I was able to nab one of my Ellora's Cave pals for an interview. Lily Harlem has multiple releases (heh heh yes, I'm grinning) due out with EC and she's sharing a bit about them. So let's get to it!
1. How did you come up with the idea for Mattress Music?
'Mattress Music' is part of the Love Note Series so music had to feature heavily in the story and let's just say I have a complete obsession with Kings of Leon! I play their music all the time, when I'm cooking, driving, ironing. I love their lyrics, I love the way Caleb says certain words, I love their cute young guitarist!! I probably shouldn't admit to all of that but its the truth! So when I wanted a story about music they were my inspiration. I can't say too much more or I will give the plot away. But it was wonderful creating such sexy characters that I could play about with in my own little fantasy world. In fact I fell in love with them all so much I went on to write two more in the series, 'Mirror Music' and 'Ménage à Music' which will be out after Christmas - I just couldn't leave those 'rock and roll' boys alone!
Is it possible to lose one’s ability to orgasm? Nina has. Lately, her fun weekend hook-ups have been more “ho-hum” than “hot damn”! It doesn’t help that she has three flatmates and is forced to play loud music to mask the sounds of her lovemaking. Talk about distracting! Of course, there’s another reason Nina’s less than satisfied these days…she’s just having a hard time admitting it.
It’s a good thing she’s met Ian, then. Not content to be a weekend hook-up, Ian is set on giving Nina what she’s been missing while making her admit what she needs. His talented fingers—and other body parts—are up to the task. But Ian’s not admitting a few things himself. Turns out his fingers can do more than make Nina’s body sing.
When she discovers his secret, it’s time for both of them to face the music.
“You’re fucking awesome,” he whispered into my ear on a hot, panting breath.
“You too,” I said, running my hand down his perfectly smooth back. Not a pimple anywhere, just acres of glorious hot, male flesh and a deeply guttered spine lined with solid muscle. “Really good.”
He lifted his head and looked into my eyes. “Liar.”
“Liar, you didn’t come.”
“I did, it was great…you were great.” Lying to a man who was buried inside me was not something I was good at.
“I’m not stupid, Nina, I can tell when a woman orgasms. I can’t always tell the difference between real and fake, but bloody hell, you didn’t even try to pretend, not even a little wriggle and a gasp at the right moment.”
Frowning and shifting my hips I muttered, “Sorry,” as I pushed out from under him.
“Don’t be sorry.” He rolled to his side, bent his arm and propped his head on his hand. The flat silver cross around his neck hung toward the mattress. “Just tell me what I did wrong so I can fix it for next time,” he said, still catching his breath.
Next time? Not likely. One-night stands were my game. “You didn’t do anything wrong.” I pulled the duvet to my chin and turned to the wall. “It was me.”
He caught my jaw. “Tell me,” he ordered, tipping me to face him. “I want to know.”
Through the dim light, blushed orange by a streetlamp, I could see his dark eyes staring straight into mine, unblinking. One of my flatmates banged crockery in the kitchen next to my room then a deep rumble of laughter from one of the guys, Jerry I think, filtered through the thin wall.
“Why do you care?” I asked, toes and fingers curling.
“I’m lying naked in bed with you, we’ve just shared as intimate an experience as two people can, and you wonder why I’m bothered that you didn’t have as good a time as me? Would I be human if I didn’t give a shit?”
I shrugged. Candle in the Wind had finished, and in its place Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me was swirling around us.
Too late to save myself from falling—
That was me, I thought, too far gone on this road of shagging any cock I could find to be saved. In my old flat, living with Dee and Fiona, life had been great and mattress music was never needed. We all just went for it, having as much sex and as many noisy orgasms as possible. We would giggle about it over breakfast and swap stories about what racy shenanigans we’d been up to.
But now they’d moved on. They were both head over heels in love and settled in their own homes, leaving me out on a limb and living here with strangers.
Of course I wasn’t technically alone, but if I was honest I’d never felt so lonely. I didn’t want to be, loneliness was like a dull, gray hole swelling inside me. Starting in my stomach and stretching outward. And in the center of this hole was a new bitter emotion―envy. I envied what Dee and Fi had found, lasting love with respect and commitment. But admitting what I wanted and changing the fact that there was no one special in my life were two separate issues.
More pressingly, at the moment anyway, nor could I change the fact that I hadn’t orgasmed since I’d moved. My one-night stands just weren’t doing it for me anymore. The intimacy of getting naked and sweaty with someone wasn’t satisfying the hunger, the need that was eating away at me like an itch I couldn’t quite reach.
I’d been here three weeks, three fucks. But each week there had been something sneaking into my brain that had distracted me from the delicious build-up to climax. Deadly quiet the first week when I was with a bodybuilding scaffolder from Durham, every mattress squeak and grunt sliding under the door and echoing through the walls. With Dave, an earnest accountant from Chelsea, a knock on my door midway through a blowjob put me off my stride. And now this morose mattress music was stopping me from having a great time with the truly gorgeous Ian.
“Nina?” Ian pressed, dragging me from my depressed musing.
“It was the damn music,” I said with a frown. He wasn’t going to let it drop so I might as well fess up. “I couldn’t concentrate. You were doing it right, great, but I just kept thinking of Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana and Elton singing at his piano with his big, wobbling white wig and that mole thing he used to paint on his cheek.”
