Small Town Hearts
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: March 19th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Rule #1 – Never fall for a summer boy.
Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.
And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?
Lillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many U.S. states, and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. She can be reached on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine. Small Town Hearts is her debut novel.
Hi Dani! Thanks for hosting me on your blog today to chat about my Young Adult debut!
Everybody else: Hi! I’m Lillie Vale, the author of upper YA contemporary Small Town Hearts. It’s a messy BFF breakup + found family novel taking place in the summer after high school, the last summer 19yo bi baking barista Babe thinks she’ll have before her friends Penny and Chad start college in the fall. She has a somewhat co-dependent relationship with the people she loves, and change has never been a good thing, in her experience, so she’s trying to hold on tight during a time when she has to learn how to let go. Matters are further complicated when her ex-girlfriend Elodie returns to their sleepy Maine village of Oar’s Rest at the same time as a mysterious summer boy shows up to rent Babe’s mom’s cottage on the beach.
You asked me what inspired me to write Small Town Hearts, and the answer is…a whole lotta things!
- I’ve always loved names and their etymologies… my browser history’s long line of baby name websites can attest to this! There’s a particular kind of satisfaction that fills me when I find that perfect name that captures my main character to a T. I usually get the idea first, then tackle names second. This time, it worked the other way around. Babe’s name inspired the story for Bitter Brews 100%.
- Babe’s first name, Barbara, is arguably not the most trendy millennial name in YA. It’s always a name I’ve loved, though, because of its possibilities. As someone who’s never had a satisfying nickname of her own, I like to tickle myself by thinking up possible modern variations of traditional names. “Barbie would be a great name!” I remember myself saying. I just couldn’t see myself typing it over and over for the whole book. And then…“OMG, what if her name was Babe and wouldn’t that be SO COOL because Levi could totally think she was being hit on when she actually wasn’t?!?”
- Now, Levi was a minor character from a first draft of another story I wrote. I fell in love with him there and realized I could transplant him to his own story (see, Levi was a good example of a side character who was more compelling than the main characters, and I realized that his story was the one I really wanted to tell).
- Going into the book, I only knew I wanted a slightly sad, very cute artist to wash up on the coast of Maine and fall in love with a local girl. Once I had finished cackling to myself over the cleverness of Babe’s name, the rest of her character—and the story—evolved from there.
Luckily for me, the stars all aligned to turn an exploratory discovery draft into what would eventually become Small Town Hearts!