Femme Noir: A Visit with Clara Nipper

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Excerpt:

I was thirty-five the year I started drinking gin. It’s not a pretty story and I don’t come off smelling like a rose, but it’s time to tell it. With a story like this, gin is the only thing astringent enough to clean the dirt from my mouth. Gin is snappy and crisp and washes away my sins, at least for the night. I love everything about gin, but maybe that’s because my love affair with it is new. The smell of it is a cold wintry tang in the nose; the look of it is hard and clear like liquid diamonds and that’s sort of deceptive because the taste of it is smooth and sweet yet sharp too like a beautiful woman with a knife. Gin slides down my throat like an ice snake. It’s bitter and oily, wavering in the glass like a silver mirror, and when it is a mirror is when I drink most. I’ll take it any way-neat, a shot, on the rocks, in a martini, in a Tom Collins or a fizz, with stupid fruit draped all over the glass, I don’t care. But my favorite way to drink it is with tonic because it reminds me of Her. I got the idea that gin is a disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide and if I drink enough, it will boil out the infection, which is this story I must tell.

I found I’m a woman of excesses. I love cigarettes, I love gin, I love women and I love winning, all to a fault. I was born for trouble without knowing it and that is the worst kind. Suddenly, I’ve found that sometimes, a woman must drink alone.

So I was forty-five the year I started drinking gin. It all started one day with a call from my ex.

 

 

The ringing was insistent, urgent. Nora let herself into her apartment as quickly as she could because nobody calls at 4 am with good news. She flicked on a light and ran for the phone, a heavy, corded black dial phone that Nora loved for its old-fashioned rebelliousness.

“Yeah?” Nora’s voice was hoarse from lack of sleep. Karen’s appetite for Nora was insatiable. Nora shrugged off the sweaty t-shirt and damp cotton shorts she wore to and from Karen’s house. She never needed regular clothes there and felt it was too much bother to dress up just to go to her and come home. Underneath, she was nude.

“Nora?” the voice was crackly and scared and chillingly familiar. Michelle.

“What the hell do you want?

“Nora, I’m sorry to call so late…to call at all-“ static blocked her voice.

“Yeah, you have some nerve.” Nora wanted a cigarette badly. She needed to suck one to ash in two seconds flat. She made it out of Karen’s clutch without one and now, Nora had to have that dry hot taste to return her to herself. Sex took it out of her in a way that only cigarettes could restore. Plus, she needed to be soothed for this conversation. She spied a pack across the room. “Hold on!” she barked as she put the phone down and dove for the pack. She crumpled it and moaned. Empty. She smelled her hands with Karen’s ripeness coating them. She licked her lips. She picked up her wadded shorts, now a wilted pile of color and checked the pockets. Nothing. After years without, Nora needed a shot. A shot of something. Maybe tequila. She also needed a shower and some sleep. She needed a wife to come in and clean up this place and maybe do some laundry and ironing. She padded back to the phone wearily.

“-need you!” Michelle pleaded when Nora returned.

“I can’t help you no matter what you need,” Nora told her recent ex acidly. Nora found some wooden matches, her preferred method of lighting cigarettes and flicked one after another with her thumbnail. She felt the tiny fire was comforting, as if she were about to have a cigarette. Like the promise of foreplay. The flaming match told her that there would be eventual satisfaction. Was it possible to get a sudden ulcer? Maybe she should go back to Karen’s where there was beer to smooth this sudden craving, plenty of hot water, clean towels and sheets, all the cigarettes she could smoke, and of course, Karen. Karen’s cool, cocoa arms around her all night.

Static. “-please!” Static. Nora angrily banged the receiver against the table, taking mean pleasure in possibly hurting Michelle’s ears. She flicked more matches, savoring the smell.

“After these few months, don’t you have someone else to call?” Nora demanded.

“It has to be you. Only you can help. I need you to—“ static.

“What? What do you need?” Nora scraped one calf with her other big toe.

Crackling and hissing. “—trouble. Bad.”

“What sort of trouble?” Nora was perversely enjoying this drama, so it never occurred to her to get Michelle to call back for a clearer connection. The more inconvenienced Michelle was, the better Nora felt. After all, Michelle was with someone else and living in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Nora was in Los Angeles, completely free and not obligated to lift a finger to save Michelle from her persistent destructive foolishness.

