In my writing career, I have experimented with almost every sub-genre of romance, though many of those manuscripts live in the dank basement that is my backup hard drive. Of all those stories, only one has ever followed me into vivid dreams, and that was “Violet,” my lesbian romance that eventually found a home at Siren Publishing.
Elise Brockmann is on a cross-country pilgrimage to honor her beloved late grandmother when she is struck with a startling realization: she hates her monotonous, monochromatic life, and she has no idea how to change it.
Violet Cortina, a local artist, becomes Elise’s guide and lover. Sparks fly from their first meeting, and their relationship blossoms as Elise rediscovers her passion for life. Violet appears to have her life in order, but she’s keeping a dark secret—her house is overflowing with her family’s hand-me-down possessions.
Though hurt by Violet’s reticence, Elise insists on helping Violet, and together they clean out the beautiful home that reminds Elise of the stable family life she longs for. It is only when Elise is forced to take a hard look at her life—and sees how far Violet is willing to go to keep her—that she exchanges her grandmother’s journey for her own: loving Violet.
Before publishing this novella, I knew that F/F was a tough sell both to publishers and to readers. But this was truly a story of the heart–Elise and Violet clamored in my head until I wrote it all out. So what was it about women falling in love that was so compelling?
1. Love is love is love: This one is easy enough. I’m a fan of romance–not of a specific genre. When I read, yes I want sex so hot it burns my fingers, but I want to see two people fall in love and make their (healthy and consensual) relationship happen despite the odds.
2. I wanted to explore the dynamics of a more power-balanced relationship: In BDSM romance–hell, any romance with an Alpha male–there’s an exchange of power between the hero and heroine. In this particular pairing, Elise and Violet have a more equal distribution of power. Even though Violet has far more experience, which is usually a source of relationship imbalance, she is a nurturing tutor for Elise.
3. I enjoy pushing sexual limits: BDSM (another genre I write) makes many readers uncomfortable–wonderfully so–because it is a taboo topic. Lesbian romance hits at the same fascinated-aroused-confused part of many reader brains, and I love expanding comfort with sexuality, of all permutations, through my writing. I firmly believe we’re too uptight about sex and even if girl-on-girl isn’t your cup of sexy tea, consensual expressions of love shouldn’t be deemed “icky” just because they’re between two men or two women.
4. Lesbian romance normalizes lady love: Aside from F/F romance, our culture has few examples in the media of lesbians. At one extreme, we have the “porn portrayal” of women who get down and dirty with other women. Love never factors into the equation. Along the rest of the spectrum we have different labels for lesbian romances, with varying degrees of acceptability, from “butch” to “lipstick lesbian.” Well screw that. Anytime we slap labels on a relationship, we’re reducing something complex to a single set of words. Lesbian romance isn’t about stereotypes; it’s about showing the building relationship–and yes, the hot sex–between two women. And anything that breaks down or circumvents stereotypes gets a gold star from me.
5. Women are soft and beautiful: Let’s be honest–sometimes I get tired of writing about how hard and well-muscled Alpha heroes are. I love a good Dom as much as the next kinky gal, but variety keeps life interesting. Women can be muscular, yes, but they can also be soft and curvy. Women are beautiful–goddesses, paragons of beauty, muses for men over the centuries, and all that from a purely aesthetic point of view. Women kiss differently, they make love differently, they speak and relate and engage differently. It activates a different set of creative skills to craft a relationship between two female characters, and it’s a lovely challenge to meet.
Skylar Kade, self-avowed hedonist and princess extraordinaire, started her writing career after throwing aside yet another romance she could not bring herself to finish. The run-on sentences! The purple prose! Oh, the horror of it was just too much. So she sat down to write her own tale. Her favorite part about writing is the extensive research. She spends her time in Southern California asking the cabana boys to bring her more mimosas and feed her strawberries while she dreams up her next naughty adventure. You can read excerpts of her books, keep up with new releases, and learn more at her website. Skylar blogs at the SkylarVerse and with the Nine Naughty Novelists. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.