Lesfic Book Club: Mergers & Acquisitions

For our July meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed AE Radley’s novel, Mergers & Acquisitions. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

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A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc

A.E. Radley

Hi @Reader 1! Hi everyone

Reader 2

welcome!

Reader 1

so excited your here with us!

READER 3

Hey there

A.E. Radley

I’m excited to be here!

Reader 4

hello!!

Reader 5

Welcome!

Reader 1

I love your writing…as we all know. I followed you when you were writing fanfiction. your books are even more enjoyable

A.E. Radley

Aww thanks @Reader 1 I really appreciate you saying that!

Reader 6

Where did you get your inspiration from to enable you to write M & A?

A.E. Radley

M&A was originally a fan fiction piece, I’m sure some of you will recognise some of the characteristics of the characters. I’d previously written some Devil Wears Prada and was then writing Supergirl (Supercat) and thought I’d try my hand at a crossover of the two!

Reader 1

Yes I kinda picked that up…

SuperCat is my favorite along with SuperCorp…obviously

Reader 2

I don’t read fan fiction, so I go into every book as if it’s simply a book.

Ultimately, every story has inspiration from somewhere anyway.

A.E. Radley

I stopped watching once Cat left so I never got to SuperCorp… was too bitter that my fav ice queen had left!

Reader 6

Your books never contain much intimacy and no sex. Is that

a) because you get too embarrassed

b) you don’t think it’s relevant to your stories

c) you’re crap at writing them

Or

d) all of the above?

I love your books, this isn’t a trick question

Reader 1

It kinda dragged after she left but I still watch religiously for I love Katie McGrath she’s my dream ever since Merlin

Reader 7

Did you have to do a lot of research for this book?

A.E. Radley

Great question @Reader 6 I was once told that every single lesbian fiction book, regardless of genre, must have a sex scene or, preferable, several sex scenes… or they’d never sell. I thought that was wrong, I don’t like stories where sex has been crammed in just so the book can be called romance and have a chance of selling more copies. So I didn’t put sex into my first two, and then the third didn’t need it, and by then I’d received messages from people thanking me for not including sex scenes. So I kind of carried on!

Reader 1

Can we please get a sequel. I need more of Kate and her back story. I feel like Georgina kinda monopolized it for a bit.

Reader 6

Thank you

Reader 2

It’s funny, I don’t even notice the lack of sex scenes. I know they aren’t there, but you write so well without them that it works out well.

Reader 1

I like the falling in love part of romance anyway lol

Reader 8

Yes, I hadn’t noticed that there wasn’t one until the question was answered here!

A.E. Radley

@Reader 7 Not too much, I’ve worked in advertising and I’ve worked in London, and I actually worked for an eccentric Greek called Yannis… so luckily it was quite light on research

Reader 1

Nice

A.E. Radley

@Reader 1 I always say never say never when it comes to sequels, I do sometimes revisit certain stories (I’m writing a sequel to Bring Holly Home right now) but nothing is currently in the pipeline with this particular book.

Reader 6

Where oh where did you dream up the barge chase in Huntress from. I laughed so hard and I won it in one of your comps which makes it even more special to me

Reader 1

please please please think about one… lol

Reader 6

Seconded

And another sequel to the big uneasy

Please

Reader 1

I’m in the middle of reading Going Up right now and I really enjoy Selina she’s a hoot

A.E. Radley

@Reader 6 I’d just moved to Stoke-on-Trent which has a lot of canals (pottery was made here so it was shipped in and out by the canals). Literally outside my house is a canal and I went for a walk one day and this woman who must have been a hundred years old was walking along the canal path and she was pacing this beefy looking man on a narrowboat, and it just hit me how ridiculous it was that this feeble old woman was easily matching him for speed. From there it was a simple jump to make it into a “slow speed chase”

Reader 2

I like that your books break the rules. We already discussed the lack of sex scenes, but in this book you broke the ‘rule’ of making it obvious who would end up with who. Working with three main characters made for an interesting read.

