Good afternoon friends and fans. It is so good to see you. Today I have Lesfic author Kat Fletcher, author of "Seven Minutes in Heaven" here to chat with us about her book as well as what is going on in her life. If you haven't read this book, you are in for a real treat. She is amazing!
"In Provincetown, it seemed perfectly natural to snap pictures in the little town center. People came to be seen. The same sex couples, gleefully expressing their affection openly for each other. The entertainers, busking in front of the town hall. The occasional straight couple, clinging to each other in desperate displays of public affection, lest someone think them part of the local flora and fauna. It was as if the entire town center was part of some grand public performance."
Kat Fletcher. "Seven Minutes in Heaven"
What is “Seven Minutes in Heaven” about?
It’s about two people falling in love. A shocker for a romance, I know! Ok, more seriously, it’s about second chances in both the romantic and life sense. It’s about fears. Mostly it’s about living your own life, not someone else’s idea of what your life should be. It’s easy to read this as just being about Megan, the main character, coming to trips with being gay, but it’s as much about lifestyle as sexual orientation. She’s someone who’s really been pushed into this kind of life that doesn’t suit her: the whole corporate, political, moneyed respectability thing.
What or who inspired you to write “Seven Minutes in Heaven?”
I wrote a little about this on my blog. Obviously, Cape Cod has been a resort area for decades and there are all these vacation homes, some of which have been in families for generations. One of the things that happens is these vacation houses tend to end up as a place for families to stash family members who are in difficult points in their lives. I use that word “stash” really intentionally. It’s always a woman and it’s often this kind of a victim blaming sort of thing where the attitude is “well you weren’t able to please your man or keep your job or get over this illness, so I guess you can live in the vacation home.” Living on Cape is not the same as vacationing here and they’re often left very much at odds and ends as to how to navigate life here, much less where to go with their lives.
I wanted to write about one of these women and that’s where Megan comes from. I also wanted to give people a little taste of this other world of Cape during the off season and to introduce the people who live here and actually have to work for a living. It’s really important that when Andi first takes Megan to lunch, it’s a tourist place, but they’re going in through the back door. They’re eating something that’s not really on the menu.
What was the deciding factor for your book title? Did it just come to you or did you try different ones?
Once I came up with the idea of the two characters getting forced into a round of “Seven Minutes in Heaven” back when they were teenagers, it became the title. I thought it was catchy and I liked that it referred to something that happens in the book in the literal sense as well as the metaphorical. I tossed around the idea of “The Summer House” or “Exile on Cape Cod” but they didn’t seem to have that same hook.
What traits were you looking for when you were creating the main character for this story?
I never really thought about Megan. It’s a cliché for someone’s first book, but there’s a whole lot of me in her and she was pretty much fully featured from the first line on the page. She’s someone who has what most people would think was a terrible thing happen to her, but it turns out to be this great chance to improve her life and somewhere deep inside she knows that.
Andi, on the other hand, was someone that really evolved as I was writing. She started out as more of a two dimensional love interest. The competent headstrong somewhat butch woman who kind of existed only to be Megan’s Sherpa guide through her journey into personal independence and embracing her sexual orientation. Andi wasn’t satisfied with that though. She grew through the story and to me is the far more interesting character.
She’s a real Cape Cod type in a lot of ways. She’s got a degree, but she works as a landscaper. It’s only referenced in a single line in the epilogue, but on paper she’s actually rich, but it’s all tied up in real estate she doesn’t want to sell, so she juggles all these odd jobs to make ends meet. She is incredibly smart and able, but she knows somewhere that Cape Cod is a small pool and has some self-doubt about whether she could make it “over the bridge.”
What inspired you to set the story in the Cape?
The big reason I wanted to write about Cape is that I live here. There are a lot of books set on Cape and I was happy to put something out there that gets the details right because there’s a lot of books that don’t. Sometimes I’ll kind of smirk. Sometimes I’ll just get offended that someone hasn’t even done even the most basic research. I remember one set in Provincetown, which is known for being gay friendly, and there’s tall office buildings and a highway and all that. In reality, Provincetown is this teeny fishing village with tiny narrow streets and mostly old 19th century wood buildings. It was just so absurd that I couldn’t read it.
