Friday, July 29, 2016

Lavender in Bloom {+ Giveaway}

I’m happy to be taking part in the LAVENDER IN BLOOM by Lily Velez Book Blitz with Xpresso Book Tours today.

Today’s post features an interview with Lily and an excerpt from her new book. In addition, there’s an International tour-wide giveaway for a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Please see the end of the post for more details.

Lavender in Bloom
by Lily Velez
Publication date: July 25th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

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.

You can find LAVENDER IN BLOOM at Goodreads and Amazon.

Now an excerpt from the book for your reading pleasure.

The music formally began and, with it, the dance. Noah’s body was stiff as he bowed along with the other men, the women curtsying.
Already, Noah was sweating. It was as if the entire room had caught fire, and he couldn’t understand how no one else felt the blaze of the flames. Focus on Margaux, he told himself. He reached for the satin fingers of her elbow-length glove when they closed the space between them.
“You’re doing just fine,” she whispered quickly before they parted, assuming his distress stemmed from self-consciousness.
If Margaux believed he could survive this unpleasant social ritual, then he would. Or so he told himself. Except that the part of the dance he’d most dreaded had now come upon him. Each couple was to presently join hands with their immediate neighbors, the four of them then walking in a circle counterclockwise.
The girls easily clasped hands as was expected of them. Then Jeremie extended a hand to Noah, and Noah had to stop himself from drawing back. He didn’t move.
“Noah!” Camilla hissed. He was embarrassing her. The other couples were already turning in their circles while his own quartet remained stationary because of his faltering.
Realizing his hesitancy would only draw attention, he surrendered his hand.
The contact lasted but a few breaths, for no more than a string of heartbeats easily counted. But for Noah, it was an eternity. It was a moment on his hill back at the farm, where time stretched impossibly, dropping a person into a pocket full of forevers. It was yesterday, today, and a multitude of tomorrows, and most of all, it was Jeremie. His skin ever so warm, so soft. It was his poetry and books, his curiosity and joy, the kindness in his eyes and the way Noah’s name sounded when it left his lips. It was all these things, and all these things kindled a spark in Noah. 

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Lily as she answers some questions. Welcome Lily.

What was your favorite part of Lavender in Bloom to write and why?

There were a lot of scenes that were exciting for me to write. I would say one of my favorite scene, however, takes place in Jeremie’s bookshop when Noah has finished helping him ready the store for its grand opening. I don’t want to give away too much so that I don’t spoil it for readers, but toward the end of this scene, Jeremie does something to indicate that he’s begun to see Noah as more than just a friend. To me, it was just a very tender moment in the story, and I think it’s something we can all relate to. We’ve all had those moments when we’ve wondered if the object of our affection feels similarly. It can be scary to make the first move to find out, so I just feel like the scene has a universality to it. I also enjoy this scene because it’s the ‘point of no return’ for Noah and Jeremie. Neither of them can pretend like the moment never happened, and it ends up changing their relationship for the rest of the summer.

What was the hardest part of the writing process?

As it happened, the mass shooting in Orlando (the worst mass shooting in U.S. history) took place while I was doing final edits for Lavender in Bloom. I live in Orlando, and the shooting actually took place at a venue just 20 minutes away from my home. That was hard because it emphasized the amount of hate that’s in our world, especially when it comes to who a person loves. Noah and Jeremie’s story takes place in 1802. Although revolutionary ideals (and later, The Napoleonic Code) decriminalized same-sex relationships at the time, it’s not like you could suddenly walk down the street hand-in-hand with your significant other. Objections still ran deep, and just decades before the story’s set, two men were actually burned alive in Paris for being lovers. So the hardest part for me was realizing just how close to home Noah and Jeremie’s story is for countless people even to this day.

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!

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.

Are you working on another book?

Two stories are currently warring within me to become my next book.

The first is a contemporary, new adult romance about a young woman who tracks down the family of the organ donor whose heart saved her father's life a year ago, and finds a group of shattered individuals still in the throes of grief.

The second is an adult historical romance set in the 1800s in Prague that follows a young psychology professor named Gottfried, whose world is turned upside down when a seventeen-year-0ld, would-be anarchist named Dominik Prochazka becomes enamored of him.

If you'd like to stay updated about my future books and be among the first to know about advanced reader copies, giveaways, and events, you can sign up to join my VIP crew here:

Lily, thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight into your book. It’s amazing how far and how little we’ve come from the 1800s.

Author Lily Velez
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 by visiting her website and connecting with her on Goodreads and Twitter.

This tour-wide giveaway is for a $100 Amazon Gift Card (International Giveaway). To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks so much for dropping by during Lily’s stop. Do you think we’ve come very far in our thinking and acceptance of others since the 1800s?


  1. It sounds powerful, poignant and affirming. Thank you both.

  2. sounds really beautiful and a wonderful setting too

  3. What an interesting exploration of friendships and relationships. And the coming-of-age motif is interesting, too. Thanks, both.

  4. It sounds like a powerful and, perhaps, a sad tale. I cannot even image how hard it must have been to do those last edits.

    --And oh my, books bound with skin!

  5. What a charming cover! So elegant. Yes, it would be weird to be so close to a mass shooting while writing about a different time in history. It would make me feel like I wanted to escape to that world!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.