You can’t tell a reader just by looking at them. They could be anyone, anywhere. Authors are the same. And they come from all walks of life, too. Some have been lawyers and doctors before they wrote lesfic, and this week she’s talking to Cass Sellars, who, before writing her own books, investigated criminal, corporate and financial fraud. What inspired the change?
Listen and find out.
Among other things, Tara and Cass talk about the books where we find ourselves between the pages, the pairings that surprise authors that readers latch onto, and their hopes for the future.
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Transcript for Today’s Show
Please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect.
hi I’m Tara and welcome to let’s do books this week I’m joined by Cass Sellars author of the romantic suspense lightning series her latest book as the contemporary romance finding sky which is out everywhere from bold strokes bugs welcome cast thank you for having me so you are an author but you’re really here to kind of talk about your reader journey so when did you first discover lesbian fiction how did you come across it and what were those first like couple of books that really stood out for you I think probably is true for a lot of us is Ruby fruit jungle it was out and I discovered it and I was still trying to figure things out at that age and it was super cool to find this this kind of entree into the genre so I started reading that and I think I read it a couple of times actually and at the time back I’m trying not to age myself but in fact that long ago it was hard to find quality lesbian fiction I mean it was only Nyad right and so you read everything you could get your hands on Catherine reforest those kind of books were my first entree into reading lesbian fiction and really finding a finding myself between the pages so I took a break honestly I didn’t read a lot I was life got in the way and I was you know working on school and my career and then later in life I started reading more and more and found Radcliffe and reread a lot of the Katharine DeForest books Leslie and Newman those kind of really key authors and Jerry Hill and I really started diving into it with the honor series for Radcliffe and I didn’t put it down I bought every single one I backed up and started over there so good how do you read the new one yet I’m in the middle of it I knew you were gonna ask me that it’s like on my Kindle so when we get off now I’m gonna go back oh it’s exciting so for people listen to this we’re recording it in November and I am so excited because that I think above all honor was this second it was the second or third less trick book I ever read and I did the same thing I tore through all the books that were in the series at that point and so when I saw that there was a new one coming out I got very very excited I know me too I was like finally we get to kind of tie up the ends a little bit and take a glimpse into them again I want a book we’re gonna get back to the actual interview I want to know what happens with I’m trying to remember the names has been so long Diane and Valerie yeah that’s the couple from there too that just I mean I love Blair and kam they’re one of my favorite all-time couples but like Diana Valerie just has me fascinated I don’t know want to know what happens with them I know that’s actually is I thought of those two like you always get hooked on just a couple that may not be the central characters I did my last book unexpected lightning I wasn’t expecting anybody I mean there’s a secondary romance that kind of develops in there and I got so many reader emails saying please write a book just about these two people and it was such a minor thing and it happened towards the end and I was like okay so I never would have thought of that quite like that it’s interesting how people find a niche that they really like so are you going to I would like to I may or may not have almost finished one so it’s up to bold strokes if they will go for the next one but we’ll start there and find out very exciting actually that’s kind of good segue into what inspired you to start writing your own stories so I’ve always been in and around journalism and communications that was going to be where I went before I went into the criminal justice world of things and so I always thought I had a book in me and I was one of those people that I could probably find six or seven first chapters of a lot and I wasn’t really sure what I thought I could do even and then sat down as the bills for my less effect habit was were becoming large and all my discretionary income went to someone said to me you know you need to to try and write your own and I think you know I can do this well I didn’t know I could do it I tried I thought okay I can try and I literally sat down in three months later I’d written two of them Wow cuz it was like it fed to me fer I was in a really weird place as far as my job was just I was doing some stuff I didn’t like and I felt not great about my professional career so it was a good escape and we were in Denver at the time and it was freezing cold and there was you know two feet of snow on the ground it’s not like I was going outside anywhere so I thought you know I’m just gonna kind of hold up and you know sit down and write so that’s what I did okay that’s pretty exciting how did you feel when you started getting those first reader responses to your first five I was honestly a little astonished that first of all did anybody read it that all of a sudden my name and my face was on a book and that people were actually reading and responding to it and of course you know the the questionable ones reviews hit every author you know there’s like there could be thirty five good ones and one kind of mediocre one and you spend you know three weeks just dwelling on the mediocre one but it felt pretty good to know that somebody was actually interested in hearing that voice are you still a pretty voracious reader like now that you’re writing are you do you find you’re still able to keep up with what’s coming out not as much as I would like to certainly there is a a big back stack