I’m super excited because today, as a part of the Wednesday Books Blog Tour, I get to share an interview with author Lily Anderson. You might have first fallen in reader love with her after reading her debut novel, The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, which probably won you over with its fabulous geek culture and unstoppable banter between characters. Lily’s back with her sophomore novel, inspired somewhat by The Importance of Being Earnest, about a girl who runs away from home to compete for a college scholarship.
Onto the questions and answers!
Author Interview with Lily Anderson
Do you have a favorite character (from either of your books)? Is there something about him/her which you love but just didn’t fit and didn’t get included in the story?
I love Ben West, the hero from THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU. He’s the braying jackass that lives inside me. When I was originally drafting THE ONLY THING, Ben’s dad was a big part of the story. He was supposed to be a former Jeopardy champion who used his winnings to send Ben to the Mess and Trixie taunted Ben with the final question that finally got his dad off the show. It just never really fit with the book so it got cut pretty early on.
Awww – Ben is awesome! That would have been a super cool twist, but yeah, I can see how it didn’t fit the rest of the story. Such a fun idea, though!
One of my favorite things about THE ONLY THINK WORSE THAN ME IS YOU is all the Geekdom and witty banter. Are you a Whovian personally? Were you able to pull a lot of the trivia from things you already knew or were there things you researched for the characters?
I am a Whovian with super strong opinions (mostly about how much I hate Clara—bye forever, Impossible Girl!). For the geeky references in both of my books, I pulled from my own knowledge as much as possible, but I also researched some other fandoms that I’m not as involved with (mostly Supernatural, Game of Thrones, and comics in the Spider-Verse) when I realized which characters would be into things that I’m not. For NOT NOW, NOT EVER, I read a lot more sci-fi than I normally would and got weirdly into Frank Herbert’s Dune.
I have to say, I couldn’t tell where your personal knowledge ended and the research began. Also– right?! My husband got me hooked on DUNE while we were dating. Not my favorite storytelling style, but there’s something about it that won’t let me go.
The rivalry and banter, especially between Ben and Trixie made me laugh out loud so many times. Is there more of this sort of fun to look forward to in Not Now, Not Ever?
NOT NOW, NOT EVER is also full of rivalry and banter, although it’s not an enemies-to-lovers story like THE ONLY THING. Luckily, Ben and Trixie are minor characters in NOT NOW, so you’ll get to see what they’re up to now that they’re in college.
YAYYYY!!! I can’t wait to read it. It will be fun to get a glimpse of Ben and Trixie again, too. Totally looking forward to that.
What is one question about your books you are often asked by readers?
I think what I’m asked most is “what advice would you give to aspiring writers?” And my advice is this: not everything you write will—or SHOULD—get published. Some things will just be for you. Some things just won’t work out. Don’t ever stop. Read as much as you can.
Great advice! What do you most hope that readers take away from your novels (either or both)?
I want all my readers to take away a sense of happiness. NOT NOW, NOT EVER and its predecessor, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU, are fluff. Hopefully well crafted, artisanal and organic fluff but fluff nonetheless. NOT NOW is very much a story about choosing a path, but also realizing that the paths don’t close behind you. I want my readers to have hope for Elliot’s path and their own.
Hope and happiness are definitely worthy goals for a book. I know I felt both when I read THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU.
About Lily Anderson
LILY ANDERSON is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. She is also the author of The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You.
About Not Now, Not Ever
Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.
- She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
- She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
- And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mom’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.
What she is going to do is pack up her determination, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?
This summer’s going to be great.