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Meet the Author of BITTER BREWS, Lillie Vale!

Say hello to the first of three wonderful new authors joining the Swoon Reads family, Lillie Vale! We were swept away by her atmospheric coastal town of Oar's Rest and the vibrant characters who call it home. Learn more about Bitter Brews!

Where did the idea for Bitter Brews come from? 

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.

Bitter Brews is set largely at a coffee shop in a small coastal Maine town. What's your standard coffee shop order? 

An iced Caramel Macchiato for summer and a Caramel Frappuccino for fall, yum! But if I’m at home, espresso from my Bialetti really gets me through the day.

Who would play your characters in a movie? 

Daniel Sharman as Levi, definitely. He’s perfect for the role, from the timbre of his voice to the endearing, abashed smile and twinkle in his eyes when he’s being cute—which, honestly, is always. I’ve seen him for the role since the start. For Babe, I see the Victoria’s Secret model Lindsay Ellingson. The hunt for Babe’s visual inspiration was a hard one, since I wanted someone who could look traditional, wild child, and bohemian beach bum all at once. Lindsay’s face has Babe’s unparalleled spunk, grit, and effervescence. I’d be thrilled to see Babe and Levi brought to life one day.

What makes you swoon? 

Good teeth, confidence, and most importantly, kindness.

Author spotlight

Swoon Reads Staff

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