-school/early highschool, I realized how much I wanted to write emotionally gripping stories just like her.
Yes! Thank the Lord for moms! Oh, not sure if we’ve read any of Speare’s books…hmmm, we’ll have to look into her now.
3. What do you hope readers take away from your books?
Oh many things, I suppose. I want to inspire kids and light up their imagination. I also want them to see the world from a new perspective and get them to think about the world they live in (and grow in character too!) So many of my favorite books sparked my own imagination, and I want to give that back to kids.
That’s beautiful! We need more writers like that!
4. What inspired your debut book, An Apprentice Escapes?
During the start of the pandemic, we heard a news report that kids were being taken from homes and put in special quarantine places with social workers. It turned out that the reporter left out important details, such as the kids in question were actually in foster care and needed a place to stay (i.e a special group home, in this case). But it got the ball rolling on this idea of ‘what if’ there was a girl who was separated from her mom and how she would deal with being on her own.
Oh, we never heard that…so cool how even the tiniest detail of something you hear can start an avalanche of ideas.
5. How have you grown on your writing journey? ( i.e. writing-wise, character-wise, self-confidence…)
Hmm, let’s see. I’d say that learning to be patient would be one thing; and the second is to not hold too tightly to your first vision/dream of your story. Why? Because sometimes things change during the writing process, or something happens when you’re publishing that may throw your plans out the window. And it’s okay. I think learning to be okay in that area has been a big area for me.
Oh yeah, that is definitely true.
6. What piece of advice would you give to new or aspiring writers?
Oh, great question! I actually wrote down something my mom told me when I started pursuing writing more seriously *rummages around in closet* Ah, here’s the notebook Lol. My advice for new writers would be to never cheapen your work or sell yourself short. Taking in critique and growing in your craft is fine, and wholly encouraged. But if you’re changing your story simply to follow ‘trends’ and you compromise on your beliefs, then you can get yourself into trouble. You have a story in your heart to tell. You have a reason why you write. And those thoughts and ideas are powerful. Stay true to yourself.
7. Where did the idea for Should We Tell Her? Come from?
Originally, it came from brainstorming my next story idea with my mom and sister. We had just finished An Apprentice Escapes, and I was trying to figure out what to write next. I knew I wanted it to be compelling, so we talked about what kinds of stories people tended to gravitate towards, or what they themselves found compelling. Eventually, we came to this idea about a sister story and what would these sisters do if they faced a tragedy.
Then, I just needed to figure out where the story would take place. Fun fact: Amy had originally created the Hopewell Island setting and she wanted me to have the main characters be from there. We even included a few original townsfolk that she had created when making the island (*nods to the Abernathys*)
Haha, that’s awesome! And fun fact to go with yours, the church we go to is called Hopewell…lol…
8. What inspired you to name the characters after birds and trees and nature?
Haha, well at first, it wasn’t anything too deep. I had a list of girl names that I collected on a piece of paper. I was drawn to the name Aspen, and I played around with name combos, like Aspen Louise and Piper Mae and Amelia Wren. They had a fun ring to them. As I started writing, I drew more on nature elements because our family gardens or likes to go on nature hikes. I also researched the meaning of the name Aspen and found out that the tree usually symbolizes strength and resilience. So when I started editing and writing the second draft, I tried to incorporate more of those nature elements into the story to tie in with themes and character names. I got lucky with Wren lol. She was already a perky, out-going character in my imagination before I started writing. And what a coincidence with Aspen too, that she needed to learn bravery and resilience.
Awww, that’s beautiful!
9. What was your favorite scene to write for Should We Tell Her?
Either scenes with Aspen and Wren’s banter, or the end of Chapter Nine (can’t say any more, lest I spoil it lol.) Oh, and Curtis! I really liked writing the scenes with him and Aspen, Wren, and George.
Haha, yes George!
10. Why writing? What made writing stick? Why does it matter to you?
Wow, great questions! I suppose I write because it’s one of the best ways to communicate the stories that fill my head. Seriously, I go walking around with all these stories in my head and writing helps bring it to life.
