Today I’m delighted to feature author Lilac Mills who writes heartwarming romances with happy-ever-afters – what’s not to like?
Lilac Mills lives on a Welsh mountain with her very patient husband and incredibly sweet dog, where she grows veggies (if the slugs don’t get them), bakes (badly) and loves making things out of glitter and glue (a mess, usually). She’s been an avid reader ever since she got her hands on a copy of Noddy Goes to Toytown when she was five, and she once tried to read everything in her local library starting with A and working her way through the alphabet.
She loves long, hot summer days and cold winter ones snuggled in front of the fire, but whatever the weather she’s usually writing or thinking about writing.
Over to Lilac:
Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
This might horrify some people, but I don’t listen to music an awful lot. However, some songs that have stuck with me.
Ella Fitzgerald’s It’s a Lovely Day Today was one of my dad’s favourites and whenever I hear it, I think of him in the kitchen, carving the Sunday roast, Radio 2 in the background, and me sitting on a stool at the table because I couldn’t reach my plate if I sat in a grown-up chair. My dad died ten years ago and I miss him every day. This one’s for you, Dad x
Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. I used to take my old tape recorder into the garden and I’d be on my swing and singing it at the top of my voice. Goodness knows what the neighbours must have thought!
The Sound of Silence by Disturbed. It’s raw and powerful, and brings a whole new dimension to the original. Whenever I hear it, it sends shivers down my spine. And the meaning behind the lyrics is more important now than ever.
Waterloo by Abba. I’ll never forget travelling down the Champs-Élysées in Paris on the top deck of an open-top bus, my husband and I each with an earbud in, singing Waterloo. Thankfully we were the only people on the bus at the time, otherwise we might have got thrown off!
I’ve got to add a song that made me cry recently – Ed Sheeran’s Visiting Hours. I heard it for the first time when driving to the supermarket. By the time I’d parked the car, I was a snivelling mess. So much emotion in so few words…
What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
I’m going to say my dog, Poppy, but I’d also include her in my family. I’ve always had dogs and each one has touched my heart – but Poppy is particularly special. She’s the most sweet-natured and loving dog, and I simply adore her.
Tea – I never used to understand my gran’s insistence on drinking tea whatever the occasion but as I’m getting older, I’m getting to be more like her. Give me a nice cup of tea over a cocktail any day! Earl Grey is my favourite, but any tea will do at a push.
My local library – it’s one of the few places where you’re not expected to spend money. And it’s the gateway to so many places and other lives. You can go anywhere you want and be anyone you want in the pages of a book. Plus they do digital and audio now, too, so if I can’t get out to visit one in person, I can borrow a book on my phone.
The countryside. Having a dog means I have to take her on at least one walk a day – usually two. And I’m lucky to live on the top of a Welsh mountain, with its open moorland where semi-wild ponies roam, and hidden wooded valleys with streams trickling through them. It’s food for the soul.
Hiking boots. They’re not the most glamorous of footwear but they suit my lifestyle.
Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. This advice has been around for years, but it’s still true. I used to get upset over the slightest thing, and worry about stuff that I should never have given brain time to. These days I ask myself will it matter in six months (or even this time next week?) and if the answer is no, I let it go.
Believe in yourself. Self-doubt can be crippling. I never thought I could be an author – that was for other people, not someone like me. I used to write in secret, hiding my words, never believing my books would be published.
Spend time with those you love. It’s so easy to get swept up in the busyness of day-to-day life that you don’t spend the time with them that you’d like. Make time. We only have a limited amount of it – spend it wisely, being with the people you love and doing the things you love to do.
You are beautiful. When I look back at photos, I wonder why I thought my knees were too knobbly, or my face was too round, or… whichever part of my anatomy I happened to be obsessing about at the time. What’s on the outside doesn’t matter nearly as much as what’s on the inside.
Follow your dreams – I had so many (I wanted to be an astronaut, a pilot, a jockey, to live in Italy… to name but a few), but I was too influenced by the opinions of others, however well-meaning. In the case of wanting to be an astronaut though, my limitation was actually my own inability to grasp physics.
