This week, Lola Keeley (Music in the Mirror, Slammed) joins Tara to share her journey with f/f fiction. Listen to hear how frustration at not seeing herself in the media she loved drove Lola to write fanfic, how Lee Winter was the fairy godmother who helped her transition to original fiction, and her musings on the bigger and brighter future awaiting lesfic. It’s a great conversation. Come along for the ride.
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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 last ebooks I am so excited because this week I’m joined by author Lola Keeley she has three books out with Ilbo publishing her debut novel the music in the merit knocked my freaking socks off and the latest is called slams and it flips lambda and it’s out everywhere welcome Lola hey thanks for having me so you are an author but we’re actually here to talk about your journey as a reader so how did you first discover lesbian fiction how did that journey go for you it was a kind of a reign debate one for me I kept sort of decking my toes it into the water and then wandering off and getting distracted by something else so I’ve always been like a voracious reader there’s just you know growing up there were never enough books I was always max Tate the library and stuff and then I happened to marry someone who had like that but 10 times worse but she was also for a couple of years the Wix editor for diva magazine which is our Yuki kinda curve I guess and so yeah we started being kind of inundated with like every genre of career fiction and then that was when I went from like casual oh cool this is lesbians in it but I was were going to read it anyway – oh my god we have like our own thing and at the same time that Kanaka would say did with my own sort of sideways moved from fan fiction into like the actual publishing side of things so it was like a big rainbow moment of everything sort of converging on going Doogie stuff and I said okay were there any early books that really stood out for you there where I started both of my personals or one on what an introduction was through Leigh winter who actually ended up being my editor on a couple of books she had kind of you know when when someone hits you up and says hey do you wanna publish books like I have then you start with them really so with a brittle truth which is a great introduction for everyone I think I recommend that to so many people because even if you don’t know if it’s yours on me you know you’ll you’ll like that brick regardless is a genuinely good Greek so I heard that and then I just sort of went on a spree really like someone who had to buy a certain amount of bricks and a certain amount of time I went through G and reach or Spangler and just a lot of really cool memes and yeah and there’s still a ton to read my tariq bails out of control I started late by making up for a nice no judging my to be read list on my Kindle I think is around 600 they’re all there and weekly and they will all get their turn yeah we do for fun at the moment is a bit of a bit of a luxury so I’m trying to make more time for it so before you found less Vic you mentioned that you’d kind of come across some here and there what was the first one that you actually like stumbled on do you remember I don’t think I actually got a chance to read it but I think one of G’s earlier ones the backwards to Oregon I think that came a past – my wife’s to retail and she was like oh you like this and as happens Westlake 50% of the ones that are likely end up getting borrowed by someone or you know go back to a shelf or I can’t see them everything anymore and then I don’t get into it I think that when bat-restorer given was just I I think I was probably the first conscious this is specifically like let’s pepper you know I have that kind of younger it’s like oh hello put a pin in it mentally and then go back to it for you so did you read it eventually I did and it’s very good although the only thing is that almost makes me want to play that Oregon Trail game that we spleen school it makes weep in love story as much more involved and everything like that but it just almost puts that little orchid nugget it’s my head so I can’t be trusted that’s amazing so why I inspired you to start writing boo there’s a good question I guess the frustration really my roots as everyone probably knows if you’ve heard incinerate me as I started in fanfic and the biggest common thread there is not seeing your own stories represented and been able to relate to the characters because you see them as queer or you think their behavior totally totally means they’re in love with that other women and then you know it gets pulled out from under you and you’re like but that’s less convincing you know I don’t believe this women is suddenly live with this blonde desk guy who just appeared to your exits ago no once upon a time they really just took a great thing and and just demolished it unfortunately but yeah there’s partly that and also give me a thief speaks really to try and write like fanfic i think doesn’t get enough credit for how supportive the fandom is because they want more of what you want they want to see themselves in the stories and even if you’re not great even if you’re not like the best that crater in the world the fact that you’re trying in and they’re you’re putting something out there and you get better the more you do it’s just it’s a really supportive and I learned a lot a lot of stuff I’m still using to write books now grammar or like avoid this tool poor people hate their that’s all been informed by a really active fanfic audience so yeah that’s what really making the difference between right and privately in a brokerage earn ‘el and want to write things that people could