by Connie Ward
What made you decide to become a fiction writer?
I don’t know that it was a choice. I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Then one day a friend from work told me about her writers’ group and the novels she’d written. That moment was a catalyst for me. I suddenly felt very silly about not writing, like I couldn’t think of a single good reason why I hadn’t already done it. And then I started writing.
What type of stories do you write? And why?
That seems like it should be such a simple question to answer…
I write lesbian romance. Sometimes suspense. Sometimes erotica. Always lesbian.
Why? Because lesbians kick ass. Clearly.
What do your family/friends think about your writing?
Most of them haven’t read any of my books. Or if they have, I don’t know about it. That’s my doing, not theirs, by the way. I just can’t imagine being able to have a normal conversation with my mother-in-law after she’s read a sex scene that I’ve written.
That said, they all think it’s cool. For sure. How many are lucky enough to write books AND have them published? That’s totally badass. My family and friends are suitably impressed. :)
Where do you get your ideas?
I have no idea. Everywhere? Life? I think about characters I would like to know, and then it all just sort of goes from there.
How do you write; do you plan everything out or just write?
I have a vague idea how it’s supposed to go. I know the beginning and the ending. The stuff in the middle unfolds as I go.
What makes Uncommon Romance special to you?
That question makes me laugh. For those who haven’t read Uncommon Romance, or know what it’s about, let me offer a little background. Uncommon Romance is a collection of three erotic novellas. It’s by far the smuttiest thing I’ve written, and it was a blast.
But it still makes me giggle to think of it in the context of why it’s special to me. I’m enough of a prude (my mother’s influence) to turn into a fourteen-year-old, incapable of doing anything but blush when thinking about how incredibly dirty it is.
Is it special to me? Sure. It was empowering to write these incredibly graphic scenes about women claiming their sexual power.
Also, Uncommon Romance was a total experiment for me. It’s my first release that’s straight-up lesbian erotica, not romance with erotic elements. Also, it’s a collection of three novellas, rather than one longer story. If I do another erotica release, I think it’ll follow this format again. I like the tight density of a novella. It packs a really solid punch without getting tedious.
How much of yourself and the people you know are in your characters?
I don’t model my characters after people I know, for the most part. I do grab certain characteristics that I like and give them to my characters, but I’m not sure that’s the same thing. I don’t have a single character who, as a whole, could be claimed as a tribute to a living person.
Let me explain. My mom was very conservative, yet one of her staple beliefs was that you treat people with love and respect, no matter what. She believed that people have the right to choose their own path. And it wasn’t her job to act as judge for those decisions. So, even though we were at odds about a lot of things, we were also able to maintain a close and loving relationship.
The moms in “Love and Devotion,” “Split the Aces,” and “Chaps” all share that in common. They treat their children with love and deference and don’t try to live their lives for them. But none of those moms would ever be mistaken for my mom. Ever. They share that one characteristic, but everything else is different.
Which gay/lesbian authors inspired you the most? Do you have a favorite book of this author(s)?
Wow. So many. Cate Culpepper, Gill McKnight, Yvonne Heidt, Andi Marquette, Lynette Mae, Ashley Bartlett… The list goes on.
The important thing I want to illustrate here is that every one of those women writes in a way that touches me. But more than that, they also have done so much to support me as a writer and to support lesbian fiction as a community.
Do you have any suggestions for new writers?
Find a good writing group. Participate. LISTEN.
When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
A perfect day involves time on my bike. I’m not in great shape, but riding my bicycle makes me feel like I can do anything.
Which is the favorite of the books/stories you’ve written and why?
Wow. That is such a tough question because everything I’ve written was incredibly important and filled a specific need when I wrote it. Objectively, though, Love and Devotion is my favorite right now. I expect that will change in the next ten minutes.
I wrote that book after taking a two-year hiatus from writing. I lost my mom, and it took me that long to get to a place where I could even think beyond the grief of that loss. Writing that book meant that I was healing. And I’m really proud of the results.