I love it when one of my favorite people (who also happens to be an amazing author) stops by and shares with us a little insight into the inspiration for her writing. Today, Lily Java shares with us the secrets behind her latest releases: Ethan’s Choice and Serena’s Vow – books 1 and 2 in the Blackbirds: Blank Pages series.
What inspired you to write the Blackbirds: Blank Pages series?
These two novels were inspired by one little scene I wrote in another book called ‘Blackbirds’ where the hero Elliott Vance meets his father for the first time, and it doesn’t go well at all. It was a pivotal scene in that book, but it was also compelling because of all the questions it left unanswered about Elliott’s parents, Ethan and Serena Vance. Telling Ethan and Serena’s story from the beginning, then including the middle, and wrapping up the end with what happens after the fateful meeting between father and son became a fascinating journey for me. I couldn’t resist it the more I thought about it and it occurred to me that maybe it would be irresistible for the reader as well.
Part of my fascination with the story came from themes that as a writer I’d been wanting to explore. To see young love, turn into mature love for example was the first theme that attracted me to the project. Then checking in on that love over four decades was also a temptation, albeit a daunting one. Starting off with a rendering of the 70’s and 80’s in New York City in particular was intriguing, because it was such a memorable time and place especially in Black and Brown communities. Writing a love story that crystallized in that environment was fun to think about as well as write.
Tell us a little about Ethan and Serena?
Serena Clay is the kind of young woman that every girl wants to be beautiful, sensible, and unpretentious. The only child of two adoring, aging parents Serena had a solidly middle-class education and upbringing. There was a grounded, loving, and sheltered quality to Serena’s childhood that gives her an underlying security and confidence in her daily life until she meets Ethan Vance. Ethan represents a worldly sophistication that Serena has yet to achieve but that she’s attracted to in the extreme.
It is true, Ethan’s life has had many advantages but because of his family there are many aspects of it that are also dark, gritty and violent. Much of Ethan’s family legacy is so abhorrent to him he makes every effort in both word and deed to leave it behind. When he meets Serena, the last thing he expects to do is to immediately fall for the type of girl that epitomizes innocence and virtue, but he also recognizes that being with her could be his ultimate salvation and the culmination of everything he truly wants his life to be.
There are some heady stakes involved when these two fall in love. It’s powerful, passionate and often all consuming. How life changes the trajectory of their romance, changes them both as people, and how what they feel for each other endures despite the obstacles and setbacks, is the epic love story told in this duet of novels.