Archive | February, 2015

News roundup: a lot of blogging and chatting from Emma Donoghue, VG Lee, Nicola Griffith, Amy Dunne and more!

27 Feb

A whiff of spring is in the air, or at least the green shoots of a busy lesfic year are coming through at last, and there’s quite a bit to tell you this week:

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emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bEmma Donoghue has been answering Seven Questions for the Working Writer over on Jenna Leigh Evans’ blog. She answers questions about juggling writing with earning a living (she’s never had a day job) and how she knows when a passage needs editing (it makes her stomach twinge). Read the full piece here.

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NicolaGriffithNicola Griffith has been busy on her blog. This week she has been talking a little about how to avoid cliched characters when writing fiction and how to create a memorable cast.

But a great story or novel—oh, a great story is dense. The characters’ actions are plot-driving and characteristic and specific. These people are fully human, the kind of people we would recognise this year, last century, tomorrow. In this fiction, the writer is almost profligate in her generosity: we know a lot about the protagonist just by the way he flips his hair, just by the speed with which they blinks before they kill someone.

Here’s the full piece.

It also turns out that even the best get the odd duff review. Nicola has been braving Amazon and reading Hild reviews and details her reaction to some particularly snide 1-star reviews. It only bothered her, mildly, for 5 minutes. Still, an entertaining and interesting piece which is here in full.

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vgleepolariVG Lee was interviewed by Sacha Black about VG’s writing process. She talks about her technique of prolific note taking as first draft, what and who inspires her characters and her take on the publishing industry. This is her advice for aspiring novelists:

Not to be influenced in any way by friends and family. They will be biased. To aspiring novelists I would recommend a writing group, creative writing classes at local colleges or universities. Here you will get unbiased feed back. Friends I made through a creative writing class when I first began writing, I am still friends with them now. We are all still writing and we have all been published, in fiction, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. We help each other.

VG is always an interesting read and here’s the full interview.

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LT Smith has been catching up her readers on her writing exploits. And she’s been busy. Beginnings is out in its second edition and she talks about the horticulture involved in that. She’s also having a shufty at Once and a few other things besides:

I can remember not long after Once was published and I won an award from the Lesbian Fiction Readers’ Choice Awards for comedy. Obviously, I was really excited, as anyone would be if his or her book had been given the big thumbs up by the reader. But, I can still remember thinking ‘I thought it was sad’. Shows how much I know doesn’t it. Maybe if I write a comedy I may get an award for drama. Food for thought.

Read the full article, and keep an eye out for an imminent book giveaway too, over on LT’s blog.

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Clare Lydon continues with the book club on Lesbian Radio. And this week she had a good natter with Amy Dunne author of Secret Lies and Season’s Meetings. Amy gives some insight into her writing approach to each book and what inspired her to write the gritty Secret Lies. Have a listen here.

Amy also revealed the cover and blurb for her next book this week. The Renegade, a post-apocalyptic romance, will be available in September. Here’s the blurb:

renegadeIn this post-apocalyptic world, you have a choice: survive as a slave or fight for your freedom.

The Red Death pandemic wiped out most of the human population, and the world that remains is dangerous and unforgiving. Survivor Alex Clarke and her companions are rescued after a vicious attack and welcomed into the Rapture’s Haven Camp. Although given medical treatment, food, shelter, and protection, Alex senses something sinister lurking beneath the camp’s friendly exterior.

Camp medic Evelyn Bennett is instinctively drawn to Alex and warns her that the camp is a dangerous cult and the women are slaves. While planning to escape, their secret relationship is discovered. Escape is no longer possible. They must fight for their freedom—or die trying.

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V.A FearonMeanwhile Cherry Potts and VA Fearon have been chatting about lesbian fiction. Cherry talked about running Arachne Press and trying to fit in her own writing. VA Fearon revealed her obsessive writing habit and also chatted about the Dani series. All five books have been written – although only The Girl with the Treasure Chest is out so far. Here the video of their conversation.

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A few items in brief:

thehysteryappVT Davy‘s second ‘state of the lesbian nation’ novels, The Hystery App, is now available. VT has produced a trailer for the book which is a blend of science fiction, romance, and women’s history. The trailer is available here on YouTube.

