Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New Release Giveaway - Lavender in Bloom by @itslilyvelez #MMRomance #guestpost #authorinterview

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Lavender in Bloom by: Lily Velez
Publication Date: July 25th, 2016
Genre: Historical, Coming-of-Age Romance

It’s the year 1802 in Avignon, France 

Noah Capet has spent most of his young life living simple and unvaried days in the hushed countryside of southern France. Quiet, reserved, and diffident, his preference for existing is to do so in solitude, keeping to himself both in town and on his family’s farm—a predilection that’s altogether disrupted when a newcomer to town by the name of Jeremie Perreault begins an unremitting quest to befriend him.
Jeremie is everything Noah is not. Charismatic and gregarious, he leaves a trail of charmed admirers in his wake wherever he goes. Expressive and idealistic, he talks without end about his deep love for old books and his spirited dream to one day travel the world on a literary pilgrimage.
Over the course of a single summer, the two form an unlikely friendship, but just as quickly as it develops, it soon entirely dissolves as they’re forced to face the truth of what has unexpectedly emerged between them.
Lavender in Bloom is a tender and tragic coming-of-age story about first love and self-discovery, and a poignant reminder that time is fleeting and always takes with it the choices we’re too afraid to make.

Hi Lily, welcome to Attention Is Arbitrary, so glad you are here.

Can you tell us more about the cover for Lavender in Bloom?

I’d be happy to! To start off, you can see the full-jacket cover design for Lavender in Bloom here: 
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The cover was designed by Stephanie Hobbs over at Steph’s Cover Design.

Lavender in Bloom is a historical, coming-of-age romance set in the 1800s in southern France. It follows the friendship that develops between a quiet and reserved boy named Noah, and a newcomer to town by the name of Jeremie Perreault who’s his opposite in almost every possible way.

I knew from the start that I wanted the cover to focus on three elements that are central to Noah and Jeremie’s story: lavender, books, and horseshoes.

The lavender is obvious enough, of course. It would tie in with the title. But lavender fields (which flower in the summer in southern France) play a central role in the evolution of Noah and Jeremie’s relationship, too. There are key moments between them that involve lavender in some way, and about midway into the story, a character tells a fable about how lavender first came into bloom in France, and it really drives home the meaning of the title and what the novel as a whole represents. So, yes--lavender had to be on the cover by all means, and I’m so happy with the images that were used. They’re absolutely beautiful!

I must say, though, that the back cover is my favorite part of the full jacket. It’s a perfect representation of Noah and Jeremie. On the back cover, you’ll see a pair of horseshoes and a bouquet of lavender at rest upon an old, weathered book.

The horseshoes are for Noah. Noah is a farrier (someone who takes care of horse hooves and who nails on horseshoes). Since he apprenticed with a blacksmith, he makes his own horseshoes as well. A gentle and quiet soul, Noah is the type of person who’s most comfortable in the company of animals. As such, he puts all of himself into his work as a farrier. It’s his very own art in a way. He’s happiest when he’s at his anvil, crafting new horseshoes. But the biggest reason I wanted a horseshoe on the back cover was because it ends up signifying something special between Noah and Jeremie and is really where their friendship begins. You’ll see what I mean if/when you read the book. ;)

The picture of the old book on the back cover is representative of Jeremie, who is absolutely in love with rare and antique books. It’s the reason he’s come to Avignon, France in the first place: to open up a bookshop and surround himself with books, which to him are the world’s greatest treasures. He’s especially taken by the trade of bookbinding. Long before we had New York publishing houses, professional binders were the ones who put books together, and back in the day, it was practically an art. Many books would have beautiful leather covers with gold tooling, jeweled onlays--they’d basically look like mosaics sometimes!

So all in all, the cover so perfectly encapsulates the soul of Lavender in Bloom. An aspect of Noah and an aspect of Jeremie unite in perfect harmony on the back cover, and the front cover shows off a beautiful flower that becomes symbolic to their relationship.


What were your goals and intentions in this book? What do you hope people will take away?
I hope people will take away the fact that you can’t live your life to please other people. This is something I think we all face at some point in our lives. We either do what’s expected of us to make mom and dad (or whoever it might be) happy and proud (but it comes at the expense of our own joy)...or we forge a path for ourselves, break the mold, and live the fulfilling life of our dreams.

It can be scary to do the thing that lights you up on the inside--especially if it’s met with the disapproval of others. No one wants to be an outcast. We want to be accepted and loved. We want to feel like we belong.

But this life you have is your life and yours only. It’s a gift. You’ve been given a unique opportunity to explore the world, to grow, to learn about what you like and don’t like, to develop meaningful and beautiful relationships with others, and to have an overall fulfilling and positive experience until your last day. So why spend a single minute of your life in a job/role/position/relationship/etc. that doesn’t make you excited to be alive?

Your dreams are special, and I hope this book encourages people to go after that thing that’s been tugging at their heart for a while now, to say yes to that opportunity no matter how scary it might be, and to not let amazing and beautiful things slip through their fingers because of fear. 

Can you share some surprising things you learned while researching this book?

At one point in Lavender in Bloom, Jeremie shares an anecdote about a book in his collection. What’s so unique about it? It’s bound in someone’s skin! As it turns out, this sort of thing happened back in the day. People would have books bound with their own skin upon their death so that the book would serve as a memorialization for their families. I don’t know if those family members ever ended up keeping those books, though! I don’t think I’d want to! ;)

If you could spend a day with a character from your book, who would it be and what would you do?
I’d probably most enjoy spending a day with Jeremie. I would want to join him on one of his literary pilgrimages--probably the one where he visits all the breathtaking libraries in the world. That would be so much fun, and it’s actually a goal of mine as well! 

Thank you for being here :)
DSC_6040fourAuthor Bio:

Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she's not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at

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