Blog Tour Interview: Small Town Hearts, Lillie Vale

Hi friends, happy Monday! This is not an usual posting day, but friends, I AM OVER THE MOON today because I get to talk about an amazing book I recently fell in love with called, Small Town Hearts.

The biggest thanks to the amazingly sweet Lili for inviting me to take part in this blog tour!

The official banner for the blog tour was designed by the wonderful Mana, feel free to check out her amazing portfolio right here!

If I’m dreaming of screaming about Small Town Hearts in a gushing, adoring review and I’m definitely going to do that later on, today I have something really fun planned out. I got the chance to chat with Lillie Vale, the author of this wonderful debut, so… keep on reading to find out more about her book, her writing, her amazing characters and… yes, CAKE.

Can you share with us the moment that it actually hit you, that you were going to be a published author? When was it? (holding an ARC, seeing your name being announced by Swoon Reads, a reader talking about it….?)

Hi, Marie! Thanks so much for hosting me 🙂 Everyone else: Hi! I’m Lillie Vale, the author of YA contemporary Small Town Hearts.

Oh my gosh, so many things really helped it sink in. Definitely the official Swoon Reads’ announcement, holding an ARC for the first time, but also a lot of little things. Conversing with some of YA’s superstars, getting followed (!!! cue fangirl screaming !!!) by them, making friends with the same people whose books I devoured pre-debut. It’s surreal to feel like part of “the club” with so many other authors I respect and adore. Every time I see a reviewer, media outlet, or fellow author talk about Small Town Hearts, it feels even more real. I will never tire of that feeling.

What did you use to inspire yourself to write the book, both for the setting and the characters? Some particular stories, movies, places in the world that inspired you, or even some songs?

Ha! The origin story for Small Town Hearts is actually pretty funny. At least, I think it is! Going into the book, I only knew I wanted a slightly sad, very cute artist to wash up on the coast of Maine and fall in love with a local girl. Babe, the main character of Small Town Hearts, got her name because I was playing around with quirky nicknames and thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be a hoot if her full name was Barbara, but everyone calls her Babe, and Levi (the new summer boy in town) mistakenly (read: hilariously) thinks everyone is hitting on her, like, ALL the time?” Babe’s name inspired the story for Small Town Hearts 100%.

This foodie, messy friendship, bi book of my heart evolved from there! For readers who are less familiar with Small Town Hearts…It’s a BFF breakup + found family novel taking place in the summer after high school, the last summer 19yo bi baking barista Babe thinks she’ll have before her friends start college in the fall. She has a somewhat co-dependent relationship with the people she loves, and change has never been a good thing, in her experience, so she’s trying to hold on tight during a time when she has to learn how to let go. Matters are further complicated when her ex-girlfriend returns to their sleepy Maine village of Oar’s Rest at the same time as a mysterious summer boy shows up to rent Babe’s mom’s cottage on the beach.

I adored creating the world of Babe’s beloved Oar’s Rest (the lighthouse!! the beach cave!! the Busy Bean!!). Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved the small towns that never felt small. The places with a unique culture that felt larger than life. My earliest examples were author-illustrator Richard Scarry’s Busytown and Arthur’s Elwood City. With these charming idylls and every beach town I’d ever been to as inspiration, it came as no surprise that Oar’s Rest became the small town of my dreams!

Something I love about Babe, the main character, is how passionate she is about what she does. I also find it really interesting that she does not want to go to college. Do you think these kind of narratives – being  driven by passion, not having to necessarily turn to a college-path – are important to show off in young adult books?

Yes! Very much so. I think, as important as it is to show characters driven and striving toward their goals and academic success, it’s also important to spotlight characters who are content to stay where they are. To most people, traditional “success”, however they define it, usually involves a college degree. For Babe, who is already part of the work force, remaining at the Busy Bean coffee shop is not only a pragmatic choice, but also a passionate one. Busy’s is her home away from home. She loves making coffee and serving her yummy treats to her friends and regulars, and hopes to make Tom, her grandfather-figure and boss, an offer on Busy’s when she’s saved up enough. He would love keeping Busy’s in the family!

What has been your favorite part about writing Small Town Hearts? Any favorite moments you wrote, passages or crafting some particular characters or settings?

How people relate to their environment, especially a microcosm like Oar’s Rest with its own distinct culture and personality, has always appealed to me. I wanted to zero in on a friendship that’s always had a status quo, where the characters only knew who they were as individuals insofar as who they were relative to their friends. What would happen when those characters were in a period of transition (high school to college) and that status quo was threatened?

“There was safety in things staying the same. A year from now, five years from now, all I wanted was for us to be the same, doing things together, being the people we’d always been. I didn’t want to be the kind of friends who drifted apart after high school, the kind who could live in the same town and still be strangers. I didn’t want to think about fall and college and uncertainties.” (pg. 17)

Have you been working on something new lately? Any adorable contemporaries…. Or maybe books in other genres, we can expect at some point? 🙂

Nothing to share just yet, but it feels unbelievable to dive back into drafting mode! Sometimes I think I’ll never have the time to write all my WIPs, but darned if I’m not going to try!

There are a lot of delicious food and cakes in Small Town Hearts, so I have to ask: do you have a favorite cake?

Unlike Babe, I don’t have a tremendous sweet tooth, but when I do crave cake, carrot cake is my ALL TIME FAVORITE. I also really, really adore Black Forest and German chocolate (ahem, aka the cake Babe is trying to get Levi to try in chapter one).

