In this episode of Les Do Books, KJ Talks Georgia Beers, Melissa Brayden, and Clare Ashton
What do Georgia Beers, Melissa Brayden, and Clare Ashton have in common? They’re KJ’s favourite authors! Listen to hear why she loves their books and which book by each author is her fave.
Listen to this episode here where KJ Talks Georgia Beers Melissa Brayden and Clare Ashton
Check out KJ’s recommendations
Starting from Scratch by Georgia Beers
What happens when your life takes an unexpected turn? What happens when you need to protect the one you love from the one you want to love? What happens when you lose something you never knew you wanted? Lambda and Golden Crown Literary Award-winning author Georgia Beers brings to you her long-awaited seventh novel, Starting from Scratch, a story where learning, laughing, loving, and baked goods are just a few of life’s basic ingredients. Starting from Scratch…where life is what you make it.
Get this book on Amazon
This link works for Amazon US, Canada and Germany
This link works for Amazon UK
Eyes Like Those by Melissa Brayden
When it comes to love, no one is in charge.
Isabel Chase is reeling. She’s just been offered her dream job as a staff writer on one of the hottest shows on television and quickly trades in the comfort of New England for sun, sand, and everything Hollywood. While stoked for what could be her big break, the show’s stunning executive producer has her head spinning and her feelings swirling.
Taylor Andrews is at the top of her career. Everything she touches turns to gold and the studios know it. Just when she’s on track for total television domination, Isabel Chase arrives in her office and slowly turns her world upside down. Isabel is intelligent, sarcastic, and dammit, downright beautiful. Unfortunately, she’s the one person that can take away all Taylor has worked for.
Will Isabel’s success lead to Taylor’s downfall? Or perhaps Isabel is all she needs….
A Seven Shores Romance
Get this book on Amazon
This link works for Amazon US, Canada and Germany
This link works for Amazon UK
The Goodmans by Clare Ashton
The lovely doctor Abby Hart lives in her dream cottage in the quintessential English border town of Ludbury, home to the Goodmans.
Maggie Goodman, all fire and passion, is like another mother to her, amiable Richard a rock and 60s-child Celia is the grandmother she never had.
But Abby has a secret. Best friend Jude Goodman is the love of her life, and very, very straight. Even if Jude had ever given a woman a second glance, there’d also be the small problem of Maggie – she would definitely not approve.
But secrets have a habit of sneaking out, and Abby’s not the only one with something to hide. Life is just about to get very interesting for the Goodmans.
Things are not what they used to be, but could they be even better?
Get this book on Amazon
This link works for Amazon US, Canada and Germany
This link works for Amazon UK
Find KJ online
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. Today I’m joined by KJ whose debut book is Learning To Swim which is out now on Amazon authors are readers too so I’m really excited to learn more about the lesbian that she loves welcome KJ hi hey going time good how are you I’m great for Sunday morning thank you so much you see me in a bid to our welcome so you’re here to talk about some of your favorite authors and before we go any further we just wanted to put the message out there for people there may be spoilers in the conversation coming up so if you’re listening and you realize that there’s a book you haven’t read yet you either need to accept that you might get a spoiler or you should just go read that book and then come back and listen to the rest of this conversation so before you start talking about who the authors are is there anything that you would say is kind of common between them yeah I mean they’re vastly different that’s rhythm that I’m going to talk about a incredibly different writers although I probably think that the writer that I’m going to talk about Georgia Diaz and Melissa Biden have similar dialogue styles and the other author I’m doing is Claire Ashton and that’s she’s very different but I would say that the three of them able to realize that they need to connect with their readership in a way that some writers disconnect in the sense that they they write and they do a beautiful novel but there’s always that sort of invisible wall between the reader and the author so why would you say they’re your favorites like if because you only you only chose three but I know you’re a reader so like what is it about them that made sure that they made the cut he gave me a restriction of three to five so I because I had possibly more a lot more so who I went with three and decided to talk a lot about those three but I would say those three give me a I get to jump into the world particularly particular Nilsa Braden I get to sit alongside her characters and feel like I’m sitting in the coffee shop enjoying the dialogue and hanging out with the characters and it’s really quite lovely and a lot of the time with Georgia beers novels I get the same thing and with Claire Ashton it’s not the characters I get to sit alongside it’s the it’s setting I get to be part of that setting and feel like I’m in a I really love lovely less thick sort of you know TripAdvisor you know where I get to go to that place first let’s go with Georgia beers I mean she’s every single novel I absolutely adored her so it’s really hard so I chose one and simply because it was it’s the one I cycled back to constantly because it seems to have I don’t know she has depth in all her novels but this one has so many layers to it that I go back and I find something again even though I read it a hundred times I find something again in it that I didn’t realize was there and that novel is starting from scratch so for people who haven’t read it for the three people who haven’t read it can he tell us what it’s about yeah there’s a character called Avery king