It’s my pleasure to introduce you to the writing duo known as Lily Charles. Libby Ware and Charlene Ball use the pen name for their co-written mystery novels since each has published a historical novel under her own name. Why Lily Charles? Because Libby’s book business is called “Toadlily Books.” And Charlene was named after her father, Charles. The first two bibliomysteries (mysteries involving books) are MURDER AT THE ESTATE SALE (Black Opal Books, 2021) and MURDER AT THE BOOK FAIR (Black Opal Books, 2023). I love Vanity Fair. At the back of the magazine is a “Proust Questionnaire” where they ask a celebrity a few intriguing questions. I thought we would pose some of those to Libby and Charlene.
Ladies, thanks for playing along. Here goes.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? I would like to come back as an octopus. They are highly intelligent and have a lot of heart, three in fact. Also, each tentacle has its own brain and its own function, so the right hand literally does not know what the left is doing. Or the one on its right…or the second to the left.
What talent would you most like to have? To find lost objects. I sell books online and sometimes I can’t locate the one I’ve just sold. Lots of time is spent looking, and often one book is not found until I’m looking for something else.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Getting up early. Many early risers seem to feel that they are superior to night owls. But what they don’t realize is that in the evening, when they’re sitting back watching TV or reading a book, night owls are doing things—we’re writing, we’re starting new projects. It’s nothing at all for me to start working on something at 8 o’clock or 10 o’clock at night and on into the night sometimes. So it’s not that one group of people is more diligent than the others—we just get them done at different times of day. It’s how our brains function. OK – I just realized I wrote this at 11:33 PM.
Now it’s Charlene’s turn:
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Sitting in my big comfy chair and reading an absorbing mystery or a fascinating historical novel or nonfiction book, a cup of tea or glass of wine by my side and nothing hanging over my head to do at the moment.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? Libby, my wife. We share our love of books, both reading and writing. We enjoy our time spent together whether writing, reading, enjoying food and drink, or traveling. She supports and encourages me. She’s also a lot of fun.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Hard work. I believe that just sitting or walking, meditating, thinking my own thoughts, watching and contemplating what I see as I walk my neighborhood or a woodland path—all these are as valuable as making, doing, fixing things. I love and value quietness and silence.
If you could only change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d like not to be such a procrastinator. Of course, if I put something off long enough, it may take care of itself, and I may not need to do it after all.
Here’s a little about their latest book: MURDER AT THE BOOK FAIR (Black Opal Books, 2023) is book two in their Molly and Emma Booksellers mystery series about two women booksellers who solve mysteries.
When booksellers Molly O’Donnell and Emma Clarke set up at the Antiquarian Book Fair in St. Petersburg, Florida, the last thing they expect to find is a dead body. When respected book dealer Jasper Ross shows interest in Emma’s most valuable books, she is jubilant. But then, Jasper is found dead—and Emma’s books he borrowed have disappeared. … As they investigate, Molly and Emma find their relationship developing into more than friendship. But will they live to enjoy it?
Libby is the award-winning author of LUM: A NOVEL (SheWrites Press, 2015). She is the owner of Toadlily Books, an antiquarian book business. She was president of the Georgia Antiquarian Booksellers Association (GABA); and belongs to the Antiquarian Booksellers of America (ABAA); the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB); the Atlanta Writers Club; and the Georgia Writers Association. She is a fellow of the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. Libby lives in Atlanta with her dog Grover.
Charlene Ball is the author of the award-winning DARK LADY: A NOVEL OF EMILIA BASSANO LANIER (SheWrites Press, 2017). A former academic, she has taught English and Women’s Studies, and in 2009 she retired from Georgia State University. She is a fellow of the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences and a member of the Atlanta Writers Club and the Georgia Writers Association. She also sells antiquarian books with Toadlily Books.
Libby and Charlene live about a mile from each other in Atlanta.
Thanks for joining us today at Miss Demeanors!