I see that made the difference for me mmm-hmm do you still write fanfic it off I do I’m actually behind on something for a super cat week which I make post tonight if I get some time yeah it’s one of those things the the characters at once they’re once they’ve taken rip you you don’t want to hurry relieve them so it’s a good exercise it’s a fun break from deadlines and and serious stuff and it’s always the good lovely body and support to pull something that people get hyped and and really I didn’t abandon you oh brother so do you still read much of it that’s one thing that has definitely suffered the past year or two and there’s a couple I remember to click Subscribe that’s the killer thing on your theory you have to remember to do it there’s a couple of Reds mostly just Africa at the moment I have in the past year or so but not anything like the reaiiy used to be rican fact like every day on my lunch break and stuff like I don’t get to have that much fun anymore do ya there’s there’s still some grief I mean I mentioned Supercat as like my mean fandom and despite the fact cat hasn’t been on the show for about four years that’s still going strong which is pretty Wales can you explain to people who don’t know what super cat is oh yeah sorry Supergirl which is now on the CW has Kara who’s your main super girl person and then Kat Graham who used to be her boss in season one that’s got the age gap thing it’s got the rich girl / girl thing power dynamics are just off the chart so you’ve got superhero you’ve got billionaire CEO yeah it’s it’s very compelling for obvious reasons and the fact the fandom is still active it’s small but it’s active and this got some fantastic Raiders so we have some fun times yeah I get it I still love reading don’t whereas Prada fanfic for pretty much all the same reasons that you just described and it’s incredibly I’m shocked at how active it still is given that the movie came out what like 12 or 13 years ago and the fact that it is just one movie like that’s the whole cabin and it’s not a particularly developed world I wouldn’t say like what the fandom has built over its just morandi was really my transition from generic fandom I guess you would see to like femme / fandom in particular there were Andy which it’s like you just died and so many of those long effects are like novel quality and some of them are gonna be novels already unknowable yeah it was just it was like discovering treasure or something there was just like this already good mm-hmm and then yeah I kind of watched Supergirl thinking oh look this might be like Morandi but for television and then it just developed since its own thing so it was like double wind what was it like for you making the leap from fanfic to writing original fiction it was a little surprising I think maybe some people would be like actively pursuing it and that’s that’s great like you know have that hustle I’m perpetually a bit distracted you know very spread across four different projects at any given time so I wasn’t really I kind of thought about it in the back of remains like a lot of us do like if you sit and write a hundred thousand word fanfic you don’t have commitment actually it’s nice to prove to yourself you can even do that but yeah it was a reassign shinned before had been talking with Astrid who’s our CEO elder and they’ve just been I guess that they do keeping track of what’s happening in fandom and who’s right in what and I had just dived into this epic valley story this alternative universe which had been a Griffin bit crater sitting in a tower and we’ve been sitting what’s the one thing you would write if he just had like unlimited time and nobody would distract you and I was like I want to write the story and you know it totally sets their personalities it totally fits their their worlds and it was a few you know headcanons in a slack-jawed and then it got as I was about halfway through posted that it was already kind of mostly retin-a but I was just you know refined in as I went that’s when Lee slid into my DMS with a very businesslike transaction but yeah I’m just that he would you have any interest and I thought well you know let’s find out how that works it may not be for me but yeah it was just very open and upfront and here’s how we make books then I thought I want to do that and they were crazy enough to take me still the music in the Marikina came out of that and yeah if that had to be all that came out of it that would have been great I would have been very happy but it’s cool that it’s turned into something a bit more as well so much I’m so glad that people do it really was you know when people see a labor of love I’m like yeah blood sweat tears it’s just it’s so nice to be able to I think my favorite kind of comment I’ve had about it is that I’m not into ballet but I think I said that in my review yeah it’s a it’s a common thread like maybe half and half I think a lot of people who were like oh I want to read about ballerinas because that’s their thing and a lot of people can run like yeah I don’t know it might be boring or I might not get it and you know I worked in the theater for a long time I love the arts I am a crazy go nuts person for everyone should have access to whatever it makes them happy and the fact that I could just bring one thing that I enjoy and like share it with a bunch of people but also make it super clear and a little bit hot and yeah it was like fulfilling things work on so I’m just glad that it’s out there and that people are having a pretty good reactions to it still even after a year or so I haven’t run sand yet but that’s okay we’re it’s just a yeah we’re so we’re recording this in October and it’s going to go out early in the new year so I’m gonna try and have a ride