Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been quite a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Monice DeSimone’s character back on November 8th of 2016 and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Molly V. Lovell, the author of A Sibling’s Dilemma, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Ellie Kent, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Molly in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Ellie!
Marie Lavender: Hello, Ellie. Please have a seat.
Character Ellie Kent: Thank you for having me, Marie.
Marie: Of course! It’s my pleasure!
We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?
Marie: So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
Ellie: Um, right now I work at the Kensington Group as Mr. Kensington’s—the CEO’s—assistant. Keeping this between the two of us, I’m just working here because Cassie, my sister and a private detective, wants me to keep an eye out on Mr. Kensington for one of her clients. Although I don’t feel too good about being here as a spy.
Oh, sorry, you asked me if I liked the job too. I almost forgot. Um, I actually like it here. Mr. Kensington and I got off to a um…rough start at first. He can be really intimidating and, well, I’m shy to begin with. Being around him made it so much worse and it was really stressful. But, we’re good friends now so I actually enjoy my job. Although I wish I were there under better circumstances…
Marie: Can’t blame you there! That’s a tough situation to be in.
So, tell us…what is your family like?
Ellie: Cassie’s the best sister I could ever ask for. She saved my life when we were younger and she’s sacrificed so much for me. I would do anything for her. She’s so strong-willed and powerful, and if she sets her mind to something, she just does it. I wish that I were as strong as she…
Marie: Well, I’m sure you haven’t found the one thing that will test you just yet. I think we can surprise ourselves sometimes.
Let’s try something else, okay?
If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Ellie: Um…s-sorry. That’s not…um…can we move onto something else? I’m sorry.
Marie: All right. Sure…let’s see.
Do you have any hobbies, Ellie? What do you enjoy doing?
Ellie: I know this sounds really boring, but I like playing with my dog, Spots, and volunteering at the soup kitchen down the road. I believe in helping others. I actually just graduated with my degree in social work and I was set to work in that field, but Cassie needed me at the Kensington Group, so here I am. Wait, I think I might have already told you that last bit earlier. Sorry if I’m repeating myself. I do that when I’m nervous sometimes…
Marie: (Chuckles.) No problem! I think we all have a nervous tick or two, right?
So, what is your greatest dream?
Ellie: I want to run a non-profit someday and work to eradicate extreme global poverty. I know I won’t be able to end it myself, but with the right capital and money management, I could at least stop a lot of people from dying from malnourishment, unsanitary conditions, and the like.
Marie: Nice! It definitely sounds like a plan…
Let’s try another question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Ellie: I wish that I were a stronger person—someone who is confident and voiced her opinions more often. But, it seems like almost every time I go to say something confrontational, I just think ‘who am I to say this? What if I’m wrong?’ and I lose my nerve and I don’t say anything at all. Cassie and Mr. Kensington are always so vocal about what they want in life and I wish I were more like them.
Marie: I think most of us are afraid of speaking out about things, to go against the mold, so to speak. I think that when you find that something worth fighting for, you’ll know it.
Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now.
Who was your first love?
Ellie: Love is a pretty strong word. I think to love someone is a beautiful thing—you give up a piece of yourself to the other person. The only person I can say that I love is my sister. Not in a romantic way, of course, but I want her to be happy and I’m willing to make sacrifices to see that happen.
There is someone I really like, though—Mr. Kensington. He’s so handsome, smart, and strong-willed. He’s been a good friend to me too. I would say that Edric, I mean Mr. Kensington, is one of the few people that I can talk to where I don’t clam up. I need to get over this infatuation, though; he’d never date a girl like me. All his girlfriends in the past were beautiful models. Maybe if I were prettier he’d like me, but I’m not. It’s never going to happen and I just need to get over this silly crush.
Marie: Aww…(sighs.) I love romance. ♥
I think you should just go ahead and crush to your heart’s content, Ellie. You only live once, right?
So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.
What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Ellie: I was sick a lot as a kid. I’m not sick anymore though, so it’s nothing to worry about. But, um…I-I don’t like to talk about it much. I’m sorry…
Marie: Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear it. That must’ve been difficult. I’m glad you’re okay now, though.
[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]
Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Ellie: I didn’t dream of much growing up. I didn’t think I was going to make it to adulthood, to be honest. In a way, being alive, healthy, and able to live a relatively-normal life is a dream come true. On top of all that, I have a Master’s Degree, a decent job, and people that I care about and who care about me. Life is so much better than I expected.
Marie: Happy to hear it!
I’m so glad you found a light to pull you through that darkness.
So, who is your role model, Ellie?
Ellie: My role model? For people I’ve never met, I would say Kristine Pearson. She helped to develop a radio that allowed for educational programs and information to be easily accessible in developing countries, even with no power. I would love to make that big of a difference to so many people someday.