she’s a 34 year old graphic designer in an advertisement company and she has a dog hood Steve her life is really quiet and comfortable she’s just a regular person and she has this thing where she bakes in her grandmother taught her and there’s this lovely connection between her and her grandmother and she also lusts after the bank manager down the road and she she finds that this is this is this to the pedestal that she puts this Bank management on and it’s quite cute actually the way that she she sort of resorts to this sort of teenage fangirling moment every time she walks into the bank and I quite I find that quite fascinating actually because she has her life pretty much all together and then she just falls apart every time she walks into the bank so it’s quite cute actually yeah so there’s this sort of interplay between the two of them so what do you love so much about the way George beers writes I think it’s because that she’s able to use quick dialogue it’s actually quite fun she’s there’s a there’s definitely humor there and I think it I think that’s what works the most is the self-deprecating humor that the characters have an acidic sense of not taking themselves seriously even though in some of their novels if I’m just going to deviate slightly from starting from scratch in some of her novels she has these very serious characters but they that is sort of like always seems to be with her novels these characters are poppy were serious that’s just this show this sort of self-deprecating humor does come out in the end so that starts with with Avery King she starts like that and Elena the character who is the bank manager has that as well and I think she writes them as if they are real people you don’t get this sense of untouchable they could be actual real people if you actually make them so is there anything else you want to share about why you just love Georgia beers and you’d recommend her yeah look I like the way that they seem to be all set I don’t know anything about America much at all and I even though I read a huge monopolistic I don’t you do know a lot about it so I know that this sort of sit in the same type of area of America in these novels and even though I can’t pinpoint exactly where they are and you know I don’t need to have a map to realize that this these places are particularly significant levels at all set in the same place that place exists as a as a she makes it feel real even that’s a not good makes it’s it’s real I could go and visit there and and she puts life into this into this setting so that these real characters exist and I think that’s what I connect with the notices and the fact that these people are people that I could actually walk down the street and and see I can’t when I read the novel’s I can actually see these people hanging out in the tower I’m out randomly going and you know collecting their mail or whatever it is they just seem to be real people I think it’s probably the best part of it oh okay so I it’s lovely actually I get to segue into Melissa Braden who is probably my favorite oh gosh they put a label like that’s fun okay she’s one of my favorites she’s just they were my favorite she’s there let’s just click again as she said she’s a great author and I would say that the thing that I love about Melissa Braden is a dialogue that’s hard to do like oh my gosh I I would be I would love to be able to have a comeback or to be able to snap out some sort of Aleutian dialogue like the characters and I it’s almost like I get to fulfill some type of really cool fantasy where I’m I’m completely not this person that I get to live through when I play characters and Beebe is amazingly awesome we see a person who can snap back with some type of cool interaction with their friends and and I’m completely not I sit there in cafes with my friend and sit around and look awkward so we don’t get to do that you know so I get to live vicariously through and Melissa Braden novel I mean that’s what the thing was I think I feel a thing I want to talk about was with Melissa Braden’s novels and with Jorge business novels is with that staff with with the with the content you get that both of those writers they write novels that do what they say on the box is in it in that they are not predictable that sounds like that they predictable but they’re not they are it’s like lounging in a comfy chair in your favorite room where you know you get to look forward to something and relish it you know what’s going to happen but the way that they are both of them are able to create this this sort of journey that you get to sit inside both of them have that technique and I think I love that about them anyway Melissa Braden let’s let’s I’m going to and the one lemon sorry I’m rambling that I really love this novel and this novel is is one of my favorite ever and it’s called eyes like those I adore that book so much guess so so many elements to it that I absolutely love do you neither do you need a quick synopsis oh yes yes I mean I don’t but somebody listening might so let’s do it for them alright so I don’t do it justice in my little sort of rambling so can I read the blurb on the back because I think this is one of the best blurbs yeah absolutely all right so it says Isabelle Chase is reeling she’s just been offered her dream job as a staff writer on one of the hottest shows on television and quickly trades in the comfort of New England for Sammy sand and everything Hollywood well stoked for what could be her big break the show’s stunning executive producer has her head spinning and her feelings swirling Taylor Andrews at the top of her career everything she touches turns to gold and the studio’s know it just when she’s on track the total television domination Isabel chase arrives in her office and slowly turns her world upside down Isabel is intelligent sarcastic and dammit downright beautiful unfortunately she’s the one person who can take away all Taylor has worked for will as a Isabelle’s success lead