Interview with Radclyffe

Radclyffe

I just finished reading Dangerous Waters  by Radclyffe, and I have had the opportunity to interview the author about it!

 

Who or what inspired your latest novel Dangerous Waters?

 

I was impressed by the incredible response from people—from community members to first responders—to the two nearly back-to-back hurricanes in Texas and Florida in 2017. The selfless outpouring of aid and support made me want to capture some of that as a backdrop to a First Responders novel, so I quickly re-arranged my writing schedule to fit Dangerous Waters in as the next book.

 

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

 

Every book I’ve ever read has helped create my life-long love of reading. I started writing lesbian fiction to fill a gap in what I was able to find to read at the time. Now even though there is a wealth of new queer fiction available, I enjoy the process of writing and sharing my work with readers.

 

Which of your books was your favorite to write and why?

 

If I had to pick one: Safe Harbor, since it is one of the earliest ones and begins the Provincetown Tales. I have always loved the characters and the setting—one of my favorite places to visit.

 

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

 

Again – not a fair question since I have quite a few characters I like to revisit and write about. At the moment it’s Blake Remy, a trans teen first introduced in the second book in the Rivers series (Prescription for Love). His story has turned out to be a major secondary plotline in three books, and I get lots of emails asking me to write more about him.  Writing a young queer character has been challenging and rewarding.

 

How do you approach writing a new storyline?

 

For me, any story, but particularly a romance, is about the characters. I start with two characters who find themselves in a situation they never expected, often at odds at first, who learn more about themselves as they come to know each other.

 

Where do your inspirations for characters and their lives come from?

 

Most of the situations I write about come from real life events I have either experienced (as in the medical romances) or events I’ve read about that seem to me to be important and interesting for readers. Life is filled with “every day” heroes and those are the stories I like to tell.

 

Where is your favorite place to write?

 

I can write anywhere, but I prefer writing while sitting on a sofa rather than at a desk. I don’t listen to music although I can edit a draft while watching baseball on TV 😊.

 

 

What is your writing process?

 

I dictate my first draft with voice-to-text software and then edit the transcription on computer. I write from page one to the end, and I never write scenes out of sequence. The book grows as the characters interact.

 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

 

I learned to be a much better self-editor as I became more experienced. Being published has helped me be a better writer.

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

 

Becoming a member of the Romance Writers of America. Attending the annual meetings and learning from the best romance writers in the world has really helped me improve my craft.

 

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

 

I’ve been fortunate to receive countless messages of support over the years, and they are all invaluable. I am always especially happy when someone tells me my books helped them come out or to realize they are not alone.

 

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

 

The first book I ever read with a lesbian character—that was when I understood who I was.Beebo Brinkerby Ann Bannon.

 

How do you take your coffee?

 

Americano with ½ and ½.

 

Review of Dangerous Waters by Radclyffe

Dangerous Waters

So, everyone, I have a shameful secret. I have never read one of Radclyffe’s books. When I saw Dangerous Waters listed on NetGalley I thought I should take the opportunity to see if her books were as good as everyone says they are. I was not disappointed.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Army National Guard Colonel Sawyer Kincaid has served her time dueling with death in the deserts of Africa. Now that she’s home, the only sand she wants to see is on the beach in South Florida. Too bad Tropical Storm Leo, swiftly gaining strength out over the Atlantic, is about to draw her in to another life or death war, this time on home soil.

 

Dr. Dara Sims has too many critical patients in the intensive care units at Miami Memorial to consider evacuation, no matter how determined the battle-hardened colonel is to make her. As far as Dara is concerned, evacuate is just another word for abandon. When a state of emergency becomes a state of siege waged by Leo, all she can do is hope the rising waters relent before she loses everyone, herself included.

 

I thought that the book started off kind of slow but once it picked up I couldn’t put it down. The book is action-packed. With a hurricane barreling towards Florida there is everything keeping Sawyer and Dara apart. Yet, they are drawn to each other. I liked how both women were strong and independent. They both respected each other’s authority in their given fields.

 

Sawyers backstory was amazing. I thought it brought so much to her character. It also gave great insight into why she does the thing she does. She has great respect for the damage a hurricane can cause.

 

I found the section at the nursing home after the storm particularly hard to read. It reminded me of what happened at the nursing home after hurricane Irma. It broke my heart. I have a soft spot for older people with dementia because of my grandmother who passed away last year.

 

If you enjoy action-packed romance, you will love this book.

 

You can purchase a copy of Dangerous Waters by clicking here.

Review of When the Stars Sang by Caren Werlinger

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I have been wanting to read a book by Caren Werlinger since I first saw an interview with her on the Lesbian Book Readers Club on Facebook. I thought she was very charismatic and her books sounded amazing. When I saw her latest book When the Stars Sang listed on NetGalley I jumped at the chance to read it. Let me just say that I wasn’t disappointed.

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Nearly twenty-five years ago, Kathleen Halloran’s brother drowned during the last summer they ever spent with their grandmother on a remote island off Maine’s coast. Like a siren’s call she can’t resist, Kathleen is pulled back to Little Sister Island. She leaves her job and her girlfriend, packs up her few belongings, and moves into her grandmother’s cottage.

