We’re pleased to announce to you our newest feature presentation: our tour for The Decoy Girlfriend! This fun, sexy will-they, won’t-they romcom from Lillie Vale will be here sooner than you know, so make sure to preorder your copy! This is an adult novel so there will be scenes of sexual content throughout.
The Decoy Girlfriend
September 6, 2022
A laugh-out-loud funny and whip-smart romantic comedy from the author of The Shaadi Set-Up, about a young woman who takes the place of her celebrity doppelgänger, and must fake-date the actress’s sexy costar boyfriend.
Writer Freya Lal has a huge secret: she’s a dead ringer for It-girl actress Mandi Roy. Her second novel is due in a month, but inspiration is nowhere to be found. Desperate to shake off her writer’s block, Freya leans into her look-alike abilities and indulges in some mistaken identity for simple perks, like scoring a free mimosa or getting into a trendy nightclub.
Actor Taft Bamber appears to have it all: gorgeous, talented, and Mandi’s love interest both on- and off-screen. But what nobody knows is that their relationship is a PR stunt, and after years of playing make-believe, he’s yearning for something real.
When Freya’s latest impersonation of Mandi goes viral thanks to Taft’s accidental interference, rumors of a breakup threaten Hollywood’s golden couple. To make amends, Freya is forced to give Mandi a little time off: she’ll pretend to be the actress for a month, move in with Taft, and squash the rumors by acting completely in love. But as Freya and Taft play house, it becomes impossible to ignore that their instant chemistry isn’t just for the cameras.
While faking it, they might have just found the real thing.
Stacia, one of the organizers here at Turn the Page, was able to conduct a virtual interview with Lillie Vale about The Decoy Girlfriend…a couple of our hosts did too! Keep reading for a fun Q&A!
Stacia: What’s your current Netflix/Hulu binge?
Lillie: I just devoured season 8 of Love Island (UK). Soooo good.
Team Waffle or Team Pancake? Personally I’m more of a French toast gal myself….
I love them all! Got a soft spot for a homemade Belgian waffle, though.
You were born in Mumbai, but have lived in the US for quite a while…which of your “homes” do you think inspire your writing most?
[I’ve] Lived in the US since infancy, actually! I decide setting based on the needs of the story. When used well, location can really play into aesthetic, obstacles, and themes. For example, in The Decoy Girlfriend, living in LA means Hollywood darlings Taft and Mandi are constantly in the public eye, which means when Freya steps into Mandi’s role as girlfriend, she has to adjust to being under scrutiny both at glamorous events and casually out and about, too.
Okay, time for the serious questions. If you could give a new author advice about anything at all, what would it be?
Don’t get distracted. Truly, there is so much noise out there: publishing, social media, FOMO. It’s so much! Write the best book you can, keep reading and improving your craft, and remember, play the long game. It’s not all splashy wins, it’s gritting your teeth, digging in your heels, and just getting on with it, even when it sucks.
How do you get yourself into the “writing headspace”?
I re-read the pages I wrote the day before to anchor myself back in the story and keep my planning materials close. While drafting, it’s useful for me to remind myself of everything I love about the book and all the upcoming scenes I’m excited to write next! Incentivizing myself with these creative carrots works a charm.
So what’s it like publishing an adult novel compared to a YA?
The themes and emotional experiences tend to be quite different, but at their heart I tend to write about teens and adults who are gutsy, ambitious, but also, in their own ways, a little lost. Sometimes, they’re desperately trying to claw their way back to a previous version of themselves who they think will be their happiest self. Or else they’re in a new reality and in way over their head, trying to figure out where they go from here. They need their friends, family, and sometimes a romantic partner to overcome their misbeliefs about things they thought were true. That’s a similarity in my work that tends to be true for all ages!
But obviously in the Adult space, the biggest difference is the amount of independence the characters have. The romantic tension and stakes tend to be higher because adult characters are striving for a future together that extends beyond the horizon of high school. While I love the Big Huge Everything-Feels-Like-the-End-of-the-World Feelings of YA, we don’t always get the scope to explore our high school sweethearts navigating their way forward.
What character in your books do you think you’re most like, and how?
There are little pieces of myself tucked away into all my characters. Sometimes it’s unintentional, but when conjuring up a character at the beginning of the planning process, it’s easy to give them life by plucking a few traits from myself or people I know. Freya’s habit of writing ideas on the backs of envelopes is definitely something way relatable! Overall, though, Taft is a character who is easy for me to identify with because we share a similar outlook.
Where can readers go to see what sort of fun projects you’re up to/have coming up?
My website lillielabyrinth.com! You can also find me on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine. I also hope to start a newsletter soon!
Lillie Vale is the author of books for both teens and adults, including The Decoy Girlfriend, Beauty and the Besharam, The Shaadi Set-Up and Small Town Hearts, an American Library Association’s 2020 Rainbow Books List selection. She writes about secrets and yearning, complicated and ambitious girls who know what they want, the places we call home and people we find our way back to, and the magic we make. Born in Mumbai, she grew up in Mississippi, Texas, and North Dakota, and now lives in an Indiana college town. Find her on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine, or visit her website lillielabyrinth.com.