In general, I think Cape is a good place for a romance. Whether you’re here for vacation or you live here, the fact that we’re separated from the mainland of Massachusetts by a canal makes it this different world than “over the bridge” and I think being set away and separate from the everyday world helps create this liminal mental place where people can believably fall in love and change in a relatively short time.
Me: I certainly felt like I was on the Cape walking along the beach, totally in the moment as I was reading.
Did you do any types of writing while you were in school? If so did you receive any awards or recognition for your work?
My article in the high school magazine about the religious right was considered too incendiary and the administration ordered the editors to remove it. Does that count as recognition?
More seriously, I have and really still have an enormous lack of confidence in my ability to write fiction. For most of my life, I would write a page and ball it up and throw it away and feel bad about myself for a week. On the non-fiction, you couldn’t shut me up. I wrote movie, book, and game reviews. I wrote for SFF and gaming zines in high school. I was the editor of a short lived Neo-Pagan zine in the early 90s. I’ve had an article published on the genetics of pet gerbil coloring and patterning. Then there’s the internet. You ever go on a message board and there’s someone who has thousands of posts and you wonder how they could write that much? I’m one of them. On more than one board. I’m probably the only person who can write 10,000 words while procrastinating from writing.
Was there anyone, in your life who was an inspiration for you to write? If so what did they do?
How I overcame my fear of writing fiction is kind of funny and maybe a bit odd. There was this Ask/Tell on an internet message board—one of these things where someone with a weird hobby or profession lets you pick their brain. The subject was something like “I quit my job this year to write erotica full time.”
She talked about indie publishing and how to get your book ready for Amazon, where to get cover stock and how to make covers. What was great is she made it sound so easy. She said one thing that really changed my attitude towards writing. “No matter how bad you think your writing is, there is always someone worse than you and people are buying and enjoying their books.”
The other person that deserves some credit is another lesbian romance author, Michele Rivera. She messaged me thanking me for a review and we struck up a chat through Goodreads and she read Seven Minutes and my other work chapter by chapter as it was being written and I don’t think I’d have gotten very far without her encouragement and feedback.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Can you elaborate on what has worked for you?
I think mostly I want to hide from my readers. I just read one of my favorite writers talking about butterflies before a reading and just thinking about doing a reading made me start to feel dizzy. I love writing and I love publishing, but when it comes to thinking about someone actually reading my work? It is so intimidating and I turn into a quivering mess! Will they like it? Hate it? Will they care? Will they track me down in the street and demand their $2.99 back? It’s all so personal!
I guess I just want to thank everyone who’s read the book for taking a chance on a new author and I just hope you enjoyed the book.
Which other authors do you follow?
Rhavensfyre, Eliza Lentzski, Siera Maley, Michelle Reynolds, and Michele Rivera are all indie lesbian romance writers who I will buy and read the moment their books come out. I’m really fond of young adult and enjoy Julie Anne Peters a great deal, unless I don’t. Honestly, I’ve been binge reading with Kindle Unlimited and if its lesbian romance and on KU, I’ve probably read it.
I also read straight romance and there Julia Kent and Melanie Marchande, who both have an amazing sense of humor. I like Brenna Aubrey because she writes about geeks and gamers. On the subject of nerdly pursuits, I used to read so much science fiction and fantasy, but I’ve drifted away from it. I do enjoy Hugh Howey and John Scalzi though. I love the Game of Thrones TV series, but for whatever reason I simply cannot read George RR Martin’s prose. Recently I’ve started going through Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series and am absolutely loving them. The contrast between a medieval society and a spacefaring one reminds me of Darkover, which holds a very special place in my heart because the Free Amazons were my first exposure to the lesbian world.
Have you ever tried vegan cuisine? If so, what are your fave dishes and why?
