Lesfic Book Club: Behind the Pine Curtain

For our August meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Gerri Hill’s novel, Behind the Pine Curtain. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

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

Gerri Hill

Howdy!

Reader 1

So glad you could join us

Gerri Hill

My pleasure.

Reader 2

Hi Gerri! I just started another of your books, Love Waits, while in the car. Lol

Gerri Hill

Love Waits…another oldie!

Reader 3

Is this where I squee? 

Reader 1

Yes

Reader 4

Welcome Gerri, thanks for joining us!

Gerri Hill

Hi Reader 4

Reader 3

Squeeeeee!

Reader 2

While I’m too poor to buy everything I want, I’m using the library and going through your back catalog

Gerri Hill

I hope you enjoy them!

Reader 2

Always

Reader 4

So, let’s get this party started

What did you all think of Behind the Pine Curtain?

Reader 2

Really good. But I want to know what happens next

Reader 1

Loved it, as all her books so far! 

Reader 3

I liked it as much as the first time that I read it, which is to say a lot.

Reader 2

I had to remind myself that yeah, it’s very possible to be that clueless while living in a small town.

Reader 5

I really enjoyed it, in some ways especially because it felt like the town I grew up in (which had a big lumber heritage)

Reader 2

What I loved was how Kay went from, oh, wait, this is a thing to, I’m taking control of this thing.

Gerri Hill

It’s been a lot of years since I wrote this, but I think Jackie was early 30s. So she grew up in the 70s/early 80s….and yes, a very small, conservative town in East Texas.

Those places still exist today, sadly.

Reader 2

It’s very similar to when I was growing up. The only thing that saved me was Ellen coming out, otherwise I had no clue.

That timing helps too.

Even in the 2000’s I would bet a lot of the residents didn’t have high speed internet.

Reader 3

What was your favorite thing to write when writing this book?

Reader 6

Hi @Gerri Hill. Do you have any experience of working in a business, managing people? I liked Jackie’s management skills!

Gerri Hill

Since it’s been so long, I’ll have to guess on favorite. I enjoyed Rose. I enjoyed the scenes at the Blue Hole.

I did have a job managing people, yes. I think Jackie was better at it than I was!

READER 7

What is the favorite book you’ve written so far?

Personally mine is Keepers of the Cave

Gerri Hill

I have a few. Keepers of the Cave popped into my mind first, so I’ll go with that one too! I love CJ and Paige. If you have a chance to listen to the audio version, Abby Craden did a wonderful job with CJ.

READER 7

Yes she did! Abby is one of my favorite narrators

Reader 1

I plan to listen to it this week

Gerri Hill

At Seventeen is a favorite too.

Reader 2

That series is truly amazing on audio.

Gerri Hill

The Secret Pond made me cry in places when I wrote it, so it is special to me. I loved Jack.

Reader 1

My favorite SO far is The Killing Room or The Locket.

READER 7

You’ve written quite a few “crime drama” romances, with KotC being one of them. Is that a favorite trope of yours?

Reader 2

How do you choose what story to write? Since you span genres, is it a matter of whatever idea is pulling at you?

Reader 1

Yes Jack is my favorite character overall so far. She was the sweetest.

Gerri Hill

I like both “murder mystery” and “romance” so I don’t really have a favorite. Romance is much easier to write.

Reader 3

Who are some of your favorite authors, lesfic and non-lesfic?

Gerri Hill

After writing a crime novel, I usually go back to a romance, so it’s normally every other book.

Reader 6

I feel quite smug that this is the second of your books I’ve read, so I have plenty to look forward to. Recommendation for which to read next? Secret Pond is the other.

Reader 8

How do you plot out your books? Is the villain at the beginning always the villain in the end? Or does your story changes as it grows?  (Sorry for the delay. Been driving and I don’t want to get yelled at for texting… lol)

Gerri Hill

I have several ideas that I’m bouncing around now so that’s the hard part, trying to decide which one to focus on for the next book.

READER 7

In regards to our club book, Behind the Pine Curtain, the letter from Jackie’s father pulled at my heartstrings. Was there inspiration for that or did it just come to you?

And now we have all three Texans in the room at once. Lord, help y’all

Gerri Hill

I rewrote the letter probably ten times before I had it where I liked it.

No outside inspiration, really.

READER 7

You did a very good job with it

Gerri Hill

Thank you.

Reader 4

What’s your favorite part of a romance to write?

READER 7

@Reader 8 Had a good question. How do you plot your books, and is the villain the same person from the moment you start to the moment you finish?

Gerri Hill

The first kiss!

Reader 3

I love that Kay’s mother knew the whole time and was just waiting for Kay to figure things out.

Gerri Hill

I normally will only use an outline on the murder mystery type books. As far as plotting, I have several points I want to make but usually several others will come up as I’m writing. The villain is not always the one I started with no. The Killing Room, for example. I was more than halfway through that book before I decided on who the killer would be.

Yes, Kay’s mother was so sweet at the end when she gave Kay the push she needed.

Reader 2

Do you know what happened to them after the book? Was there a lot of backlash? Or was Jackie all, fuck you, I own this town and you guys can suck it.

Reader 1

Crazy…no wonder it was a good twist although it was my first guess on the killer. I really loved The Killing Room 

READER 7

The Killing Room was amazing. I’ve read it a few times and it’s just as good every time

Gerri Hill

I don’t like to tie up all my books at the end (as some of you know if you’ve read a lot of mine)…so Pine Curtain was no different! What do YOU think happened?