by that it’s all good that’s that’s one thing that surprised me about publishing because fanfic was very much people read it as it posted and there’s a huge kind of crush to get to it and then it was really quiet for a while and then someone only be pop up a year later with a comment and be like hey but books oh really they just keep going people will get to it when they get to it and you know pre-orders and first week sales and all that that’s all very cool kind of like Amazon kind of week but it’s so nice to know that like it’s like a permanent thing almost it’s someone five years later or two months later I’m just like okay this is my time with this bouquet and then they dry it or just as much as they were going in any other time so I feel like I do that all the time I finally read and bannon’s books recently which are like lesbian pulps for the 1950s and 60s and I’m like has anyone heard of an ban you need to read these books and it’s like okay like they’re 60 years old but calm down Terra so yeah like anybody can come to yourself at any time and want to tell all the people that they know who also may not have had a chance to read them yet they might be encountering something in a different context to when it first came out so you know a lot of stuff has been happening everywhere all the time and if people people think that like escapism in a book you know when everything else is chaotic I’m just like fantastic I’m so glad that you you got even it was like a couple of days of peace and quiet I’m so glad you got that well I think you’re I think your books are really good for that because they’re so immersive so it is nice that you can just like sink in and say like the world might be garbage but you know yeah my time right now is a break from that and and I think that’s really important right now I think people really need that I think so yeah thank you for being an awesome dissonance appreciate it the channel that brings you all the podcasts you want to hear analyst things are taught find more podcasts on the lesbian talk show calm so what are you reading these days oh gosh what am i reading I’ve just been reading a nonfiction book actually because you know the narrowed is strong with this one always and it’s but it’s called because Internet and it’s all about how we’ve evolved as like a society since we all got online and when we got online so that’s been really interesting in terms of like looking at how we communicate with each other on email on chat on Twitter and then putting that into the context of like how you then interact with readers because you can really I I wouldn’t have dreamed growing up of like speaking to the author of my books that I was reading like that that doesn’t seem production I know you could like write to the publisher and stuff but it wasn’t exactly obvious it wasn’t encouraged and now people can be like I have some like readers who will sort of do a live blog or a live tweet as the reads yeah and that is just like the killer’s think it’s just so like you’re it’s like you’re getting to watch someone experience it and like and they can ask you questions as well so that’s always good if you’re doing something that’s like quite a new world to people or something that’s a bit complicated but I’ve been reading that and I’ve just queued up Karen Frost’s ubique which is I don’t read a lot of fantasy but it’s been really highly wrecked to me and I’ve justice got thoughts are in the title and terrible tales that has a great cover to it yeah – but that’s also from Elba right it is indeed oh sorry abductions between women is also in there currently Madonna he I just started checking my friend’s life as I like you will never remember the title of anything you know that about yourself just finish the ex ingredient which I was like I was sleeping up like it was a Christmas present okay for people who are listening you may not know this the ex ingredient started out as a fanfiction from people knew which is incredible and now it’s come out as a an original fiction very very different she’s totally rewritten it there are a few elements it really has yeah did you repose I did I had the ex ingredient bit marked for vote I don’t even know how many years but it was obviously it was always when people said hey I’ve never read this fandom what should I read send them into the show do you want you would send everyone to truthinator because it’s of course it’s an antic but obviously there’s that role everyone has right after they’ve read that so you have to you know you have to have a stockpile ready a lot of people have like oh really know what I’ve seen that as appearing I don’t really know if that’s like a sexy thing or like you know a mentorship thing and I’d like yeah yeah absolutely yeah it’s a sex thing was famous for being like Hall in phantom circles and obviously was written in a very different time like sort of culturally and socially and stuff so like it’s fifty years old it was like 10 years but I mean – yeah and a lot of stuff as well has changed I think in fandom culture we’re what it used to be very much here you can write whatever you want there are no consequences and now you were a lot more considerate about like labels and trigger warnings and generally trying to write in the world that we want to see and not necessarily dark terrible worlds because there’s enough of that in career fiction unfortunately so yeah there’s a it was just what it was a classic one for me and I was really excited to see how it would even still work really as a you know as a more kind of time that were in there but it still it’s still cleverly done and it’s like you don’t know any point feel icky about it you’re not like from mrs. perrault dynamic okay it’s just everything’s