Ask Me Anything

Ask Me Anything

Top Ten Questions I Get About Being A Writer.


I get quite a few questions from curious readers, which I love, and although the query itself tends to vary, the theme is consistent. What is it really like to be a writer?

So I thought I’d put the main handful of questions that I see regularly here, in no particular order, just in case you’re wondering about the same things.


How in the world do you come up with those ideas? Each book is so wildly different; do all those ideas just live in your head?

They’re there somewhere, but they present themselves when they are good and goddamn ready, and not a moment before. Usually an idea starts with a place I can see myself setting a story in, like a lake town in Idaho, the dramatic, sweeping coast of east Scotland or the gritty underbelly of haunted New Orleans. Then, if I’m lucky, characters step forward to claim the setting …and we have the start of a new novel.

I notice that there is a strong butch femme vibe going on with most of your main characters; why is that? Is one of them easier for you to write?

I have a pretty balanced blend of masculine and feminine energy in my own personality, so one is just as easy as the other. That said, there are challenges to representing those parts of our community, and I take the job seriously. I care immensely about writing relatable, multi-dimensional characters that are steeped in flaws, brilliance and depth.

Have you traveled to all the places and countries your books are set in?

So far, the answer is yes, although that won’t always be true. I’ve lived in other countries and am lucky enough to travel extensively, so I keep a mental library of places that would make good backdrops for my future characters. The setting itself is woven into the story and becomes a character of its own, so I try to give you, the reader, every detail I can about what the London skyline looks like, for example, or what it feels like to trail your fingers across an ancient Scottish stone wall, or the clean scent of salt and wet rock at the edge of the Baltic sea. If I haven’t made you feel the setting as vividly as the characters themselves, I haven’t done my job.

You’re known for your realistic, sensitive love scenes. Are they difficult to write?

The truthful answer is yes and no. Sex scenes are usually intense and emotional so they immerse you like a sudden wave and carry you along with them; you just have to be quick enough to keep up. That’s the easy part. The difficult part sounds deceptively simple; to tell the truth. But we rarely read sex scenes in lesbian literature that are actually truthful. The norm is to gloss over the entire scene with “gentle caresses”, “unbridled desire” and one of the characters “reaching the peak of ecstacy” less than two minutes after they hit the sheets. Bullshit. So I write sex scenes as truthfully as I can; laying bare every intense, awkward, sexy as fuck moment of it.

I’ve heard you write in a tiny house deep in the woods with no TV. Is that true?

Yes Ma’am.

How do you come up with the main characters for your books?

They definitely come to me. Usually while I’m still writing the previous book, and let’s just say that they aren’t patient. The waiting room in the back of my mind gets crowded and loud. We’re not talking a serene doctor’s office kind of waiting room with Highlight magazines and florescent bulbs softly buzzing overhead… More like 2 am in the farthest corner of a 1920’s Brooklyn speakeasy; music like a heartbeat, the air hazy with smoke and possibility.

Do you know what’s going to happen in the book before you write it? Or are you just winging it?

Oh, I’m winging it. I’m always winging it.

Did you know you could write a book before you wrote it? 

Hell no. In fact, I assumed that my first novel, McCall, would never see the light of day. I have a vivid memory of writing in my house in Savannah, Georgia, and having to stop and pull another novel out of the bookshelf to see how dialogue was notated. I had no freakin’ idea. Turns out I still did it wrong.

I want to be a writer, but how do I know I can do it? And how can I be sure that after writing an entire book, that it will ever get published?

The real answer is that you don’t know either of those things. But the best way to describe my experience is that I couldn’t not write McCall. I knew I was going to write it, even if it never got published, and I started on London the second I finished it. The secret is to follow the story across the page, then through the book, and stop worrying about what you can’t control.

Are there any other characters lurking in the back of your mind that you want to write into a book?

Oh yeah. They’re drinking Negronis in the furthest corners of that Speakeasy, stepping into the shadows if I so much as look their way. Apparently, they’ll come out when they’re good and goddamn ready.