to Taylor’s downfall or perhaps Isabel is all she needs it’s so swing worthy and that’s just the blurb I mean so good you can’t do anything with that except go okay I need to read this a thousand times which I had actually I must tell you though I mean I read everything that mr. Brady has written I was just thinking in a day that I was always yeah that the book that book was my first Melissa Bryden novel and I spent the next three days on a braid and beanies and I read everything absolutely everything and then I tweeted at her and said that I ain’t done this binge of all her novels and she replied with a series of laughs emojis and a heart and if that isn’t like a wonderful visual representation of all her novels and I don’t know what is good one I when I read it I loved it so much and I was almost heartbroken at the same time because I think kiss the girl was my favorite forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then I read eyes like those and I was like oh no yep oh I feel like I’m cheating on my favorite book with another book by the same author I mean I love this idea series I thought it was excellent and that’s and she’s another writer who I mean I’ve never been to New York I would have a clue what is like but she’s another writer who can it can make you feel that you’ve got just enough of a Lonely Planet sort of to a guide that you can feel like it really and it’s the same with the seven shores I you know that’s what I was thinking I was I’ve never been to LA all remember this is I’ve never been to California I’ve never um you know I’m not I can’t relate to much of the book in that sense that I I was just thinking other day that it’s it’s hardly surprising that we navigate our way back to texts that mirror ourselves I mean on the surface there’s nothing like I was like that is it – mostly as I said I’ve never been to Los Angeles oh nothing to do with TV production I having a little clue I’m not romance no more beautiful who is that’s the point I guess that what Melissa Braden did when she wrote this novel is she sort of sat at the table in a cafe while I imagined how my friend and I would banter and then my friend says to me that she loves my humor and I go what humor and then she says that she thinks my goodness she knows my panic attacks of East and that’s the thing that’s the that’s the exclamation mark moment because when I read eyes like those and I make a dialogue to die for in the character who so has this intense anxiety attacks when you so detailed and so absolutely on on point that it’s like she’s other writing from personal experience or her research is outstanding and even though it’s only a part sorry spoiler even though it’s probably a part of the novel because everything else is so much at the forefront it added such a depth of meaning to me that I can’t help cycling back to it and I just thought yep if she’s got it she knows he’s and she that that element Isabelle is obviously massively important because it’s the turning point of the novel it’s the cities the cracks of the novel but the way she’s able to build up to the point where Isabel makes a decision based on her anxiety attack is quite interesting actually yeah I fully I mean I’m someone that lives with anxiety – not necessarily the same point that Isabel does because I’ve never had to like go and lock myself away somewhere but I’ve definitely had it where it’s like that little demon in your head that’s telling you all the time and it felt so validating to read that book and I just felt so seeing it was it was it was a totally different reading experience than anything else for me at that point yep I agree and that’s the thing I I think with these three old fizz and then I get on to my third one a minute but these three authors I feel like they they’re characters are so down to earth and so sort of self-deprecating not to the point where they put themselves down and segue to something that the Hannah Gadsby said in Hoonah next series about self deprecation and how you put yourself down to the point of lowering yourself below others but these characters are self-deprecating in a sense they don’t take themselves too seriously and I feel like the author’s right from a place of truth where they don’t take themselves so incredibly seriously that they write these characters that they don’t write characters that are untouchable they like countess’s are touchable and I think that’s because they themselves and like that is we’re all not there I know them personally but I feel like I do I think it’s the three author’s that I’ve been able to connect with on Twitter and it’s been quite lovely to have that interaction and it’s it’s unusual I think because I do I send tweets and I think and I sit there and go when I get a response or they’d like it or they reply and I had to my little tiny miniscule fangirl moment when I go oh my god this person replied to me and it’s so exciting and then I reply back and they begged I and then I think yeah I can’t just away and they think um idiots but yeah that sort of thing they get they reply they do you’re listening to the lesbian talk-show the lesbians all choke on your hub of podcast information so your third author ah my third author is clear Ashton and Wow the book I’ve chosen is to use the grid nuns and I hadn’t come across Clare Ashton before at the Goodman’s and I is a dreadful thing and I my life is poorer because of that but that’s okay now i rectified that situation and then i am an absolute claritin fan which i do is so embarrassing I’ve got again dorky fangirl a dreadful moment where I sent Clara tweet ah I have no idea what it was about but it was something inane and I responded back and then I said something about how you know Wales is you know not all that it’s cracked up to be which was idiotic and then I said but I say wonderful that she was writing about Wales and I love the fact that she’s got this sitting and isn’t Australia great as well and I just angry what if it was and then of