August 29, 2014

Rebecca Coffey: On Sigmund Freud’s Relationship with His Lesbian Daughter Anna and Using Fiction to Explore the Truth

Posted on August 25, 2014 by in Features, Interviews

On May 13, 2014 She Writes Press published Rebecca Coffey’s latest book, Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story which has been getting very positive reviews. Booklist called it “complexly entertaining, sexually dramatic, [and] acidly funny”; Lambda Literary said it’s “got a plot so rife with tension it’ll make you squirm.” And Oprah’s magazine recommended it in its June 2014 issue. (more…)

Francine Prose: On Her New Historical Novel, Exploring the Psyches of Nazi Collaborators, and Examining Questions of Good and Evil

Posted on August 24, 2014 by in Features, Interviews

Set in Paris prior to and during World War II, Francine Prose’s historical novel, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 (HarperCollins), revolves around the lives of those who visit and perform at the Chameleon Club, a kind of burlesque joint/dance hall where “men danced with men, women with women in monocles and mustaches.” Club proprietor Yvonne, a “Hungarian chanteuse” keeps a lizard that matches her outfits; actually, she’s owned several—one died from exertion after being placed on a paisley print. (more…)

James Jenkins: Publishing Lost Gay Classics

Posted on August 21, 2014 by in Features, Interviews

As a young reader, several of my favorite science fiction authors were lamentably out of print, so a trip to a used bookstore was a treasure hunt. There was always the possibility that I would find a rarity, or even a book previously unknown to me. As an adult reader, I’m continually surprised at the breadth and depth of gay fiction. The Stonewall riot may have been the start of a civil rights movement, but it was not the beginning of our history. Intuition, coded cover art and friendly guidance has led me to many a title, and I’m glad that there are still surprises on this journey, chief among them Valancourt Books. My friend Trebor Healey interviewed them recently at the Huffington Post, where I learned that they’ve been reprinting gay classics and Gothic and horror books since 2005. I immediately went to their website and was startled at the number of books that they’ve resurrected, and the obvious care and diligence that went into those books’ recovery. I’ve since chatted up one of the publishers, James Jenkins (his partner in books and marriage, Ryan Cagle, handles the horror side of the business), to learn more about some of the gay titles they’ve brought out. (more…)

Sandra Gail Lambert: On Her Debut Novel ‘The River’s Memory,’ Historical Research, and the Thin Line Between Short Stories and Novels

Posted on August 10, 2014 by in Interviews

I was nervous when Sandra Gail Lambert asked me to read an advanced review copy of The River’s Memory. I admired Sandra’s shorter works, but what if I didn’t like her debut novel? Weeks later, I leafed through the book, still under the spell of the sexy, unsentimental, beautiful muck and mire of this astonishing story. I loved this haunting novel. (more…)

Ariel Schrag: On Her New Novel ‘Adam,’ Writing for the ‘L Word,’ and Trans Inclusiveness

Posted on July 30, 2014 by in Features, Interviews

You may know Ariel Schrag as the author and illustrator of a series of graphic memoirs ( Potential, Likewise), or as a writer for The L Word. She also received the most exuberant name-check in the Le Tigre song “Hot Topic,” a nod she returns with a wink in her debut novel Adam (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). When seventeen year old Adam Freeman ditches his boring scene in Piedmont, CA to spend the summer with his lesbian sister Casey in New York City, he’s hoping for life-changing excitement in one form only: Girls. When he meets Gillian, the girl of his dreams, fun turns to major confusion as he realizes she has mistaken him for a transman, the most plausible explanation for why this cute young guy is hanging out with a bunch of lesbians. The book is riotously funny, deeply romantic, and a head-clearing breath of fresh air in its look at sexual and gender politics. I asked Schrag via email about Adam, trans inclusion then (the book is set in 2006) and now, and The L Word (because I simply couldn’t resist). (more…)

Judith Frank: On Mourning, Taking on Volatile Subject Matter, and Queer Relationships

Posted on July 22, 2014 by in Features, Interviews

All I Love and Know (William Morrow), by Judith Frank, is a brilliant, thoughtful, unexpectedly funny new novel about a gay couple, Daniel Rosen and Matt Greene, who live in Northampton, MA. It opens with a café bombing in Jerusalem that kills Daniel’s twin brother Joel and Joel’s wife Ilana. When it is revealed that Joel and Ilana designated Daniel the guardian of their two small children should they die, a firestorm erupts in both Daniel’s and Ilana’s families about the possibility that the children will be taken out of Israel and raised by gay men. The novel explores what happens to Daniel and Matt’s relationship in the wake of this conflict and this trauma. It is also page-turner that keeps the reader deep in the story until the very last page. And thinking about it afterwards for days. (more…)

Lorrie Sprecher: On Being—and Writing—a Lesbian Punk Feminist

Posted on July 13, 2014 by in Features, Interviews

Lorrie Sprecher’s fiction stars women whose lives are propelled by a passion for activist culture and an almost painful compassion for the disenfranchised of the world. For Amanda, the protagonist of new novel Pissing in a River (The Feminist Press), a love of punk rock and distaste for U.S. foreign policy drives her to take shelter in England. There, she finds her way toward friendship and romance while forming a band, keeping tabs on her lifelong obsessive-compulsive disorder, and dealing with fallout from the rape of her partner, Melissa.

Amanda is funny and, when it comes to standing up for her beliefs, not afraid to be intense—qualities shared by her author. Sprecher took the time to talk via email about her new book, the next two she has planned (one a sequel), and her thoughts on being an American at a time when advances in gay rights coexist with dramatic steps backward in reproductive rights and national policy. (more…)

Stacey D’Erasmo: On Music, Writing Straight Characters, and Creating a Literary Legacy

Posted on July 6, 2014 by in Features, Interviews

Stacey D’Erasmo is not musically inclined—at all. Yet, that didn’t stop the Lambda Literary Award and Ferro Grumley Award-winning author from writing a striking, harmonious novel about music that will resonate with anyone who has ever picked up an instrument—or admired someone else holding one.

Wonderland (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) tells the story of Anna Brundage, a statuesque and fiery forty-four-year-old down-and-out indie rock star who has given up everything for a second chance to do what she loves—and the love affairs that she stumbles through on her way.

D’Erasmo was kind enough to sit down for a jam session via email, in which we covered her own musical abilities, making your mark on the literary world, art versus relationships and what songs are currently stuck in her head. (more…)

A Look at the Frank O’Hara Fire Island Pines Poetry Festival

Posted on July 4, 2014 by in Features, Interviews

“Before there was the Internet, there was Frank O’Hara. We’re just as a culture finally catching up to his manic speed and endlessly divisible attention span”

Since his death in 1966, the poet Frank O’Hara has taken on an iconic stature among admirers of poetry. To honor the work of the beloved poet, The Fire Island Pines Fine Arts Project is presenting the Frank O’Hara Fire Island Pines Poetry Festival, on Saturday, July 12th, at 4 PM. The event will include such noted writers as Eileen Myles, Edmund White, Ariana Reines, Dorothea Lasky, and Saeed Jones. (more…)

Michael Carroll: On His New Short Story Collection, the Benefits of a Spare Writing Style, and His Literary Inspirations

Posted on July 2, 2014 by in Features, Interviews

In Little Reef and Other Stories (University of Wisconsin Press), his first collection of short stories, Michael Carroll, 49, employs an economy of words that describe characters deeply drawn. We’ve known people like them. These are contemporary characters “who are stuck in a quagmire of ennui.” (more…)