Congratulations to Cynthia! She’s the winner of The Big Sugarbush!
Happy Sunday! I’m happy to introduce Ana B Good and her debut novel, The Big Sugarbush. She’s here to tell us all about it and herself with an author Q&A. And, to top off the awesome, she’s also giving away an e-book copy. Drop a comment below to enter the drawing. We’ll select a winner on Friday, November 25, 2016 (That’s Black Friday for those of us living in the US.).
Introduce yourself to the rest of the class. Who are you and what makes you tick?
Two things make me tick: curiosity and creativity. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. Writing for me is an extension of those personality tics. Writing has always been an act of faith; a magic act, where you pile up what’s known of reality inside your mind, then spend hours, days — months even — moving around the “knowns” and silversmithing together their possible permutations until you arrive at a unique story. I love to create things, and have authored non-fiction – articles, essays, business plans, white papers, online multimedia courses, textbooks, training courses, as well as short stories – for the last three decades.
What does it mean to you to be an author? What makes a writer a writer?
For me, a writer is anyone who writes – preferably a lot, and without regard to eventual outcome. In today’s world you have to be able and willing to write fiction because you’re compelled to do so regardless of external motivation (ie., money, fame, recognition, familial approval, and so on). Talent is very helpful, but tenacity is queen.
Interestingly enough, I met my partner of the last 23 years by exchanging words through emails and hard copy letters. We met online in 1993 with me living in San Francisco and her domiciled in New York City. Our romantic story is detailed in my blog post “Lesbian Love Letters: How Writing Lured Me Into Love Twenty Years Ago,” “http://www.thebigsugarbush.com/single-post/2016/10/02/Lesbian-Love-Letters-How-Writing-Lured-Me-Into-Love-20-Years-Ago
Are you promoting a specific book? Tell us about it. Include the book blurb if you’d like.
I’ve just completed my debut novel, The Big Sugarbush. It’s a contemporary, romantic comedy with an ensemble cast, set in a rehab center in Vermont. I love to laugh and believe there is no more comic a situation than love. Romantic love is a state that drives us all a little batty, sometimes in delightful ways.
The gender-fluid women of Sugarbush cross four generations of lesbian thought and lifestyles. I find their cross-generational perspectives on “lesbianism,” great fodder for comedy. I think too much of “lesbian literature” today portrays gay women as they “ought to be,” rather than as they are – which to me is extremely fluid, having experienced seismic shifts in perspective each of the last four decades. Add racial, ethnic and economic realities to the generational issues and you get more of a messy, chaotic smorgasbord of personalities than the middle-class, vegetarian potluck love that contemporary lesbian romance novels often portray.
I subtitled The Big Sugarbush, “a deeply superficial tale of lezzy, dyke, queer girls behaving badly. If you are seeking something more substantial, we’d recommend Kafka.” And I meant that. The Big Sugarbush is likely not everyone’s cup of literary tea. Romantic comedy remains a largely untapped or untried sub-genre of lesbian literature. I enjoyed playing with the love and comedy format as I like a good challenge.
Also, right about now, I think the American lesbian community needs both hearty laughter and the lightness of heart and hope that love brings to us all.
Summary of The Big Sugarbush, rom-com >
Ten power lesbians have thirty days to get their private and professional lives back on track. Sugarbush, a Vermont rehab center, seems just the place. Quiet and therapeutic – until the dykes arrive, and the drama begins.
Take the women of Sugarbush to bed with you tonight
Prepare to fall in love with …
Dylan Redford: An installation artist whose Big Pink Pussy, a mammoth sculpture of her own genitalia, has the art world in an uproar.
Storm Waters: Petite powerhouse of CNN’s war correspondent team, and America’s chain-smoking, gun-toting sweetheart.
Candice Antwerp, M.D. : Surgical mastermind behind the best-sculpted bodies in Hollywood, and a real closet case.
Nan GoldberG: Queen of the Bond Market, until the market crashes and she loses a fortune along with her professional verve.
Bunny Van Randolph: Aging only daughter of Senator Van Randolph, and a one-woman Welcome Wagon for the East Coast Butch Brigade.
Poppy Zigfield: Lead singer of the all-girl British band, Poppy and the Pop Tarts, and a woman who isn’t shy about her sexual preferences.
Wee Gee Judd: America’s best-selling writer of bodice-ripping romance for hetero housewives.
Dirk & Thumper McGraw ~ Stud-muffin Olympic snowboarding twins with six-pack abs and a special talent for pleasing the society ladies.
Betty Frump: Sergeant General of the Lesbian Thought Police, an icon to the feminists of the 1960s, and a pain in the ass to the fun loving queers of today.
Readers can sample the first three samples free on my blog, beginning at Chapter One: The Real Sugarbush. http://www.thebigsugarbush.com/single-post/2016/09/11/Big-Sugarbush-1-Free-Book-Sample—Chapter-1-The-Real-Sugarbush
Tell us about your biggest guilty pleasure. For example, to you sit naked in your pantry in the middle of the night and eat Nutella with your fingers?