course she’s new she literally blew up my inbox by sending me 1200 photos of Wales and tag tagged as many Welsh people into as possible and I literally you know abused insulted the entire country of Wales so that was fun but that’s the type of humor that I love and I think you get that humor in the Goodman’s but it’s odd this is and this is why it’s different the the characters are in Melissa Braden’s novels and Georgia beers novels the characters are the people that you sit alongside and get to know in Clare’s books and particularly the Goodman’s you sit alongside the setting the setting is a character and it is quite amazing actually because I more than any of the other books I get to I feel like I’m actually they’re walking along the streets with Abby and Jude and I the cobblestones and that little little houses and there and again I’ve never been to Wales but I feel like I’m there more than any other book it’s quite remarkable I felt that way about poppy Jenkins as well yeah I think the setting and that was stunts that was the one that made me want to just like book a flight and head on over right away because it was so beautifully done and then there was also this just like totally lovely romance at the same time in that one but the good men’s do you want to share what it’s about again I’ll read the I’ve got two parts to reader but the bloob and then I I’d love it if I was able to read the first paragraph because I’m you can that is the most amazing piece of literature I’ve read recently so ed the blue sky blue the lovely doctor ABI Hart lives in her dream cottage in the quintessential English border town of library home to the Goodman’s Maggie Goodman all fire and passion is like another mother to her Aimable Richard a rock and 60s child Celia is the grandmother who she never had but a beat has a secret best friend Jude Goodman is the love of her life and very very straight even if Jude has had ever given a woman a second glance they’d also be the small problem of Maggie she would definitely not approve but secrets have a habit of sneaking out and Abby’s not the only one with something to hide life is just about to get very interesting for the Goodman’s things are not what they used to be but could they be even better ah it is so cool what a wonderful I mean Ivy and that’s what I love about this that Jude and Abbie do have this amazing relationship and and and do get together but goodness me so much else goes on that’s I think we need to avoid as much as I said there will be spoilers in this episode I think we should avoid spoiling the massive twist I mean this Ryan yes because yeah like I remember reading it and I want other people to be able to have this experience because it felt like somebody punched me right in the gut and I think it took three days for me to get over that book but it was quite profound and I won’t I won’t mention anything that the yes that really really threw me and I agree I i sat with it actually and that’s not being you know metaphorical I literally deep sit with the book in my hands when I finished it and and I couldn’t quite comprehend it and I I did I actually sort of trusted it my wife in in I didn’t sort of hand it to her family I trusted at her and said you have to read this this is an incredible book and she’s not a huge reader but any she takes my recommendations you know really well but I did I said you have to read it and you have to read it now and I physically pushed it down to the chin armchair and said you must start reading this and I’ll bring you cups of tea and I won’t talk so she did she read it I’d done I think it was the novel and not the fact that I wasn’t talking but the fact that she actually read it it was it was wonderful and she agreed how amazing it was but yeah I haven’t done that for a long time just sat with a novel and sort of you know Melodyne and stood on it and let me sort of think about all the elements and the first thing I did after I’ve done that he’s go back and start reading it from page one again and I had to I just had to yes absolutely I did I’m trying to remember because I haven’t read it so I haven’t been able to read it again because it was so emotional so I didn’t go right back to the beginning but I did kind of go back part way through and then go back through certain scenes and was able to read it with a totally different lens yes and it was just so powerful I so what’s that first sorry I just I I was just going to say without giving anything away I had apart I do the same thing I go back to certain parts as well now and the part that I go back to is when the family get together for the very first time Jude turns up and that that we’re all sort of standing around in this sort of looking at each other like some sort of old-fashioned painting and they don’t really know what quite to do and and at that moment and if you read from there knowing what you know at the end you think okay Wow you do that’s a good point to start from actually and it’s that very point but yet another part that I want to read and I was just going to say that I mean I’m a really fast or either I tend to sort of almost read down the center of page and it’s just it’s it’s not good but anyway I enjoy them but I just pound through them but Claire’s novels they forced me to slow down and reread section is as talked about but normally I will read through and then I’ll reread afterwards but I actually if we every time I read this book I stop halfway through and then reread a little section then just keep going and really it’s like I’m reading in a loop I don’t I don’t do that normally it’s that that’s not how I read but I had to with that one because it had so much to it and this is an example alright I got here dr. Jude Goodman was certain of many things her beloved hometown a library in the rolling hills of the well Shropshire borders she imagined eternal it was a quintessential and timeless English town with medieval sandstone walls and circling Georgian streets and