I’m so excited to share the cover for my upcoming historical fiction novel, So Long, Bobby, with you all!
As some of you know, this novel was a labor of love in many ways. There were a few hiccups along the way, but I’m very proud to announce that it will be published via Sword & Silk Books in February 2023!
This book is a love letter to mothers and daughters, to friends, to lovers, to the music fangirls and fanboys, and those who always feel like they’re chasing after an elusive dream just out of their grasp…
Find out more about the book here. And, if you feel so inclined, pre-orders are now live, if you’d like to snag your copy in time for release day!
And pssst! If you’re a fan of Sword & Silk Books, or my work…stay tuned! Big announcement THIS FRIDAY!
I hope everyone had a fantastic Spooky Season/Blessed Samhain/Happy Halloween! As we venture on into the end-of-year holidays, I have an exciting announcement to share with you all!
Those of you who follow my work may remember that I’ve been working on a work of historical fiction, inspired by Bobby Kennedy, the tumultuous late 1960s and the grungy 1990s, for a few years now. You may also remember that it was picked up by City Limits Publishing and set for an August 2021 release last year.
Then, things went awry. I won’t detail everything that happened here, because other people have already done so better than me (for more info, see this in-depth write-up on the excellent blog Writer’s Beware here, and my friend, Peter Fenton, who was both an employee and author with CLP, detail his account here). Unfortunately, it is a reality that in the world of publishing, whether you’re with a smaller, indie press or one of the Big 6, companies fold, deals go awry and there are always those in the industry set to take advantage. It’s just the nature of the business. So in June of this year, rights to So Long, Bobby reverted back to me and shortly thereafter City Limits Publishing dissolved completely.
I immediately went back on query, because that’s how important this book is to me! I was lucky enough to find a home with the excellent Sword & Silk Publishing and I am incredibly excited to announce that they will be publishing my novel in the Winter of 2023! I am very excited to be working with the Sword & Silk team and can’t wait to see what amazing things they have in store for my pride and joy.
I really do love this book, so much. And I can’t wait to share it with you all. In the meantime, here’s the official announcement! Stay tuned for a guest post on the Sword & Silk blog in the coming weeks, and be sure to check out both my Media and Shop pages for the latest doings of mine!
This is my first time participating in #pitchwars. I’ve done #pitmad, though, and I always, ALWAYS do #NaNoWriMo. I always say to myself, “You are too busy – do not add another contest, bloghop or open-entry period into the fray!” And then I’m up to my elbows in queries and synopses and forgetting to wear matching socks and leaving the oven on and have spilled coffee down my shirt and I wonder how I got here.
I have already submitted to #pitchwars, so I’m just (im)patiently waiting to hear if I’m going to get a shiny new mentor to guide me through the realm of the amateur and into the white-light of professional writer-dom. Nah, I’m not at all nervous, anxiously awaiting my fate, or anything like that. I’m chill af.
And now it’s time to #pimpmybio!
I’m a thirtysomething quirky nerd who lives in the boonies of north Georgia, where I was born and raised. Talk about your culture shock: when I was 21 I moved to New Zealand on a bit of a whim and ended up going to University there and living in the land of the long white cloud for 5 years. Needless to say, I’m a little bit country and a little bit antipodean rock and roll.
Things about me you might find interesting:
All my animals are named after literary characters
I have thirty five pairs of Converse shoes, and no, I don’t need help for my hoarding problem, thank you
I am descended from Eleanor of Aquitaine
But I’m also descended from some guy named Etheldred who discovered gold and then gambled it all away in like a year, so
I’ve written two novels, both of which are available via Amazon. Check ’em out! In addition to fiction, I write poetry and non-fiction, and I’ve also been known to fire off a few salty emails to lucky recipients from time to time. I’ve been writing since I was literally 8 years old, when I won a competition at school. I wrote about a Princess who didn’t need no damn Prince Charming, and saves herself. It was published in the local newspaper and I thought my short-lived fame tasted better than double-stuff Oreos. I’ve been chasing the dream ever since. I’ve been writing professionally (as in boring things like marketing copy, transcription and SEO posts) on and off for about ten years. My day-job is at a nutritional supplement company, which is actually more interesting than it sounds.
In addition to writing, I love cycling, genealogy, playing bass, baking, hiking, and sewing pillows. No, really. I watch way too much Golden Girls, I’m always trying to find different ways to make nachos, and I’m obsessed with dead rock stars. I have an eight-year old brilliant kid and my partner is a talented musician.
I gotta be honest – my fiction is ALL over the place. I write women’s fiction, historical fiction, the odd bit of fantasy, some comedy, and even a little bit of erotica from time to time. I have this big ol’ chip on my shoulder when it comes to authority (blame it on being the only-child of two Tauruses) and I really just loathe rules. I love so many genres, so I write in all of them. Historical fiction is what really gets my gears pumping, because all that glorious, glorious research! Immersing yourself in another time and space is so rewarding; finding the lessons that the past seeks to teach you. Which brings me to the.book.
And now onto what you’ve all been waiting for, the novel I submitted to #pitchwars:
Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree is set in the late 1920s/early 1930s, just at the start of the Great Depression, in Georgia. The story follows a simple cotton farmer named O.T. Lawrence, who just before Black Tuesday, loses everything he holds dear. Crazed and sinking into the bottle, he embarks on an odd journey – to find a young woman he hasn’t seen since he was 16 years old, the mysterious Sivvy Hargrove, who has been tucked away in the Milledgeville Asylum for over a decade.
I did extensive research for this novel, visiting the asylum on more than one occasion (an ancestor of mine was a patient there for two decades), as well as heavy research into the time period, politics and cultural atmosphere of the time.
The novel is hist fic, more specifically, southern gothic. The asylum in Milledgeville is the quintessential southern gothic locale, after all (and the major inspiration for Flannery O’Connor!). It also explores themes central to the time period – racism, sexism and abuse, poverty, class warfare, and stigma against mental illness. It isn’t heavy-handed in its politics, but it does touch upon these issues. I’ve set out to write memorable characters, featuring especially strong women, and a couple of whom are laugh-out-loud funny.
This book has been a journey, a real work of heart. I interviewed my grandparents for this novel. I traveled to the mountains. I read all the Erskine Caldwell I could get my hands on. I just love every aspect of it. I’m so proud the story came through me.
And there you have it, folks. That’s me in a nutshell. Oh, and if you’d like to take a journey through my deranged brain, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@LillahLawson), Facebook (facebook.com/LillahLawson) or right here on this blog, which I update SUPER regularly (sike).