Cooking and food are my passions. I still consider cooking to be where I really express my artistic self. I hope I get there someday with writing, but for now I feel like I’m still quite the beginner and it’s still really hard work.
For vegan food, I lean towards ethnic dishes that are vegan by nature. In terms of dishes we have as part of our regular rotation of meals? We’ll do curried chick peas over rice. There’s a great lentil dish from the Veganomicon with crispy caramelized onions that I love. This interview has reminded me I haven’t made it in a while! I think our go to Asian noodle soup is actually vegan, though I never really thought about it being a vegan dish. It’s basically ramen for people who aren’t living in a dorm. You build a stock with caramelized diced green onions, garlic, ginger, and diced shitake mushrooms then add water or vegetable stock. I’ll use dried mushrooms and then use some of the soaking water as a stock. It’s kind of amazing how well it comes together for a soup that only takes a half hour. You pour it over fresh ramen or we can’t get real ramen so we use some kind of “Chinese Noodles” that are your generic thick-ish wheat noodles. Sprinkle some green onions on top. I think it’s all the dried mushrooms ramping up the umami that really carries the dish. Then going old school, the Moosewood ratatouille recipe is a favourite and something we have regularly, but it’s hard for me to think of anything involving eggplant that I don’t love.
What has been your favorite part of being an author? The least fave?
Most favorite has to be reading reviews from people who’ve enjoyed the book. Also, I’m sort of the ultimate e-book adopter. I haven’t read a single print book since I got a Kindle 2 in 2009, but when I got the first proof copy of the paperback and held it in my hands? That was pretty amazing and I really didn’t expect it to be because my personal reading is so wrapped around e-books.
The least favorite right now is worrying about the next book. At this point, Seven Minutes has had a couple of thousand people read or borrow it and hopefully, they’re waiting for something new from me. So I feel a lot of pressure to write and finish up the thing I’m working on right now. I said this earlier, but even with how successful the book has been and all the great ratings, I still have a real lack of confidence and that makes writing difficult because I’m constantly second guessing myself.
What was the last movie (theatre or dvd) you saw? Would you recommend it?
The last movie we saw for the first time was “My Neighbor Totoro” which was ostensibly for our daughter, but I’d recommend it unconditionally to adults as well. Miyazaki really is a genius. It gets across the viewpoint of being a child better than anything I can think of in any sort of media. It’s just such a beautiful film. The last movie I saw in the movie theatre was “Guardians of the Galaxy” which I loved. I guess that was over six months ago.
What is in the works next for you? If you can’t share, I totally understand and respect this.
My next book is tentatively titled “Our Demented Play Date” and I’m about halfway through the first draft. It’s about Sarah. She’s 17 and gay, but sort of not dealing with it. She lives in a small town and everyone is pretty tolerant, but coming out just seems like such a lot of trouble. She figures she’ll wait until college and figure things out then. Her parents are dragging her on a family vacation to Cape Cod and she hates the idea because the last time they went to Cape she was utterly bored to death, but trying to be helpful, they reassure her that she won’t be bored this time because she’s going to hang out with the daughter of her father’s law partner. She’s seventeen, so of course that’s even worse than being alone. She’s almost an adult and resents her parents trying to set her up with some kind of “demented play date.” That all changes when she meets the girl. Rach is out of the closet, smart, witty, and alt-girl gorgeous. You can probably figure out the rest, but I hope there will be a few unexpected turns.
Wow. I am certainly impressed, Kat. You have me excited about your new book! I want to thank you for stopping by today. It certain was a pleasure. And I plan to try your Asian Noodle Soup recipe. Thanks for sharing it. This would be a great group conversation.
I want to thank all of you for joining us today. Stay tuned for my review of “Seven Minutes in Heaven.” In the meanwhile, here is the link for the book, which I highly recommend:
Don’t forget to check out Kat’s links for more exciting news and updates:
Lynn Lawler's Twitter
Lynn Lawler's Website
Until Next Time,
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Lynn Lawler's Website
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