Reader 5

Agreed! I’ve never seen DWP (gasp) so I had my guess but wasn’t sure

Reader 6

I love it. Huntress is a fantastic book. The other lol was the visual in my mind of Amy stuck with her feet in the air out of the car boot

A.E. Radley

I’m really lucky because I always get messages from people asking for sequels, but it does mean that every time I release a book… people read it and then want a sequel. So now I wait a while and see which ones still get asked for months later, Bring Holly Home is a frequent one and M&A is quite high up there too so it is on my radar

Reader 6

Huntress and Big Uneasy too please please please

A.E. Radley

@Reader 2 I’m just stubborn, if someone tells me not to do something… I’m quite likely to try and do it. I was told to put sex scenes in or I’d be a failure, so I’ve never written one. I was also told that lesfic readers don’t like hard topics, so Going Up is about homelessness.

Reader 2

Also, I loved that Jessica saved the day in the end. Because I was all, sure, the elevator will totally work. lol

Reader 1

I love the hard topics

Reader 6

That’s rubbish, I enjoy a book that’s well written with great characters and a fantastic story. End. Of.

Reader 9

I’m ace, and finding really good lesfic with a beautiful love story not centered around sex is like finding a priceless gem. And the “hard topics”? Those are the stories that need to be told.

Reader 4

What’s your process like? Did you always know that it would be Kate and Sophie in the end?

A.E. Radley

@Reader 4 Because I was currently writing Supercat, it was always going to be Kate and Sophie because that’s essentially Cat and Kara. But I always plot all of my books out from the start, I don’t start properly writing until I have a full outline. This is my full time job these days so I want to make sure I’m as productive as possible and for me that means scheduling and planning!

Reader 5

Amen!

A.E. Radley

@Reader 6 I agree! I think some people under estimate readers, there doesn’t need to be a formula

Reader 1

exactly. I think that’s why I loved Kate from the get go…I had the Cat vibes the entire time. lol

formula’s are overrated

A.E. Radley

@Reader 5 you have to watch DWP… I’m pretty sure it just became law?

Reader 5

I think so too – and I wouldn’t do well in jail

Reader 2

Looks like I’d join you because I haven’t seen it either.

Reader 6

Make that three of us

Reader 1

blasphemy

Reader 5

Gonna have to have a movie night

A.E. Radley

Shocking.

Reader 10

Book was different. Not better or worse, surprisingly

Reader 2

Time is a thing…

Reader 6

There’s a lot of the same type of books, Eg ice queen and younger woman etc.

I’d love to read one where the ice queen meets/falls for an older woman. I don’t recall any like that out there

A.E. Radley

@Reader 6 I don’t know of any, but then I’m not particularly well read in the genre. I did recently make a note about something similar, a young icy executive falling for someone much older. But I didn’t get that far into plotting it yet… watch this space!

Reader 6

Yeah!!!! I will because as much as I love the others something different is always welcome

Reader 11

Bit late to the party but which of your books do you suggest I read next? This was my first!

A.E. Radley

@Reader 11 head over to my Twitter account and on the pinned post you will see a link to download The Road Ahead for free https://twitter.com/A_E_Radley

Reader 6

Road ahead is fantastic @Reader 11

Reader 2

Huntress is a must.

Reader 6

Seconded @Reader 2

Reader 2

And while it isn’t the book for this club, I really enjoyed Second Chances.

Reader 5

Do you have a lot of plot bunnies lying around or do you prefer to work on one thing at a time?

A.E. Radley

@Reader 5 I have a schedule for the next four/five books I’m going to write, but sometimes something will slip in and move everything back. Whenever I get an idea, I email myself with the subject line “Story Note”. Then every now and then I’ll reply to that email and flesh out the idea a little and by the time I get to that project it’s pretty much complete. But I only actually work on one at a time, writing wise!