that I need to to go through and it’s just a matter of taking time from the crazy I have been through a lot of life changes in the past two years and you just kind of wake up and go wait where did that all go you know I bought a new house I’ve changed job all this other stuff has happened relationships have ended and begun and you don’t take as much time to to be quiet and I need to do more of that so that’s I’m gonna finish the Radcliffe book and then move on and just start kind of it doesn’t take me longer than a couple of days but it’s a matter of sitting down and not doing silly stuff like you know organizing closet some stuff like that thank you for being an awesome listen and supporting towards the channel that brings you all the podcasts you want to hear and listening to talk find more podcasts on the lesbian talk show com so what are some of the books that you are especially excited to turn to once you finish the Radcliffe oh yeah not dead enough by JM Redmond I love her books after cost of honor of course Tennessee whiskey there is a new book coming out not yet out by Casey Richardson I’m looking forward to reading line of duty by VK Powell I love her stuff I tend to like romance intrigue a little bit more just because of the line of work I’m in so those are the next steps for me yeah I was looking at your bio on the Bulls Turks website and I was a little curious how one does go from like that kind of a career in it like if I if I read that correctly like you’re doing working like fraud investigations and criminal justice correct how do you go from there to writing or is I mean maybe that’s an unfair question because I know that we have like lawyers and doctors and all kinds of professions as part of this community but like how does that work how did that work for you and how does that come into the fiction that you’re writing I think it’s why I can’t so I’ve tried really hard to write what I call purest romance and there’s always a part of me that thinks well they need to have like a mystery there needs to be something happening right they need to have like a quiz ative sort of you know thing that they’re working on and I’ve tried really hard to leave that out and I don’t think I was good at it as if they have something to do and it’s my ad d-brane probably that there needs to be 18 things going on at once so it was easy for me to take little pieces and parts especially in certain ones of my books where I could point to a very real case that kind of informed the thing that wrote about or this situation that the groups in lightning got into and finding sky which has a little bit more of a financial crime spent but I didn’t want to go so deep or people like oh my god you know stop telling me about himself you know check fraud I’m dying so and several people actually made the comment and finding sky to like oh she didn’t go deep enough in that and I’m afraid that would have just been the other direction if I had you know people going oh my god with the paper so I guess it it was a natural thing for me because I can write about cases like that that I’ve worked but one does not make any sense as far as the other is a natural progression it wasn’t like you know I was some I don’t know newspaper journalist who started writing fiction you know have you read the read files by Lee winter I have not it’s been Lee winter is on my list of want to read it’s her first book and I fell in love with it and I loved a lot of her books but that one I think I especially hold dear because it’s a romantic suspense and there’s just like this kind of almost like a powder to it that has the same feel of some of those old Hollywood movies o’night kind of like his girl Friday or the Philadelphia story or that kind of thing but it but it is a romantic suspense so it has that kind of mystery going throughout it so I don’t know if you like to read what you want to write but if you do oh absolutely I do yeah that’s I I recommend that one that one’s a lot of fun okay well it’s on my list now so I think just as kind of a final thought or question we have a pretty great robust community of readers and writers going is there anything about where we’re headed together as a community that has you really excited I think just the broad broader appeal and infiltration of not necessarily mainstream books actually getting into the public consciousness I think it’s because being more popular I think as the lines or the definition of sexuality kind of blur in other words anybody you know younger than me has stopped saying I’m gay straight bi whatever they just it’s much more of a fluid kind of assignment so the fact that people are reading all sorts of genres because they like the story they don’t necessarily like it because it’s a straight romance or it’s just a mystery you know it’s starting to become more pervasive that people read across genres and that’s exciting I think it’s exciting that people like the bold strokes family are getting so much traffic that doesn’t you know we’re part of mainstream book festivals and I use mainstream obviously loosely or festivals that are not just about books and it’s becoming a bigger deal to write in the genre and that’s exciting to me where can people find you online if they want to connect with you so obviously I’m on facebook at Castle errs Instagram at Castellers and I have a website Castle arse author comm and they can reach me in any of those places when Facebook’s being nice to me which I’ve decided they just it’s like my girlfriend says it’s like a high school Mean Girl just trying to make trouble in people’s relationships because it only pass like posts like half the stuff it’s just there’s some guy in the back room going watch this delete mm-hmm that is all for this episode thank you so much for joining me thank you so much for having me I’ve really enjoyed it I’m Tara and you’ve been listening to Les Deux books you can email me at Tara at the lesbian review.com with your questions or comments if you’re an author who’s interested in joining me on the show to talk about the last week you love or the trends that have you interested please let me know if you’ve enjoyed this episode