Publication date: July 8th 2016
Genres: Gothic, New Adult, Romance
Miranda Lewis is desperate to get away from her controlling ex–so desperate she leaves him in the middle of the night. She ends up on a remote island off the Maine coast, where she befriends a bubbly shopkeeper, Claire, and becomes fascinated with Claire’s son, big, brooding Owen Larsen, a woodworker who keeps to himself. Even the friendliest locals here are secretive–and Owen is at the center of their secrets.
Still, Miranda loves the salt air, the craggy coastline, and, most of all, the work of the island’s beloved local painter, Suzanna White. Miranda wants to stay–to claim a life of her own, to paint again. But the longer she stays, the more her fascination with Owen increases. Why is there a painting of his stern, handsome face in the art gallery by the beach? And why is everyone so afraid of him?
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write?
I started writing and illustrating “books” in first grade or so, usually about girls who were given magical ponies for their birthdays. So, as you can see, I write in part as wish fulfillment (sadly I never did get that magical pony). But mostly, writing is just how I process. Sometimes it seems like I can’t write fast enough to keep up with all of the processing I need to do.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
Well, of course, I’m hopeful that lots of people can enjoy Set Me Free. If you like either romance or mystery, you will probably find something to like here. But Set Me Free is also a story for abuse survivors written by an abuse survivor. I wanted to write a engaging, hopeful, and fun story for us, about how strong we are, and about how we, too, can find our happily-ever-afters. <3
How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
I’m actually super thrilled you asked me this, because the title of Set Me Free is a majorly nerdy Shakespeare reference and I’ve been dying to spill the beans about it for ages. So: this book is loosely inspired by The Tempest. And, at the very end of that play, the sorcerer Prospero breaks the third wall, turns to the audience, and asks that they set him free from the island he was stranded on through applause. (“But release me from my bands With the help of your good hands . . . As you from crimes would pardoned be, Let your indulgence set me free.”)
Which is not to say I’m begging for your approval. 😉 The concept behind Set Me Free is that we can free each other from our burdens through trust and openness; writing the book was freeing for me, and I hope it can be freeing for some of my readers, too.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
The very sweet and wonderful Ida at Amygdala Designs created my cover. Since I first came up with the idea for Set Me Free, I wanted a cover with my heroine wearing a white dress and standing by the sea, as a callback to classic Gothics. I was really happy with Ida’s design, which kept that Gothic flavor but with a contemporary spin.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Gosh, you know, it feels a bit gauche to admit this, but I actually really like my heroine, Miranda. I think she’s brave as hell. If it helps, I’m not much like her. 😉
How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
I’m not sure I have one. I tend to empathize to some degree with even my most evil and horrible characters. Which can be a little worrying.
If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
I always try to remind myself of that quote (alternately attributed to Da Vinci or Picasso) that art is never finished, only abandoned.
Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
Set Me Free is a standalone, but I have some tie-in short stories on my Wattpad profile (@elsetterby), which might eventually be made available elsewhere, too. There are scenes from Owen’s point of view, and I’m currently writing a short story/novellette about two side characters, Andy and Kaye. I’ve also been toying with the idea of writing a wedding scene, a bit like an epilogue. So readers, if that’s something you guys would like, let me know!
What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
It’s pretty hard to find contemporary Gothics, which makes me sad. Certainly the book draws on the classics quite a lot, like Rebecca and Jane Eyre. A few people have told me that Set Me Free reminds them of Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven, but I’ve never read it, so I don’t know.
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
You can reach me at my website anytime! londonsetterby.com You can sign up for my newsletter there. I’m also on tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, and Wattpad, and would love to chat with you.
What can we expect from you in the future?
This fall, I’m hoping to release the first book in my gritty erotic romance series (writing as L. Setterby). It’s called Breathe and is currently available on the brand-new Radish app (radishfiction.com), where it’s a trending story and one of the top Radish reads.
Meanwhile, I’m writing a new romance called Heart of Stone, which I hope to start putting on Wattpad soon. It’s a romcom about a statue that comes to life and becomes his sculptor’s couch guy.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Leaving a review would be a huge help, on whichever site you like! Telling a friend is always good, too. Word of mouth is the best advertising there is!
Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
Well, I’m an indie author, and it’s a bit different for us. I would just say: writer, know thyself. I spent a long time agonizing over pursuing traditional publishing, but it’s just not for me. I just don’t enjoy playing someone else’s game. I want to play my own. 🙂
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Thanks so much for hosting!
And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
It wasn’t like we’d discussed it. Maybe he’d expected a chaste kiss and goodbye promptly after dinner. Instead, I’d unzipped my dress on his kitchen counter. We’d only just met; we’d only gone on a few dates, if you could call them dates. And yet it had all felt so right. What he’d said to me afterwards had been so sweet… I’d thought he might be falling for me. Even though I knew better.
I slid out of bed and almost stepped on my dress, which was folded neatly on the floor, on top of my shoes. My handbag sat beside the little bundle. He must have gotten my things together before he left for work, so I wouldn’t have to go hunting around his house. He was being nice. He was definitely not trying to get rid of me.
I pulled on my clothes and tiptoed across his plushy beige carpet. On the landing, I hesitated, staring at the door to the opposite room. The brass doorknob gleamed against the dark wood. Before I realized what I was doing, I’d turned the doorknob as hard as I could.
The door popped open, and I stumbled inside with a gasp. There was no way I could’ve broken it, and he was too careful to ever leave this room unlocked. I jiggled the knob, but it wouldn’t turn. It was locked…still? Again?
I shouldn’t go in. Even though he’d shown me what he kept in here, going into this room without him violated his trust. It was wrong. Beneath me.
Still, I stared into the empty room, biting my lip. The heavy curtain hid all signs of morning light. It was so cold in here I half-expected to see my breath, as if I’d opened a door to the night sky.
Hello! I’m London, a writer, lawyer, and life-long New Englander. I write all flavors of romance, from surreal fantasy romances to raw gritty contemporaries. I also write across the gender and sexuality spectrums. Everything I write is a little bit funny, a little bit sad, and probably kind of strange.
You might know me from Wattpad–my Wattpad Featured Read, Set Me Free, a Gothic romance, will be released as an ebook and in print in summer 2016.
My gritty erotic romance, Breathe, is currently being serialized on Radish, a free app. It will be released in ebook/print as well sometime after Set Me Free.
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