Past characters introduce me to future characters. Whether I want them to or not.

Past characters introduce me to future characters. Whether I want them to or not.


It’s pretty predictable. It takes me about three months to complete novel, and I usually take a few weeks between to let my mind unfold before I start the next. When a book is about 80% finished, I start having flashes of the next characters, little sparks and shreds of them, and I try to shove them aside and finish the damn book I’m currently writing, but that’s always difficult. Maybe it happens because I’m always sad to say goodbye to the current characters as I near the end of the 75,000 or so words I’ve just meticulously wrapped around them. Or perhaps I’m a tad crazy. Probably the latter.

I think people who’ve read my books think I put myself in every character to some extent, and that’s pretty common among writers, but I tend to do the opposite. I tend to create characters I wish I knew in my real life. If I created them all from me it’d be a disaster; the short explanation is that I’m just not that interesting. So I sculpt them into the people I’d like to friend, fuck, and fight. In that order.

So what have I plucked from my real life and put into the books? Here are my thoughts from the first three novels.

The Baby Fields – I enjoyed a very conservative religious upbringing and a fanatically religious, homophobic mother. So that’s a clear link to the FLDS component of this book. Being gay in a culture that not only disapproves of queerness but will disown a lesbian daughter in a hot second is a tad stressful. So I channeled that fear and drama I experienced into Kate and the courageous women that surround her. So many of us had a more difficult family to navigate than I did, but the fear that exists for all of us is real, and I hope that’s evident in the lives of my characters in this book. I fled to Ireland in my early twenties, as Kate did, but with a far less glamorous result. She was dignified, respectful and hard-working. I chose to get off the plane, down multiple pints of hard cider and top that with a garlic mayonnaise burger and curry chips (most people in my religious culture were vegetarians, so I’d never eaten meat). I’ll spare you the details of what happened, but it wasn’t pretty.
Being in Ireland for so long changed my life, however. I don’t regret a moment of it and return often to the country that encouraged me to become who I am today.

McCall – I can drive a boat, and I swoon at first sight of a lesbian lake cop skimming across the water on one of those sexy patrol boats. And I hate goat cheese. That’s it.

London -This book was the closest to my heart. Like Jaq, I went to a boarding school and grew up in a trailer, which is a combination you don’t find every day. There’s more of me in Jaq than Bronwyn, but a good amount of me in both.
I don’t often write characters who are in relationships with men, it’s a pretty common theme that in my opinion has become ubiquitous. But I felt Jaq and Bronwyn’s story of meeting and falling in love at school, then being forced apart only to meet again as adults was worth it. They had an intense connection that spanned twelve years, and they ended up having the most chemistry of any couple I’ve ever created. I didn’t intend to write it in that direction, it just evolved into this insanely hot connection and I had to remind myself to let them get out of bed once in a while.