Lily Seabrooke is unquestionably the sweetest member of the lesfic writing community. She also happens to be one of the most talented. Lily has been kind enough to chat with me.
Lily, what are you working on currently and when will it be released?
Now, before I say this, I promise this isn’t like me. Normally, I’m good at focusing on one thing until it’s done and then moving onto the next! But I’m working on four things at once. Whoops.
The one that everyone is going to see first is a soft, sweet little bakery romance in my Taste of Port Andrea collection, jam-packed with mutual pining, a secret relationship that actually everyone knows about but pretends they don’t, and “there’s more than one bed but they find excuses to have to sleep in the same bed.” It’s coming out February 7th, and I’m so excited to share it with everyone!
I’ve also got an opposites-attract roommate romance in Port Andrea as well, between a scruffy little deadpan ball of snark and an Instagram lifestyle influencer who’s made of sunshine and rainbows, which I’m hoping to release in early March, but we’ll see!
I recently finished the first book in a series I’m planning on releasing under a penname, because it’s my first foray into fantasy! I’m super excited about that one, but it’s going to be a while before there are any updates on it.
And I just recently started work on yet another Taste of Port Andrea romance that’s too early to say what it is, but readers of Last Chance will recognize one of the lead characters, let’s just say that.
Was this too long an answer? My bad. I promise I’m normally better about this kind of thing!
Fake It is my favorite of your books. I adore Avery. What do Avery and Holly mean to you and what do you enjoy cooking?
Thank you so much for reading (and hyping up!) Fake It! I was actually pretty nervous about how Avery would be received with how much of me she reflects, but not actually in her transness so much as in her fake-it-till-you-make-it, law-of-attraction, manifest-your-chosen-reality attitude. I wasn’t sure if people would think she was obnoxious! But I wanted to portray that even though an attitude like that can open a lot of doors, it’s easy to lose your genuine sense of self, and I think Holly’s down-to-earth honest attitude makes her the perfect person to bring out the best in Avery.
As for what I enjoy cooking, it’s kind of funny, because I actually can’t eat the majority of the meals I’ve described in my Taste of Port Andrea romance novels! I’m a vegetarian, and I have an allium intolerance, so no onions or garlic. I don’t drink alcohol, either, so I have to look elsewhere to help describe different wines in the setting… so when I cook at home, I do think I’m very good at cooking and plating, but the meals look very different from what shows up in Fake It or my other Taste of Port Andrea books!
Which of your characters would you most like to be friends with and why?
Oh no. I have to pick one? My whole modus operandi is that I want to be friends with literally everyone!!
Okay. I can do this. Deep breaths, Lily. You’ve got this.
Maybe Athena Walker, from Last Chance? She’s a bit reckless and leaps before she looks, but she’s got so much passion, she’s practically swimming in it. I think that’s one of my favorite traits in a person, when you can tell they’re obsessed with what they do just by looking. She’s a sweetheart who makes friends with everyone, too, so I think we’d get along.
You have quite several books that take place around Christmas time. What are some of your favorite childhood memories from the holidays and what new traditions have you and your girlfriend started?
Oh, this is such a soft and sweet question and my answer is just depressing. The truth is, I had depression as a child and ended up losing most of my childhood memory as a result, and I’m (happily!) estranged from my parents, so I don’t have any happy childhood memories or family connections for the holiday season.
That said, to me, I think it’s a beautiful thing, because I get to decide for myself what the holidays mean and what kinds of traditions I get to have, especially now that I get to build those traditions together with my girlfriend. I’m still feeling around and trying things! Obviously, my girlfriend and I track Santa—who is real—on Christmas Eve with NORAD Santa Tracker. And I make some really good Christmas cinnamon rolls! I think we’re off to an amazing start.
I don’t think there is any greater joy in life than living one’s truth and being accepted for who you are. As a trans woman, when did you realize that you identified as female and how much does the support of the lesfic community mean to you?
Even though I just said I lost most of my childhood memory, I have a precise memory of when I was thirteen and read online about another trans woman, my first time coming across the term, and my exact thought was “oh, that’s what I am.”
Which kind of implies I knew something was weird about me beforehand, but ignoring that!
I’m simpleminded, so I was just straight on from there. Unfortunately, my parents wouldn’t let me transition or present as female, so I left once I was able, not long after I’d solidly decided on Lily for my name.
I’ve had a lot of rough spots, and I was really afraid of how the lesfic community would take it—there’s a narrative around lesbians being TERFy, which I’ve come to realize is just good old-fashioned lesbophobia, because no one calls out gay men for it even though their communities are statistically more trans-exclusive than lesbians on average—so the support I’ve gotten from the community has been a little overwhelming at times, in the best way.
I’m super grateful for the opportunity to live my truth loud and proud, because I like to think there’s going to be another little thirteen-year-old out there who knows something’s not right, and I want to be visible in case they might look at me and say, “oh, that’s what I am.”
When did you discover your love for writing and what were some of your early stories about?
I’m pretty sure I was into writing since I was really tiny, but I remember when I was seventeen and decided, with the kind of it’s-not-really-that-simple resolve that seventeen-year-olds have, “I’m going to write books for a living.”
Once again, though, I’m very simpleminded, so I basically stopped doing everything else in my life, retreated into a bedroom all the time, and stayed up late at night writing books! I wrote around twelve books and a handy few million words before I published The Christmas Ball at 25, which is the book that got me enough to live off of, so… apparently it worked?