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Interview:

1. How did you get started writing lesbian fiction?
I’ve always been a writer, so it was a natural transition after discovering I was Bi.
2. I write because…I can’t not write.
3. Heels or flats? I’m a total shoe whore and heel lover, but skating roller derby has forced me to wear sensible shoes that are foot-healthy.
4. What kind of characters do you most like to write about and why? I enjoy writing about gutsy, edgy people who are fearless in the world because I envy that. I am polite and well-mannered to a fault and always long to be more outspoken and candid, but one cannot keep a day job or get along with coworkers in the most backward red state in the nation without smiling, wearing pearls and keeping my views to myself.
5. Tell us a little about your new release. I don’t have one yet. I am working on a moody coming-of-age novel entitled At My Mother’s Table and another Tulsa-based murder mystery entitled Murder on the Rocks.
6. Name three things on your desk right now. Purring cat, cold Dew and computer.
7. What are some of your favorite lesbian fiction authors? Sarah Waters and Jeannette Winterson.
8. Favorite dessert? Grape popsicles.
9. Plotter or pantster? Pantster.
10. What are you working on now? An article about roller derby burnout.
11. Tell us one thing about you that most people don’t know. I am not sure how much people know or what they know; so this may or may not be news: deeply committed atheist vegetarian. Yeah, I live in Oklahoma. Try to imagine that hell for a minute.
Guest post:
Cookies and Why They Are Amazing-
Cookies are amazing because they make people happy. They are created from simple, authentic ingredients that are food for the soul. I have a dessert company, Andy’s Candies, and I make several flavors: chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip with black raspberry glaze, three kinds of oatmeal, peanut butter, lemon sugar and snickerdoodles. Making cookies gives me a deep sense of joy and accomplishment and I always have too many, so I burden the coworkers at my day job with the supply. The act of creation is the same whether it is a delicious sentence or a  sensual snickerdoodle that says everything I wish it to say. Their intention is also the same: to connect and delight others. That’s why cookies are amazing.
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“I was thirty-six when I left the big city for the Big Easy. They say New Orleans is like a woman, beautiful, deceitful and deadly. All I know is, I had to leave Los Angeles on the run and The Crescent City beckoned like a broad on her back.”  In the sequel to Femme Noir, Nora Delaney has returned to her job as a college basketball coach in Los Angeles and due to a series of lost games and constant drinking, Nora beats up a rival coach on national television and is fired. She flees to a tiny town outside New Orleans where her cousin Ellis Delaney and his wife live. They take her in and put her to work in Ellis’ pawn shop and Nora meets Cleo Sweetleaf, who becomes a mentor and a second father. While Nora takes stock of her life, her everlasting hunger for strange causes trouble from sunup to sundown. When Cleo is murdered, Nora is drawn into solving the crime to get revenge. But Nora, left beaten and bleeding in an alley, may not solve the mystery alive.

 

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Clara Nipper writes fiction and blogs-www.claranipper.org. When not writing, she makes desserts, http://www.andyscandies.biz and enlarges her certified wildlife habitat gardens. Her two murder mysteries (Femme Noir and Kiss of Noir) have been published by Bold Strokes Books and are available at their website: www.boldstrokesbooks.com and on Amazon.com. She is a contributor to local publications: This Land Press www.thilsandpress.com and the Tulsa Voice. Clara also skates for Tulsa Derby League under the derby name Cat Owta Hell. With two Rollercons, countless clinics and boot camps under her jamming belt, it is safe to say it’s derby until death for this Jammer Assassin. Outside the rink, she has had roller derby articles published in Five on Five Magazine-www.fiveonfivemag.com, Hit and Miss Magazine-www.hitandmissmagazine.com.au/, USARS Magazine, Lead Jammer Magazine- http://www.leadjammermag.com, Blood and Thunder and Derbylife.com. Currently, her works in progress are two coming of age novels and another Tulsa-based murder mystery entitled, Murder on the Rocks. Find Clara at her website, on Facebook, Twitter (@mindybendy), Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Linked In, Amazon Author Pages, Good Reads, Derby Social, Word Press and at the farmer’s market.

www.claranipper.org, www.catowtahell.com, http://www.andyscandies.

