There are so many wonderful authors out there providing all of us book-a-holics with reading material, and I know I am not the only one thankful for their story and writing talents. I wanted to share other reader’s perspectives on various topics that have been brought up, hopefully with some insight for authors and readers alike and hopefully with some humor as well. This week Danielle has agreed to join me by answering some questions. I have to admit that it was an absolute joy getting to know Danielle, especially how she ended up in KG MacGregor’s T-Minus Two. I hope you enjoy this perspective as much as I have! Oh, and I’ve thrown in a fun little twist with Quickie’s: quick questions where the answers are short but truthful.
Erin: How were you introduced to LesFic?
Danielle: Not sure how but I stumbled across a couple of novels by Jane Rule (Memory Board and Desert of the Heart) towards the end of high school and then covertly checked the city library stacks (remember them?) for anything that might have queer characters but it wasn’t until I visited a friend in Vancouver in 1988 and she took me to the Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium (aka Little Sister’s Bookstore) in Davie Village that I really saw what was available. Naiad Press and Spinster’s Ink were the two big players at the time. It really was early days – I cut my teeth on Katherine Forrest, Claire McNabb, and Karin Kallmaker, to name a few. For anyone that is interested in that kind of thing, Indomitable: The Life of Barbara Grier by Joanne Passet is a very good biography and an interesting, readable historical account of contemporary lesbian literature. Anyway, I was totally hooked by the time I got home and found an independent LGBTQ Bookstore (After Stonewall) in town that I frequented for years. I used to love to visit and I would chat for hours with the owner David: he knew LGBTQ fiction like nobody’s business. Fortunately I didn’t know about fan fiction until a few years ago – I would never have gotten anything done.
Quickie: Favorite genre? Any genre as long as there is some kind of romantic relationship even if it’s only a minor subplot.
Erin: Have you introduced anyone to LesFic?
Danielle: I feel like “Lesfic” is another closet I have had to come out of – perhaps partly because the majority of what I do read is skewed towards romance regardless of the genre and we all know it’s only recently that there has been what I would call push back against the negative attitude towards them and their readers. That said, I have tried to get others interested. As I mentioned to you before I have tried on and off over the years to find something that my wife would like to read but that’s been hit and miss. These days when I am asked what I am reading, or if I have anything to recommend, I am much less hesitant to recommend Lesfic to my straight friends and do include Lesfic titles that might appeal based on the genre(s) they like with only the occasion caveat. Of course, that does depend on how receptive I think that they will be – I’ve recommended KG MacGregor’s T-Minus Two to anyone I think will read it LOL. That’s a long story of course – but there is a pretty cool character that is close to home.
Quickie: Book currently reading? I usually have one non-fiction and a couple of fiction on the go- Outside the Lines by Kate Christie and Five Moon Rising by Lise MacTague.
Erin: How has LesFic impacted your life? How do you think it has impacted the LGBTQ community?
Danielle: It is so different now but when I was first questioning my sexuality – I felt rather isolated and nervous even socializing with lesbians – it was all rather secretive. Having access to these stories made me feel part of a community, less isolated, and to a certain extent it was educational. I suspect I was not alone and that this was an important part of its impact. I have had the opportunity to hear some Lesfic pioneers speak at GCLS Conferences and I don’t think this can be under estimated.
The majority of books that I read now are Lesfic or LGBTQ related. I love talking about books but so few people in my everyday life read Lesfic, I don’t really have an outlet. I found out about GCLS by accident (reading a review I think) and as fate would have it the conference that year (Portland) was close to where I was going for vacation. It was such a thrill knowing that authors of books that I had been reading for years were going to be there. Besides being such a fangirl experience, it was informative and interesting. I was able to meet fellow readers that I still keep in touch with, learned about discussion forums etc. and met some authors who have been very generous with their time. This July will be my 5th conference and I look forward to touching base with everyone again and meeting people with similar interests. I now beta read for a couple of writers and it’s something that I really enjoy while making me also feel like I’m being supportive and giving something back.
