Thank you to Michael Scott, co-host of Bookmark Radio. I reprinted our interview here. My first one! **** Interview With Taryn Rose, Author of L World
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of immersing myself in many genres of books. But none more intriguing than the lesbian romance category.
I was introduced to a book called L World through a Google+ feed and decided to take a much needed diversion from my normal staple of economics, sociology and Eastern religion reads. I was so intrigued with the book that I reached out to its author Taryn Rose. And I am happy to report that our friendship is rapidly blossoming.
So what was it like writing a book on lesbian romance?
I spent five years as an associate at a national law firm dreaming about writing novels as a opposed to legal briefs, and I felt grateful for the opportunity to delve into a genre that held a great deal of interest to me. It was fun to flesh out the characters and once I organized my plot, the words just seemed to flow.
Your two heroines Blake and Janie offer some interesting insights into lesbian relationships. Can you talk about this?
This books explores common challenges that all of us face, regardless of our gender preferences in establishing relationships. The story starts with a chance encounter in a salon between Blake, a high profile attorney and Janie, a top hairstylist. Both of their lives are turned upside down as a result of their attraction to each other.
So what are you attempting to convey to your readers through this book?
I believe in the importance of fantasy in terms of helping us awaken to who we are or have the potential to be. As women we should take time to deepen our understanding of self and desire, especially when that desire shakes up our whole world.
It appears that there are in fact many thematic juxtapositions throughout the book
Blake's encounter and ultimate relationship with Janie allows her to tap into a part of herself that she has long kept hidden. Despite being younger and newer in her career, Janie is further along in her personal development than Blake.
L World exposes the risky side of torrid affairs for women who are in high powered professional roles. Using Blake’s example, what lessons does this book offer to professional women in terms of the balancing act between one’s intimate needs and feelings and desire to climb the proverbial corporate ladder?
In Blake’s case, when she meets Janie, she is close to the top of that ladder–with a lot at stake. She’s a top corporate attorney, a mother of a teenage son, and has a relationship with her ex-husband. Coming out for Blake could change they way she is perceived by her partners, clients and family members–and she knows that. I think Blake’s journey reinforces the need to be cautious and deliberate, but also brave and unafraid to live life to the fullest. Blake behaves immaturely and at times, selfishly and cowardly. But when she realizes she has more to lose by letting Janie go, her decisions become empowering and life-affirming.
What sorts of fears or vulnerabilities (if any) surfaced for you as a writer in Chapter 7 as you began to articulate the first deep physical encounter between Janie and Blake? What sort of message were you hoping to impart to your readers in terms of the often secret world of lesbian intimacy?
I was concerned with being completely in the scene, making it as visceral and passionate as I conceived it. It was equally important for me to capture both the emotional dynamics at play and the downright animalistic lust that overwhelms the two heroines. That particular scene is the culmination of the early stages of Blake and Janie’s courtship, and it had to work in order for the story to move forward.
What sort of impact did writing this book have in terms of examining your own life?
It helped me play out some of my own ideas and philosophies related to how complicated the journey of life really is.
There has been quite a bit of buzz of late with the release of the steamy Shades of Grey series. What do you think this reflects in terms of the proliferation of interest in these sorts of books?
I think that it’s a signal that women’s romantic and sexual fantasies are important and no longer have to be taboo.
And where do you see the whole world of lesbian romance books headed in ensuing years?
The market for lesbian themed e-books appears strong, especially among bi-curious, queer and lesbian identified readers. That said, I have been contacted by men who relate to the romantic challenges the heroines face in L WORLD and enjoy exploring those in the context of the physical intimacy involved between two women. I think that heterosexual women enjoy a powerful and well-written romance that explores the boundaries and complications that may arise when two women discover more than friendship. Because this is a subgenre that has appeal for all types of readers, I believe it will grow exponentially in the coming years.
Michael Scott is co-host of Bookmark Radio. Learn more here.
Order L WORLD here.