Ian tipped his head back and laughed. A big guffaw that shook the bed.
“Shh!” I pressed my fingers to his lips.
“Thank God for that,” he said, grinning. “Thought I’d lost my touch.”
“It’s not funny,” I whispered.
“No, no.” He tried to straighten out his grin. “Of course it’s not. I’ve just never thought of it before, the words in a song competing for the attention of the woman I’m trying to please.” He dropped a kiss to my lips. “So why did you put it on if you don’t like it?”
“So no one will hear. The walls here are so thin, and I’ve got male flatmates who I don’t want perving with glasses pressed to the walls.”
“You think they would?”
I sighed. “Probably not, they seem nice enough, but just the same…”
“You want your privacy.”
“Exactly.” I paused then sighed. “We should have taken a cab and gone to yours.”
“Yeah, but this was closer, much closer, just a quick walk around the corner.” He smoothed the hair from my face. It always went wild after sex. The hundreds of tiny, copper corkscrews seemed to take on lives of their own. “Maybe we could leave the music off and do it really, really quietly,” he whispered, spreading springs of my hair over the pillowcase.
“No,” I said. “That won’t work, I’ll be too conscious of even our breathing, or if the mattress squeaks.”
His eyes narrowed and a muscle in his cheek flexed, then he got up, walked to the iPod and finally silenced Elton. “This isn’t over you know.”
Buy link for Mattress Music
2. You're website indicates you travel. Can you share some of the sexiest places you have been?
I do like to travel and I'm lucky that I've had many opportunities over the years. I'm a qualified nurse which opened up countries such as Australia and New Zealand for employment when I was younger and now that I write I travel with my man if he goes abroad on business - which he does regularly. We spent some time recently in Amsterdam and I loved it. Not for the gaudy sex shops and the red light district but for the lovely canals and bridges, the way everyone rides around on their bikes, hair flowing skirts billowing and ringing their bells at one another. The art galleries were amazing and the restaurants served wonderful food and great beer. There was something so relaxed about Amsterdam. It doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't, it's not competing with London or Paris or New York. It's just what it is, liberal and beautiful with an incredibly history. I guess that's the same things I find sexy in people, self assurance, being comfortable in their own skin and pushing the boundaries if it feels right and its what they want to do.
3. What's in the works for you?
I've just finished editing the first full length novel in my 'Hot Ice' series which is all about the bad boys of ice hockey. It's called 'Hired', it was a blast to write and Brooke is one feisty lady who knows what she wants.
Frankly, it didn’t matter. Not when the money would give my dreams of going to nursing school a very real chance of coming true. I wasn’t even expected to talk to him, just hang out in a luxurious villa on a private beach and study for the admissions test. Simple.
But I didn’t count on Logan being so deliciously bad that he was oh, so good. And somehow he saw right into the deepest, darkest part of my soul then gave me exactly what I needed.
But when our emotions become involved the situation spiraled out of control, making the truth that I’d been hired for his pleasure a secret I had to keep...even if it cost me a broken heart.
'Hired' is due for release in the New Year, the second in the series, 'Cross Checked' is finished and the third is still rattling around my head! I must be the only one hoping for a couple of months of bad weather so I can get my head down and let is spill from my fingertips!
4. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Okay, here goes, maybe I’m a bit kooky but this is what I do…
When writing dialogue just go for it, let it flow out of your fingers as fast as you would speak. Don’t even think about speech marks and punctuation, or if he is scratching his head and she’s licking her lips, you can add all that in afterwards – dialogue moves the story forward and if you can get it flowing naturally then you’re onto a winner.
Don’t get bogged down with adverbs, eg. he groaned ‘loudly’, she panted ‘heavily’, it’s considered much less lazy to write ‘his groans were loud in her ear’ or ‘her heavy pants filled the small space’. There’s usually a way to describe your scene better if you circle around the adverb and it will make the story meatier.
Let a story brew in your head. Have the idea, jot it down if you need to, and then sit quietly and play out the scenes like watching a film in your imagination. It will give you a clear picture of what you want to achieve in your writing and help you with the tiny details.
If the house is quiet make the most of the peace and get busy getting those words down. You can iron and dust and cook when everyone is around. Writing, for me at least, requires silence, so silence has become a very valuable commodity in my life.
Incubate the final product. When it’s written tuck it aside, for a few days, longer if you can, then go back to it. I can guarantee you’ll spot silly mistakes, inconsistencies or simply find better word choices to slot in. There’s nothing worse than sending a manuscript off and then on a re-read seeing stupid errors. In fact now, when something has gone I refuse to look at it again unless it’s with an editor.
Check out www.erotica-readers.com it's a great site with a list of all the current calls for submissions.
5. Where can we find you?
Swing by my website www.lilyharlem.weebly.com to find links to all my stories, meet other great authors and check out my inspirational pictures!
Be sure to also watch for the release date for 'Mirror Music', the second in the musical series and sure to make you want to rock 'n' roll.
Thanks so much for sharing, Lily!
For a chance to win a FREE copy of Mattress Music, leave a comment on this post. One lucky winner will be drawn and posted here on Wednesday at noon.