The Road to Her: book give-away and guest blog by Ke Payne

16 Jul

Ke Payne blogged with us earlier in the year about her loveable heroine Clemmie from 365 Days. She’s back today to talk to us about the inspiration for her fourth book A Road to Her. She is also generously giving away a paperback of her new novel. Please leave a comment or email uklesfic at if you want to be added to the draw for Friday.

the road to her bigHow many lesbian storylines on TV can you remember?

Since 1994 when Brookside blew everything out of the water with their Beth and Margaret storyline (and, boy, did I use the rewind/pause facility on my VCR a lot on that one) there have been many, fabulous female characters on TV soaps and dramas who have indulged themselves in a little lady-loving. And can’t we all honestly say that TV is the better for it?

The sparse pickings from twenty years ago where lesbians were portrayed as desperate individuals (Joanna Trollope, I’m looking at you. The Village Affair? Shameful) have, thankfully, been replaced by so many enriching lesbian romances it makes you glad to be gay.

Thanks to the internet, those of us looking for fulfilling stories of women in love have a multitude to choose from, albeit in different languages, but somehow that just makes them even more awesome, don’t you think? I mean, who needs subtitles when Pepa from Los Hombres de Paco is looking so hot with her gun holster on? Do you think I care when I perchance upon a random programme set in Medieval Spain and notice that the two main female characters have perfectly plucked eyebrows and mascara on while they’re making out? And do you honestly think I want to waste time Googling what “Another Kartoffelpuffer with your Bratwurst, father?” means in English when Jenny is looking at Emma in Hand aufs Herz with those amazing eyes?


Where was I?

Jenny Hartmann’s eyes. No, focus. Lesbian storylines.

So you see, from Brookside to The L Word, from Sugar Rush to Pretty Little Liars and beyond, there are now more lesbian storylines than you can shake a stick at, and the good news is they just keep getting better and better.

It was two characters from a UK soap that were the inspiration for my fourth novel, The Road to Her. Anyone remember the Sophie and Sian story in Coronation Street a few years back? Like a lot of other people, I was brought up on Farleigh’s Rusks and Corrie – a standard diet in many British households. It became a way of life; a habit that, after 30-odd years, is now hard to break. So imagine how excited I was when I found out that it was to have its first ever lesbian storyline! After all, this was the soap whose most exhilarating story in years had been Deirdre getting herself a new pair of specs…

Sophie and Sian were cute together, and I got totally caught up in watching how their friendship blossomed into something more and then, finally, of course, fizzled out again. Well, okay, not so much fizzled as one almighty row at their wedding which ended with Sian flouncing off and straight into a minor part in Casualty. As you do.

But it didn’t matter. My favourite all-time soap had had a lesbian storyline. And what’s more, the writers kept the character of Sophie as a lesbian (we’ll forget that her current relationship is about as exciting as watching indoor bowls on a wet January afternoon). If you went on to any Corrie fansite, you’d see that others were just as excited as I was over the story, too. The fact that two female characters had fallen in love and that – gasp! – the world hadn’t ended because of it, and that, yes, they were two normal teenagers and that – well blow me down – their love for each other didn’t particularly bother or offend anyone was awesome.

There was furious speculation, too, on fansites, over whether the two actresses playing Sophie and Sian were dating in real life, because their scenes together were so realistic. Okay, that’s just called plain, old-fashioned good acting rather than anything more, but it didn’t stop gossipers hoping amongst hope that they’d one day become an item in real life.

So it got me thinking: what would happen if that really did happen in real life? What would happen if two actresses, thrown together as characters who fall in love, found that they really did like each other once the cameras stopped rolling? How would they cope? What would they do? Would they give in to their feelings, or just put it down to being confused? This is the basis for The Road to Her, which explores the possibility that two actresses could confuse what they’re acting out on screen, with real life.

In The Road to Her, twenty year old actress Holly Croft is an already well-established character on a UK soap called Portobello Road. The producers create a new storyline for her where the character that she plays, a sweet girl called Jasmine, falls in love with another girl – Casey.  Another actress, Elise Manford, is drafted in especially to play the role of Casey, and the storyline is an immediate hit with both fans of the show and the critics.

However, while their characters fall for each other on screen, Holly and Elise barely tolerate one another off screen, until a unusual and funny encounter at Holly’s apartment one evening makes both of them see the other in a different light. Gradually, their initial frostiness towards one another is replaced by something else (of course it does – this is a lesbian romance after all!) and they start to get drawn to each another. But will they give in to their feelings, or is it just that the lines between what’s real and what’s not have become blurred for them both?

One brief and clichéd episode of Dates aside, I can’t think that there are any lesbian storylines on British TV at the moment. If you know of one, let me know. In the meantime, I’ll be trawling the internet (in the most un-stalkerish way, you understand) for overseas soaps and dramas in the hope that some far-flung country has produced a lovely, sweet lesbian romance for me to enjoy, even if it means I don’t understand a word they’re saying.

And all the while I’ll be looking at the two lead actresses and wondering, what if…?KePayne

The Road to Her is Ke Payne’s fourth book with Bold Stokes. She is also the author of YA novels 365 Days, Another 365 Days and

10 Responses to “The Road to Her: book give-away and guest blog by Ke Payne”

  1. Svetla (a Czech fan of lesfic) July 16, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    It’s always interesting to get to know a new author. Sounds interesting.

  2. Vaioleta July 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Thank you, Ke, for telling so sensitively and colourfully about the *background* of your *The Road To Her*! Although I am known for having a patience of the saint, right here & right now, I am “burning” with the growing impatience to have and to read your novel as soon as only possible, NO, I want to read it NOW! 🌷🌷🌷

  3. Sue H July 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    Love your books. Looking forward to reading this one

  4. RJ July 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    This sounds like a wonderful read. Please count me in!

  5. Stevie Carroll July 16, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    I love the sound of this one!

  6. Lisa T. July 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Enjoyed your blog post. The Road to Her sounds like one I’d like to read. 🙂

  7. Erin Saluta July 17, 2013 at 1:01 am #

    The comment about the world not ending when a lesbian story line showed up on a popular soap had me laughing pretty hard. Thank you for the insight into the background of your storyline. Sounds like a wonderful romance!

  8. Angela July 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    Loved the blog and now have to buy the book! As for lesbian story lines it looks like something is brewing in Emmerdale between the two lady vets. Certainly one sided (Vanessa) but not sure of Rhona who is currently addicted to painkillers. Might be my imagination but Michelle Hardwick (Vanessa) has just come out in real life!

  9. Clare Ashton July 17, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    Carrie Gooch also wants to be entered into the draw (WordPress keeps kicking her out when she tries to leave a comment).

  10. KE Payne (@ke_payne) July 18, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Thanks all so much for your comments, emails, DMs and Facebook prods about both the book and the blog 🙂 It’s much appreciated. I’ll be plunging a metaphorical hand into the uklesfic giveaway box tomorrow and pulling out the name of the winner of the signed copy of The Road to Her. Good luck!

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