timber-framed houses at its apex an ancient church tower rose above the pastel and brick terraces and glowed red in the sun’s rays change came slowly to this place it’s the opening paragraph how can you not read a novel after that paragraph it’s so good it’s so beautifully done it’s one of the few books that actually like it actually made me cry I don’t cry very often when I read and it’s not necessarily any of the stuff later in the book although maybe it happened then but the one that really stood out for me was when they were at the party and Maggie Jude’s mother is she’s looking at Jude and she’s kind of remembering when Jude was little yes and kind of mourning all the versions of Jude that weren’t around any more anywhere except in her mind and as a parent and I and I have daughters so for me that was just like uh it was so beautifully done and so perfectly captures that idea that like yes you delight in every new state and you mourn at the same time I agree I have a nine-year-old son and I regularly okay regularly once a month maybe I will come across some sort of memory on Facebook that pops up and he’s there being or one or being inspired or something like this and I just think oh my god I mean it’s it’s incredible that stage as a number because he’s he’s come in a different way to us because he was adopted so and we get to we didn’t have what I have any photos from six months prior but today we adopted them at six months so we’re all of those milestones that we have this is credible when you actually see them in big jumps like that because the everyday the everyday is just you know eating cereal in the morning or looking at him and going you know you haven’t brushed your hair made on things like that but all those big jumps are incredible and she did she encapsulated what it’s like to sit back as a parent and realize that the little pieces of strings that we have connecting they just being cut and entually and it’s quite a strange sensation so how many of her other books have you read that was it that’s I know um know that about that’s it yeah I need to you know update myself that’s not not good I have to go through and get some more reading under my belt I’m it’s hard actually I don’t want to read too much while I’m writing but when I cuz otherwise I sort of feel like I get messy in my head but I haven’t been reading a lot lately but sure yeah we’ll get back into that the thing that I find interesting about her that is different from the other two authors here and frankly different than most other authors I’ve ever read is that no two books of hers are the same they are all wildly different sometimes to the point of different genres and you will not get another the Goodman’s again from her just as a I don’t want to call it a warning necessary but like she has a rom-com she has poppy is just like a straight-up romance after mrs. Hamilton I don’t even know what to call it there is no other book like that that’s for sure and it’s interesting because it’s yes there’s obviously listed element to it but its drama its family drama he did not much involvement with that I mean I’m pretty sure I read one of hers that was a photographer and executive that I think it’s hers we’re you the photographer falls out of a tree because she’s trying to in the opening scene she’s trying to get a photo of some politician in London and they spend the night together and then she goes to work at a news making and this becomes the news the head of the newspaper I don’t know it could be one appears is it that certain something yes yeah that is hers yes clearly I pay attention but yes that’s it and yes you’re right it does had nothing to do with the Goodman’s completely and that’s why I’m I wasn’t sure about the author because they are literally such different styles of writing mm-hm they are so is there anything else that you would want to tell people about Claire Ashton or actually any of these authors is there anything else you want to share about them or the holistic you love I was going to say something about the Claire Ashton’s book we the bookies dance in that proper meaning of the word where you you have to take your time as I say you have to take your time there is not to say as an especial to sort of say that George beers and other Braden’s books you can read in the flash because I do but that doesn’t mean they’re not enjoyable but with players he can’t help it go slow because they’re almost like a more multi-layered book which is stiff again it was just the Goodman’s I mean I read that’s certain something really quite quickly that I do I if I want to be I want to have a really happy moment if I want to keep myself out if I want to have a just to read then I just feel like I need to smile all the way through it because I want that and it gives me that then I’ll raid at Georgia beers when there’s a bride and it makes me smile the whole way tree even though there’s angst even though it is stuff like Isabel the character Isabel don’t really messy anxiety attacks and it clearly hard work still it makes me smile all the way through so KJ where can people find you online if they want to connect with you on on Twitter and I’m at property of KJ alright that’s what it’s all I am as far as social media does well that is all this episode thank you so much for joining me that’s okay thank you so I’m Tara you’ve been listening to Les Deux books remember to email me at Tara at the lesbian recom with your questions or comments if you’ve enjoyed this episode please check out the show notes real find a patreon link for the lesbian talks or visit patreon.com slash the lesbian talk show the patrons get exclusive content like bonus podcasts and interviews that no one else gets access to you can also join our Facebook group the lesbian review book club to talk about these books and anything else you’re reading and loving to find this and many other great shows all you need to do is search for the lesbian talk show on iTunes pod bean stitcher or Spotify