Our next interview for Heard in Silence in here! Today, I have Lillian Keith, a middle-grace indie author, joining us today! If you missed my interview with Saraina, you can check it out here!
Without any further ado, Lily!
~ interview ~
Hey, Lily!! Welcome to Of Blades and Thorns! I am sooo excited to have you join us today! Before we get started, do you mind telling everyone a little bit about yourself?
Hi Grace! Thank you so much for having me here on your blog.
Absolutely! I’m a Christian homeschool grad who writes mainly for kids, and reads way too many books in the children’s/middle grade book department (*cough* I still love beautiful or very clever picture books, even as an adult *cough* XD). Writing-wise, I’m dabbling a bit into different kids’ book genres such as realistic fiction or a mix of dystopian/fantasy.
Outside of writing, though, I really enjoy doing crafts, blogging, hiking, and playing Animal Crossing with my younger sisters. Or taking hundreds of photos of the sunset (we live on a hill, so the view on most nights is so beautiful!)
Your story “Stormy, with a Chance of Logan” is featured in Heard in Silence anthology! What inspired this story or prompted you to submit it for the anthology contest?
Yes, it is! I’m so excited and honored to be a part of it (congrats on your story being in the anthology too, Grace!) I remember first hearing about the contest that Sisters Three hosted, but I was too busy to submit something at the time. When they announced that they were going to turn the winning entries into an anthology (and were opening up for more submissions) I decided to give it a go. I don’t remember what sparked the story inspiration first; maybe it was a mix of finding a photo of a girl for my MC and the idea of doing a camping trip that started the seeds of the story idea. I also knew that I wanted to aim for a young protagonist and focus on themes of friendship in the story.
What was the most difficult part about writing from the perspective of a deaf character?
I’d say that learning to walk in the mindset of the deaf community was a unique challenge. Actually, they don’t really see themselves as having a disability. I wanted to avoid stereotypes in my story and try to get into the viewpoint of my MC instead. It took awhile, but I started trying to see how isolating being deaf can be in a hearing world (and actually, vice versa if you’re a hearing person dropped into the middle of a deaf community with no understanding of ASL. Imagining myself in the reverse has helped some.)
When did you first begin writing? What inspired you?
I guess it started when I first learned how to write XD. But, according to my mom, I was always telling stories to my dolls and stuffed animals since I could talk. Stories have always been running through my head, so I guess it was only a matter of time before I started jotting them down. I didn’t get fully serious about being a full-time writer until I was about to graduate highschool.
What writing projects are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m working on getting my next MG novella published on October 19th. It’s called Because You Saw Me, and has a mix of dystopian/19th century vibe to the setting (it’s also a companion novella to my short story, An Apprentice Escapes.) I recently got a proof copy, and it felt so surreal to see it in print (my sister did the interior illustrations and they turned out so well!) Here’s the story blurb:
Would Nari ever be happy if she learned the truth? Agatha swallowed hard. She knew what her friend would say.
As an orphan in Daivron, Agatha has learned to scavenge for anything that might prove useful. When she picks up an innocent-looking button box, she unwittingly incurs the wrath of a shadowy stranger. While being chased through the alleyways of a city that’s turned its back on her, will Agatha use the box’s hidden treasure to escape to a better future? Or will she follow her beloved friend’s advice and do the right thing?
As for any other writing projects, I actually don’t have anything on the table at the moment. I’m hoping to take a bit of a break this month and completely ignore the giant backlog of summer vacation photos—I mean, work on organizing my summer photos, plus getting blog posts done for the Five Fall Favorites book blog event. (I think sign-ups are still open until the 14th.)
What are your goals or mission as a writer?
Aside from honoring God, my main goal as an MG writer is to bring adventurous and thought-provoking stories to kids to inspire their imagination and get them to think. God gave me wonderful parents who inspired a love of good books in our family (book discussions are some of my favorite things to do together) and I want to give those kinds of stories to kids as well. Sometimes, I see more shallow-ended books for kids, and while not all are bad (hey, I loved the Boxcar Children series!) I wanted to write something more deep and meaningful. Something that would linger with kids for a long time and give them something to think about (like the Tales of the Kingdom book. Years later, I still remember some of those stories *lol*.)