For people I know, I would say Mr. Kensington. He’s the hardest-working person I’ve ever met. He works, at least, twelve hours a day. And when he’s not working, he spends time with his younger brother and older sister, which is very sweet of him. He’s incredibly smart too—he helped make a brand-new type of video game technology. He’s admirable in those regards.
Marie: Wow! I agree. He sounds like a great man!
Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Ellie: I try not to dislike people. Whenever I find myself disliking someone, I put myself in their shoes and see why they act the way they do. Usually, it makes me a bit more sympathetic to them. It’s not always easy, but I try.
Marie: Well…that is definitely admirable of you! I respect that you can do it.
Let’s try another question.
What is your deepest desire?
Ellie: Um…I…um. Wow, I um, feel really embarrassed admitting this but, um, I want to be with Mr. Kensington romantically. I guess if I’m talking about him in that light, I should refer to him as Edric. But I want to be with Edric. I should desire other things that are more beneficial to society, but, um…that’s my deepest desire. I’m so embarrassed. Please, please, please don’t tell anyone. I would be so mortified if Edric were to find out. I don’t think that I could look him in the eye again if he knew I felt that about him.
Marie: Hey, it’s just us girls here! No worries. Your secret is safe with me.
Plus, who can blame you? He sounds like a total hottie.
So, tell me something, Ellie. What is your greatest fear?
Ellie: I would say that my biggest fears are rejection and public speaking. Well, I suppose that I’m afraid of public speaking because I’m afraid of rejection. I always clam up when I talk to new people. Thank you for listening to me, though, and I’m sorry to have just rambled on about myself the whole time. It felt so good to get stuff off my chest, so thank you for that.
Marie: It’s understandable to have those fears. And public speaking? Yikes! Heck, I still get really nervous before my radio interviews. I’m always afraid I’m going to forget an important detail, or sound really dumb, you know? I think we’ve all been there before, hon.
But, I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.
Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Ellie. It was so interesting getting to know you!
(Waves goodbye to her guest.)
Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Molly V. Lovell on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Molly!
Author Molly V. Lovell: Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.
Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB.
So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Ellie. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?
Molly: She’s one of the few characters in A Sibling’s Dilemma that I can say is actually a good person. Her sister, Cassie, tries to be, but is willing to set aside her beliefs to get ahead in life. Edric, Ellie’s main love interest, is good to those he’s closest to, but is mistrustful and can sometimes be cruel to others.
Ellie wants to do the right thing in this story, but she doesn’t quite know what the right thing is. Cassie, a private investigator, wants Ellie to spy on Edric. Ellie reluctantly agrees, but when she gets to know Edric, she thinks that he’s actually a decent person and doesn’t want to be a part of destroying his company. She’s split between helping her sister and doing what she thinks is right. She’s in a rough predicament.
Marie: No kidding!
So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?
Molly: Ellie’s greatest strength is her compassion. She treats everyone with kindness, dignity, and respect. Ellie treats a multi-billion dollar CEO the same way that she treats a homeless person. She doesn’t care much about material things and actually does want to help others.
And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?
Molly: I would say that Ellie’s greatest weakness is her insecurity; it causes most of her problems. Ellie can’t seem to trust herself and, since she’s been hurt in the past, she doesn’t really trust others either, with the exception of her sister. I think that’s really sad—no one should have to go through life not trusting themselves or others. Now, Ellie would say that she does, in fact, trust others. She thinks that she trusts other people too. But, her actions show otherwise. She’s very, very guarded and won’t confide in others or let them help her. Getting her to talk about potentially painful things is like pulling teeth out of her; it’s not going to happen easily. Her insecurities and guardedness is something that she works hard to overcome.
Marie: Okay… I think we all have certain insecurities, so I’m sure a lot of people can relate. And who hasn’t found it difficult to trust before?
Let’s try something fun, shall we?
What are some of Ellie’s favorite foods?
Molly: Ha ha…Ellie’s perfect meal would consist of half a tuna fish sandwich to eat, peppermint tea to drink, and tapioca pudding for desert. She eats it literally every day for lunch. Edric sometimes brings her in something different, though, since he thinks that it’s a little sad that she eats just a half of a tuna fish sandwich each day.
Marie: (Laughs.) Interesting!
How about another question?
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Molly: Ellie’s really smart and hard-working. She’s a lot more competent than she gives herself credit for. She can accomplish work-related tasks that are nearly impossible. Since she’s so insecure, she doesn’t notice this about herself, though, and views herself as a bumbling, incompetent person who’s lucky to have a job.
Marie: Aww…well, maybe she’ll be enlightened about that soon.
Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Molly: For the most part, I think that readers will like Ellie because she’s a good person. But, at the same time, they might find her insecurities annoying at certain parts of the story.
