An Invincible Summer by Lily Rose Graham was released in May. The romantic comedy (and mystery!) follows obituary writer Ria, who runs away to Crete. Lily has stopped by for the weekly Q&A on An Invincible Summer, and what inspired her to write the novel.
Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
An Invincible Summer is a about a woman who runs away. It’s a story of love, loss and a burnt down vineyard.
What inspired you to write An Invincible Summer?
I’ve always been intrigued by people who run away, especially when they are running towards something like a new life or adventure. Usually it comes at a point of major conflict or heartbreak. I love stories of people who sell up everything to move to a new country or decide to downshift and become smallholders. It’s so brave. In my story Ria Laburinthos, an obituary writer has had enough. Enough of pain and heartache and living her life on the margins. So she decides, on a whim, to run away.
Where do you do most of your writing?
It depends, generally I write in the morning at work before my workday begins – I try get there an hour earlier, I also write during lunchtime and on weekends at home.
What is your favourite book?
That’s a tough one. I have so many – it depends on my mood! A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle is like my equivalent of hot chocolate, also Harry Potter. For pure poetry though, Chocolat, by Joanne Harris.
Which part of An Invincible Summer did you enjoy writing the most?
Great question! I loved writing the beginning – I love the start of writing a book, but I think the most fun I had was towards the end when the mystery of the vineyard is being solved – I got so into that, that around 11 hours passed and I didn’t look up one Saturday.
Who is your favourite literary heroine?
Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. I think she is the most endearing character, I just love her. Also she offers such a beautiful lesson of hope – despite being an orphan who until she is 11 lives in various homes she has this indomitable spirit, where imagination rules. She’s the type pf character that stays with you forever.
Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Write the story you want to read. Don’t try writing what is trendy or what is popular – unless that’s what you really want to write. Get the first draft done, make that the priority: finished book, not perfect book. You can always make it better when it’s finished. But you’ll waste years trying to make it perfect if that’s your first priority. Then keep writing.
Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I’m working on a children’s book under a pen name at the moment, and after that I’ll start on my third book for Lily Graham, called Dreaming of Elephants – a story of a man who is given the literal heart of a woman during his heart transplant, and how this affects him and he begins to see the world with a women’s heart. I’m really excited to get that one done – it’s got a ghostly/ magical realism element to it too that I can’t wait to write about, like my previous novel The Postcard.
You can find out more about Lily Rose Graham on her website, and on Twitter.
Ria Laburinthos has had enough.
So on an ordinary Tuesday she decides to run away. There is nothing ordinary about her decision though. It’s been coming for years. Years of grief and her dreaded job as an obituary writer. Then when her boss asks her to share her story, about how the best day of her life turned into the unequivocal worst, she decides enough is enough.
Which is how she finds herself on a plane to Crete bound by the tales she heard growing up from her beloved Yaya. Stories of sun-drenched olive groves, plum-coloured wine sipped out of short glasses on cobbled sea-front tavernas, honey drizzled over thick, creamy-white Greek yoghurt, and wild, pink-tinged peaches warm from the sun.
What she doesn’t expect to find though is Elysium a thousand-year-old family vineyard that burnt down amidst a sea of controversy, and the enigmatic son who is trying to resurrect it. Or to uncover the ten year mystery that someone has gone to a lot of trouble to keep buried. Someone who will do anything to see that it remains that way ...
Part romantic comedy, part mystery An Invincible Summer is a light-hearted story about having the courage to start over, follow your heart, and fall in love again.