Title: Venus and Lysander
Author: Yoshiyuki Ly
Genre: Historical Romance / Fantasy
Living as a nobleman and as a woman, Valerie of Lysander is sick of waiting for the world to change. The discrimination she suffers as an outcast builds into resentment. Once Val takes matters into her own hands, the whole Empire of Tynan feels her brand of justice. The Emperor’s adviser, Lucrezia of Azrith, wants more of Val’s ruthlessness—for revenge against the unjust, and for her own desires. Venus and Lysander is an intricate romance set in the fictional Victorian city of Eden, 250 years after the events in The Scorpion’s Empress.
Lucrezia is Lady Chancellor for the Emperor and a sorceress-in-hiding. She is forced to conceal her identity from the religious public for fear of death. As she learns to trust in Val’s chivalry and affections for her, they both fall for the softer sides behind their similar bulletproof personas. Lucrezia receives a mysterious warning about a sadistic enemy threatening the Azrith and Lysander families. Once they discover their nemesis’ true motive, Val and Lucrezia’s tyrannous devotion for one another is all they can count on to survive.
Interview with Yoshiyuki Ly
- Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It depends on the chapter, but I usually get sleepy when I write. I’ll yawn a lot at least for a few minutes until I force myself to keep at it. Organizing ideas in my head is what energizes me.
- What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Thinking that the publishing process will be simple. Just getting my foot in the door on my own took years of trial and error and luck.
- Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
It might make them more charismatic for a fan of followers who don’t mind that sort of thing.
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
I’m terrible at intentional humor and light-hearted moments. If it comes out on its own, that’s fine. If I’m aware that I’m writing it, I cringe a lot and struggle with the scene.
- Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
No, not really. I prefer playing video games when I want a good story.
- Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I write for myself. If someone just so happens to enjoy it, then that’s an added bonus.
- What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m friends with a few people who write here and there as a hobby. They helped me learn to not take my writing so seriously.
- How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I don’t think it changed anything.
- What was your hardest scene to write?
Whenever a scene is personal for me–and I know I’m dressing it up in fiction–it tends to be easy to write, actually. Harder scenes for me are set before those more personal ones.
- What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
My video games. For Venus and Lysander, I played a lot of Bloodborne, The Witcher, and Final Fantasy XII. They inspire me like nothing else, from the stories to the soundtracks.
Yoshiyuki Ly was born in San Diego, CA. She lived there until moving away to college. In high school, she began writing fanfiction as a serious hobby. Her pen name represents her multiracial heritage and a unique, diverse outlook that reflects in her work. She is a writer and a gamer.
Valerie had nothing to say. She stared at the ground, breathing harder than before. Hunger no doubt clawed at her stomach. She kept licking her lips as a poor quench for her thirst. Valiantly, she resisted her weakness, jaw clenched in concentration. I shifted in my seat, moved by her efforts. Her breaths in particular echoed through the small cell, clouding my ears with my imagination. Was her need for food and drink the only reason she was like this?
“Well?” I asked.
“Such a difficult woman you are,” I said with a sigh.
I noticed then that she was distracted by her thoughts. Valerie appeared fixated on the images in her mind, staring at the ground to give a canvas to the colors. Now I was curious. I waited until she looked into my eyes. The intensity there acted as the avenue for my exploration. Non-intrusive, undetectable, I weaved my way into her mind to see her thoughts for myself.
There I saw Valerie’s fantasy: of her ripping the chains from the ground, of her grabbing me by my waist, shoving me against the wall and kissing my neck, hard. The suddenness of it all startled me. I fought not to recoil or react in any way. In her thoughts, I cried out in mixed want and denial; tried and failed to push her away. She overpowered me. She pinned my wrists to the wall over my head, hissing in my ear:
“How I’ve wanted to rip this control from you…”
Fantasy and reality blended together the longer I watched her ravage me. Never had I allowed anyone to touch me like this. To have me in such a way. My ego had kept me away from that. Yet here I watched Valerie do what I’d denied myself for so long. I watched and watched; wanted to keep watching; wanted to keep burning in this building heat. But it was too much—too much for me to handle.