E has a thing for writing witty women, swoony men, and the steamy scenes that bring them together. An American from the Midwest, she now lives in Europe with her small pack of humans. She types away on her laptop with music on repeat, a donut in one hand, a whiskey or coffee in the other, and the occasional glance at her yoga mat, which she should probably use again. One day, she hopes to put her master’s degree to use and release historical fiction, but for now she sticks to kissing books. She also has too many nicknames for one life, so we’ll just stick to E for now…
Author interview – E.H. Lyon
Hi E, great to have you here! Let’s dive right in: When did you start writing, and why?
I’ve always been a writer in some way. During university, I wrote for the student paper. In my twenties, I had a blog and wrote for other blogs. Now, in my thirties, I write romance novels. It’s a hobby and an escape for me. It’s how I cope with day-to-day life and it takes my mind to a different world for a little bit.
At what age did you take yourself seriously as a writer?
I would say as a writer, it was always there as I would always write as part of working corporate jobs or people would ask me to write something. However, it is in the last year as a self-published author that I can say, now it is full steam ahead on the serious train as the business aspect of writing entered the picture. This year alone, I have released seven books and still have a few more releases planned for this year.
Well done! That’s full steam ahead, indeed! So, do you prefer the term ‘writer’ or ‘author’, and why?
I have no preference one bit.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
About two months, but then I edited for another three months and the story changed quite a bit. Now I can write a full-length novel in three weeks if I am pushing it, but normally on average five weeks.
That’s impressive, too! I know each writer has to figure out their own pace, but there are days I wish I could write that fast. Alas! So, what was your last book about?
I’m only focusing on romance right now although I do also write historical and women’s fiction under another name to be published next year. My last book, The Big Charmer, was about a boss who falls for his nanny. It is a feel-good and steamy story.
What are you working on right now?
Another romance that is a marriage of convenience story. It is fun and flirty.
What is your writing process like? Do you plot or do you just dive in? How many drafts do you go through before the work is final?
I am not a plotter. I go in knowing roughly what the story will be and perhaps one page of very basic bullet points but that’s it. I write as I go and see where the story takes me but keep in mind essential plot points that I may need to interlink my series. After writing the first draft (average five weeks), I take a few days off before self-editing. After self-editing, a beta reader reads it, then I self-edit again. I’ve been known to change quite a bit of my story at this stage. Once it is with my editor, we do another three passes at least. After formatting, I proofread again and only then do I consider the work final.
What do you struggle with most as a writer?
Some days the words just do not flow! Or finding time with my busy schedule to get my writing in.
Have you always had that struggle or has it changed over time?
I was super lucky. When the pandemic started, I was stuck in a new house with no internet for two months and my baby would sleep normally so, every night, I had hours to write. I ended up writing a whole series in the span of five months!
However, as the baby grew into a toddler not willing to sleep, my schedule got thrown. Some days, I just have to accept that there is no time to write or that I am tired too and try again the next day. I plan my books about four months out from the publishing date to give myself a bit of grace should I get too delayed.
What advice would you give to writers dealing with the same?
Take a break. Burnout or writer’s block is a real thing. Sometimes, I take a few days off, read books, or watch a series, then I return refreshed. If you are publishing, then always add on extra time! For next year, I already know that I will probably slow it down slightly between releases to ensure I don’t get overwhelmed.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If yes, how did you overcome it?
A break of a few days or even a week or two. Also, I may write a few scenes just to see if anything sticks. I also may not write in order. If I know my beginning and end, then I go ahead and write that, then return to the middle later.
What do you do to stay inspired?
Continue to read other authors. I also love interacting with my readers so if they e-mail or message me, I always take time to respond as they inspire me to keep writing.
Who’s your favourite author?
So many! For romance: S.L Scott, Vi Keeland, Corinne Michaels, and Melanie Harlow are a few who I will always buy upon release.
For non-romance: I read a lot of history books and Elie Wiesel and David Grossman have definitely left a lasting impression.
What’s your favourite book?
I don’t have a favourite book. Just a list of books that I enjoy or recommend for different reasons.
What’s your favourite book on the craft?
As romance is my main genre, for sure Romancing the Beat: Story Structure of Romance Novels (How to Write Kissing Books #1) by Gwen Hayes. That story structure is the winning formula for romance novels.
I do love that book. It’s helped me co-wrote romance in the past and I keep recommending it to people wishing to write romance, too. OK, last but not least, what’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Write to market and stay in your lane. This means, depending on your genre, that maybe you write in a series as that is what sells. It also means that you maybe need to change your story to hit the beats of what is popular. Staying in lane also means that, if you write one particular genre, your style doesn’t change too much between books (e.g. I write rom-com style so my next book probably shouldn’t be a dark mafia romance).
Whilst this could come from the business mind, I must say it helped me become a better writer in general. It gave me more focus and structure on my writing. So even if I wasn’t publishing, it helped fine-tune my writing a bit.