Listen to Fiona Riley’s Lesbian Fiction Journey on this episode of Les Do Books with Tara Scott
Fiona Riley joins Tara to share the story of
- how she discovered lesfic,
- how she went on to find fanfic,
- what she thinks about the current state of lesbian fiction,
- and the types of books she likes to read now.
Listen to this episode here
Check out the books Fiona mentions here:
Thirteen Hours by Meghan O’Brien
Publisher Bold Strokes Books
Audiobook available Yes, narrated by Alicyn Aimes
Can you fall in love in thirteen hours?
It’s her birthday but lonely workaholic Dana Watts is at the office late, drafting a proposal. The very last interruption she expects comes in the form of the most beautiful breasts she has ever seen. These belong to an incredibly hot woman, who is standing in front of her, stripping to music. Laurel Stanley performs strip-o-grams to pay her way through school. She has never encountered a more ungrateful recipient than Dana. The uptight project manager makes it clear that she is furious to be distracted from her work by the “gift” a colleague sent and equally appalled by Laurel’s occupation. After Dana is rude and insulting, and insists on escorting Laurel from the building, the two women take an elevator ride that changes everything.
Stuck with each other for thirteen long hours after the elevator breaks down, they discover how wrong first impressions can be and how right two strangers can feel together. Can everything change in less than a day? Dana and Laurel set out to discover if their passionate elevator encounter can mean more in this fast-paced, erotic story of lust, loneliness, fantasy, and desire.
(link works for US, UK, Europe and Canada)
Desire by Starlight by Radclyffe
Publisher Bold Strokes Books
Audiobook available Yes, narrated by Sarah Lawrence
Best-selling romance author Jenna Hardy, aka Cassandra Hart, sprints through life from one appearance to the next, always on deadline, always in demand, always on the arm of a different beautiful woman. She has no personal life, because her entire existence is public, and part of her appeal. She loves the tempo, the power, the thrill until the pace catches up to her and she collapses at a book signing.
Her doctor orders rest, her editor wants a three book series yesterday, and her attorney informs her she has just inherited a farm in the backcountry of Vermont. Divine intervention or Fate’s little joke? The only thing that might possibly save her from dying of boredom during a summer of forced R and R is a dalliance with Gardner Davis, the local vet. Unfortunately, everything about Jenna’s high-profile lifestyle is exactly what Gard wants to leave far, far behind. That and a dark secret that haunts the new life she’s made.
(link works for US, UK, Europe and Canada)
Family Affair by Saxon Bennett
Publisher Square pegs Ink
Audiobook available Yes, narrated by Layce Gardner
Oops is an understatement….
Chase Banter thought her life couldn’t get any weirder. Her mother has taken up private investigating, her writers’ group’s helpful suggestions have led to severe writer’s block, and her girlfriend’s family is nuts. Growing up isn’t high on her list of priorities.
What grip Chase has on her life is severely challenged when her girlfriend tells her about the little oops at the gynecologist. Seems the doctor mixed up the rooms, and now Gitana is pregnant. The reality of Gitana’s radiant glow – and growing waistline – finally convinces Chase to accept that she’s about to become a parent. There’s only one thing to do: Chase embarks on a nine-month plan to grow up, once and for all.
(link works for US, UK, Europe and Canada)
The Sex Therapist Next Door by Meghan O’Brien
Publisher Bold Strokes Books
Audiobook available Yes, narrated by Brittni Powers
Diana Kelley is a couple’s sex therapist with a problem: It’s her job to convince her clients of the importance of sexual and emotional intimacy, but after surviving a toxic relationship with an abusive ex, she’s sworn off love and can’t fathom ever making herself vulnerable again. When her best friend, Ava, is injured the night she is scheduled to assist with a hands-on sexual education workshop, Diana is forced to find a short-term replacement. The last thing she wants is a new lover, even a paid one.
After a year of living in the apartment next door, all Jude Monaco knows about her neighbor Diana is that she’s a gorgeous older woman and the inspiration for more dirty fantasies than she cares to admit. So when Diana knocks on her door with a shockingly delicious favor to ask, Jude seizes the opportunity to learn more.
Their professional relationship is supposed to be a clinical erotic arrangement between a sex therapist and her assistant, but at the intersection of sex and intimacy, anything is possible. Even love.