Reader 5

Oh interesting, I like the emails to self

Reader 2

It’s old school to me. Definitely handy

Reader 6

Do you and Emma have separate offices? How is she doing now?

A.E. Radley

I travel a lot and you never know when the shadow of an idea will pop up. I was in Paris last week and saw something that triggered an idea and just dropped myself a quick email, when I got back to the hotel I’d forgotten all about it, so was very glad to see the email pop up! Really works well for me

@Reader 6 Emma’s doing well, she had the all clear from her doctor back in April and has her second check up next month and will continue with those for the next four years… but hopefully everything has been resolved. We have separate offices because I love her to bits but she’s bloody noisy and I need silence to write!

Reader 6

Lol, do you have a roster for coffee/tea duties

Glad to hear she’s in rem

Reader 9

And what would she say is the best thing about having separate offices from you?

Reader 6

Ooh love that question Reader 9

A.E. Radley

Emma mainly gets me tea to be honest, but that’s just because I get stuck and then hours go by. If she didn’t feed and water me, I’d be dead

Reader 2

were you both writers when you met?

A.E. Radley

She’d probably say that she doesn’t have to worry about disturbing me… she’s super sweet and aware of everyone else’s needs before her own!

Reader 9

Awwwwww

A.E. Radley

@Reader 2 We’d both written fan fiction casually but we weren’t writers as such

Reader 2

Who took the publishing jump first?

A.E. Radley

That was me, Ylva Publishing contacted me and asked if I wanted to take Flight SQA016 from a fan fiction story into a published novel.

Reader 6

I read recently that you’re bi. Another great bi writer told me she’d received hate mail but it’s gotten better recently. Have you had any issues, hate mail?

A.E. Radley

@Reader 6 loads, it was really bad when I first started because I just strolled into some Facebook groups and mentioned I had this book out and they were currently bashing bisexuals, so I stepped in and said I was one… which didn’t go down too well! I got told to leave “lesfic” and find my own group, blah blah. I just ignored it and got louder. I used to be a quiet, reserved bisexual but now I’m very loud about it

Reader 2

I suspect there’s a lot of overlap between bi bashers and terfs. Glad you didn’t back down.

Reader 6

That’s really sad because the community works hard to be accepted then people start to discriminate who should know better

A.E. Radley

@Reader 2 definitely, there’s a few of the same old names who don’t want bisexuals or men anywhere near their precious books. But when you ask “do you only want murderers to write your crime novels?” they don’t have any answer.

Reader 2

Lol fair question.

Reader 9

There’s a really good lesfic fantasy novel plus sequel that I love that is written by a dude. and it’s great! and I don’t give a f*ck

A.E. Radley

@Reader 6 exactly, I was quite naive at first because I assumed that a minority group would support, welcome and protect a similar minority. It really wasn’t the case… but on the bright side, having the vocal discussions with these people meant I found a huge number of supportive people who stood up for me.

Reader 2

Plus they would be shocked at how many lesfic authors are bi or pan.

Reader 1

right i’ve come to notice that

Reader 10

Sorry to interrupt. I have questions on your writing process.

It seems youre more plotter than pantser. How much of your storylines and individual scenes are plotted in advance, versus written on the fly?

Reader 6

Funnily enough he reminds me of my girl crush Ashlyn Harris

Reader 1

oh my

Reader 10

Not including the waiting time, how long does it take from sitting down to start a novel, to the day you hit publish?

Reader 2

Back on topic… what books are coming next

A.E. Radley

@Reader 10 I plot the entire thing before I start writing, so I’ll have an idea of what is going to happen and then fit that into a narrative. For example, Going Up was going to be about a homeless woman and the ice queen who wants rid of her but will also want to help her. From there I’ll build the setting and then will literally write out each chapter, the POV and what happens. So C1 – Kate POV – Kate introduced in situation outside the office. C2 – Selina POV – Selina on the phone to solicitor, sees Kate in the car park etc… all the way until I have the outline. Then I’ll start writing.

