Disney Dykes and Bourbon Street Boys: Authors Lisa Girolami and Greg Herren

Authors Lisa Girolami and Greg Herren sit down to chat about writing queer novels, indie publishers, and the search for Beaver Pond.

BY Advocate.com Editors

June 21 2012 4:00 AM ET

FUGITIVES OF LOVE MURDER IN THE IRISH CHANNEL X400 | ADVOCATE.COMGirolami:  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.

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