(link works for US, UK, Europe and Canada)
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 Les Do Books email me at Tara@thelesbianreview.com with any questions or comments or come join our Facebook group the lesbian review book club I’m really excited because I’m joined today by Fiona Reilly who I’m a huge fan of she’s the author of the awesome perfect match romance series and her latest book is media darling which is out everywhere from bold strokes books and it’s fabulous and you should go out and get it and read it and love it so welcome Fiona now they can’t see you waving hello okay no I didn’t know you want me to pause hi how are you I’m great thanks you’re here today to talk about your journey as a reader lesbian fiction so where did that begin so kind of funny I didn’t find less dick until I was in college towards the end of college actually I went to med school and I had a lot of reading to do and a lot of work and I just didn’t do anything usually for the first two years and borders was closing and they had this massive sale so they weren’t borders and Barnes and Noble and pretty good competition where I live and borders was closing so my wife who was my girlfriend at the time went to Borders and she was like I’m gonna get all the books because everything’s like 60% off 70% off and we had just moved into a new house we had his book cases which were gorgeous but they were empty and if nothing works in like an empty book case it just looks so sad depressing so she was like I’m gonna go and get books so she went out and she was picking through like the bargain bin at borders and she came home with three let’s pick books that we didn’t even know that was a genre that was available in borders and she came home with it and she was like check out these books like that and that’s kind of how I found them they just she put them on the counter and then we took turns reading them one at the time and I was like whoa this is my first full exposure to it that’s amazing so which books were they so I have them cuz I kept them forever because it was the first time I’d ever seen something like this in print and the first book was 13 hours by Megan O’Brien which if that’s gonna be your intro to less thick then it was my first book I was blown away because what I didn’t even know this existed and that’s an erotic romance and I was like okay well that was sort of life-changing mm-hmm and then they’ll their book was actually my it was my first radical book it was a desire by starlight and again I was my wife was really drawn to the cover because that’s who she is like she’s like oh yeah that’s great and then she she brought the book home and it’s a little bit of sci-fi but this was not safe I I’m sorry this was a this is a really interesting story about a romance writer actually who falls in love with somebody in a small town and then the last one was so hilarious it was family affair by Saxon Bennett which is so funny so so funny where it’s a lesbian couple and one of them gets pregnant accidentally at the gynecologist it’s so funny it was my first exposure to comedy and in Leslie and the whole thing is about just like the family development and what happens and how they had this relationship and then everything changed sort of spontaneously and like how they were dealing with that and if we’re at the read is it like a.j in the Virgin kind of that’s how she yeah okay exactly this is well before Jane the virgin so maybe Saxon should contact them and ask them for some royalties because it’s 100 percent which I think she should yeah it was just it was so funny and the funny thing about that is that there’s not a ton of you know graphic sex in that book it’s much more of a conversational humor so that just start with Megan O’Brien’s you know 13 hours and then had that really be my second girl look I’ve kind of Radcliff somewhere in the middle I was uh it was it was interesting but it was a great exposure I think I covered all my bases the first time out so so what did it mean for you finding these books it was a really big i opening experience for me because i had spent so much of my time studying medicine and studying and really it was very studious and i paid a lot of music when i was younger and I was really immersed in the creative art in that way that kind of music and I did some poetry and casual writing but it wasn’t something that I you know really knew a ton about it was more much of a much more of a feeler creative like I’m definitely into like like music and even in the business I do now and the work I do it’s a lot of physical stuff like a lot of physical movement and then like that so I spent a lot of time studying and a lot of time like immersing myself in that culture and I don’t think I realized outside of things I had to learn going out but they grew up with all the classics I went to private school private Catholic school so there was a lot of exposure a certain type of literature and you know I can definitely rehearse recite things back but I don’t think I had a lot of freedom in my play and I think that for me the only things I saw outside of like learning literature was a mother read which is my mother was like the queen of Harlequin romance and she had this we jokingly called it like the underground mob of Harlequin romance because what we would do is my friends and I would all get together and her friends who would have mothers of my friends had like this currency of paperbacks but they would put in like brown paper bags and we would go visit each other and we just do like the handoff like I’d go visit my friend and he’d be like my mom’s updated stash and then we’d swap them and put them in the trunk and it was that’s happened all through high school for me like I thousands and thousands of those books tasked in my hands like in a little brown paper bags and so that was my only experience that romance my only exposure and then to find out that there actually was something that was written you know with like lesbians involved if my sexual as and then just to see that my culture was embraced than that and it just became really hilarious that I found it and it was like a great escape for me but it