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
I was accepted into art school at age 16 – the youngest person they had offered a place to. I didn’t take it, but I still draw whenever I can.
I stole an Easter egg from Woolworths when I was about seven or eight. I was too scared to eat it, and spent the next three months terrified that the police would come knocking. I eventually took it back to the shop and hid it amongst the pic-n-mix.
The first novel I completed was nearly 300,000 words long. And was awful. Some kind of saga thing that involved going back in time. But it proved to me that if I could write a novel once, I could do it again, and most writers have manuscripts hidden away that will never see the light of day.
I’m addicted to lip balm. I swear I must have eaten pounds of it over the years (I usually keep it stuffed down my bra, but don’t tell anyone).
I’m a gadget buff. My husband has to rein me in otherwise the house would be full of them. My latest purchase was an ice cream maker – though when I’ll find the time to make any is another matter!
Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.
Write a best seller (I suspect that’s every writer’s dream). Not because I want fame or fortune, but because I write so readers will read my books. The more people who read them, the happier I am.
Learn to spin yarn. No idea why… it just appeals to me.
Persuading my local council that they don’t have to mow every inch of grass to within an inch of its life is a passion of mine. “No mow, let it grow” is my motto. A mow in November is enough. Let the wildflowers thrive where they can.
Have all my books narrated and turned into audiobooks. I love audiobooks and often listen to one when I’m doing the housework, and my husband also enjoys them on his commute to and from work. There needs to be more out there!
Keep chickens. And a goat. I like goats. Maybe an alpaca, as well. Have you seen their daft hair-dos?
Thank you for joining me today Lilac, especially with such fabulous music choices. You might not listen to music often, but you’ve definitely got an ear for arresting voices, perfect pop and moving lyrics. I defy anyone to listen to Visiting Hours without being moved. Dogs, tea, libraries, and the countryside are also things I’d always want in my life too. Throw in books and chocolate and I’d call that heaven! Great advice, for whatever age, if only we’d take it – I suspect many of still sweat the small stuff and doubt ourselves (or maybe that’s just me!). Very brave of you to take that egg back to Woolworths, that must have been more stressful than taking it in the first place. I’m sure that slate is well and truly cleared. Good luck with achieving your dreams, getting goats and alpaca’s would really help with that yarn spinning. I hope you have joy with your local council as well, our garden is another no mow area (our neighbours would say no-go) but it suits us.
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Applewell Village Series
Waste Not, Want Not in Applewell (Book 1)
George can’t throw anything away. But he’s in danger of throwing away a chance at love
George Nightingale is a hoarder with a house full of junk. For years he’s kept it a secret, rarely leaving his house and keeping social interactions to a minimum, but his carefully balanced system is now under threat…
Nessa Millbrook can’t wait to get settled into her new home in quaint, rural Applewell. Everyone in the village is so friendly – except her neighbour, George, who wants nothing to do with her. But Nessa isn’t one to back down from a challenge and she’s determined to win George over.
The years have taught George to shield his heart and trust no one. Yet Nessa keeps reaching out to him – does he have the courage to take a chance, and reach back?
Make Do and mend in Applewell (Book 2)
Can their marriage be mended in time for Christmas?
Lottie has always been thrifty. As a mother of three, it’s even more important that she stretches the household budget as far as possible. Luckily, Lottie’s penchant for taking broken items and upcycling them has worked wonders for living on a shoestring.
Henry can’t face telling Lottie he’s been made redundant. Instead, he pretends to go to work as usual while frantically job hunting. The race is on to find another role before Lottie discovers he’s another useless item for her collection – one that is beyond repair.
Christmas is a time for giving, but will Lottie give Henry another chance if she learns about his lies? And can Henry give Lottie and their kids the life he so desperately wants them to have?