Reader 10

How often do you deviate from outlines?

If you ever do.

A.E. Radley

I schedule myself six weeks to write a novel, I’ll have about three to four days doing that outline, then I’ll start actually writing. I’ll have the odd day off during that six weeks or I’ll break my body. Then my copy editor has it for two weeks, then the proof reader has it for about 3/4 weeks depending how busy she is. I stagger my releases, so I have a book ready to go now and I’m writing the one after it. By the time I release the next one in the queue, the second will be in editing and I’ll be onto the third.

Reader 6

Wow that’s some serious plotting there.

READER 3

Some serious planning, too

Reader 6

I think I meant that

Reader 10

Daaaaamn. That’s intense. And impressive. And. Wow.

How many do you plan on publishing before 2020?

READER 3

Have you always been a plotter, or is it something you picked up along the way? (Sorry if that’s already been answered)

Reader 7

Speaking of plotting, if you were to take over the world how would you go about doing it?

A.E. Radley

@Reader 2 next is Lost at Sea! I went on a cruise recently and I wrote about an identity thieving stowaway and the captain… that will be out in September

Reader 5

Just saw the cover for that on Facebook – gorgeous!

Reader 1

sounds riveting can’t wait for it

Reader 10

Does your wife read your stuff while it’s being written? Or does she wait? (Sorry if it’s been discussed.)

A.E. Radley

@Reader 10 sometimes I do change the story as I’m writing, but it’s rare. And if it ever happens, it’s minor and will just be something in the last third of the book. If I think a scene is redundant; I’ll dump it. That kind of thing!

@Reader 10 I have a super secret project coming out next month, then Lost at Sea will be September, and then Bring Holly Home #2 is out in November. I’m a bit behind this year as Emma was sick last year and I took some time out over Christmas 2018!

Reader 10

Follow-up. Do you see the scenes in your head when youre plotting them?

A.E. Radley

@READER 3 I’ve not always been a plotter, but I wrote a couple of stories I couldn’t finish back in my fan fiction days… or they ran on and on and ended up being 200,000 words… so I realised I needed a strict plan to stick to!

READER 3

I think 200k words would kill me dead

A.E. Radley

@Reader 7 taking over the world would seriously impact my writing schedule, I need a runaway hit to live off and then I’ll start that… I believe it’s done through Facebook advertising so shouldn’t be too hard

Reader 5

Haha yup, just keep feeding Facebook what it likes

Reader 1

does make life easier haha

Reader 6

If you could pick a magical power would it be

a) being invisible

b) being able to fly

c) x-ray vision

d) teleporting?

Reader 1

that’s a hard choice…

can I pick all of the above…lol if not at least 2 of them

A.E. Radley

That is SO hard! I’d have to say a) then I could spy on people or be left alone when I wanted. Unless I can teleport WITH someone, then d and Emma and I would travel more!

Reader 1

love that answer

A.E. Radley

@Reader 10 yes, most of my ideas come from one particular scene in my head and then the novel grows from that. So I do often picture the other scenes as I’m writing!

Reader 6

I would always pick a) so I could earwig, be a fly on the wall and cause maximum mayhem to the people I don’t like

A.E. Radley

@Reader 10 because Emma and I both write so much, it’s hard to keep up with each other’s novels so we don’t really read much of each other’s work!

Reader 10

makes sense. Though I think youre both missing out in that case.

Reader 5

Do you have a favorite part of the writing process?

Reader 6

Writing the words ‘The End’

A.E. Radley

@Reader 5 probably the last third of the story, when everything is getting (hopefully) exciting and we’re getting to the point of the story… and nearly finished… because that’s a pretty great bit as well!

Reader 6

Can you tell us the blurb for Holly bk 2? Please?

Reader 10

Seconded. Please. Pretty please. With cherries on top

A.E. Radley

I haven’t written it! I can tell you the title… it’s Keep Holly Close. I usually write the blurb just before I release the book (a few weeks after the cover and editing has been done) because then I’ve been working on something else and can come up with a short snappy blurb because I’m not too involved with it

Reader 6

Beep, first strike, please try again!