all started with brown paper bags in passing that’s an amazing story I love that it still happens we are in our thirties we are married you have kids and I will go and visit my you know friend’s mother’s around the holiday and they’ll be like hey I got a bag of books although it’s less now and most didn’t have e-readers but they still pass them look at the week they used to read seven 14 books a week so really easy there like interchangeability nothing it was so embarrassing the teenager to have that bag and naughty books in the trunk oh my god that’s so funny so what did you go on to read from there like did you find yourself drawn to any particular authors or like genres or subgenres and last ‘fuck so the interesting thing about this the batch of books that I got two of them were bold strokes but saxons Bennett’s book is actually Bela so I had didn’t obviously was exposed to not only like had never heard of and then romantic love also I had multiple publishers so I all of a sudden had a place to look so it wasn’t a matter of just like you know scrounging through bookshelves I could actually go to publishers and then that’s when I sort of found the other things I picked up more Megan O’Brien you know some just some some stuff from Jessica Thomas Jerry Hill and I found via the publishers I was able to find other authors because at that point this is a while ago there was I think there wasn’t quite the resource that there is a line to be able to find links to things and I think it was still a little bit more you know librarian and paper-based which with a tricky thing to navigate I think even though I mean I’m from the United States and some overly liberal state I still think this still something about being young and kind of looking into those things and not knowing what to look for and asking questions it was sort of overwhelming so I think by having a publisher and being able to track backwards that’s how I actually kind of found more of the written word that I was able to read and I picked up tons of it at that point then I did it picked up a lot of it and then he really became more of a thing and and that’s sort of where it started but it was a borders book clearance so when you started writing what were you reading at that time so interestingly enough after I’d found lastik I was really into like television and watching a lot of shows and Grey’s Anatomy was on and it was sort of getting exposure to some you know like gay relationships on TV and that’s actually how I find it fell into I was on a trip home from work on a bus and the chips from New York on a bus are always crammed and they’re like five dollars it’s total chaos and I my e-reader had died and all I had was my smartphone which is a blackberry at the time and I was just desperately trying to get something to read it was a five-hour ride and it was I actually and I was watching I’d been watching a television show earlier and I was a missed an episode because my on vacation so I was looking to climb like you know catch up kind of like what you missed and that’s when I first found fan fiction because I typed it into Google and then I was like oh what is this and then I had all the sudden hours of to read on my tiny blackberry screen so when I started writing I had actually moved away from books and I was more fanfiction just because it was so so easy to get to and it was so easy to see and like scan I loved but my favorite part is the category system of being able to filter what I’m looking for and I think that was the best thing about fan fiction is I could really be like well today I really want to read about a teacher or student or whatever and it was so easy to find that because you know it’s just pop it into a filter and then you can search it so for me as somebody who is a little more tech involved at the point at that time yeah I went right to that and I was reading fanfiction when I started to write my first book you’re listening to the news Ben talk show the lesbians all choked on you have a podcast information were there any particular fandoms that were your favorite so so this question I get this question a lot so the perfect match series is three buckets the first one starts a striking match and it’s about Samantha Montero and Lucinda Moss that came directly from Glee which I catch a little bit of heat for because I’m totally like a Britannic fanatic about it and that’s what I was reading on the ride home from them in New York bus trip I was reading up on some Glee fanfic and I thought this would be a great idea to write a story yeah I just I shelved it and didn’t do anything that for months and months and months and just sat there like in the back of my mind for a long time but that’s what’s that it that’s kind of Awesome are you still reading fanfic I don’t read fanfic I don’t read fanfic anymore and only because I find that I have a tendency to pick up bad habits and I think that a lot of fanfiction is still needs to be edited I think the stories are fantastic but I think that there are some nuances that get lost and I find myself picking up that habit so I tried not to get too involved in stuff that’s not funny edited if it makes sense because I find like my bad habits come back that we trying to beat down like I have a thing that happens and I’m trying to get rid of a lot of them and changed my script writing and that’s something I try to avoid so I don’t typically if somebody really says I want me to read something they recommend something I’ll think about it all perverted but I don’t as much as I used to yeah I do some of the fanfiction the Catholic I did in the world somewhere yeah so how do you feel I’m trying to decide if I want this to be a think or feel so it can be both what do you think how do you feel about where we’re at as a genre now um you know I think that interesting the last two years of me in the US have been hard I’m sure with everyone there’s been difficult I am very much a child of the Obama years like that’s my god mom that’s my pain into myself that’s really when I got involved in politics and really got myself like immersed in the culture I was more just maturing around that time I think that’s just when