The very first book I completed was an urban fantasy that I tried SO hard to make straight—I was definitely in the denial phase of my sexuality, even though I was completely on board with being trans—but when I looked back on it later, the female lead had SO much more chemistry with her female rival than with the Generic Male Love Interest. Takeaway? I’m kind of gay.
You and your girlfriend, Jacqueline Ramsden met on Twitter and are completely adorable. You recently moved in together. How has cohabitation been and what do you love about her?
Oh my gosh. I LOVE this question. What don’t I love about her? They’re just perfect. She’s going to get so embarrassed when she sees this answer, and I can’t wait.
Living together has been amazing! Honestly, I thought it would tank my writing productivity—snuggling time eating into writing time and all that—but I don’t know how I ever wrote books without them. We do writing sprints together, we share our chapters with each other as soon as we’re done, we bounce ideas off each other. I’m ten times the writer I was before her. I can highly recommend falling in love with another writer and living out a happy authorial dream together!
She always knows just the thing to say to pick me up when I’m not feeling well. They support me in everything I do. She’s amazingly talented herself, and I consider it such a huge honor to support their writing. We wake up slow together every morning and have late breakfasts at our breakfast bar we got from IKEA like lesbians do, and she’s so beautiful in morning light. I keep the handwritten book of love poems she wrote me when we were still living apart by my bedside. We dream of and plan for our future together, and I genuinely think I’m the luckiest person alive.
Don’t tell her I said that, though. They’ll tell you they’re the lucky one. They’re wrong. It’s me.
(I showed her this answer, and yeah, she got embarrassed and said they’re the lucky one. They’re wrong.)
Describe your perfect day?
Waking up just a bit before Jacqueline so I can make their tea the way she likes it. We snuggle in bed for a while, and then we get up together to have crepes for breakfast. I have coffee while Jacqueline drinks their tea, because we’re the picture of a British/American couple like that.
After breakfast, we do some writing sprints. Some days I’m really feeling it, and I’ll knock out three forty-five-minute sprints in a row, and Jacqueline and I both have a couple chapters to share with each other. We both fangirl over one another’s books, and we break until we do the same thing for the evening. I probably have more coffee.
I guess I could have just said “girlfriend, writing, and coffee” and had the same effect. Let’s say that’s my answer.
I’m going to say a name and you say the first thing that comes to your mind.
She’s SO much fun to work with! Watch this space. Mila and I have been scheming together.She’s been helping me organize the Love on Location sapphic travel romance anthology for charity, and working with her on The Headmistress was a blast as well. She’s amazing!
Ice queens also come to mind. I think she’d be happy to know that.
Angst. And crying over a book. This is what you wanted, isn’t it, Monica!?
She’s an inspiration! Sometimes I’ll say I want to be like Cara Malone when I grow up. I realize now that sounds like I’m calling her old, but I just mean I really admire her commitment to the community, her writing style and skill, and her publishing rigor.
L.I.L.Y. Lucy is my emotional support when the world isn’t right, and the world hasn’t been right much lately. I don’t have enough words for how much I’m grateful for Lucy.
Think about me as a starry-eyed brand-new author nervous how my debut would go back when I was launching The Christmas Ball, when of all people, Erica Lee—who is so amazing she still seems like a mythical figure to me sometimes—tears through the book and talks about how amazing it was? I think 70% of my confidence as a debut author was because Erica complimented me.
Also chinchillas. Chinchillas come to mind too.
She is sweetness personified! People always call me the sweetest in the lesfic community, and that’s the title I’m most proud of, but really, I’ve got nothing on Rachel. How can such a talented star of an author also be so kind and sweet? Rachel is magic and sparkles.
I don’t have the words for everything Maggie calls to mind! Forbidden Melody was my first lesfic romance, and it showed up in a rough time in my life and when I was having a hard time with my sexuality, too. Seeing sapphic love and desire on such beautiful display was a milestone in my life, and I wouldn’t have ended up writing lesfic myself if it weren’t for Maggie showing up there in my life. She’s just fantastic and deserves everything good.
She’s been going through a lot lately, ever since her VHL diagnosis, and the way the lesfic community has gathered for her has been SO beautiful and SO deserved. We’re all cheering for you every step of the way, Maggie!!
What are a few of your favorite lesfic books?
I feel like I’m not allowed to pick my girlfriend’s, but… I’m bad at following rules anyway, so! All of Jacqueline Ramsden’s books are wonderful, but The Art of Growing (which the two of us still call by its WIP title, Plants and Fake Dating) is so personal and meaningful for both of us, it holds a really special place in my heart.
Monica McCallan’s books have broken me (in the best way) on the regular. I love The Flaw in Our Design so much, I DMed her to fangirl-gush about it, and she sent me a special-designed The Flaw in Our Design coffee mug that is a one-of-a-kind piece I will talk about to everyone I see. It serves as a reminder of the legendary book hangover the book left me with.
Maggie Robbins’s book Forbidden Melody has a special place in my heart like I mentioned above. Erica Lee’s Anyone But Her holds a similar place in my heart, because it gave me the final push to try my hand at lesfic.
Thank you, Lily for chatting with me. You are truly one of the sweetest humans and the world is a much better place with you in it!
Thanks so much for having me, Laura! You’re such a wonderful part of the community, and it’s such an honor to interview with you. The world is a much better place with YOU in it!