Writing stuck because for me it’s half drive to make it a book, and half learning self-discipline to sit down and write (to which, I feel like I could improve in that area sometimes *sheepish grin*).
As for why it matters… to me, stories are powerful. I look at the impact a lot of my childhood books played in my life and shaped me as a writer. I think of how my mom talked about how books played a role in shaping cultures, and I think of how a well-written story can make people think. I want my words to make an impact for the better and reiterate the truth to people. I want them to cry, laugh, and see things from a new perspective. That’s why it matters. That’s why I write and keep writing.
Beautiful! Amazing answers!
Other Fun Info
Okay, that wraps up the interview! And here is a bunch of fun bookish info, a giveaway, and the tour schedule if you’d like to follow the tour and learn more about the amazing Lillian Keith and her equally amazing books!
Genre: Realistic Middle Grade
Author: Lillian Keith
“Mommy’s in Africa,” You kept saying, and you smiled for the first time since
Mom hadn’t come home.
And suddenly, I didn’t want that smile to disappear. I didn’t want to hear your
pleading voice asking over and over when Mom would come home. And I didn’t
want to see the disappointment in your eyes anymore.
When summer turns to tragedy, twelve year old Aspen and her younger
sister Wren struggle to cope. But how can they when their youngest sister can’t understand what is happening? Will they be able to pull together to help each other or will they fall apart?
Meet the Author:
Lillian Keith (you can just call her Lily for short!) never grew out of her love for children’s literature. She has been telling stories all her life, first to her dolls, and then to her family, and hopefully to more kids in the future.
She’s the author of the short story, An Apprentice Escapes, and the middle-grade novella, Should We Tell Her?
Aside from writing, you’ll often find her feeding wild rabbits, arguing with spell check on Google Docs, or talking with her imaginary friends *ahem* story characters. Feel free to drop by her site and say ‘hi’. She loves meeting new people, hearing from excited readers, and making new friends (be forewarned, though. She loves puns and may try to sneak one into the
conversation when you’re not looking!)
Lillian is doing two giveaways! One for the U.S. and one for our international friends! (Which are quite a few actually…lol…we know a lot of people from Canada!)
You can click the pink titles to enter!!!
U.S giveaway includes a signed copy of Should We Tell Her?, a trio of tiny character dolls (Aspen, Wren, Piper), and a homemade postcard to the winner.
Is an ebook copy of Should We Tell Her?!!!!!
Saturday, August 13th
The Introspective Introvert — Kickoff Post, Spotlight, and Giveaway Announcement!
Kristina Hall — Sneak Peak and Book Review
Sunday, August 14th
Joy C. Woodbury — Spotlight (and possible book review)
Monday, August 15th
The Misty Mayflower — Behind-the-Book Interview
Vanessa Hall — Sneak Peak
Grace A. Johnson — Spotlight and Guest Post
Sisters Three — Author Interview and Sneak Peak
Rooted Scribbles — Behind-the-Book Interview, and Spotlight
Saraina Whitney — Author Interview
Tuesday, August 16th
Amy The Beloved — Art and Music Post
Once Upon an Ordinary — Interview
Wednesday, August 17th
Grace A. Johnson — Author Interview
The Pencil Sisters — Guest Post
Thursday, August 18th
Saraina Whitney — Sneak Peak
The Introspective Introvert — How to Make a Postcard
Friday, August 19th
Allie Anderson — Behind-the-Book Interview
Vanessa Hall — Book Review
Alicia Marentette — Spotlight, Sneak Peak, and Guest Post
Into My Writing Journey — Behind the Book Interview
Saturday, August 20th
Sparkle Girl— Character Interview (Curtis), plus Book Review
Rewrites With A Faerie Pen — Sneak Peak, Character Interview (Curtis), and Book Review
Sunday, August 21st
The Introspective Introvert — End of Giveaway
And finally a sneak peek! For all of our enjoyment! 🙂
Haha, we love George! Anyway, you should totally snag you a copy of this delightful book! Are you entering the giveaway? Isn’t the cover beautiful? Has anyone else noticed how the graphics look like they were made to coordinate with our blog, even though they are the ones Lily sent out?