While I have been hyper-busy recently learning to be a new parent, an interview and a review of both of my books, Solstice and Leaving L.A., have come online. Kate West, a Seattle writer who contacted me a few months ago about writing the interview and reviews, emailed to let me know that both pieces have been published at OUTView and Edge Media Networks, which has localized online LGBT content centered on cities across the country.
Here are a few of Kate West’s questions and my corresponding answers:
How did you come to start writing?
I wrote my first collection of short stories in fifth grade, about a clumsy, literate, crime-fighting dog I called the “Dogged Crusader,” and was hooked. I turned to novels the summer before my junior year of high school when I was required to wear rather unattractive head gear for my braces, 24/7. Too embarrassed to venture beyond my driveway, I holed up in the den and churned out four hundred pages of a science fiction novel, “Future Run,” about a teen-aged girl who travels a hundred years back in time from 2085 to escape a global war. Who knows-without braces, I may never have been bit by the novel-writing bug! But probably I would have. I think I was born a writer, just like I was born a lesbian.
Your first two books have been lesbian romances. Do you plan to continue in that genre or would you like to write in other genres as well in the future?
I like writing romances because I’m a romantic at heart. I also see writing lesbian love stories as a consciously political act-the love that dare not speak its name takes center stage in gay and lesbian romance novels, which explore the many facets of the part of queer life that is most denigrated by the dominant culture. That said, I also write other kinds of stories. Currently I’m looking for a publisher for a novel I wrote a few years ago, Family Jewels, a family drama about the fractured relationship between a twenty-something lesbian and her conservative father. I’m also two-thirds of the way through a new book that, while a love story, probably isn’t a traditional lesbian romance, either. Rather than conforming my writing to a single genre, I try to write the stories I feel compelled to tell, with the awareness that some novels might be more difficult to find an audience for than others.
I understand you recently became a mother! How has that changed your life and affected your writing?
As a mother yourself, I imagine you know all about the sleep deprivation and mind-blowing joy and utter terror that follows the addition of a newborn to the family. In my case, I also went back to work nearly full-time about a month before our daughter was born, so I’m juggling that as well. I won’t pretend my writing routine hasn’t suffered. It definitely has. But mainly I feel like I’m in a time of flux, a period of growth that’s percolating somewhere in my subconscious. I’m still interested in writing about the old stories I’ve always been drawn to, but I also feel my mind and heart expanding to encompass more. Of course, that might just be the psychedelic effects of persistent sleep deprivation talking.
Book Review on OUTview and Edge
At the same time, Kate West’s combined reviews of Solstice and Leaving L.A. also went up on OUTview and Edge. Again, here is a taste of what she had to say:
On Solstice: The story is told in first person narrative by each of the characters in turn, flipping back and forth between the thoughts, feelings and perspective of each protagonist. I enjoyed this view into the brains of Sam and Emily, and I found it entertaining and interesting to get the take each of the characters had on the same situations. And, I have to admit I loved reading about the streets, neighborhoods, zoo and even our local WNBA team here in Seattle. Christie did an excellent job on the details and this first effort was an enjoyable read.
On Leaving L.A.: This novel moved me and I felt much more connected to the characters than the ones in Solstice. Maybe it’s because the characters are a little older or because I could relate to some of Tess’s and Eleanor’s experiences a little more. But, regardless, I actually teared up when finding out Tess’s childhood secrets.
Wrap-up: Both of her books can be purchased through Bella Books, Amazon.com or through your local bookstore. After reading these two novels, I’m really looking forward to Christie’s third called Beautiful Game, due out in July 2011.