Marie here: by the way this delicious picture is a Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte) and… it’s one of my favoriteeeeeeeeeeeeees.

Can you share with us one book you recently discovered and LOVED?

I recently read The Curses, the much-anticipated followup to Laure Eve’s The Graces. I stayed up into the wee hours to devour it in one sitting! It didn’t go quite the way I expected, but the ending was super satisfying!

📖 More about Small Town Hearts

Rule #1 – Never fall for a summer boy. 

Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?

📖 More about the author, Lillie Vale

Lillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many U.S. states, and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. She is the author of Small Town Hearts.

Find Lillie Vale on :


Check out the full blog tour schedule right here for guest posts, interviews, aesthetics and creative posts!

March 11
Lily (Sprinkles of Dreams) – guest post
Marie (Drizzle & Hurricane Books) – interview
Eloise (Eloise Writes) – review + aesthetic
Simant (Flipping Through the Pages) – review + creative
Elin (Annotated Paperbacks) – creative
March 12
Nandini (Unputdownable Books) – Creative
Santana (Santana Reads) – review + character aesthetics
Danielle (Bookish in Texas) – interview
Laura (Green Tea & Paperbacks) – creative
March 13
Sofia (Bookish Wandress) – review + a playlist
Ashley (Bubbly Booknerd) – creative
Lauren (Bookmark Lit) – review + creative
Victoria (The Contented Reader) – interview + review
Camillea (Camillea Reads) – review
March 14
Morgan (The Bookish Beagle) – review + creative
Fanna (Fannatality) review + creative
Syndney (Syndneys.books) – creative bookstagram
Fadwa (Word Wonders) – review
Mishma (Chasing Faerytales) – review + creative
Lili (Utopia State of Mind) – guest post
March 15
Tiffany (Read by Tiffany) – creative
Haley (Fangirl Fury) – review + creative
Romie (Romie We Deserve Love) – creative

Do you want to read Small Town Hearts? (If not before, I hope that after this post, you do!!) Did you read it already?

Let me know your thoughts in comments!




TwitterGoodreadsBloglovin’Support Me on Ko-Fi

Posted by

Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

34 thoughts on “Blog Tour Interview: Small Town Hearts, Lillie Vale

    1. I love it too so, so, so much and Babe is just one of my favorite characters ahhh, I love her and LEVI ❤ ❤
      Thank you again so much for accepting me on this blog tour! ❤


  1. Omg I love that the name inspired the story and Levi thinking that everyone was flirting with her by calling her babe all the time is definitely something I would do 😂
    The story sounds really interesting especially as it touches on bff breaks up because that is a massive change in life!!
    That cake looks delicious– I am very hungry right now!! 😂
    This book sounds really good, thank my for bringing it to my attention!! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhhh ahh you’re so welcome, your comment made me so happy, I’m glad I could put this book on your radar, it’s such a soft, great contemporary ❤ I hope you'll enjoy it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. BLACK FOREST AND GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKEEEEE!! I’m hungry now ❤ I loved this book so much as well Marie, and I'm so excited to read this interview for the blog tour. I loved the questions that you asked because they were the same ones wondering in the back of my mind. I love how passionate Babe is and how she's such a wonderful supportive friend. Also, I love how Babe's nickname was created.

    Wonderful interview!! I can't wait to read more of Lillie Vale's works 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So I wanted to read this book for a while, which is why I eagerly clicked on this post, but now I am SO EXCITED! First up, I absolutely ADORE how Babe got her name, and how that was used as inspiration for the whole book. Also, small towns and cafes are my weaknesses when it comes to contemporary because who can resist the warm and fuzzy feelings that come just hearing about small town romances!

    I LOVED this interview and I can’t wait to be able to read this book!

    P. S. The picture of that cake is *mouthwatering*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so, so so much, this makes me so happy ❤️ i hope you will love the boook just as much as I did and you’re right, this cake looks and tastes😍😍😍
      Thank you so much!!


  4. This interview was amazing! I genuinely enjoyed reading it so much, and it got me even more excited to read this book.🙈Oh my gosh, all the vibes it’s giving off are kind of calling my name, haha. It looks beyond amazing, and also, the COVER. Lovely post, Marie! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. oh wow I need this book SO badly!! 😍It sounds incredible and just my kind of story (cake?! yes please) also I really like it when books explore other options for what to do when you finish highschool! College is great but definitely not for everyone. And the romance sounds like it’s going to be super cute!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG this sounds so cute!! I love how the main character’s nickname is Babe and that leads to some interesting (and adorable) confusion happening with the love interest… I don’t know, it might be cheesy and predictable but I still adore those little plot devices hahaha
    I’m so happy you’re in love with this book, Marie! Your post made me want to go and check it out so bad ❤ It sounds like the perfect spring romance to be honest, so I will most certainly be reading it soon 🙂
    Wonderful review, love!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my goodness this book looks amazing! And I loved this interview. 💛 The story about Babe’s name makes me think there’s going to be some super cute dialogue and banter with fun characters so I need to pick it up! And the point about college is really interesting. I think college is often used as a plot device in YA that “saves” the character. Like, their life in high school sucks so they get a bunch of scholarships and go to college and leave their life behind, but to me that’s just a cop out. College doesn’t solve problems and it’s not a viable option for everyone so it’s great to show YA characters who a) don’t go to college and b) are okay with that. I look forward to reading this soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much Madeline, this makes me SO happy ❤
      I agree with you, college is not the right path for everyone and it' so important to have more books showing that, too. ❤
      I hope you'll give this one a try and will love it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.