New York Times Bestselling Author Lisa Renee Jones created a unique protagonist in Lilah Love, the bold and brash FBI Profiler who is the main character in seven of Lisa’s titles. With Lilah’s popularity, I wanted to talk to Lisa about how she came to be and what were the feature plans for this FBI agent.
What inspired you to create Lilah Love?
Today’s climate and my nostalgia for the past. Lilah is bold and shocking. She solves crimes by taking people off guard, tells stupid jokes, and puts the “D” in dogmatic.
I love Lilah because she says what most people think but don’t dare say particularly in today’s climate. What I also love about Lilah is that she doesn’t discriminate against race, sexuality, political beliefs, and so on. She just hates stupid. And she will tell you so.
Her favorite saying is Are you F -ing kidding me? Needless to say, you love or hate Lilah. But at her core, she is loyal, devoted, and would take a bullet to save a life. She’s a poor loser, which can be good and bad, and quite amusing.
When you first created her, did you already know all her quirks and bad habits, or did those just flow naturally as you wrote her?
I knew Lilah when I started writing her, and no matter how long I’m away from that series when I start writing, she comes to me. But I also have to be in the right headspace to write her. I can’t just write a crime scene. Lilah’s flavor of colorful observation has to exist.
As Lilah is an FBI profiler, what type of research did you have to do to create her?
I’m fortunate that my husband’s cousin is a detective in Houston, Texas, and answers my millions of questions. I try very hard to write the crime scenes and investigative work accurately. I once called him and said — I need a creative way to kill someone while plotting a Lilah novel. It was pretty funny.
Anyone who has read one of the books in the Lilah Love series knows that she curses a lot. Do you think this is necessary to her character? Would she be the same without the profanity?
No, it’s part of who she is. It’s part of how she rebels against what her family wanted her to be. Her mother was a famous movie star, and her father is in politics. She wants no part of either of those worlds. Think Beth from Yellowstone. Does she have to be so crass? No. But does it serve her well? Yes. Lilah shocks by intent. When someone is busy being offended they aren’t thinking about how she’s sneaking past their reserves and finding out what they are hiding.
Of course, I have to ask about Kane Mendez, Lilah’s love interest in the series. You’ve created literally dozens upon dozens of heroes in all the books you’ve written. How would you say Kane is different from all of them? Is it because he’s the son of a crime lord?
Well, this series isn’t a romance and Kane is not a romantic hero. I would never want him to have to live up to that standard because that is not what he is meant to be now or ever. Again I go back to Yellowstone. Kane is a version of Rip, though I only found Yellowstone right as season 4 started. I immediately connected Kane to Rip and Lilah to Beth. Lilah and Lane have a bond born of blood and pain. Kane would quite literally kill for Lilah and has. Each book follows a new crime investigation much like JD Robb, and, as the series progresses, you realize that Kane has been pushed so far in life that he is a dark, complicated person, and Lilah is all that keeps him human.
You’ve written the Lilah Love series as duets. Can you explain what that means and why you chose to write the books that way?
I like to have more time to dive into the story and the characters, and the format allows that to happen. I want people emotionally invested in the investigation and the drama the characters are facing in their lives.
Happy Death Day is the 7th book in the series. How many more books do you have planned in the series, or is it open-ended?
As long as people keep buying them, I am all in on moving forward. I love this series.
And finally, is this a series that absolutely has to be read in order so as not to get lost? Will readers understand Lilah and Kane if they decide to read one of the books out of order?
You can read the duets alone, but I think you would miss a lot of the past history that is so important. But I try to fill in the gaps to allow the duets to standalone.
The 7th book in Lisa’s series, Happy Death Day, will release on July 19, 2022, and is available for pre-order now. Murder Notes, Book One in the Lilah Love series is available at the following retailers in various formats: Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo, Google, Audio, and Print.
To find out more about Lisa’s titles and the Lilah Love series, visit her website.