Lavender in Bloom
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.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS WITH AUTHOR LILY VELEZ
Where did the inspiration for Lavender in Bloom come from?
The story behind Lavender in Bloom first emerged on July 22, 2013. Back then, I was still developing my character Noah Capet, and while doing some free-writing for his backstory, pieces of his forbidden romance with Jeremie began to emerge little by little. The very first ‘telling’ of the story was less than 500 words and written in first-person from Noah’s point of view. Over the next few years, I’d return to Noah and Jeremie again and again, writing snippets here and there that eventually amounted to tens of thousands of words. Finally, I decided 2016 would be the year I brought their story into the world!
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.
Did you ever consider giving the story a happier, alternative ending?
I did, actually. There were a few days during the writing process when I wondered if I shouldn’t change the ending entirely. Ultimately, I realized that I would be robbing from the story’s truth by doing that. The fact of the matter is that in life, we do experience loss. We experience heartbreak. We experience grief. We make decisions (or choose not to make decisions), and we often have to live with the consequences for the rest of our lives. I think there are plenty of books with happy endings out there, and I love them just as much as the next person. But Noah and Jeremie’s story always had a tragic ending from the beginning, and I didn’t want it to lose its effect. As a writer, I feel that one of my jobs is to capture and display humanity’s universal truths in my stories, so while the truth in this case wouldn’t exactly be warm and fuzzy, I knew this was how it had to be written.
That being said, I’ve written a number of versions of Noah and Jeremie’s story–you could call them ‘alternate universes’, I suppose. Some end tragically all the same, but in others, there are happy endings. In fact, in my favorite version, Noah and Jeremie live in present-day Rome and have a precocious son named Remy. 🙂
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 http://www.lilyvelezbooks.com.