Facebook.com/clara.nipper and facebook.com/pages/cat-owta-hell

Twitter: @mindybendy, Good Reads: claranipper

Instagram: claranipper, Pinterest: pinterest.com/catowtahell/

Tumblr: Catowtahell, Linked In: Clara Nipper

Derby Social: Cat Owta Hell, WordPress.com: Clara Nipper

Amazon Author Pages: amazon.com/claranipper, amazon.com/author/www.claranipper.org

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Broken in Soft Places: An Interview with Fiona Zedde

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“Love, Memory, and the Trouble with Threesomes”

 

When I started my novel, Broken in Soft Places, I was in the middle of a renewed love affair. There is nothing else like that feeling of falling in love with the same person for the second time. Things that had irritated me in the past about my old, and now new, lover had faded with memory and the passage of time; her breaths were sweet to me again, our lovemaking more adventurous and tinged with the confidence of knowing what each other liked. As I fell deeper into love with her again, I wondered about the nature of memory and the ability to find something new in the old, of forgetting past hurts in order to give present delights a chance.

 

And so, I imagined another me, Sara Chambers, who in the past loved a woman so deeply that she was willing, in the present, to give that love another chance. What would that redux look like? Is it possible that love 2.0 has a chance to survive?

 

I dove into exploring Sara’s ambiguities, into the reasons she gave herself for going back to a lover who had already proven herself to be wrong for her. I continued this book even as my own rediscovered love fell apart and our couple-hood proved itself to be just as impossible as the first time.

 

In writing the book, I found no real answers to my own questions. Only a character who stubbornly resisted most of my directions, insisting on going her own way and making her own mistakes, taking her own pleasures and accepting all the consequences that came along with them. Sara Chambers is by no means perfect, but in writing her story, I found too that no love is perfect. If you’re willing to accept a flawed person for what they are, you must be consistent with that acceptance. They won’t change simply because you’ve gotten over your renewed appreciation for make-up sex in lieu of forgotten dinner plans or extravagant floral arrangements when it would have been better not to have an argument at all.

 

Of course, Sara’s affair plunges into territories that mine never did. Her story is filled with passion, betrayal, missed opportunities, and the many ways that those who claim to love us often end up being the first to wield the knife. An out lesbian, she is taken aback when her lover brings a third person into their bed and into their lives. A man.

 

In the end, I think I’ve written a pretty story. Not one with a typical Hollywood ending or even with orgasms bursting in every other chapter. Instead, Broken in Soft Places is a silken trap of a novel that tugs you into the heart of Sara, into her lover Rille, and the man who ends up being part of their lives in a very unexpected way. I hope you enjoy it.

 

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Buy links:
Amazon.com http://amzn.to/1917o1DCharis Books: http://bit.ly/1gE9khF
Social Media:
www.twitter.com/fionazedde
www.fionazedde.tumblr.com
www.fionazedde.blogspot.comwww.facebook.com/fiona.zedde

Photo credit: TEKA Photography

Book blurb:

Some mornings, Sara Chambers wakes in bed next to her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s lover wondering how she ended up there. Beautiful, successful, and a force to be reckoned with at her Atlanta law firm, Sara is still powerless in her attraction to the rebellious and reckless, Rille Thompson.

 

As college girlfriends, Sara and Rille’s relationship had been incendiary, burning away Sara’s innocence and self-respect even as it widened her world beyond her wildest imagination. Now, almost twenty years later, Rille still pushes Sara beyond her limits, bringing a third lover into their bed and domestic lives when their monogamy gets stale. The hold Rille has over Sara—and their new lover—becomes as powerful as it is dangerous. Can Sara pull herself free in time, or will her life turn to cinders in the wake of Rille’s powerful flame?

 

 

Interview:

  1.        How did you get started writing lesbian fiction/romance? – I grew up reading romances as a child- probably way too young – and always wanted to write the kind of books I had read, only featuring people like me. So, one day, someone actually took a chance on some of the mad scribblings in my notebook. My first nationally published story came out in Best Lesbian Erotica 2005.
  2.        I write because… – I love it. And I’m not good at much else.
  3.        Heels or flats? – Flats all day.
  4.        What kind of characters do you most like to write about and why? – I love to write about strong women with thorny and painful pasts. Writing them helps me to find my own strengths and conquer my weaknesses.
  5.        Tell us a little about your new release… – My new book is fantastic. You should read it!
  6.        Name three things on your desk right now. – Over roasted almonds, hand lotion, and caramel ginger candy.
  7.        What are some of your favorite lesbian fiction/romance/erotic authors? – I love Karin Kallmaker, Jewelle Gomez, and Michelle Cliff. All amazing writers.
  8.        Favorite dessert? – Jamaican rum cake.
  9.        Plotter or pantster? – Pantser. It’s much more fun that way.
  10.    What are you working on now? – Right now, I’m writing a story about a (formerly straight) runaway bride who escapes to New Orleans and ends up trying to steal her godmother’s girlfriend.
  11.    Tell us one thing about you that most people don’t know. – I like to kill bugs.