Molly Cooper loves life on Little Sister, where the islanders take care of their own. Kathleen Halloran doesn’t belong here, and her arrival stirs up unwelcome memories for the islanders—including Molly’s brother. Molly is certain Kathleen will pack up at the first big blow. When she doesn’t, Molly begins to see maybe there’s more to Kathleen than she thought.

Sometimes, before you can move forward, you have to look back.

This book hooked me in from the beginning. I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed how the characters had so much personality even the side characters. I liked how the island town kept to the old ways of their ancestors. It really drew me into the story. The book is so well written.  This book made me feel so many emotions and I enjoyed every minute of my reading.

The romance between Molly and Kathleen was so believable. Both women had so much to overcome in order to be together. They both needed to get over the past in order to commit to their relationship. I really liked how when Kathleen first came to the island Molly was hesitant about her. It made their relationship seem more real.

As everyone knows I am a sucker for a pet in books. This book delivered. Blossom, they stray dog Kathleen takes in, was amazingly written. He is so cute and derpy. I liked that he followed Kathleen everywhere she went. He also alerted Molly when Kathleen was in danger and helped to locate her. I also really enjoyed Miss Louisa and Miss. Oliva. I think they were my favorite characters in the whole story. The way they mothered and cared for Kathleen was amazing.

The only con for this book is that it has cut to black sex scenes. I didn’t find this to be a problem, but some readers might not like that.

I would recommend this book to everyone. It is one of the best books I have read this year. I cannot speak enough praise for it.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

You can purchase a copy of  When the Stars Sang by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

Interview With Hannah Carmack

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I just finished reading Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack , and I have had the opportunity to interview the author about it!

Who or what inspired your latest novella Take Your Medicine?

Originally, the piece was written as a submission for Nine Star Press’ Once Upon a Rainbow anthology, but the editor liked it so much he suggested we release it as a stand-alone! In terms of content, I think Eve’s Bayou and Grey’s Anatomy both had big impacts on it.

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

I think I’ve been writing my whole life on my own accord, but what really got me writing consistently was Naruto fanfiction! LOL. From there I honed my craft and started writing my own original stuff.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

Overall?! Oh man, this is a fun one. I love most of the cast I’m working with for my next project, but from what’s currently released I think it’s gonna be Da Vinci from Seven-Sided Spy. He’s got such a story to tell and there are so many layers to it.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My bed! I feel incredibly comfortable burritoed in a bunch of blankets.

What is your writing process?

For a manuscript I do intense character development first. I’ve got to know the players on the stage before I can really get a plot going. Then, I do a light outline with the story’s general arc. After that, I go wild and write a first draft. I don’t hold back during this draft. I think the first time around it’s important to be as undisciplined as possible to encourage all the best writing. From there it’s editing, revising, rewriting, ad perfecting.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I learned so much about what was wrong with my work that I’ve really improved tenfold, especially with head-hopping and POV switching. Also, adverbs. I’m still learning to knock off the over-usage, but man it used to be bad.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Scrivner! This thing gives me life! It’s so fun to use and it’s a one-time fee.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

I think the response to Take Your Medicine really made me realize how lucky I am to be where I am in the time that I am. I have found so many other chronically ill writers just from this one project and we’re all able to connect at the swipe of a lock-screen.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

Oh man! THAT’S a big question. Likely The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. At this point I have mentioned this book every time I’m asked questions like this, but I cannot stress how beautiful of a novel it is. I actually have a tattoo based on the cover’s imagery.

Do you have any up-and-coming projects that we should look out for?

Currently I’m working on a project titled Viva La Education! I’m super excited for it. It focuses on a group of queer educators fighting the department of education. I’m not sure on release as it’s still a WIP, but fingers are crossed sometime in the next year or two!

How do you take your coffee?

I don’t! Lol. I used to love getting frappes, but since I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis coffee has been on the no-no list.

Review of Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack

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When I saw the novella Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack on NetGalley I was drawn to it because it was about a girl that has vasovagal syncope. This is something that hits close to home for me because my younger sister suffered from vasovagal syncope. I am also a huge fan of gothic literature and Alice in Wonderland so what is there not to like.

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Alice “Al” Liddell is from Echola, Alabama. She leads the life of a normal teen until the day she’s diagnosed with vasovagal syncope – a fainting disorder which causes her to lose consciousness whenever she feels emotions too strongly.

Her mother, the “Queen of Hearts,” is the best cardiothoracic surgeon this side of the Mason-Dixon Line and a bit of a local hero. Yet, even with all her skill she is unable to cure her daughter of her ailment, leading Al into the world of backwater witchcraft.

Along the way she meets a wacky cast of characters and learns to accept her new normal.

Take Your Medicine is a southern gothic retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

This book took me a little while to get into but once I got into it I was hooked. I really liked the relationship between the names of the characters and Alice in Wonderland characters. One of my favorite characters was Rabbit. I could really relate to her. Her being anxious about dancing and socializing was very relatable.

I also like the relationship between Al and Rabbit. It felt really natural. That first love type of relationship. I thought that it was very authentic that Al didn’t know how to react to their first kiss. She was just discovering her attraction. I wish there was more to this book.

