Disney Dykes and Bourbon Street Boys: Authors Lisa Girolami and Greg Herren
BY Advocate.com Editors
June 21 2012 3:00 AM ET
Girolami: I’d call that a great day. It’s funny that most authors I know are fairly gregarious, which is such a paradox given that the job of writing is such a solitary endeavor that takes hours, weeks, and months per novel. When I see my fellow authors I’m reminded of a cloistered convent where, one day a week, they are allowed to talk, and it’s a cacophony of cackle. Wow, I just compared gays and lesbians to nuns. Did I just hear thunder? So I’m curious, Greg, if you could have written an existing novel or film screenplay, which one would it be and why?
Herren: Wow, I’ve never been asked that before. Since William Goldman wrote the book and the screenplay for the movie, I am going to say The Princess Bride — that way I can claim both. What about you, Lisa? And what made you decide to write lesbian romances?
Girolami: The simple answer is that I wanted to read stories about women loving women and there weren’t many available when I was younger. I read Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle in 1973 and The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall around the same time, but I was starved for more. Libraries didn’t have a gay section then and there was no Internet, so I felt like I was on an island. So I began to write stories that I’d want to read. Along the way, I discovered Naiad and my library and happiness at finding lesbian books grew. I finished writing my first full-length novel in 1984, but that one is still on my shelf. Eventually, I had another four written and sent one off to Bold Strokes Books. I went under contract shortly thereafter and it’s been a fantastic experience ever since. And now I get emails from people saying the same things I was crying out many years ago: “I’m so happy to have found your book.” “Now I know there are people like me out there and I don’t feel so alone.” That’s the best reward for writing I could ever imagine. And you? What made you decide to write lesbian novels? Just kidding — gay novels?
Herren: I’ve considered writing lesbian novels, actually. I don’t know that writing about gay characters was a conscious decision for me. I think it was more that it was easier for me to write about gay men in the beginning since I was one. I do know that I was really surprised to find that there was little to no gay male fiction set in New Orleans — the city has been written about in almost exhaustive detail, but there was none from an actual gay male perspective. So I tried to fill that void. Nothing pleases me more than hearing that I get New Orleans right or when someone tells me they read one of my books and it made them feel like they were here.