 

Book excerpt:

 

“Why can’t men be more like lesbians?”

Kendra looked at Sara as if the slender lawyer held the answer to that question and more. Sara shook her head, smiling gently.

“You’re asking the wrong one. Maybe your god would know the answer to that, darling, not me.”

Sara leaned back in her chair, letting the gentle spring breeze ruffle the skirt around her calves. The honeyed scent of blossoms from the trees surrounding the coffee shop’s terrace blended with the creamed coffee smell of their drinks. Kendra sighed and propped her chin in her palm. Her straightened hair swung heavily forward, curving around one rounded cheek.

Sara’s affair with Kendra had been a brief indulgence from the previous year, a blatant rebound after she’d walked in on Rille with a student from the university. The second forgiveness, but not the second infidelity, not by any means.  Sara glanced down at the clear glass cup of mochaccino steaming near her hand.

“Vic is acting like a total shit,” Kendra said. “I tell him about one damn girl on girl relationship and he gets hysterical, getting jealous of every girlfriend I see. Boys don’t even worry him anymore.  And in bed it’s worse, fucking insecure but acting as if it’s my fault.  It’s too bad; he used to be a great lay.”

“Before you told him about us?”

“Right.”  She sucked her teeth and smiled over at Sara.  “You look good though.”

Sara laughed. “I know.  Martyrdom must really suit me.”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

She hadn’t come here to cry on Kendra’s shoulder about the madness with Rille. It wasn’t a coincidence that she’d finally agreed to meet up with her ex-lover after weeks of avoiding Kendra’s company. Sara needed the distraction.

Last night her lover had come to bed with kisses and revelations. After the tremors of satisfaction eased, leaving Sara’s body liquid and soft, Rille leaned over her with a different kind of attentiveness. There was a boy she’d recently met. She wanted Sara to meet him. He was beautiful. Special. Sara jumped out of the bed in shock, the air cool on her naked skin, denial of Rille’s desire for someone else rising up in her throat like bile.

No, baby. No. Don’t be like that. This is not like last time, Rille said.

No. This wasn’t like the last time. Then she hadn’t told Sara about wanting someone else. When Sara found them together in Rille’s office, the girl’s face awash in worship as she knelt before a cool-faced Rille whose legs were spread as wide as the chair would allow.  That was different. This was honesty.

Sara grasped her cup and sipped the hot drink, absently licking her lips to rid them of the foam she knew had gathered there. Across from her, Kendra followed the motion with a hungry look then blushed when she noticed Sara’s eyes on her.

            There were good reasons Sara had chosen her after the short-lived breakup with Rille last year: Kendra’s commonplace good looks that were nearly opposite to Rille’s peacock-on-a-chicken-farm flamboyance. And her ability to be completely and absolutely immersed in whatever thing she was doing at the time.

Sara lightly tapped the table top with a long finger. “Honesty is overrated anyway. Maybe you shouldn’t have told him. I’ve heard that men can only handle bi-sexual girlfriends in theory.”

“You should have told me that before.” Her red mouth glistened in the sun as she pouted. ”I figure since he asked me to marry him that he deserved to know.”

“I don’t know why you think that. Have you ever thought that he hasn’t told you about everyone that he slept with?”

Kendra sighed again, this time wrinkling her nose. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” The hot coffee she’d ordered sat on the table untouched. She leaned back in her chair, flickering her eyelashes up to look at Sara. “Distract me.”

It would be easy.  She could just reach across the table and touch her hand, slide her fingers between Kendra’s and suggest a quieter place, something wetter, saltier on her palate.  But she didn’t.  She never did.  Still, her thoughts continued on the same route.  Teasing.  Familiar.

Life was simpler with Kendra: days of laughter and food and sex, the nights with more of the same.  But even with the sweat drying on her skin and Kendra tugging on her body for another round, her mind was with Rille, steeped in its misery, remembering her smell and their own after-sex rituals.  No, she hadn’t been happy with Kendra, she had been waiting.  Sara released thoughts of Kendra’s hand and smiled.

“Come on, let’s go to the park. We can sit in the swings and eat ice cream.”

Sara thought she saw a droop of disappointment to Kendra’s mouth, but was too busy gathering up her things to pay attention.