I hit my maturity point and it’s been really difficult to be in a country to see all these things that have been really wonderful and progressive for the LGBT community to start to roll back and to see a lot more people you know I’m living in fear more and seeing a lot more of the really negative stuff that’s out there and it’s frightening to have something and then feel like it’s being taken away and for me I’ve been very fortunate and naive to it because it’s something that as I grew my opportunities grew and it wasn’t that all of a sudden one day the floodgates open that it came with my growth as a person just by my age I think so to see that sort of starting to get scaled back and then having my own family it’s scary so I find that the lesyk world right now I think is so much more important and valuable then it has been before because I think it gives us a community and it gives us an escape and it gives us a happy ending and gives us the opportunity to be and see what we want out in the world and I think that creativity and storytelling are so important in that regard especially in difficult times and I would consider this to be a challenging time for no gay individual if someone coming out or somebody in a new relationship or even navigating an old relationship it doesn’t matter I think that there are a lot of things now that I think escapism is important and I think it’s important to see that and I think it’s really important to as somebody who has a child I want that family emulated in text and I want that out there in the world so there’s something for them to go back to the corn and see that this existed and this is something possible and you know I don’t I think so I think right now it’s important and I think the nice thing that’s happened since I’ve been writing is I really like to be inclusive about who’s in my my writing so I I have lesbian characters I have trans characters I have AI characters I’ve gay men in mine I had straight people I mean I think it’s really important to be inclusive to all those things because I think that’s the world we live in and I think it’s important to see that stuff there and I personally have felt like the newer stuff that’s coming out is much more inclusive and I can see going backwards now that I read some of the older stuff that I hadn’t seen when I first was introduced I see that positive change of that inclusivity and I like that and I think the storytelling is has really come along I think some of these stories are fantastic and I want them all to be movies and television series because I think they’re just so wonderful and I think the storytelling just gets better and better every time somebody puts the book got I think they’re just it’s great you know there’s such great writing out there and I think that’s something I’ve seen that’s been a positive change too and I think some of that is from you know skill and crafts honing and I think some of it’s just a matter of necessity I think it’s just some of people are there writing there are people who are fun and I think they have a lot of fun stories to tell so if you have I mean you’re a busy person you’re a writer you have a you have a job you have a family but when you find you have time to read a book what do you like to pick up so when I was growing up I used to read a lot of mystery I have a lot of Agatha Christie on my bookshelves I have I said some James Patterson I loved a good mystery and thriller I think now because I have less time to leisure play I’d like to read something that’s got a happy ending for sure I do read a lot of I do read romance I don’t pigeonhole myself into the kind of romance that I read for sure like I definitely like things that are playful I like things are light I like things that are more involved but I do like my characters and I read socially like when I’m on my leisure to be you know less like faced if possible I used to read a lot of biographies that don’t do that anymore but I think it’s for me escape because the change in social media in the way that we get news now is just so different where I can just open my phone and look at Twitter and see what’s happening I think I definitely read less newspaper and magazine articles and I used to I just pull them up on the blog or I’ll take a look at that way so when I’m leisure reading I’m definitely reading things that are lighter and that make me laugh and that make me think and that let me escape a little bit so typically let’s pick but not always romance based and is there anything you’ve read in the last few months that you’re especially excited about or that you were really delighted to read I don’t read while I write which is something I catch a little heat for but no I think that’s pretty I think that’s pretty common I don’t read while I write and I had been on a sprint for the last few years of writing writing writing you know I picked up a couple of Melissa Braden’s books in the last few years Chris Bryant I think is a reliable person to read I love her stuff I think she’s super fun the last book I just finished was one of the Seven Shore series from Melissa Braden not the last one third ones those are great books I’m working on a Georgia beers right now and you know I have some BK Powell in there I love Carson Tate I do what I can to try to like really keep myself immersed I have some Jerry Hill that hadn’t poked an eye on that so yeah the lab that’s the most recent ones I vetted them you know Chris and Melissa in Georgia but I do not read what I write because just exactly what I said before I haven’t picked a habit of picking up things around me and I don’t like that that’s fair when I talked to Katy Williamson she said that she only reads fanfic when she’s writing because she’s afraid of too much bleed through if she reads traditionally published authors yeah I mean that’s a real concern for me and that’s one of the reasons why even then if I am gonna read I’ll read somebody out of my Shama if I can just to kind of separate myself and I don’t think it I think we’re more worried about it happening than it actually happens to be honest I know it really does trickle back but you never want to lose your narrative voice