March 7, 2022

Interview with Lillie Lainoff, Author of One for All (Out March 8, 2022)


Hi friends! I am so excited to welcome Lillie Lainoff, the author of One for All to my blog today! Her debut novel, One for All, comes out tomorrow (March 8), so there's still time to pre-order! I wanted to take this opportunity to interview her and get to know her a b it more. Don't forget to add the book to your TBR today (and pre-order it if you feel so inclined). 

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Lillie! 

Interview with the Author

  • If you could tell your younger writing self one thing, what would it be and why?
    • You are not a failure if you don't get a book published when you're a teenager. Or before you graduate college. Or before you're 25. I made myself miserable by setting arbitrary deadlines that I had absolutely no control over. It's better to set goals you can control: write a scene you adore. Brainstorm a title you love. Finish drafting a novel (which is a huge goal in and of itself)!
  • Aside from writing, what is one thing you do for fun?
    • This is less fun and more me wanting to create a better publishing world, but I'm the creator and moderator of Disabled Kidlit Writers on Facebook. Founded in July 2019, we have nearly 400 members. It is a privilege and an honor to lead such an incredible group of authors (if you're a disabled person and write kidlit, come join us! You don't have to be published or agented.
  • I saw that Tamora Pierce blurred your book! I absolutely love her series, especially Protector of the Small! Besides Ms. Pierce, what other authors and books have influenced your writing?
    • Receiving the blurb from Tamora Pierce was easily one of the most surreal moments of ONE FOR ALL's publishing journey. I absolutely love her writing, too, and am still in shock that her kind words about OFA will be on the cover! As far as other authors are concerned, my career and work has definitely been influenced by my creative writing professors, including but not limited to John Crowley, Michael Cunningham, Caryl Phillips, and Richard Deming. I'm also inspired by friends I've made through writing, and their incredible work, like Tracy Deonn. I see writers like Tochi Onyebuchi, who writes EVERYTHING—and it's all phenomenal—and that is what I want out of my writing life. 
  • Where did you get your ideas and inspiration for One for All?
    • During a check-in call with my agents Jennifer Wills and Nicole Resciniti at the end of 2016 (I was still on submission with the novel I signed with them for), we talked about ideas I had for other books. One of us said the word “retelling,” and The Three Musketeers popped into my head. I had to pause the call so I could jot down the idea before I forgot! My favorite childhood movies were The Princess Bride and Mulan, and I've been a competitive fencer since age ten. To write a novel about fencing, about loving fencing—what a joy! 
  • What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
    • There is a universality in ONE FOR ALL that goes past chronic illness and disability, fencers and athletes. OFA is a story for anyone who’s ever felt unsure of their place in the world. So, I hope that readers, chronically ill/disabled and non-disabled alike, see themselves as worthy, just as they are. Specifically for chronically ill/disabled readers? That we don't just deserve to be the heroes of our own stories—we are the heroes of our own stories. 
  • What is a significant way One for All has changed since the first draft? For example, is there a scene that was in the first draft that you really loved that didn't make the final cut?
    • ONE FOR ALL has undergone a dramatic transformation (at least, this is coming from its writer; I'm sure the change is less dramatic than I believe it to be.) The heart of the story never changed; the characters never changed (although Tania became a bit more like me during the editorial process, somehow), the overall plot never changed...what did change? The first chapter, over ten times. (I stopped counting at ten. I have no idea which number we're on at this point.) 
  • If readers love One for All, what other books do you suggest reading?
    • LEGENDBORN BY TRACY DEONN! Oh, sorry, didn't mean to shout that! But I will seriously throw that book at anyone who will listen. Goodreads tells me that readers who loved ONE FOR ALL also love A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin and Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan; both are books I adore. Definitely The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones, The Silence of The Bones by June Hur, Blood Water Paint by Joy McCollough, and Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, too. 
  • What books are currently on your to-be-read pile that you're most anxious to get to?
    • Funnily enough, I am currently sitting next to my to-read stack as I type! Currently reading: The Book of X by Sarah Rose Etter. Beneath it on the stack: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Likes by Sarah Shun-lien Burnam, Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder, and Ariadne by Jennifer Saint. 
  • What exciting projects do you have coming up next?
    • I'm currently working on five different novels (*cue gasps here*) and many short stories and essays. Whenever I talk about new projects, early readers are quick to ask if one of the books is a ONE FOR ALL sequel. As much as I would love to write that sequel (and may or may not have a title and synopsis ready), OFA is currently a standalone. Now, if enough people preorder/buy it... who knows! 

About the Book

An OwnVoices, gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in 
which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.

Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone in town thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl”; even her mother is desperate to marry her off for security. But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion.

Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for a new kind of Musketeer: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a swordfight.

With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels for the first time like she has a purpose, like she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her first target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming, and breathlessly attractive—and he might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to lean on her friends, listen to her own body, and decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.

This debut novel is a fierce, whirlwind adventure about the depth of found family, the strength that goes beyond the body, and the determination it takes to fight for what you love.

About the Author

Lillie Lainoff is a writer, a fencer, and now, a writer who writes about fencing. She doesn’t understand why her parents gave a clumsy eight-year-old a saber, but she’s thankful for it every day. She grew up in Washington D.C. and graduated from Yale University in 2018, where she was managing editor of the Yale Daily News Magazine and a writing partner at the Yale Writing Center, as well as a Div I athlete and NCAA Championship competitor. She is the founder of Disabled Kidlit Writers. Her writing has received awards from the Los Angeles Review, Glimmer Train, and the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and has been featured in The Washington Post Outlook and Washington City Paper, amongst other places. She received her MA in Creative Writing Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia. One for All, her debut novel, will be published by FSG in 2022.

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