I like to make all my characters multi-dimensional. I hope that my readers will both like and dislike my characters during different parts of the book. In life, people are multi-dimensional. I try to have my characters be as life-like as possible. So, long story short, I think that readers will cheer for Ellie sometimes, but want to shake some common sense into her at other times.
Marie: Oh, yes, I know what you mean!
And I prefer characters to be real, flawed human beings too.
Now that we have a real taste of Ellie, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.
What first gave you the idea for A Sibling’s Dilemma?
Molly: Okay, so originally I wanted to write a novel about a sassy, foul-mouthed private detective (Cassie) that falls in love with a jerk CEO (Edric), who she’s supposed to spy on. But then, I started to really develop the characters. When I fully fleshed out the characters and added in more (like Ellie), I had to re-examine the premise of the story. I moved the main couple away from being Cassie and Edric to Ellie and Edric. The story changed a lot over time.
Marie: Nice! Interesting how the muse works, huh?
Let’s try something else.
What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Molly: I would say that I’m a combination of both. I really, really flesh out my characters. Then, I daydream about certain scenes in the book and I connect them all together. Once I have a general map going, I start to write. When I write, unexpected things come up and I either keep these new plot points, or cut them out entirely. I like to work in drafts. My first draft of A Sibling’s Dilemma was much different than the current version (and not just because my first draft was riddled with typos. Ha ha!).
Marie: (Laughs.) I hear you…sometimes characters have minds of their own. The ones in Upon Your Love wouldn’t shut up for me until I wrote them into the story too.
How about another question?
So, now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing A Sibling’s Dilemma or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Molly: Okay, so I didn’t have too many problems with writing A Sibling’s Dilemma. However, I have had problems, in the past, with writing other stories.
My main advice for writing is that you need to love your own story. If you don’t love it, it’s not going to flow well and it’s going to come out bad. Or even worse, it won’t come out at all because you won’t want to write it. This novel just seemed to flow right out of me; it wasn’t super hard to write. Editing it and polishing it up was a whole different ball of wax (I’m eternally grateful for my editor), but the book itself was easy and fun to write.
As for getting published, my main advice is to not get discouraged. All you need is one publisher to say yes. Getting rejected will hurt, but you’ll move on. If you never try to put yourself out there, you’re in the same boat as you would be if you just got rejected. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So, just try to put your work out there. And if you do get rejected, ask why. I know that it’s awkward to ask and having a conversation about all the things that you’ve done wrong. It’s not the ideal conversation that you want to have, but it’s a necessary one if you want to improve. Use that criticism to hone your craft and get even better. If you use the criticism constructively and you never give up, a publisher will eventually say yes. You can do it!
Marie: Too right! Often if we try to force writing to happen when our hearts aren’t in the story, it doesn’t work out.
Still, so much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get. And like you said, we have to try first!
Thanks for the additional tips aimed toward our aspiring writers out there!
Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story A Sibling’s Dilemma appears to be. Congratulations on your new release, Molly!
Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this contemporary romance by Molly V. Lovell, a very talented author!
Here is the blurb for A Sibling’s Dilemma:
Edric Kensington promised himself that he would never be close to anyone outside of his family. Ellie Kent promised herself that she would always do what she thought was right no matter what. Cassie Kent promised herself that she would never date a married man. Sometimes promises get broken. Sometimes feelings get hurt. Sometimes friendships collapse. Sometimes standards slip. And yet, sometimes people overcome their flaws and find love.
A Sibling’s Dilemma is a contemporary romance novel that revolves around two sisters: Cassie and Ellie Kent. Cassie is a private detective and Ellie is a recent college graduate. Cassie is hired by Charlie Logan, the CEO of a company specializing in virtual reality games, to spy on Charlie’s greatest professional rival—Edric Kensington. This is no easy task–Edric Kensington is known for being as cold and guarded as he is handsome. To successfully infiltrate Edric’s company, Cassie needs to have an insider work there. Her shy-and-sweet sister, Ellie, is the perfect fit. When Ellie first works for Edric’s company, she is afraid of the cold and aloof CEO, but, over time, she develops romantic feelings for him, just like Cassie develops feelings for Charlie Logan. The two sisters become torn between their friendship with each other and the feelings that they harbor for the handsome CEOs who have stolen their hearts.
Molly is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!
Ellie Kent sat nervously in the top floor of the Kensington group building. She wrung her hands and then fidgeted with the second copy of her résumé.
Am I qualified for this? I hope I’m good enough. I don’t want to let Cassie down.
She made herself as small as possible as she sat in the waiting room chair. Ellie smiled warmly at the nearby workers, turned bright-red, and then looked back down at her resume, avoiding all eye-contact with them once more.
They probably think I’m weird looking, or too scrawny. Ellie frowned. Her heart was racing a mile a minute.
“Mr. Kensington is ready for your interview.”