and I think that for me – I’m always a little concerned I’ll pick up something and you know I just don’t want to be Madonna pertaining to British you know in an interview or something so I just try to be careful but I really don’t think it happens as much as we think it happens but it’s like yeah that’s fair so is there anything else that you want to share with listeners about your journey as a reader you know I think as a reader I really appreciate a well-crafted story I think that I love you know erotic romance I love the distraction of it I just the last book I actually read I was incorrectly for the last book I just read was the sex therapist next door I just finished that that’s like good wood and so that’s like that’s one of those great palate cleansers right like Megan O’Brien is great for like rejuvenating whatever you need to rejuvenate like whatever that is for you and it just gives you a nice pallet refresh and the cleanse and for me like if I ever get writer’s block the first thing I do is I write a sex scene I’ll just remove myself from the situation I’ll write a sex scene with the characters in that book or just no character characters and making up on the spot for me that’s a cleanse so as somebody as a reader I like to be surprised I like to be charged I like to like I like to feel something then you know that brews a little bit I like things to take a little bit of time to get to where they can get to and I love that like build up for that and I love a really good story and I think that that’s probably the thing that draws me in so I’ve read quite a few books now I read a lot of books from my fellow authors I write as much as I can and I think that the thing that draws me in is it is a really good story so I like to have a lot of good backstory like friends that are involved like good secondary and third characters that feel real I think I want to be able to sit myself in the scene so I like the details around me too like I like to be able to really immerse myself in it so I’m a story person not being said the sex therapist next door is my just read which is great story but you know it’s gonna different derive I think and I think that’s good too I think there’s so many good options I don’t want to ever limit myself but as a reader I’m a story person I love to be really taken along for a story I love to be surprised I like to be to find new things about characters that I didn’t expect in the beginning that I find at the end as they kind of develop with me like I like to feel that you kind of grown and because this is going up in January so is there anything you’re excited about for 2019 and Beyond median to Ireland which is the one I just released is it is a big book it’s probably the biggest book I’ve written by twenty-five or thirty thousand words and it’s a little bit of a departure for me and that it’s a really story heavy book so everything I just sort of talked about I really tried to emulate in this book and put in there I’m really excited about some of the feedback I’ve gotten about that I’m looking forward to seeing kind of how this next book I’m working on develops from that cuz I think that was a little bit of a change for me and I’m really looking forward to some of the things that I have kind of on personally that I have coming up some life things and also some writing things and I think that I’ve gotten a little preview of some books that are coming out next year that I think looking fantastic like I definitely have a must-read want to read list that’s growing by the minute which is so sad because you want to read them all and analysand the list never ends which i think is a great thing but yeah but yeah so some personal things some writing things and some upcoming book stuff I’m really excited about I’m really excited about the idea of the writing community getting more involved in collects ikonn which i think is so cool I really love that that’s gonna really branch and bring in some communities I don’t think I’ll be able to make it unfortunately for the timing but I think that’s awesome that we are now bringing this relatively smaller kind of niche group into a much larger scale and connecting more communities and I think that is the best thing and I’m really excited to see what comes out of that because I think there’s so many great authors that are going to come from that and so many great opportunities for readers and fans to get together and I think that that type of personal community what I don’t want helps develop a better community so where can people find you online if they want to connect with you so I am always on Twitter at Fiona Riley thick I am always on Facebook ad nauseum at the under eye Lee fiction I do have a website where Fiona a fiction calm and you can catch me from anywhere I’m pretty accessible I do a lot of appearances in the Boston New England area I do four or five or six in the course of a calendar year and I’ll try to be at a few of the conferences that happen I’ll definitely be a GCLs and that will be at Quincy women’s weekend Provincetown as well in the fall and maybe I’d love to it collects a combo I think I may have to Skype in on that one so see there’s always the following year well yeah I’m really excited to see how it goes because it’s exciting like this is this is such a big push and a big change I’m sterile de bout this mm-hmm well that is all for this episode thank you so much Fiona for joining me thanks for having me I’m Tara and you’ve been listening to Les Deux books remember to 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 your journey as a reader or transit how do you interested please reach out and send me an email if you’ve enjoyed this episode please check out the show notes where you’ll find a patreon link for the lesbian talk show or visit patreon.com slash the lesbian talk show our patrons get exclusive content like bonus podcasts and interviews with authors that no one else gets access to you can also join our Facebook group lesbian Club to talk about anything you’re reading and loving and to find this and many other great shows all you need to do is search for the lesbian talk show on iTunes I’d be stitcher or Spotify