News Roundup: New Blogs from Clare Ashton & RJ Samuel, Interviews with Stella Duffy & Emma Donoghue, Kiki Archer Gets Her Tatts Out, & Much More!

22 May

After Tig copped lucky with a quiet spell last week, the recent sunshine seems to have made this week’s news fairly blossom. There’s loads of it to catch up on, so slap on some sun cream, and enjoy…

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V.A FearonIf the fine weather has you hankering after a night out in the Big Smoke but you’re stuck for entertainment ideas, VA Fearon and Sarah Westwood (AKA  The Rubbish Lesbian) will be appearing at Polari on May 27th. Tickets are £5 and you can book them here.

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that certain somethingThe Writing Processes Blog Hop continues apace, with Clare Ashton copping a tag from VG Lee and subsequently posting her entry, in which she chats a little about the inspiration behind her current best seller That Certain Something:

It was sparked by a conversation on the VLR discussion group where I was larking about answering questions for one of their spot-on weekends. Someone found my answers entertaining and fun and asked if my novels were the same. I had to respond that actually they were rather angst-ridden and miserable, so it had me wondering why on earth wasn’t I writing something humorous?

And goes on to reveal how she actually begins to put pen to paper:

A lot of that daydreaming at first. Playing with the glimmerings of a plot, characters and themes. I start jotting down bits of dialogue that I keep hearing in my head and ideas for scenes in a new Moleskin notepad for each book…

To read the full blog, hop over here.

RJ Samuel reading on FridayRJ Samuel also got nabbed and provided some insight into the influences behind her novels:

I don’t really write by genre. I write the story I need to tell, and everyone’s story is different. I draw from my diverse background as an Indian, born in Nigeria, living for many years in Ireland, and with all my family in America. From my educational and career background as a doctor, an IT person, a restaurant/bar owner, a writer. Even from my brief experiences in summer jobs as chambermaid, inventory clerk, pizza cutter, physiotherapy assistant, flower-stall ‘manager’.

Click here to read the rest of RJ’s answers.

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Stella Duffy, writer, actorWe’ve found a couple of interviews with Stella Duffy to catch up on. In a lively feature in The Guardian this weekend, Stella hopped through a multitude of topics covering family, work, cancer, and Nigel Farage (to name but a few).

Nigel Farage is probably fun to have a drink with, which is a problem. Some people might think: “Working class, lesbian, left wing – ugh!”, but they’d find I’m fun to have a drink with. Without space for dialogue, there’s no reconciliation.

And while I was hunting down the link for that chat, I came across another piece from the British Council in April that we somehow managed to overlook – never let it be said that we’re infallible! In Brussels to debate the concept of a national literature, Stella had this to say on the topic:

“The idea of there being a British national literature sort of confuses me anyway, making it ripe for a good discussion! The range of people in Britain is amazingly interesting – rather than there being a particular ‘national identity’, there are so many different ‘national identities’. One of the reasons the different regions of the UK are so important is because they didn’t used to speak the same language. There’s an incredible diversity in dialogue which comes through in prose, which is one of the things that makes British writing so exciting.”

You can read the full text of both interviews by hitting the links.

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FrogMusicMeanwhile, Emma Donoghue has been Making Beautiful Music over at Lambda Literary, where she chats about Frog Music, the rise of queer literature, and her quandary over whether to kick off her writing career with Stir Fry or Hood:

I think that what I would say is that I was entirely wrong. I remember my editor talking me down. I rung her up to say, Stir Fry’s really immature and shallow, it won’t work!
She said to me, “Emma, lots of people are going to prefer
Stir Fry,” and she was entirely right. It sold much better. Clearly, it’s not that I was insecure in general—I wasn’t—I just had this feeling that Hood was much stronger stuff. I would still say it is, I would say it’s a far better book. But readers need all sorts of things from their books.

Click the first link up there to read the entire piece.

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HanselGretalIf you’re a better woman than I am (not difficult!) and one of the 186.9 million people who understand what the hell Tumblr is all about, you can join Niamh Murphy over there on her brand new page. There are handy links to each of Niamh’s books and to the reading she recently posted from Mask of the Highway Woman. For those of you who aren’t so down with the kids and remain befuddled, head here, where WikiP will make everything as clear as mud.

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Kiki-ArcherKiki Archer has been getting her tatts out (quite literally) for all those lesbians who might struggle with the tricky concept of letting a potential love interest know that they too are a big old friend of Dorothy. In five handy steps, you can learn how to drop hints, let the cat out of the bag, and if all else fails, flash a bit of tatt. For Kiki’s How To guide, click here.

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nightingaleA couple of reviews now to wind up the week, both for Andrea Bramhall‘s Nightingale, and both resoundingly enthusiastic:

The Lesbian Reading Room had this to say:

Nightingale is an amazing and sometimes brutal tale of the fate of women forced into arranged marriages and abducted by their husband’s family to places where western law and western agencies cannot reach them. At the same time it is a wonderful romance that tells the tale of two women who’s souls connect from the very first day and are destined to love each other despite their separation.

While over at Rainbow Book Reviews:

This multi-tiered story with a hot and sexy love story, an extremely exciting intense military-like task force operation marvelously intertwined with a host of outstanding supporting characters makes this book a wonderfully balanced and supremely entertaining read. I easily give this my highest recommendation. Truly, not to be missed!

As a Lambda finalist, Andrea also took part in an ongoing Q&A blog spot at the Lesbian Reading Room, where she chats about finding the inspiration for her novels, what the nomination means to her, and what’s up next.

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Righto, that’s me done for the week. Apologies to my neighbours, but I’m getting my shorts on!

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