Quickie: Sex scene or fade to black? Years ago I would have definitely said the sex scene but now either one as long as it advances the plot of the book and is realistic for the character development.
Erin: How do you choose your LesFic book purchases? What factors do you consider when buying a book?
Danielle: On average I read two to six books a week (yes, I’m retired). Over the years I have built up a list of must read authors, both published and independent, so I do look out for their new releases. With the proliferation of Lesfic available I can be more selective so I look for recommendations from various reviewers, forums, or blogs. I’ll also read the book blurbs to see if it would interest me. Amazon (love it or hate it) has been the source of many a book and new author for me. I read somewhere that happiness is discovering a new author with a backlist – and I totally agree. I’ve discovered MJ Duncan (Symphony in Blue), Sheryl Wright (Don’t Let Go), Heather McVea (Waking Forever Series), Jane Retzig (Photograph) and Jessica L. Webb (Pathogen) to name just a few this way. Cost is a factor more now than before since there are so many to choose from and I am reading so much more. Although I would love to buy directly from some of the publishers the exchange rate is prohibitive and I’m not keen to spend up to 35% more for a book.
Quickie: Next up on your to-be read stack? An Outsider Inside by RJ Samuel and a reread of Caren Werlinger’s Miserere.
Erin: How often do you seek out new authors and what makes you consider their work? Or how can they get your attention with their work enough for you to purchase it?
Danielle: I would estimate that at least a third of the novels I am reading these days are new (or new to me) authors. I hesitated to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited but it has given me the incentive and opportunity without a large financial risk to try many new authors. I have also found a few via Kindle “free”, promotions from different contests or authors. Yes, I understand it can be a crapshoot, but I’ve really been pleased to find authors such as Natalie Debrabandere (Strong) Miranda MacLeod (A Road Through Mountains), Elle Spencer (Forget Her Not), Em Stevens (Critical Hit), and Natasha West (Something for the Weekend) all of whom I probably wouldn’t have otherwise come across or given a chance.
Quickie: Last story finished? Touch by Kris Bryant (there’s a hockey player so I couldn’t resist), Reverie by Eliza Andrews, and I reread Chef’s Special by Susan X Meagher.
Erin: Cover art plays a bigger role in my purchases than it probably should, how does it affect your purchases? And have you ever bought a book or NOT bought a story based on the cover?
Danielle: Cover art was initially so clichéd and badly done that I don’t think it really was a big factor for me (not that you don’t still see some of that and this wasn’t probably limited to Lesfic at the time) –It was more the blurb on the back cover that I would read to decide if I would buy it (plus sneak a peek at random pages). More recently I have to say that cover art does grab my attention a lot more than it did. Now that there are so many books to choose from and with book buying often an on-line transaction – it can be so visual an experience that I think that cover art is now an important piece of the whole marketing package.
I can only think of one book that I initially did not buy because of the cover but later after reading an earlier book by the author and reviews of the book; I did buy it Rebecca Swartz’s Falling – the cover really didn’t do the book any favours and it was certainly a turn-off for me but I ended up really liking the story.
Quickie: E-book or paper? Definitely E-Book
Erin: Which LesFic book has made you want to travel somewhere and where was it to? And did you actually make the journey?
Danielle: There have been a few but there are two that stand out. One is KG MacGregor’s Worth Every Step – I haven’t managed to get there (Mt. Kilimanjaro) and chances are I won’t do it at this point in my life. After reading Robbi McCoy’s Something to Believe (plus seeing some terracotta warriors touring the museums here) – I added a visit to China to my bucket list. A few years ago I was able to get there. It was pretty amazing.
Quickie: If you were stuck on a very nice but deserted island what three books would you bring with you? This answer would probably be different 5 minutes from now. But I’ll go with And Playing the Role of Herself (K.E. Lane), The Stand (Stephen King) and The Nudge (Sandra Moran). That should give me some variety.
Thank you so much Danielle! I’ve added quite a few books to my wish list, you presented an amazing selection with so much diversity. I am positive Danielle would love to hear some comments about stories mentioned above as well as any recommendations you may have for her. Please leave some comments!
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