1. You've been successful in the e-book world. How hard was it to get published in the paper world?
I’ll carbon date myself by disclosing my first efforts to find a publisher involved snail-mailing hefty, phone book-sized manuscripts to the one publishing house in the country that produced lesbian fiction. We’re talking late 80s. Those early efforts came to naught, but I was given enough encouragement by friends to stick with it. I scored my first contract by winning a short story contest sponsored by a local publisher. When that house went out of business, I trudged through the slough of despond until I was rescued by Bold Strokes Books. Windigo Thrall is my eighth novel with Bold Strokes.
2. Have you ever thrown away a book that just wasn't working?
Never. But then I’m incapable of throwing away a book I’m reading, too. I’ve waded through some of the worst literary dreck ever published because I refuse to give up on a novel, any novel. If I discover I’m writing a bad story, I shake it hard and scream “Live, damn your eyes, live!” until it works.
3. Is it still exciting to publish a new book after all this time?
Not really. Mostly I use the author’s copies of my new novels as doorstops. I might read one in the shower occasionally, or use it to clean up after my dog in the yard. Of course it’s exciting to publish a new book after all this time! The elaborate altar containing copies of all my books has pride of place in my house. It’s illuminated only by lava lamp, it’s that sacred.
4. Do you write down ideas for books or do you just make it up as you go?
I’ve been consistent in structuring each of my books. I always start out knowing how I want to begin the story, and how I want it to end. And I never have a high holy hell’s notion how to get from one to the other. Luckily I’ve had the same excellent beta readers and editors at Bold Strokes for years, and they manage to keep me focused and inspired.
5. Will you be writing more in the Grady and Elena series? Which ties into 6. Will we get to see more of the PNW ladies?
I loved working with these characters in my earlier stories, and it was a kick to bring them all together in Windigo Thrall. I feel a sense of completion with these women now that wasn’t there before the last book. Grady and Elena, and Becca and Jo have been well launched, and I’m reasonably sure their love will be binding and their lives happy. I’ve learned never to say never when it comes to sequels, but for now I’m ready to channel some new voices.
7. If you could have written any single work -- novel, screenplay, stage play, poem, history, biography -- that you most admire, what would it be?
The Bible. Leviticus wouldn’t make the cut. Sorry, didn’t mean to type that out loud. Oddly enough, my head keeps coming back to Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. It reminds me of a great time in my life, the years I spent in children’s theater. Silverstein was irreverent, but he portrayed kids and their world with an astute and humane eye. I’d love to be responsible for bringing a gift like that to young readers.
8. Have you considered writing suspense work without the supernatural element?
Do I have to? I’m afraid I might secretly suck at suspense without a supernatural element. Or romance, sans ghosts. Or speculative fiction. Etc. I love ghost stories and myths, and I would probably insert other-worldly plotlines in every genre or sub-genre I attempted. I think I’ve settled on paranormal romance as my comfortable home turf. All the stories I write are romances too, so I’m calling my personal imprint Aww/Boo.
9. Have you considered writing under a pseudonym?
Having one or more pseudonyms sounds like so much fun, I regret that I barely write fast enough to use one nym. I admire authors so prolific they use a different name for every genre they write in, but I type at the speed of sludge. And I’ve always been lucky enough not to need a pseudonym for protection—to reside in a city that doesn’t force queer writers to disguise their identities.
10. Is there one thing you've wanted to have been asked about your writing, but no one has?
I’d love to drop the microphone and just have a conversation with you about how we can make lesbian fiction more accessible and welcoming to women of color. While there are wonderful authors out there representing different races and ethnicities, we haven’t made enough inroads in terms of diversity to ensure all our readers see their lives reflected honestly in our books. Our main characters (mine included) skew toward white, young, able-bodied, cis-gendered women, and our community holds a great deal more variety and nuance. How can we let more diverse voices speak out, those of both writers and readers? Discuss.