Reader 10

What’s the hardest part of writing a novel?

Reader 1

I’ve noticed you have a thing for the name Johnathon – It’s a very popular name in your books. do you find coming up with names easy or hard?

A.E. Radley

@Reader 10 for me, it’s not taking too long a break because then getting back into the process can be quite difficult. I have a truly terrible memory so I need to have a clear run at a novel with as few breaks as possible. Sometimes life or a broken body makes that hard!

Reader 10

So, it isnt the writing exactly, but the life that tends to interrupt it? Maybe?

A.E. Radley

@Reader 1 I hate coming up with names, Huntress had six… yes, six, David’s in it. Every single man that they came across was called David. My editor caught them and I had to go back and come up with different names! But I’m far worse with male characters because they usually don’t play a very important part in the story… sorry boys!

@Reader 10 yes, and lack of memory skills! Having to keep all the threads going

Reader 6

You could google top 100 boys names?

Reader 2

I had three Jon’s between two books too. 😉

Reader 1

haha totally agree there. boys names are hard. unless your using them as girl names haha

A.E. Radley

@Reader 6 I do that more now… I think it was just as I was writing I came up with a man’s name quickly in order to carry on writing… so they are all Jonathan or David!

Might carry on that trend! A.E. Radley, no sex and everyone is called Jonathan or David

Reader 2

Lol yep

Reader 1

there you go

READER 3

My characters are all named after the people they are 100% NOT based on. Because, you know…it’s fictional.

Reader 6

John Doe, wonder if anyone has used that very much, like ever?

Reader 1

for dead bodies or missing identities lol

Reader 6

So will you never ever write a sex scene,? You came close in the big uneasy almost last page and then ….. nope

Ha ha I’m being pedantic

A.E. Radley

I have a bad guy in a book and I named him after my brother… because he was a brat 25 years ago. Writers always remember

I probably will at some point, something really graphic just so all the proper ladies safely reading my books drop their monocles into their teacups.

Reader 6

Save it for the big uneasy sequel. You could pick it up from where Rebecca’s in the park….

A.E. Radley

And call it “The Moderately Easy”

Reader 6

Or ‘so you think I’m easy?’

Reader 1

yes please let it be M&A sequel when you get around to it!!

A.E. Radley

Okay, I have time for a couple more questions if anyone has any?

Reader 10

Is there any chapter or plot point you would rewrite?

In any of your books.

Reader 1

which book is your favorite so far?

Reader 7

Is there are genre outside of lesbian romance you’ve thought about attempting? And is there a genre you will probably never attempt?

A.E. Radley

@Reader 10 I’d rewrite a lot of Flight and Grounded because I didn’t get to have the final say in those!

@Reader 1 Bring Holly Home is my favourite, I was happy with the storyline coming together the way it did and people seemed to respond well to it so that was nice!

Reader 1

nice.

A.E. Radley

@Reader 7 I have published a crime book, it had been sitting on my hard drive half completed for ten years so I decided to just get it out there in the end! As for genres I’d never attempt, straight romance!

Reader 7

So fantasy with dragons and magic is not on the blacklist?

A.E. Radley

No, although Emma would be much better at that than I would be! I’m not a big fantasy fan, but then it just takes the correct inspiration!

Reader 10

Oooh, making a tinderbox was excellent. Yes.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your Sunday night to answer our questions! I have to put pants on and go grocery shopping.

Thank you!

A.E. Radley

You’re welcome! I better get going as well. Thank you all for coming along, and for reading my books! I really appreciate it

Reader 2

Do you have any questions for us?

We appreciate you writing them

Reader 4

thanks for writing them!

Reader 2

They are always entertaining and different

A.E. Radley

Thank you, @Reader 2!

Have a lovely Sunday everyone!

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