Blink YA Books and Editor Sara Bierling are pleased to bring you Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon. This is a heart-fluttering romance and a thrilling murder mystery with a swoon-worthy hero.
Here to talk about her book and her writing process is author Lorie Langdon. Lorie co-wrote (with Carey Corp) the wildly popular Doon series from Blink YA Books. Doon, Destined for Doon, Shades of Doon, and Forever Doon have garnered a cult-like following of readers pining for a fantasy world out of time.
SB: Welcome, Lorie! Now that the book is written and we’re getting ready to publish, I’m excited to sit back and talk to you about writing a bit. Your previously-published novels have been a mix of fantasy and contemporary but this one is solidly contemporary. Why did you feel compelled to tell Willow and Ashton’s story?
LL: The idea for Gilt Hollow was sparked by a news story I saw about a teenage boy who was on trial for killing one of his friends. Which made me ask the all-important ‘what if’ questions. What if the boy was innocent, but took the fall for the crime and spent his formative teen years in juvie? How would it change him? What if he lived in a small town and the girl who’d been his best friend most of his life was ostracized after his conviction? How would that change her? And what would happen when the boy returned to the hometown after serving his time, seeking revenge against those who testified against him?
The ‘what ifs’ kept coming. I tried to ignore them, because as you pointed out, contemporary suspense was new territory for me. But this story would not leave me alone. It had to be told!
SB: Your male hero, Ashton, is a bit of a troubled soul with a strong physical presence. Why do you think this kind of character is so appealing, especially in a romance?
LL: Heroes with a powerful physical presence and a bit of a dark side are my kryptonite. I seriously can’t resist them and I don’t think I’m alone! J
As a writer, in order for a hero to hold my interest for an entire book, they need to have deep layers—secrets and sides to their personality that I don’t even know until I start telling their story. Ashton starts out tortured and angry, but he surprised me with his emotional intelligence and selfless heroism. I love the positive changes he makes over the course of the book.
SB: Character is so important in a romance because female readers want to picture themselves as the romantic heroine and to imagine their ultimate partner in the male character. In what ways is it challenging to describe and craft your characters in a way that appeals to many readers?
LL: I believe it’s important to give your heroine weaknesses and personality quirks. No one makes the right choices all the time. Perfect heroines are not relatable.
For example, Willow is smart, pretty, and loyal, but she also has anxiety issues which manifest in panic attacks at inconvenient times, and she retreats into extreme organization mode when she’s stressed. These idiosyncrasies allow readers to see parts of themselves in the character’s faults.
SB: The town of Gilt Hollow is so well-drawn that it almost feels like a character in the novel. There’s a prominent college scene, with students yarn bombing light poles and park benches. Even Willow’s mom is a bit of a hippie. What was your inspiration for this quirky setting?
LL: I adore Gilt Hollow! It was inspired by the intimate, small town feel of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls and Yellow Springs, Ohio, which is an eclectic town about ten miles from where I live. There are street musicians and holistic healing shops and even a little record store on the second floor of a vintage clothing shop. And yes, Yellow Springs does have yarn bombers!
SB: This story is full of romance and mystery but it also has a lot to say about personal connection. Ashton and Willow are first and foremost friends. Why do you think this is so vital to their connection and eventual romance?
LL: Willow and Ashton don’t know it at first, but they need each other. Willow’s regimented life needs a shakeup of adventure and Ashton needs Willow to help him see that second chances are possible. Without the trust they’d previously established as friends, I don’t believe either of them could’ve let their guards down enough to learn from each other, and develop a deeper connection.
This was fun! Thanks so much the great questions, Sara!
SB: Thanks so much, Lorie! Readers, be sure to preorder Gilt Hollow at:
And you can follow Lorie here: