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Interview with Lorissa Padilla author of ‘Til You Came Along

Welcome to another exciting post in my Author Spotlight series! This is where I have the privilege of bringing you closer to the creative minds behind the captivating world of indie romance books. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing a talented author who not only weaves stories of love but also brings them to life through her graphic design skills.

Lorissa Padilla is a self-published author and graphic designer hailing from the heart of New Jersey. Her journey into the world of romance literature has been a testament to her passion for storytelling and her creative flair for design. With her husband, two toddlers, a chocolate lab, and even a cat, Lorissa’s life is filled with the kind of vibrant energy that shines through in her work.

As a lifelong lover of books, her inspiration was sparked early, ignited by none other than Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. However, it wasn’t until she found the right books that her love for reading truly blossomed, propelling her into the world of literature. And, when life as a mom made traditional art forms challenging to pursue, Lorissa discovered her artistic outlet in graphic design. She now crafts custom illustrations, logos, tattoo designs, and striking book covers that grace the works of fellow indie authors.

The intersection of her two passions—books and art—became a source of healing and inspiration during a pivotal time in her life. Lorissa is immensely grateful for the supportive community that has accompanied her on this transformative journey.

Today, we shine our spotlight on Lorissa Padilla’s latest book, ‘Til You Came Along, a romance that navigates the tumultuous path from enemies to lovers. In this tale, she explores themes of love, memory, and the resilience of the human heart. It’s a story that promises to tug at your heartstrings and leave you pondering the power of love.

Can you share with us a little about your journey as a self-published author and how you decided to pursue writing as a career?

It’s pretty mind-blowing to think that just a year ago, I had no intention of publishing my book! I wrote it, I was happy with it and proud of it – but content to keep it to myself and my trusted friends and family. I always dreamed of writing a book, since I was a little girl and fell in love with reading. I would stand and stare at the bookshelves in Borders or Barnes and Noble and dream of one day seeing my book there. But I let the fear of rejection and criticism be louder than my dreams and belief in myself. Until one day I just decided to do it! I found an editor (who is the best, shout out to Kristen! @kristenreadswhat) and gave it a shot. It hasn’t been an easy journey! It’s so much more work than I had realized it would be, but it’s been so worth it. To see my book printed, the wonderful feedback it’s gotten (I don’t let myself look at bad reviews/ratings anymore, #SelfCare) and the friends I’ve made along the way – has made this journey incredible.

As a graphic designer, how has your background influenced your approach to creating book covers and illustrations for indie authors? What aspects do you find most fulfilling about this work?

My background as a graphic designer and artist for this particular ‘field’ helps me to understand how incredibly important it is for the book cover to be perfect. One of the many pros about self-publishing is being able to maintain creative control, especially with the cover design. I know how much I agonized over my own cover in trying to make it perfect, and I apply that same mentality to each author I work with. Sometimes we get it right the very first try, sometimes it takes lots of tweaks and edits and redos – but I want to make sure that I’m helping them create the cover they dream of for the book they’ve worked so so hard on.

‘Til You Came Along explores the theme of enemies-to-lovers romance. What inspired you to write this particular story? Were there any challenges you faced while developing the characters and their relationship?

The inspiration for my book was an accumulation of several different ideas and thoughts I had over the course of several months. I’m a huge ‘enemies to lovers’ fan when it comes to reading, and one of my many thoughts was “What if after the enemies become lovers, something happens to one of them and they lose their memories? Would they go back to being enemies? How would that play out?” And I couldn’t get that thought out of my head! When I finally sat down to start writing, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t expect for these characters and their story to come so quickly and naturally to me. I had a hard time reminding myself at the end of a writing session that these were fictional characters I was making up and I didn’t need to be carrying their emotional burdens with me as I left my Word Document. The biggest challenge was not having endless amounts of time to spend writing their story! My sons, 3 and 5, give me few breaks from playing monster trucks and watching Blippi.

The main characters in your book, Elliot and Madeline, go through a significant transformation in their relationship. How did you approach capturing their emotional journey and creating a believable romance for readers to connect with?

Creating an authentic and believable romance was something I took incredibly seriously. It was also something I stressed about during the writing process. As someone who can make an emotional attachment to a dog food commercial, I wanted to make sure that when people read my words they were feeling their own emotional attachment. I really just tried to pour my whole heart into the story. I pulled from real life experiences where I felt unimaginable pain. I pulled from experiences where I felt immense joy and hope. I tried my best to infuse those real life emotions into my characters and their journey.

Memory loss is a central element in ‘Til You Came Along. What drew you to explore this theme, and how did you tackle the complexities of portraying it in a romantic context?

As I mentioned in one of the previous answers, the memory loss idea kind of came attached to the ‘enemies to lovers’ idea. I just could not get the idea of how a couple would explore the loss of something that was so vital to the foundation of their relationship.

Many readers enjoy seeing character growth and development. Without giving away any spoilers, can you tell us how Elliot and Madeline evolve throughout the course of the story?

Elliot and Madeline have the unique opportunity to have two chances at growth and development in building their relationship! Which meant I felt double the pressure to do it right…
In the ‘then’ chapters we explore their relationships’ beginning as young adults fresh out of high school. We experience the journey of them overcoming being enemies which takes a lot of patience in learning how to communicate in a healthy way – something they never tried before. We see incredible growth and development in their romantic relationship. And we see all of that crumble years later when Madeline loses her memories, including the memories of falling in love with Elliot and building that foundation of good communication. So now they have to start all over again, but what does that look like now as adults? Especially when the person who was the best at communicating now has no memory of the love she ever had for her partner.

‘Til You Came Along is available for free on Kindle Unlimited. How has the platform influenced your readership and the exposure of your work as an indie author?

I knew that going into Kindle Unlimited that was not going to be the highest source of my royalties. At all. With KU being at its lowest with author compensation, I knew it wasn’t going to be bringing in the big bucks for me. One day I hope that I’ll be able to write full time and make a living off of it, but right now I just want to share my story in this incredibly accessible way for avid readers and hope that the readers who find it will appreciate it and love it as much as I do.

As an indie romance author, what role do you think indie authors play in diversifying the romance genre? How do you incorporate diversity and inclusivity in your own writing?

I think indie authors are truly changing the game when it comes to publishing. Years ago, readers were at the mercy of whatever authors were lucky enough to be picked up by traditional publishers and the books they created. We definitely found some incredible authors and stories that way. But I think the indie book community has a unique way of championing so many indie authors that would never have been given a chance by traditional publishers. The romance genre has so many incredible voices of all races, lifestyles, and orientation speaking into it now. The diversity I’ve witnessed and experienced in this community has been incredible. I think it’s so important for creators – of books, movies, art, everything – to have intentional representation in their stories. As a mom of two half-Puerto Rican children, I want my boys to grow up and see themselves in books, in movies, in everything. I want them to see their opportunity in everything and have the confidence to chase their dreams.

Writing can be a solitary pursuit, but you mentioned finding an incredible community during your journey. How has being part of the indie romance community impacted your writing process and career as an author?

I was honestly so terrified to take that first step in ‘joining’ the indie romance community. Again, that old faithful fear of rejection was rearing her ugly head at me and I was convinced it was pointless to even try. But I did. I tried. I made one friend and then that one turned into two. I would share their posts and try to support them the best I could. And they did the same to me. Before I knew it I was talking to multiple authors and readers about anything books and feeling an acceptance I had never felt before. I feel like, at almost 30 years old, I finally found myself. I’ve found confidence, friendship, and incredible love from this community.

Lastly, what can readers expect from you in the future? Are there any upcoming projects or new releases that you’d like to share with us?

I have so many ideas for future books! I just wish I had the time! I’m working on completing my second book right now and I’m planning on releasing more information on that this summer!

If you’re as captivated by Lorissa Padilla’s work as we are, be sure to connect with her by visiting her author website, following her on GoodReads, Instagram and Amazon.

And here’s a special invitation to all the talented indie romance authors out there: If you’d like to be featured in my Author Spotlight series, just like Lorissa, please fill in the form found on this page: Author Spotlight Submission Form. We can’t wait to discover more incredible talents in the world of indie romance literature. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories and heartfelt tales from the world of romance fiction!