explained and you get into both characters heads and you know that everyone is on the same page and they’re doing you know things that they want to do so that makes it just really cool meat as well I think for me the thing that I liked was that anytime I would start to question the power dynamic the book would just directly interrogated itself like yes that she very she took that head-on which I think was really responsible because it is a boss/employee relationship there’s a significant age gap there’s a significant class gap and like yeah financial situation gap between them and rather than just glossing it over which often happens in rich girl poor girl age gap boss-employee books it’s kind of one of those like oh this is a thing but we’re not gonna pay attention to that because we’re attracted to each other and sexy and whatever blah blah the book doesn’t ever do that like I love that it directly takes all of those things head-on and looks at them and then makes it okay I think most importantly for me is they discuss it with each other yes like I think that’s something about I’ve seen like such an improvement on that on like storytelling across the board but there’s consent in terms of like you know your own individual thought process but there’s also like making sure the other person is aware of what you’re thinking and feeling and it’s just every time you think oh no they’re gonna like blow this with some miscommunication or they’re gonna make this like too difficult you know it goes to show that you can have like serious I don’t conversations we still maintain tension and conflict that can all still be there like you’re not really in the story and I think it’s anyone who’s like wow I don’t know how to do like conflicts or I find it really hard to meet my characters disagree with each other but still end up in a good place I think it’s probably like quite a good lesson for a lot of writers in how to walk that line because it is a very tricky thing and I’m really impressed by her Okemo I’m just like oh god that’s how you donate I do that was a lot writers do it with G so often I’ll be like oh I’m reading wondering for her books and I’m like 3/4 of the way through it and I think and it’s like seamless you don’t even notice it’s being done in your head as you’re processing the book it’s just it’s so nice to see when that’s done well and it’s effortless you as the reader are not doing all the work no that’s enjoy in the raids you know yeah good times all right very good so you’ve been kind of in the lesbian community for the last couple of years is there anything about where we’re headed as a community of readers and writers that has you particularly excited I think multimedia is the biggest deal books are great I love books and I live and die by books I absolutely do but I think to have that waiter impact and to get like people here maybe not fully within the community getting them to come and see what we’re up to and like to see the best of what we’re doing I think branch node module has been fantastic it’s like it’s the next best thing to see in an act today it’s like hearing your characters talk to you like you know so I’m going to definite to do for me has been like a roller coaster thing of just so exciting I’ve seen there’s some other cool stuff coming up with maybe like interactive games and multimedia stuff and it’s just there’s so many ways to tell a story partly I mean even little things at the moment like the music in the mirror has you know nothing me ever come of it but it’s being shopped around at the moment for being turned into hopefully a TV series and as my other day job or hopefully the job to be is to be a television writer those two things that they could dovetail wouldn’t it be nice if the people who are writing the fixit’s for where TV has let us down or we’re sending my his letter saying if those people ended up telling the stories end up on the TV screens or on the cinema screen I mean that would just be the happy ending hopefully I guess but it would they wouldn’t end anything it would just keep growing but yeah I think the more we can branch out and the more people who can hear see understand the stories then you know the better for everyone that’s my big we’re at where else can we get n T where can we where can we talk to people and tell them these stories I love it where can people find you on if they want to connect with you well mostly I’m shaking people on Twitter 10% might be right there so yeah I’m Maliki Lee underscore on Twitter that’s my main social please come and chat I am on Facebook we’ve got a cool little peeps they’re just full of fun people who you just pop up with like awesome comments and I’m like did you know what I do you have a website as well which is in the middle of being revamped so hopefully by the time this comes out I will have a very shiny new website which never just never just your web designer to get things done on time when you’re your own web design yeah you always leave your own work to last mm-hmm I will be out there at luckily got caught your key to show off my Britishness and also because calm wasn’t available other than that focus that is where I am and me in the ether at the moment that is all for this episode thank you so much for joining me thanks for having me it’s been great 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 are the trends that have you interested please let me know if you enjoyed this episode please check out the show notes where you’ll find a patreon link for till 2:00 or visit patreon.com slash the lesbian talk show our patrons get exclusive content with bonus podcasts that no one else gets access to find this and many other great shows all you need to do is search for tilt spelled TLT on iTunes