Friday, May 10, 2013

Meet Lily

Today I am interviewing Lily, the heroine of Vain. Her gray eyes are lively, and topped by thin, angled eyebrows. A delicate blue veil covers her hair, though the color of her brows would suggest her locks are dark, perhaps even black.

We are visiting in the cavernous hall of the Lord of Ribeauville’s home. We sit in wooden armchairs with comfortable pads on the seats. A small table between us holds our silver goblets of watered wine. Smoke rises from the central hearth nearby, the low fire warming the chilly spring air.

Lily has been welcoming to me, but tentative, not yet completely comfortable in her role as mistress of such a great house since her marriage to Theophilus last fall, in the year 839. She smiles expectantly as she awaits my questions, revealing tiny dimples in her cheeks.

What do you do to relax?
“This will sound odd. Designing a garment relaxes me. By designing, I mean those first moments when the fabric is spread on the worktable and I have the image of the tunic in my mind but I have yet to place it on the fabric.” She nods, reliving the memory of such a moment. “Perfection is possible then. The pursuit of it diverts me so much that I do not worry about other things.”

I think maybe I can guess, but as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Lily brushes at the fabric of the cornflower blue tunic that seems simple yet flows around her legs with the perfect drape. “The only thing I ever wanted to be was a tailor, just like my parents.”

Tell me about your family.
“The beginning of my answer is very difficult for me to talk about.” Lily frowns and repositions her arms so that her fingers can caress a needlecase hanging from her simple gold girdle. “My mother died about eighteen months ago. My father abandoned me very soon after her death, leaving me to fend for myself in my parents’ weaving and tailoring shop here in Ribeauville.” Lily smiles faintly. “If not for Theophilus — his friends and your readers would know him as Theo — if not for him, I do not know what would have happened to me, but now he is my husband and the most important part of my family. We have Nox, our orphaned house servant, and my father is trying to get back into my good graces.” She shrugs. “That is my family.”

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?
Lily looks away to a point near the door to the master chamber. “There is a young noblewoman who thought she would marry Theo. She was very mean to me when I was a lowly tailor, and she tried to…interfere…with Theo and me after he was forced to marry me.” Lily frowns as she looks back at me. “I was sharp with her, without really understanding the trouble she was in. I am not proud of that moment, even though Theo and my friends assure me she was more in the wrong than I.”

Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it?
Lily smiles. “Marian is an older woman who did her best to advise me in the early days of my marriage. I was miserable. I did not know what to do about my equally unhappy, angry husband. She told me to begin as you mean to continue. It was good advice because she taught me to not accept behavior in myself or Theo that I did not want to persist through the rest of my life.”

Do you have any special routines or rituals?
“Oh, this is embarrassing.” A blush stains Lily’s cheeks and she shakes her head. “To get me to stay in bed when I was little, my father told me to sleep tight against the wall so the monsters could not reach me. Now I find it hard to fall asleep without something solid against my back.” What does your husband think of it? She blushes even more. “He is even better than a wall, so we have both learned to cope.”

Vain, Book Three in the Evolution Series, can be purchased at most online book vendors, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Author Jill Hughey can be found at her blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter @jillhughey.

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