Reading is my guilty pleasure. If a snack and a pot of tea comes with a book, all the better.
Tell us one thing that you’re passionate about. For example, would you strap yourself to an oil rigging a la Lucy Lawless with a Greenpeace sign in your hands?
Fighting for human rights as a woman and a lesbian are at the top of my agenda. The past election reminded me of how deeply our country abuses women and of how “ok” that abuse and dismissal remains in what some call the American heartland. I was born in rural Indiana, and hence most of my biological family, who still live in that state, hold values that conflict deeply with my own. In order to become “me” I had to leave the heartland and spend a decade in San Francisco. After that, I chose to move to Vermont because the state is very livable in both external beauty and in its history of championing human rights.
My debut novel, The Big Sugarbush, is a fundraiser for the Pride Center of Vermont http://www.pridecentervt.org/. One dollar of every book sold goes to the Pride Center, which is extremely active and vigilant in promoting and protecting LGBTQ rights in our tiny state and across New England. Through my new media company, Hot Pants Press, I hope to create more branded media projects that can help raise awareness of the diversity of the rainbow coalition in this country.
What’s your writing process? That is, do you have a particular place you write and/or time of day? Do you have any particular things you do before you write? (e.g. do you listen to music, drink coffee, take dance breaks…)
I sit down and I write. After a while, I get up and do the laundry. Then I sit down and I write again. After a while, I get up and garden. Then I write again. I’ve always loved working in the quiet of my home, coming up from a sea of words to gasp the air of everyday practicality as needed. I love the balance of being lost in a fictive reality and then coming out of that made-up world to a tremendously grounding task, like baking a cherry pie.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you (unless you’d have to kill us, in which case tell us something that some people don’t know).
Most people would be surprised to learn that I write romantic comedy because my day to day public persona the last thirty years has been as an Internet entrepreneur, running an online education publishing company. Creativity and curiosity are marketable traits, it turns out, if you also have an enterprising personality, which I do. Harnessing my practical side (not my favorite part of me) I enlisted my writing skills to build a niche online educational publishing company. That career move worked out well for me, allowing me to retire early. Having sold my online company last year I’ve rolled my hard skills over to a new publishing endeavor, Hot Pants Press. HPP only tackles new media projects which I am passionate about. My debut blog and novel, The Big Sugarbush, http://www.thebigsugarbush.com, is the first of those projects.
Is there a book by another author that you wish you had written?
Right now that would be The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. I just read that book and was impressed by the way she pulled me into the ordinary insanity that often accompanies falling in love, particularly if that falling occurs outside conventional boundaries.
I believe that love is a private act which must eventually be witnessed and blessed by the wider human community in order to grow and flourish; if such a witnessing does not occur, or if it does occur but without the community’s blessing, then love can become very dark, corrupt, and self-damaging. Waters struggles with those issues in a post-war London brilliantly.
If time and money were no problem, where would you most like to go in the world?
Deeper into my own mind and heart in search of richer worlds and self-understanding. I am very much an introvert’s introvert.
And finally, what sorts of writing projects are next for you?
I intend to write Sugarbush II, continuing the series with a rotating cast of characters as they arrive for rehab every thirty days. Having an ensemble cast of characters I think the novel would make a good TV series also, should that option arise. I am also working on a feel-good comedy about growing up in a small Indiana town in the 1960s, tentatively titled The Queen of Greasy Creek, and a commercial mystery-comedy series with a failed female FBI agent set in the Cayman Islands. At this time in my life I am free to pursue passion projects as opposed to writing for money. I’m very okay with seeing where this new sense of freedom and writing indulgence might lead me.
About the Author – Ana B Good
The Big Sugarbush: A Lesbian Romantic Comedy
Pre-Order > http://www.thebigsugarbush.com/books
Note that the Amazon and Smashwords buy links will not be up until Dec. 1 at the latest as we’re waiting on the final formats for upload. People can sample the first 3 chapters and submit a pre-order at http://www.thebigsugarbush.com/books anytime.
PRINT ISBN: 978-0-9815678-1-5 ($16.95)
EBOOK ISBN: 978-0-9815679-0-8 ($9.99)
Ana B. Good, a Vermont writer, has written for over 300 publications, ranging from news outlets, such as Salon and CNN, to LGBT media, such as On Our Backs, Out Magazine, and Common Lives: Lesbian Lives. Her gay themed short stories have appeared in Storming Heaven’s Gate: Women on the Spiritual (Penguin) and The Crossing Press anthologies Love’s Shadow and Breaking Up Is Hard to Do. She is a three time winner of Romance Writer of America chapter contests, winning first place in the Launching a Star contest, The Heart of the West competition, and the Yellow Rose contest for contemporary and historical romance fiction. Twice, she won the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s annual short story contest. She loves reading, rescue dogs, walking in the deep, dark woods of Vermont, and sitting around doing nothing with her lifelong companion, Curly Top.
Social Media Links:
The Big Sugarbush Blog – http://www.thebigsugarbush.com