“Thank you.” She stood up and then followed the secretary over to the doors. The young woman went to pull the door open, realized that it could only be open by being pushed, blushed, and then pushed it open.
Oh God. I can’t even open a door right.
Ellie walked inside the room and saw Edric Kensington sitting behind his desk. He appeared to be quite bored and unamused. She was surprised by how young he looked, she guessed he was in his early-to-mid thirties. Surprisingly handsome too—he was tall and slightly muscular with strong and symmetrical facial features and unblemished, olive skin. The pictures in the paper didn’t do him justice.
Edric wore a crisp navy-blue suit and had silver cufflinks. His chestnut-brown hair was combed neatly and seemed to frame his face well. Everything about him seemed put together. Ellie immediately felt embarrassed by her own appearance. She wore a light grey skirt suit that she got from the thrift store, which was just slightly too big for her.
The CEO stood up from behind his mahogany desk and walked over to Ellie. She immediately felt intimidated by his height and somewhat muscular stature—it made her feel small and scrawny. And she hated feeling small and scrawny. Suddenly she wished that Cassie were there with her. Someone strong that she could draw strength from.
He reached over and extended his hand to her. “Edric Kensington.”
Ellie reached over to accept the handshake. It was strong and firm. Almost a little too much so; it hurt her small hand.
Oh no, I gave him a weak, limp handshake. I’m not supposed to do that. He probably won’t want to hire me because of it.
“Eleonore Kent.” Ellie’s pale cheeks were flushed red. She averted her eyes to the floor.
“Take a seat.” Edric pointed to the chair opposite his desk. He slowly walked away from the young woman and sat behind his desk—she noticed that he had a confident gait about him.
Ellie knew that she looked flustered. She was never good at faking confidence. Her violet eyes were wide and her cheeks were bright-red. She had a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look about her. When she sat down she made herself as small as possible—hunched over, with her hands curled up underneath her chin. In contrast, Edric sat behind his desk poised confidently.
Ellie took a copy of her résumé —the copy that she didn’t crumple nervously in the waiting room—and quickly handed it to Edric. He held his hand up in a ‘stop’ sign.
“I already have a copy, Eleonore.”
Ellie returned the paper to her lap and begun to wring this extra copy of her résumé, since she already tore the other copy to shreds.
“Your résumé is strong—I see that you’re probably going to graduate in a few weeks at the top of your class at an Ivy League university, with a master’s degree, no less. Excellent references. I see lots and lots of community service.” Ellie’s blush deepened. “I have one question. Why would you want to work here as my assistant?”
“I-I…” The young woman swallowed deeply. “I’m thinking of starting up a non-profit one day.” She blurted out and then looked at the floor.
He probably thinks my reasons are stupid and that I’m not cut out to run a non-profit or to run anything.
“What do you have to offer this office?”
The way that Edric said the word ‘you’ made Ellie feel even worse.
“I…” Her hands started to shake.
Don’t cry, Ellie.
“I’m organized. I work hard. I. Um. I’ll do the job.” Ellie stammered.
Edric scoffed at Ellie and shook his head. She blushed and ran her fingers through her silky white hair. “You’ll start now. If you can make it through the end of the day, you can keep it. You will work nineteen hours a week for the next two weeks until you graduate. Then you will work full-time. Understood?”
Ellie nodded her head. “Yes.”
Edric pointed to a wooden desk in the corner of the room. It was made of mahogany, like Edric’s desk, except it was smaller and less ornate.
“The computer is up to date and you’ll find whatever supplies you need in your desk. The computer has an email installed on it for you to use.” He handed her a large notebook and then began to pace back and forth. “This is my copy of my schedule for the week. You will take over managing it, since my incompetent secretary clearly can’t. Send out an email to my sales department to find out what our sales have been for the past four months then make a spreadsheet detailing these sales to me. Book a room for my four o’clock meeting and write me a report detailing all the people who are attending this meeting.” Edric paused. “Oh, and if you fail, you’re fired.”
Ouch! He comes on really strong, doesn’t he? But I’m really connecting with Ellie here. I can feel her pain.
Can’t wait to read this book…
Universal Amazon link: https://bookgoodies.com/a/B0746PHKR1
We’ll be sure to get a copy of this contemporary romance! ♥
About Molly V. Lovell
Molly V. Lovell is a law student at William and Mary by day, novelist by night. Her hobbies include writing (obviously), painting, looking at cute puppies, and reading books about political theory, a subject that Molly has a Master’s Degree in. Molly was born and raised in Amesbury, Massachusetts, by her two amazing parents and she now lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with her loving husband.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Molly V. Lovell, here are some author links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Molly-V.-Lovell/e/B0747WCG9Y/
Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Ellie, a female character from A Sibling’s Dilemma, and Molly V. Lovell, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was so much fun to have you here!