 

The only problem that I had with the book was Al and her mother’s relationship. It seemed really smothering. Like Al was not allowed to have a life of her own outside of her life with her mother. It seemed that because Al was sick her mother didn’t want her to do anything other than staying home, study, and mind the garden.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Alice in Wonderland. As well as anyone who likes YA novels.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

You can purchase a copy of Take Your Medicine by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

Review of Hearts Like Hers By Melissa Brayden

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Lately, I have been hooked on romance novels. When I saw Hearts Like Hers by Melissa Brayden listed on NetGalley I couldn’t pass it by.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

No one pencils in falling in love.

 

All work and no play has Autumn Primm in the market for a little excitement. Her Venice Beach coffee shop, The Cat’s Pajamas, is her pride and joy. While she doesn’t mind the long hours, she finds herself staring dreamily out the window, imagining the life she’s yet to lead. The time has come to take off the apron and see what the world has in store.

 

Kate Carpenter needs to get away. And quick. A small-town firefighter, Kate’s been crowned a local hero for reasons she can’t quite get behind. An open highway and some time off have her fleeing the scene to sunny California to catch her breath and put some distance between herself and the unwanted acclaim. Dreamy Autumn Primm was never supposed to be part of that bargain. What Kate needs is a temporary escape, emphasis on temporary.

 

I wanted to like the book more than I did. I just couldn’t get into the relationship between Autumn and Kate. I felt like everything in their relationship moved too quickly. The women seemed to fall in love almost instantly.

 

I also had a problem with Autumn’s fertility journey. I was really excited to see someone going to a fertility clinic for insemination. I have been looking for a book that would accurately portray the process that many lesbians go through. While this book tried it did not accurately portray what happens. Everything moved much too quickly.

 

While I did have problems with the relationship and the insemination there were good aspects of the book. I really liked Kates backstory about why she came to Venice Beach. She was my favorite character in the story. I also liked the details about Autumn and her friends. Their backstories made the story stand out.

 

While I wasn’t wowed by the relationship aspect of the book. I would still recommend it to anyone who is interested looking for a lighthearted read.

 

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

You can purchase a copy of  Hearts Like Hers by clicking here.

 

 

Interview with Missouri Vaun

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Who or what inspired your latest novel Love at Cooper’s Creek?

Homesickness. I think for those of us who’ve left the Deep South because of the necessities of career there’s a part of us that always longs for home. The initial idea for this book started with a brief bout of homesickness while overseas, but then, as with all character driven stories, it took on a life of its own.

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

I think I’ve always written stories. My mom has some hilarious bits of writing from all the way back when I was in second grade. My childhood was spent in rural, sometimes quite remote, areas because my father was a forester. I think I began creating characters and stories for my own entertainment, so I didn’t feel quite so lonely. Not that I had a sad childhood or anything like that, but the easiest way to have friends in a remote place was to create them on paper.

Which of your books was your favorite to write and why?

Wow… that’s a tough question. The last one I finish is always my favorite. But that’s not entirely true… it’s just that the most recent is the newest to be released into the world at large. You feel attached, protective, and basically, you’re still living in that world in your head. The release of a book always, for me, comes with an immediate brief period of sadness… Like leaving friends behind and moving on to a new place, you miss the characters.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

Cole from the first novel, “All Things Rise,” might be my favorite. Possibly because she was the first, possibly because there’s a lot of myself in that character. But it’s hard to choose between the rest. I try to create characters that I would fall in love with or want to be best friends with.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have a converted shed in my backyard. It’s small, but quiet. My father lined the interior walls with heart pine and we didn’t seal them, so it smells great… literally, like a pine forest. When I’m in that space it’s easy to be transported to another place or time. I also have a great writing studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the back side of my parent’s property. It’s built like an old 1930s era fire tower. But I don’t get to go there as often as my backyard.

What is your writing process?

I describe my writing process as chaos.

I keep one or two notebooks of random thoughts, and about a million scraps of paper in my pocket that I eventually type into a file on my laptop… My novels don’t really take full shape until I’m about thirty percent into the book. Then I go back and rewrite everything before moving forward.

I was in Amsterdam last year and had a pocket full of notes for a story I was developing. I’d forgotten about the notes… along with the cash… and sent my jeans out to be laundered. The laundry staff very kindly returned my soggy cash along with the wet, faded, unreadable remnants of my story notes in a zip lock bag. The moral of that story? Check your pockets… always check your pockets.

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How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I think the best part of working with a publisher for me has been working so closely with one editor. My editor, Cindy Cresap, has taught me so much… It sort of makes me wonder if I even had English composition in college… or if I did, possibly I slept through it.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Converting my backyard tool shed into a writing studio.

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What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

The sweetest thing a reader ever said to me was that reading my work, that my characters, made them feel less alone.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

It’s hard to narrow that down to one book… I could maybe narrow it down to one writer and that would be, James Agee. He literally paints with words. In terms of the first book I discovered that made me fall in love with reading? It was “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” by C.S. Lewis.

How do you take your coffee?

Often. Cream, no sugar.