What’s your #1 word of advice for other young writers?
Oh man, only one Grace? XD. Let’s see. I’ll try not to sound too cliche 😉
Don’t forget the reason you write, and why you’re writing a story. Grow and learn, yes, but also stay true to your style and the story you want to tell. What matters is what God thinks and lays on your heart to write; and also whether you told the story you wanted to tell in the best way possible.
Where can people read other stories by you?
Great question! Well, you can find all my published stories either on Goodreads (to check out the story plotline/reviews to see if it’s up your alley) and on Amazon if you want to buy a copy. I haven’t really started publishing short stories on my blog yet, just snippets from past WIP’s, though maybe that will change in the future.
(However, if you’d like to read a totally ridiculous comedy story I did for a blog tag, you can find it here. I did a combination of tags in that post, so you might have to scroll a bit to find it; it’s the third one from the top. Lol, comedy is not my usual genre to write in, but it was a lot of fun to try!)
Thank you so much for joining me, Lily! I loved having you here!
Thanks so much for hosting me on your lovely blog, Grace! I had a lot of fun with this interview!
~ the author ~
Lillian Keith is the pen name of a girl who loves writing kids literature (anywhere from the children's to middle grade age range. Also, feel free to call her by her real name Lily). Her published works include an MG short story called An Apprentice Escapes; a realistic MG novella, Should We Tell Her?; and the upcoming book, Because You Saw Me (related to An Apprentice Escapes.)
A Christian homeschool grad, Lily enjoys hiking, crafting, and practicing harmony with her younger sister (who's also her illustrator and critique partner! And also the better singer.) Oh, and don't get her started on her love of clean humor and puns (you've been forewarned!) You'll often find her being a mix of witty and thoughtful on her blog The Introspective Introvert where she also helps promote upcoming Christian indie books releases, keeps readers updated on her latest work, hosts various blog events, and randomly photo dumps her favorite pictures of ducks and sunsets. She loves meeting new people, so feel free to drop by and say ‘hey'.
~ the anthology ~
Some voices can only be heard in silence.
Thirteen young authors invite you to journey deep into a silent world so often overlooked. Within these pages, you’ll find bittersweet contemporary YA, spellbinding fantasy, tender romance, and so much more, each centering on a deaf character.
Curated by author Kaytlin Phillips, this short story collection offers you a peek inside a life without sound, a fresh perspective on a world you may never have experienced. For a moment in time, hush the noise around you and absorb the quiet heartbeat of these diverse stories. Let yourself be swept away in these characters' struggles, heartaches, and victories.
Heard in Silence features work from Saraina Whitney, Alison Stadt, K.R. Mattson, Marisa Phillips, Kylie Beevers, Riley G. Stanch, Jaiden Phillips, Lorelei Angelino, Lillian Keith, Grace A. Johnson, Kaytlin Phillips, Autumn Nicole, and Wilder W.! This unique, richly imagined short story collection will stretch your mind and hold your heart captive.
All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to the American Society for Deaf Children!
~ the tour ~
Monday, Sept. 4th
Sisters Three - Blog Tour Launch Announcement
Tasha Van Kesteren - Author Interview
Tuesday, Sept. 5th
Writers’ Vision - Author Interviews
Wednesday, Sept. 6th
Kristina Hall - Review
Katherine Barnard - Review & Spotlight
Thursday, Sept. 7th
Lorelei Angelino - Review and Spotlight
Old Fashioned Book Love - Review and Spotlight
Friday, Sept. 8th
Autumn Nicole - IG Spotlight
Saraina Whitney - Spotlight
The Introspective Introvert - Spotlight and BTS Collab Post
M. C. Kennedy - Review
Riley G. - Spotlight
Lucy Peterson - Spotlight
Sisters Three - End Tour
Vanessa Hall - Spotlight
Who else loves the Boxcar Children? *raises hand* What about deep and well-written stories for middle-grade? What did you think of Lily's blurb for Because You Saw Me? Have you read Should We Tell Her? or An Apprentice Escapes?
Let's talk about it in the comments!