A Stitch in Time in Applewell (Book 3)
It’s not just hems that are frayed in Applewell…
Gracie rescues old clothes and cast offs from Applewell’s charity shop, making them into cute and fresh outfits, which she then sells in her little shop. Turning a profit is hard at the best of times, let alone when new arrival Lucas appears…
After running away from the village in his teens, Lucas has finally returned to an uncomfortable amount of fanfare and gossip. His job requires him to streamline homeless charity, UnderCover, and his plans to do so risk putting Gracie out of business.
The pair of them exchange harsh words but when Lucas’ niece cuts up his sister’s wedding dress, there’s only one person he can think to turn to. Along with repairing the dress, will Gracie patch up her relationship with Lucas? Or is that a stitch too far?
Island Romance Series
Sunrise on the Coast (Book 1)
When a holiday becomes something more…
Struggling to come to terms with the loss of her mother, Sophie needs to get away from it all. On a much-needed break to Tenerife, she stumbles across a Help Wanted sign for local pensioner, Hugo, and on a leap of faith she accepts the job.
But life on the island isn’t all sun, sea and siestas…
Hugo’s beautiful villa is under threat and, to complicate matters, his brooding (but handsome) nephew, Alex, has shown up full of suspicion towards Sophie.
Her hands full dealing with difficult men and a clearly unreciprocated attraction towards Alex, Sophie needs to decide if her future lies in Tenerife or if her holiday is officially over.
Holiday in the Hills (Book 2)
How do you write a romance novel with a broken heart?
Ivy is suffering from writer’s block after a disastrous affair with her (now ex) publisher. Her agent suggests an extended holiday to get her writing career back on track – 6 months in a stunning villa on the gorgeous island of Tenerife.
No WiFi, no TV, no distractions.
Except for the very attractive, very lovely Sebastián who comes by every day to clean the pool. Soon Ivy’s on a roll with her new novel and her relationship with Sebastián is growing into something more, despite the secrets he’s keeping.
But her ex isn’t done with her – professionally or personally. And with Sebastián keeping secrets, maybe a return to London is best…
Sunset on the Square (Book 3)
She never thought she’d love again…
In her late 50s and having lived in Tenerife for over 15 years, there’s not much on the island that can surprise widowed Elspeth. Until her hotelier friend asks her to put up a guest after they’ve overbooked – and handsome Charles is suddenly staying in very close quarters.
Long buried emotions are coming back to life.
Devastated by the death of her husband four years ago, Elspeth isn’t open to new romance. Yet something about Charles pulls her in, and they grow closer together. But Charles’ holiday is drawing to a close, and Elspeth needs to decide what she really wants – and how to get it.
Tanglewood Village series
The Tanglewood Tea Shop (Book 1)
What happens after your dreams come true?
Patisserie-Chef Stevie is stuck in a rut. Her beloved Great Aunt Peggy has passed away and she’s lost both her job and the love of her life. Then she gets the call from the solicitor’s office about Peggy’s will, and everything changes.
When Stevie sees a quirky tea shop up for sale in the beautiful village of Tanglewood, she decides to take Peggy’s advice and turn her life around.
But the village isn’t as idyllic as it may at first have seemed, and when the gorgeous but grouchy local stable-owner, Nick, shows up he seems like just another fly in the pastry batter…
The Tanglewood Flower Shop (Book 2)
Love can be a thorny business.
When Tanglewood flower shop owner Leanne enters Budding Stars – a floristry TV competition – she’s shocked to make it through to the televised stages where the pressure grows to prove herself a success.
Luckily for Leanne, new Tanglewood park ranger, Rex, is a rose among the thorns as he provides support and friendship that could blossom into something more…
But Rex’s ex-girlfriend appears with some shocking news, and between busy schedules and the occasional mountain rescue, Leanne can’t see how romance could possibly bloom. And with a new job opportunity suddenly sprouting up, will she need to uproot her life and leave Tanglewood entirely?