Jenny Frame has been putting the final touches to the forthcoming A Royal Romance and has an update on her other work here.

Gill McKnight, author of the Garoul werewolf series, has been quiet of late, but she’s just about to get a lot noisier. She’s joined Women and Words as a regular contributer and she’s already received a very warm welcome. She has a new book, Soul Selecta, is due out in April.

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hp munroFinally, you can catch HP Munro in the Virtual Living Room today. The online discussion group is hosting a Hollywood weekend where authors of novels with a film theme will be chatting about their books. Authors include Melissa Brayden (Waiting in the Wings), Karin Kallmaker (Stepping Stone), Krystin Zimmer (The Gravity Between Us), Jae (Departure from the Script) and Chris Paynter (Survived by her Longtime Companion). You can join the group here.

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That’s all folks!

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Q&A with Jane Retzig

23 Feb

The_Wrong_Woman_Cover_for_KindleToday we have Jane Retzig in the hot seat for a Q&A. Jane started writing in the 90s and published Boundaries – a tale of passion and turmoil between a young and older lover in 1970s Northern England. After a break in writing she has written three more novels – stories with a bit of a difference to keep her readers on their toes.

Her latest, The Wrong Woman, is a lesbian mystery romance set in the north. It features Kate, the rising star of the trauma therapy world, accused of a terrible crime and finding love when she least expects it.

Hi Jane. How would you describe your novels and please tell us a little about your new work The Wrong Woman.

I’ve always seen my novels as Lesbian Romantic Fiction. I’m interested in situations where something happens to take my protagonists out of their comfort zone… How they respond under pressure.

The Wrong Woman was inspired by personal experience of bullying directed against myself and several of my friends. While I was writing it, I jokingly referred to it as ‘my revenge novel’ but I don’t think it is really. It was motivated by a desire for the ‘baddies’ to get their come-uppance, but I hope I managed to capture the light and shade in all of us. The book pretty much wrote itself and took me by surprise on several occasions. It was a cathartic experience. I felt a lot better after I’d written it.

What have readers liked most about your latest novel?

boundariesIt seems to be a bit like Marmite – people either seem very enthusiastic or they hate it. It’s got a big ‘cast list’ compared with my usual writing and the lack of chapters seems to have thrown and confused some readers. The people who like it seem to have enjoyed the fast pace, the twists and turns, and the fairly quirky characters. A friend who read it texted me at 2.30am with ‘Just finished your book, you ****! Thought you should be awake in the middle of the night too!’

You have a diverse set of characters. Who have you enjoyed creating and writing most?

I’m very fond of a lot of my characters, but in The Wrong Woman I’d have to say Saskia, my ‘shake-up cocktails girl’. I had a lot of fun with her.

How important is setting and region for your novels?

All of those things – region, season, period, time – they all vary in importance depending on how important they are to my characters.

Who has influenced your writing and which authors/novels have left their mark on you?

thephotograph

The Photograph – a lesbian mystery romance

There have been so many, starting with Enid Blyton as a kid. Then the great Northern writers – Stan Barstow, Keith Waterhouse. A whole swathe of American authors – Patti Smith, Kate Millett, Jane Bowles, Carson McCullers. American lesbian fiction – I think I worked my way through everything Silver Moon and Gay’s the Word had on their shelves. I also love the books of my Northern gay romantic fiction writing buddy Tim Bairstow. But probably if I had to name my two biggest influences I’d have to say Daphne du Maurier and Elizabeth Taylor for their brilliant characterisation and great storytelling.

Are you a fan of lesbian fiction and if so, which novels have tickled your fancy?

I love lesbian fiction and I’ve currently got five UKLesFic blog featured novels waiting impatiently for me on my kindle. Frustratingly, I don’t seem to be able to read when I’m writing though, and I’ve been writing fairly constantly for the past year.

So the last lesbian-themed novel I read was By Blood by Ellen Ullman. It’s brilliant, very creepy and compulsive and set in San Francisco in the 1970s.

When I finish my current novel, I’m looking forward to a massive lesfic binge (hopefully in the garden on a sun lounger).

You had a break from writing. What got you back in the saddle?