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Bio:

Jamaican-born Fiona Zedde currently lives and writes in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of several novellas and novels of lesbian love and desire, including the Lambda Literary Award finalists Bliss and Every Dark Desire. Her novel, Dangerous Pleasures, was winner of the About.com Readers’ Choice Award for Best Lesbian Novel or Memoir of 2012.

 

Writing under the name “Fiona Lewis,” she has also published a novel of young adult fiction called Dreaming in Color with Tiny Satchel Press. Find out more at www.fionazedde.com.

 

Waiting for Violins: A Visit with Justine Saracen

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How did you get started writing lesbian fiction/romance? 

Basically, I have lived deep in fiction most of my life, though I suspect that is true of most gays and lesbians. As a child, I fantasized obsessively and of course with lots of kissing, but did it in chapters and dialog. It seems I was waiting for the universe to provide me a way to realize them in a formal way. That way was the Internet. I wrote fan fiction under the name of Elaine Sutherland for a couple of years, and then, when gay and lesbian presses came into existence, voila, I was ready.

We all know that fiction is more fun than real life. To be sure, my real life has been fun-filled enough. I’ve been in love, traveled abroad, learned a couple of foreign languages, gone scuba diving, swum with dolphins, etc. But I’ve spent more time working at a job, doing laundry/ shopping/dishes, parking the car, enduring the flu, cleaning the cat box, walking the dog etc.

In fiction, you cram all the high points together and leave out the drudgery. It’s way better than drugs.

What kind of characters do you most like to write about and why?

I write historical thrillers with a actual historical persons and LGBT characters moving around them. I’ve written about biblical times, ancient Egyptians, the Crusades, the Renaissance (Rome and Venice) and a great deal about World War II. In principle, I want to re-visit those events that we use to define ourselves, but ensure that the gays and lesbians, who were surely there, are visible. In the novel Sistine Heresy, it was easy because Michelangelo was almost certainly gay himself, so all I had to do was add a couple of lesbians (and painting, and ecclesiastical sex and torture) and I had my story. It took a bit more imagination to add us to the Crusades.

It’s also gratifying to try to get into the heads of great historical people, to try to imagine what was going on in the mind of Michelangelo, a Borgia pope, an Egyptian pharaoh, a Venetian Inquisitor, a disciple of Jesus, a secretary of Josef Goebbels, a soldier at Stalingrad, a fighter in the Résistance. You get to live a hundred lives (and fly planes, parachute into enemy territory, commit murder, torture heretics, visit the underworld, witness Hitler’s suicide, and have any kind of sex with anyone you want.) Did I mention the sex?

Tell us a little about your new release… 

Waiting for the Violins (March 2014) is the third of my World War Two novels and the most historical. When I moved to Brussels from New York a few years ago, I met so many people who had been touched by it. My best friend’s aunt (after whom she was named) was in the Résistance in the Ardennes and was killed by a sniper the day the Allies arrived. My friend brought me to see her grave and monument. Another elderly friend told of being surrendered at the age of three to a Catholic family by Jewish parents who perished at Auschwitz. We made a trip together to a concentration camp outside of Brussels. Deeply impressed by those accounts, I decided to weave them into a novel for which this is the plot summary.

Antonia Forrester, an English nurse, is nearly killed while trying to save soldiers fleeing at Dunkirk. Embittered, she returns to occupied Brussels as a British spy to foment resistance to the Nazis. She works with urban partisans who sabotage deportation efforts and execute collaborators, before résistante leader Sandrine Toussaint accepts her into the Comet Line, an operation to rescue downed Allied pilots. After capture and then escape from a deportation train headed for Auschwitz, the women join the Maquis fighting in the Ardenne Forest. Passion is the glowing ember that warms them amidst the winter carnage until London radio transmits the news they’ve waited for. Huddled in the darkness, they hear the coded message, “the long sobs of the violins” signaling that the Allied Invasion is about to begin.

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Name three things on your desk right now.

I write on my sofa, not at a desk. And surrounding me right now are a chaotic scattering of books for research and reference, a plate of crumbs and drying cheese left over from breakfast, and a sleeping dachshund desperately in need of a bath. (Oh, dear. I must give the impression of being a terrible housekeeper.)

What are some of your favorite lesbian fiction/romance/erotic authors?

– Sarah Waters, because she is so good at surprising the reader.

– Jane Rule   Until she died, I checked every month to see if she had published anything new.

– Jane Wagner, better known as Lily Tomlin’s wife. She wrote all the material for Lily’s Broadway show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life, the screenplay for The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and a bunch more of Lily’s material. A real wit, this woman.