The Tanglewood Wedding Shop (Book 3)
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something untrue…
Edie has enough on her plate keeping her tyrannical boss happy at Moira’s Wedding Shop. So when society bride Tia begs Edie to design her wedding dress – and keep it a secret from the domineering mother-in-law to be – Edie reluctantly says ‘I will’ to making Tia’s dream come true. If her deception is found out, though, it would mean losing her job…
Meanwhile best man James has his eye on Edie and he’s proving ever harder for her to resist. James is upper-crust and Edie’s one unexpected bill away from the breadline – they’re from completely different worlds and there’s no way it can ever work between them… right?
The Cosy Travelling Christmas Shop
While bringing joy to others, can these two Christmas helpers also find some for themselves?
Seren’s great aunt Nelly hates being in a care home, especially around Christmas when Seren learns that Nelly and the other residents can’t enjoy the simple pleasure of browsing for gifts in the shops. So what if Seren brings the shops to them?
Converting an ice cream van into a gift shop, Seren travels around Tinstone to help out the less mobile. On her journeys, she keeps bumping into a reluctant – and handsome – Father Christmas, who has been roped into helping out this festive season.
But running her own business comes with risks and surprises that Seren’s not sure she’s able to tackle. Has she bitten off more than she can chew, or will her travelling Christmas shop provide some much-needed festive cheer for the residents of Tinstone?
Love in the City by the Sea
Sometimes crossing the finish line is only the first step
Tess Barton is stuck in a rut. Her dream of becoming an artist has stalled as she works three jobs just trying to survive. She’s barely got time to sleep and now her sister, Emma, is signing her up for a marathon…
But it’s not just any marathon. It’s the Barcelona marathon and they’d be running in memory of their late sister. When disaster strikes and Emma can’t make it, Tess finds herself facing a new city and daunting challenge all alone. That is, until an unexpected rendezvous in a little tapas bar with gorgeous local, Roberto.
Soon Tess finds that the fast-paced city isn’t so intimidating – and the marathon not quite so terrifying – with someone by her side. As she races towards the finish line, Tess starts to realise all the things she’s been running away from. But is it too late for her to chase dreams after all this time heading in the wrong direction?
Sunshine at Cherry Tree Farm
My dog doesn’t like men. Actually, that‘s a lie – she doesn’t like the men I choose.
Jennie Meadows has convinced herself she has everything she could ever need: a dog grooming business – ‘Telling Tails’ – going from strength to strength at Cherry Tree Farm and her trusty four-legged soulmate Millie.
After a series of bad break-ups Jennie has learned that Millie’s judgement (when it comes to men, at least) is sounder than her own. So when the pup takes a sudden liking to the local vet Jennie’s interest is piqued. Though she’s sworn off dating, they do say cupid works in mysterious ways so perhaps it’s time for Jennie and Millie to take a leap of faith. Because happy ever after may be just a tail wag away…
Summer on the Turquoise Coast
It’s never too late to start living your life…
Nina likes her life exactly as it is. Happy(ish) in her teaching job, and with no love interests on the horizon, she knows she can’t get hurt if she doesn’t rock the boat. But Nina’s octogenarian grandmother, Flossie, has plans to drag Nina kicking and screaming from her comfort zone.
When the two of them arrive in Turkey, Nina’s plans for a quiet holiday are blown out of the water by Flossie’s antics. And that’s before Nina meets lovely and handsome Leo on a trip to the ancient ruins of Ephesus.
Despite her grandmother determined to play matchmaker, Nina knows that holiday romances are not built to last. But there’s something about the turquoise coast – and Flossie’s shenanigans – that compels Nina to loosen up and have some fun…
A Very Lucky Christmas
Things can’t get worse for Daisy Jones… can they?
Christmas is meant to be the happiest time of year so why is absolutely everything going wrong for Daisy? Reeling from a bad breakup, moving back in with her parents and hounded by trouble at work she really shouldn’t be surprised when things go from bad to worse… and she ends up in A&E!
After choking on the silver sixpence hidden in the Christmas pudding, Daisy is saved by the dashing Dr Noah Hartley and things finally start to look up. But is Daisy’s luck finally changing for the better, or is Noah just another bad penny?
With Christmas Day just around the corner Daisy’s determined to make her own luck and hopefully bag herself a dishy doc in the process!