Author Lily Paradis on writing: “Don’t give up” + IGNITE Book Review

I wanted to preface this post by saying that I don’t usually cover book reviews or author interviews on this blog. I prefer to focus mainly on the writing struggles process, but I love supporting the work of other young authors.

I recently had the fortune of interviewing a fellow young author, Lily Paradis, about her debut work IGNITE, which I was able to read and review this past month. Lily Paradis is only 22, but she’s already working on her next few books. Read on for writing advice from Lily, and find out my thoughts about her novel.

Interview with Lily Paradis

  1. What was the inspiration behind your story?
    I nannied for three kids for a week, and I started to wonder what it would be like if that was my life! Also, the DMV scene came together when I was actually sitting there waiting to renew my license. I typed it on my phone while I was sitting there.
  2. What did you find to be the biggest challenge about publishing the novel?
    Everything. It’s so much harder than you think it’s going to be. I also had a series of unfortunate events happen, my file was corrupted, and then my computer screen shattered four days before it was supposed to release!
  3. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    Don’t give up, and write what you love. If you aren’t passionate about what you’re writing, no one is going to be passionate about reading it!
  4. One of my favorite quotes is Toni Morrison’s “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I’m always curious to hear about favorites from other authors. What writing quotes do you live by/have adopted?
    I love that one! I have a couple. The first one is what I think of when people want me to change everything about what I’ve written:
    “My will is mine… I shall not make it soft for you.” – Agamemnon, Aeschylus
    The second one is: “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” – Victor Hugo
    It’s a little cliche, but I love it. It’s phrased differently than a lot of others of that nature.
  5. New Adult is a relatively new genre. I know I struggled to decide whether or not The Innocent Assassins fell into the New Adult or Young Adult category. What aspects do you think defines stories as New Adult, and why did you choose this genre for your novel? 
    To be honest, I would probably go back and classify it as Upper Young Adult. My characters are New Adult aged, but it doesn’t have the overtly sexual situations that a lot of NA books have. You’re right, it’s hard to classify. Even if you Google the definition of New Adult versus Young Adult, you don’t get too many clear cut answers. It’s very opinion based.

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Lily Paradis is 22 and recently graduated from the University of Colorado where she earned a degree in English Literature. She lives with her family and loves reading, running, and hiking. IGNITE is her debut novel. Find her at LilyParadis.com or @LilyParadis.

Book Review of Ignite

Lily Paradis sure can tell a story! IGNITE had me hooked after the first few pages and never let go. IGNITE REVEAL

The novel opens with new adult Lauren Lindsay suddenly taking care of her stepmother’s three children on her own. She hasn’t even finished college, and without warning she’s expected to oversee the education of others. Yet she agrees to assume responsibility of the children for the time being.

She meets Dean Powell, a dark and mysterious stranger who knows the children in Lauren’s care. Throw in an accident-marked ski trip, a surprise vacation in California, and the two find themselves falling in love. Meanwhile, Lauren struggles with the decision over whether or not to stay with the children permanently.

There’s also a recurring mystery throughout the novel of Dean’s origins; he seems to know more about Lauren than he fully admits. Lily Paradis uses letters in the novel to create further intrigue in the plot.

I loved the author’s juxtaposition between the two stages in Lauren’s life – being a moody teenager devoid of responsibilities, and being an emotionally stable adult who others depend on. It’s an issue which a lot of college students face – and something I can relate to. The author did a great job of portraying college-age characters.

Yet for a college-age romance, the focus isn’t on college. The novel centers around the burgeoning relationship between Dean and Lauren. While I was excited for Lauren during all her scenes with Dean, I found I couldn’t connect to Dean as a character. He stays pretty mysterious throughout the book.

He spends a good portion of the novel acting aloof and disinterested in her, and then all of a sudden changes his mind and decides she’s the most beautiful girl ever. Then in the second half, everyone in the town keeps commenting about how much of a player Dean is and how Lauren should stay away. I couldn’t understand her attraction to him, but I’m sure some readers will feel differently.

I also wish Lauren Lindsay hadn’t cried quite so much. I felt like she ended up crying in every other scene. Lauren seemed to burst into tears whenever she was happy, whenever she was sad, and whenever she was with Dean. I just wanted to hand her a box of Kleenex already!

While the first half of IGNITE is stronger than the second, both are well-written and both are just as page-turning. IGNITE is the first contemporary romance I’ve read that had me gripped through the entire story. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the author’s future works. Congrats, Lily Paradis, on a strong debut novel.

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