For the next couple of weeks a new Bywater author will be appearing on my blog every few days. Bywater publish Parallel Lies and Mouths of Babes in the US.
Georgia Beers Georgia has a Lambda Literary Award and a Golden Crown Literary Society Award to her name, and is one of the best-selling authors of lesbian romance in the US. Here’s her replies to some nosy questions from me:
Q: You’re at a party and someone you don’t know asks you what you do. What’s your answer?
A: I’ve only recently (within the past year or two) become comfortable enough to say aloud to a stranger, “I’m a writer.” Before that, I always used to mention my office job, and my partner would roll her eyes and tell the person that I’m a writer. I’m not sure what changed, but it’s taken nearly ten years for me to embrace what I truly am.
Q: Where do you work? (office/den/study/shed/sofa/kitchen table?)
A: I’ve just converted our finished attic into what I’m calling a “writing studio” and it’s wonderful. The space is all mine. In the past, my writing space has always doubled as something else (guest room, bill-paying area, etc.), but this is all mine. I’ve got my desk and computer, my books, an exercise bike, a punching bag, lots of light, and room for my dog and cat. It oozes creativity and I love it.
Q: Lesbian writer or writer who is also lesbian?
A: A little of both, I think.
Q: What did you want to be when you were 6? 16? 26?
A: When I was 6, I wanted to be an actress. Which is ridiculous because I’m a total introvert and don’t want to be around a bunch of people. When I was 16, I wanted to work in television. Which is ridiculous because I’m an introvert and don’t want to be around a bunch of people. By the time I was 26, I think the idea of being a writer was starting to formulate as a real possibility in my head, but it’d be another 4 years before I actually got off my duff and wrote a full-length novel.
Q: What will you be doing when you’re 86?
A: Still writing. But hopefully, not about 86 years-olds having sex.
Q: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever heard or given? And the worst?
A: The best advice I ever got came from my partner, believe it or not. I was in my late twenties and I’d just finished reading a lesbian novel that was just awful. I closed it and said out loud, “God, I could have written a better book.” And Bonnie looked at me seriously and said, “Okay. What’s the difference between you and that author?” I grinned kind of sheepishly and said, “She actually wrote a book?” Bonnie said, “Exactly. Now quit complaining and do something about it.” So I did.
The worst advice I got was when I took a writing class and the teacher said to force yourself to write at least once a day. I tried that and it made me miserable and the quality of my writing tanked. That may work for some people, but I learned that I can’t force it. It’ll come when it wants to and not a second sooner, no matter what I do.
Q: Writing in silence or work to music? And if the latter, what music?
A: I know so many writers who use all sorts of different musical soundtracks when they write, giving different music to different characters. I can’t. I find it much too distracting. Instead of writing, I’d be thinking about the song lyrics. I’d rather have quiet.
Q: Who do you miss?
A: Oh, my Aunt Joyce. Without a doubt. She’s the first person in my family I ever came out to. She was hugely supportive of my writing, had all my books. She knew me inside and out and better yet, she knew my mother inside and out, so whenever I was having some kind of crisis, I could go to her and she’d help me see things clearly. I always told her she should have been a therapist. She passed away in September of 2009 and there are still days when I want to call her and share something with her or ask her opinion.
Q: What don’t you miss?
A: My old sales job. I did okay at it, but word to the wise: sales is not an ideal career choice for somebody who’d rather be working alone.
Q: Advice to your sixteen-year-old self?
A: You’re okay. Stop worrying. Stop stressing over stupid things. You’re a good person and you’ll be fine.
Q: And finally?
A: Thanks so much for these interesting, fun questions and for having me on your blog! I’m honored.