The_Full_Legacy

Lesbian tale with a hint of the supernatural

It was more the other way round. I’ve always tended to write when I have space. I just hit a period in my life that was quite turbulent – moving four times, looking after a poorly elderly relative, coping with the breakdown of a very long-term relationship – I’m much more settled now, so I’m writing again.

What’s next in the pipeline?

I’m about a third of the way through a new novel. Its working title is The Retreat, and it’s about a long term affair that’s on the verge of being uncovered.

Thanks Jane! You can find out more about Jane and all of her novels on Amazon.

News Update: Clare Lydon Events and Radio Show, Hild and The Paying Guests Scoop Library Awards, Interview with Sarah Waters, & Emma Donoghue on Audible…

12 Feb

I suspect the recent cold weather might have sent most of our UK LesFic authors into hibernation. These last couple of weeks have been very very quiet on the news front, but – being knee-deep in edits myself – I’ve decided not to hang on to this update any longer (mainly because one of the events featured is actually taking place tonight!)

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clare lydonWe’ll start with the aforementioned event, which is Clare Lydon reading at Wood Green Library (alongside Katie Bennett-Hall) as part of LGBT History Month, and also for the launch of the LBT Women & Guests Drop-in & Book Club. This event is tonight (12th February) 5.30-7 p.m, and will cost you absolutely nothing, although booking is advised. Clare will be reading from the charity UK LesFic anthology, L is For and there will be an author Q&A after the readings. You can find more details and the booking information at this link.

l is forThis seems like the perfect moment to remind people that Clare will also be reading from her second novel, The Long Weekend, at Polari (Royal Festival Hall) on the 23rd February. Tickets and more info here.

I’m not sure when this woman ever sleeps (she certainly doesn’t hibernate!) but the third episode of her radio show, The Lesbian Book Club, is now up featuring American author Cindy Rizzo talking about L Fest, her novels, going from being self-published to signing with Ylva Publishing, and generally having a right old natter. You can listen along at this link.

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kissing the witchMore good news now for all those who like to read with their ears. Kissing the Witch, Emma Donoghue‘s lesbian, feminist retelling of well-known fairy tales has been released as an unabridged audio book on audible:

Thirteen tales are unspun from the deeply familiar and woven anew into a collection of fairy tales that wind back through time. Emma Donoghue reveals heroines young and old in unexpected alliances–sometimes treacherous, sometimes erotic, but always courageous. Told with luminous voices that shimmer with sensuality and truth, these age-old characters shed their antiquated cloaks to travel a seductive new landscape, radiantly transformed.

Hit the link for more information. Meanwhile, Emma’s website reveals she’s is “immersed” in her next adult novel, set in 1850s Ireland.

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HILDUKNicola Griffith‘s Hild has bagged a runners up spot in the Historical Fiction category in the American Library Association list of Notable Books 2014. The full round up of all the winners and runners up can be found here. Hild was also chosen, alongside Sarah WatersThe Paying Guests, for the 2015 Over The Rainbow list, which aims to create a bibliography of books that exhibited commendable literary quality and significant LGBT content and are recommended for adults. Congrats to both!

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Speaking of Sarah Waters, she has been interviewed over at the Indian Express blog in which she discusses her novels, her thoughts about writing a book set in the present day, and what she thinks about her unofficial title: The Queen of the Tortured Lesbian Romance:

Yes, some of my characters have been a little tortured. And while my books have love stories, all of them except one (The Little Stranger) have had lesbian protagonists and lesbian desire has been at the heart of the narrative. I don’t want it ever to be forgotten.

You can read the full 3 page interview at the link.

598px-Sarah_WatersMeanwhile, Elinor over at The Lesbrary has been catching up with one of Sarah’s older novels with a recently posted review of The Night Watch:

I loved it, but other readers may find The Night Watch too depressing. I felt emotionally drained when I finished it. For me, it was worth it, but fans of happy endings might disagree. Whether or not you enjoy the book depends largely on the degree to which you engage with the characters, and not everyone will like these reserved Londoners and their private struggles. This is not a novel with an action-packed plot, which keeps the reader close to the main characters. If you don’t connect with the characters during the 1947 section, you probably won’t enjoy hundreds more pages with them.

The full in-depth review can be found here.

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And that really is yer lot for this fortnight, although, just taking a toot at the list of releases pending from UK authors, I suspect this may be the lull before the storm…