Friday, November 18, 2011

Interview with Lilly Maytree, Author of Gold Trap

Where are you from?
I’m not at liberty to mention it, although I will say it was one of the most beautiful places in the world, at the time, peopled with more creatives per acre than possibly anywhere else on the planet. Sometimes, imagination rubbed off just bumping into them. You can’t go back there, anymore, because it isn’t the same. But when I was growing up, it was still golden. Oh, dear, now, I’ve probably said too much. Maybe we should go on to the next question.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Everything. Absolutely everything. Which I wasn’t allowed, so, there was the angst. Still, that was probably the very reason I came away with such an active imagination.

What inspired you to write your first book?
The longing for those adventures I couldn’t have. Not only was writing my escape, but the words themselves enchanted me. I was fascinated with their ability to evoke emotions and create worlds. In fact, I was a collector of them long before I learned how to weave them into my own stories. But once I discovered the thrill of that, I never quit. My first book was a south sea sailing adventure I never stopped changing. I grew up and learned my craft writing it. I still take it out from time to time, thinking I might polish it up and do something with it. Might very well be my “magnum opus” (great work), the beginning and the end, as I will have had a lifetime of learning when I come to that place. But it isn’t time, yet.

What are your current projects?
Right now, I’m working on an adventure called THE PANDORA BOX. It’s about a young newspaper reporter who befriends an old man in a state hospital she is investigating, who tells her about a fortune in diamonds he hid during the war. So, she sets out on the adventure of a lifetime to find them, without knowing the CIA has been following the case for many years, and there is much more to be recovered than diamonds. It’s the second in my “women of adventure” series, that links a true-life heroine out of the past with a contemporary story of today.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I have always been enamored with heroes, and you find them in all races, ages, and time periods. I am especially interested in ordinary people who are molded by experiences that lead them to do extraordinary things. I believe there is a “hero spark” in all of us that could easily be fanned to flame in the right place and time, and I greatly enjoy telling stories about those kinds of people. I’m a bit unusual in my methods, though, as I like to build the story around interesting quotes from the real heroes. Of course, the adventures, themselves, are pure fiction.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I suppose for GOLD TRAP it would have to be that not only does God have a plan for our lives that is better than anything we could dream up, ourselves, it is also something we will love doing. Because He has created and equipped us for that very thing. “Divinely appointed,” you might say. A lot of us have a hard time believing that, though. But when you think about it, what could be more wonderful?

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
GOLD TRAP was inspired by the true-life adventures of Mary Kingsley, who survived some of the most incredible experiences in Africa. Much wilder than my character, Meg, went through. You couldn’t get away with putting such things in a novel, though. Which is another proof for that old saying, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

What do you think makes a good story?
A good universal concept or premise. Because they give you a jump start on your story by having already built-in emotional responses for the reader. Like a free ticket for a ride they already want to go on. After that, I think you have to have characters that people can get attached to. There are a lot of characters people can relate to because they see themselves in them. But they don’t always like themselves.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
The kind of traveling I like to do for my books is my own version of time traveling. This because many of the people and places I write about are no longer there to travel to. I do travel in more conventional ways, as well. My husband (who is an adventurer by nature), and I, travel several months out of the year. Right now, we are busy planning a “Mystery Tour” for GOLD TRAP that will begin sometime in the spring. I can only tell you that we’ve got some very mysterious stops scheduled, already. Of course, I will be documenting our travels for my readers, and taking enough friends along that it’s shaping up into quite the traveling show. But that’s all I can tell you about that, right now.

If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?
Mary Poppins. Definitely.

Thank you, so much, for having me over for a visit, Barb!


  1. Thank you for having me, Barb! I'm off to the races, but I will be back this evening for a chat...

  2. Great interview. I think Lilly is really a fictional character herself.

    has anyone ever really seen her? ha ha ha.

    I love the phrase 'a free ticket for a ride they already want to go on'!
    I've been playing with the idea of an Amelia Peabody inspired sleuth for the inspy market. I think it's just easier to read your books, Lilly.

  3. Love the interview! Your description of your WIP is intriguing. I'll definitely be watching for more information on it!

  4. Deb, as to whether anybody has ever seen Lilly, I hear the lass is a bit elusive.

  5. A character, undoubtedly, but definitely real, Deb. In fact, I'm planning a "Mystery Tour" (where all of my stops will be in mysterious places), and intend on making a personal appearance at each one of those. More of that over on my website at, along with some descriptions of real-life adventures I have been on, as well. I even shared a bit about MY LIFE WITH BEARS at only I don't think anyone believed me about that, even though it was entirely true (nearly all bear stories are taken with a grain of salt, these days).

    But as Barb says, I do tend to be elusive. This mostly because I travel three to five months out of the year, often to remote places. Not that I am such a brave explorer. It's just that I cannot stand to be left behind when the Captain (the real adventurer of the family) gets one of his big ideas. While things don't always turn out the way we expect, I never fail to come home with great material for stories...

    Which is just how I came across the idea for THE PANDORA BOX, E.A. West. One balmy summer night on the coast of Oregon, we found our sailboat moored alongside an old wreck of a ketch that was rumored to have been used by the infamous Hermann Goering. Something I had to investigate further.

    Well, it's been lovely talking to you all, and you can be sure I'll be looking in now and again, to join in on more lively conversations. Meanwhile, many thanks for being such a wonderful host, Barb, and all the best on your upcoming release of GOLD FRANKINCENSE AND MURDER!

  6. Good heavens, I meant hostess, not host. I suppose I should have previewed before I pushed the button and not after. My apologies to the group...