None of these women can be considered romance or erotic authors, but there is such a powerful and intelligent lesbian sentiment behind their writing that it makes me want to belong to them.

Favorite dessert?

Duh. Chocolate, of course.  I live in Belgium.

(Lucky!!!)

Plotter or pantster?

I am always puzzled by this dichotomy since I don’t think anyone can write a whole novel without having some overall plot arc in mind, otherwise they just meander aimlessly. It’s only a question of how much detail you have in the outline in your head. Myself, I like to know where my characters are going in advance and what kind of trouble they’re going to get into. The creative part is filling in the details and dialogs and threading motifs through the story. A historical fiction writer is also bound by the actual historical chronology. Unless you’re writing paranormal or steampunk, you can’t have your heroines make love in a building that was bombed a year ago, or visit a temple that hasn’t been built yet, or be interrupted by someone who was dead for a century.

What are you working on now?

I’m so glad you asked. “The Witch of Stalingrad” is about a female pilot in the Soviet Air Force in World War Two. It’s based on Lilya Litviak, a beautiful young fighter pilot who shot down a lot of German planes and looked like Jennifer Saunders. I’m quite smitten with her, which I suppose is rather inappropriate because a) she was much too young for me, and b) she’s…well….dead. She was shot down herself at the age of 21. The other heroine is an American journalist based on the figure of Margaret Bourke-White, also a very interesting lady who was in Moscow (photographing Stalin) the day the Germans invaded. This manuscript has me in its grip, although research has been a challenge. So much of the biographic material on Litviak is in Russian. But to inspire myself, I bought a gymnasterka, one of those tunics belted at the waist that all the Soviet soldiers and aviators wore, and some fake medals. Now I dream of flying planes. This is due, in no small measure, to Julie Tizard, a pilot friend who suggested the subject in the first place and who has given me an unhealthy desire to get into small planes.

Let me end this interview by thanking Lesfic and Lipstick for inviting me to show off a little. Every lesfic blog and website and Facebook page keeps the ideas (the gay agenda??) circulating and all of you are part of the ‘show.’ Those of us who perch – or wallow on our sofas – for endless hours in front of our screens making stuff up really depend on your presence and interest. If you were here, I’d buy you some fantastic chocolate. Bisous from Brussels.

Link to Bold Strokes Books for purchases:

http://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/Author-Justine-Saracen.html

Saracen Portrait

About the author:

A recovered academic, Justine Saracen started out producing dreary theses, dissertations and articles for esoteric literary journals. Writing fiction, it turned out, was way more fun.  With seven historical thrillers now under her literary belt, she has moved from Ancient Egyptian theology (The 100th Generation) to the Crusades (2007 Lammy-nominated Vulture’s Kiss) to the Roman Renaissance.

Sistine Heresy, which conjures up a thoroughly blasphemic backstory to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes, won a 2009 Independent Publisher’s Award (IPPY) and was a finalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year Award.

A few centuries farther along, WWII thriller Mephisto Aria, was a finalist in the EPIC award competition, won Rainbow awards for Best Historical Novel and Best Writing Style, and took the 2011 Golden Crown first prize for best historical novel.

The Eddie Izzard inspired novel, Sarah, Son of God followed soon after. In the story within a story, a transgendered beauty takes us through Stonewall-rioting New York, Venice under the Inquisition, and Nero’s Rome. The novel won the Rainbow First Prize for Best Transgendered Novel.

Her second WWII thriller Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright, which follows the lives of four homosexuals during the Third Reich, won the 2012 Rainbow First Prize for Historical Novel. Having lived in Germany and taught courses on 20th Century German history, Justine is deeply engaged in the moral issues of the ‘urge to war’ and the ease with which it infects.

Beloved Gomorrah, (2013) marked a return to her critique of Bible myths – in this case an LGBT version of Sodom and Gomorrah — though it also involves a lot of Red Sea diving and the dangerous allure of a certain Hollywood actress.

Saracen lives on a “charming little winding street in Brussels.” Being an adopted European has brought her close to the memories of WWII and engendered a sort of obsession with the war years. Waiting for the Violins, appearing in March 2014, tells of an English nurse, nearly killed while fleeing Dunkirk, who returns by night parachute as a British spy and joins forces with the Belgian resistance.

When dwelling in reality, Justine’s favorite pursuits are scuba diving and listening to opera. She can be reached by way of www.justinsaracen.com, through FB justinesaracen, and at Twitter as JustSaracen.

Thank you Justine for coming on the blog today. I am looking forward to reading your new book!