Reader 2

Pretty much like that lol

Gerri Hill

The Killing Room will be out on audio in a few weeks (Abby Craden again) so I’m looking forward to that.

Reader 2

But do you have future in mind, even if you never write it?

You don’t have to share it, just curious. Or are you done with a book, publish it, and start the next one.

READER 7

I’m still trying to decide if Kay would move away to California or if she would convince Jackie to come run the town with her, “like when we were kids!”

Gerri Hill

No…I find it hard to leave characters behind.

Reader 5

This was the first of yours I had read and I remember being simultaneously “that was a wonderful final scene” and also “but I really want another chapter or two to find out what happens next”

Gerri Hill

I do have an idea of what happens next…I just don’t always write it!

Reader 2

Fair

i can see a bunch of Gerri Hill fanfic being created now.

Reader 4

I like that, leaves it up to the readers. Especially with Kay and Jackie since they do have two very different paths they could take

READER 7

I’ll have to pick up that audio when it comes out

Gerri Hill

Artist’s Dream…I think I got more “but what happens? The letters?”

Reader 1

Lol that’s my next book I plan on reading actually. Lol

READER 7

Oh I forgot about that one! I have a hard copy in my bookshelf. I’ll have to pick that one up again

Reader 1

If you could write a sequel to any of your books which would it be?

READER 7

Is there a favorite area you like to base your books in?

Reader 5

I also wanted to just compliment you, because I usually am very impatient when things take a long time to happen after I’ve guessed they’re going to happen. And while it took a long time in the book for Jackie and Kay to get there, I didn’t have the feeling that any of the obstacles were gratuitous or artificial: it all seemed like genuine bumps in the road to get there

Gerri Hill

Sequel? I’d probably write one for Artist’s Dream because there was a lot left hanging. And I adored Luke!

READER 7

That is very true. This book was…almost painfully realistic. I loved that about it

Gerri Hill

Favorite area? Got to be Colorado! or the Gulf Coast.

READER 7

I’m still not entirely convinced I don’t know Rene

Gerri Hill

Thank you, Reader 5.

Reader 1

Lol

Reader 3

Which of your books would you most want to see turned into a movie?

Gerri Hill

That’s tough. Hunter’s Way, I think.

Reader 1

YES!!!

Gerri Hill

Devil’s Rock, maybe.

Reader 1

I would love that as a movie!!

Reader 2

As a now coloradan, I approve of setting books here

Reader 1

The scene in the sewer drain pipe place was my favorite scene!!

READER 7

Yes!

Reader 1

It made me laugh SO hard

Gerri Hill

“Well shoot it!”

READER 7

“I’m not gonna shoot it, this is it’s home!”

Reader 1

Thats basically how I would react

READER 7

I could not have planned that any better lol

Reader 1

It’s the scene that practically brought them closer

Gerri Hill

Yes it is.

READER 7

Have any of your books ever surprised you with the way they ended?

Reader 1

I still need to read Both the sequels.

Gerri Hill

No. I usually have a clear ending in mind, at least as the book goes along.

Reader 1

So the ending of The Killing Room didn’t surprise you fully then?

Gerri Hill

The ending where Jake leaves? Or the ending as to who the killer was?

Reader 1

Let’s go with both? Though I saw Jake leaving.

It only made sense she’d leave

Gerri Hill

Jake leaving, getting injured again was always in my plans. I hadn’t really worked out how Nicole was going to leave though. Maybe it was a little surprise as to the killer was!

Reader 2

(Spoilers!)

Reader 1

Hm. I can see that. Nicole was a tough nut to crack specially when she was going by what “society” thought. Rather then her own feeling. I felt sad for her

Reader 2

Gerri, do you have a writing office? Do you need quiet or noise?

Gerri Hill

Quiet. I have an office with lots of windows. I get distracted by the bird feeders though!

Reader 1

Lol

Reader 4

Is there any part of writing or starting a new project that you dread?

Gerri Hill

The first chapter!

First chapters are hard to write.

Getting names right too

Reader 1

Tell me about it. I’ve been stuck for months lol

Gerri Hill

I’ll sometimes change names halfway through because the one I’d picked just didn’t fit the character once I got going.

Reader 1

Lol nice

Reader 3

Is there a name you tend to use a lot without realizing it until after you’ve done it?

Gerri Hill

For some reason, “A” names always pop into my head for secondary characters.

Amy was Sam’s best friend. I used Amy in another book…was well into the book, then I remembered and duh….

READER 7

You’ve tackled a lot of hard hitting issues in your book, everything from sexual assault to abandonment. Is there anything you absolutely refuse to put a character through?

Reader 9

I’ve read Storms and One Summers Night whilst here on hols. I also have The Rainbow Cedar, Coyote Sky and The Scorpion with me. Which should be next? Or should it be Georgia Beers Mine?

Reader 2

Just keep binging.

Gerri Hill

I think I’ve put my characters through all the tough ones already!

READER 7

The Rainbow Cedar is super cute

Reader 9

I’ve got loads of Gerri’s books. My fave is the gulf coast one but I can’t remember the name

Reader 4

Any advice you would give to an aspiring author, either on the creative side or the publishing end?

Reader 3

If all of your characters were to meet at a large party or other kind of gathering what should we expect to happen?

Gerri Hill

Advice? Write what you know and write for yourself.

Reader 8

Who’s background was the hardest to write / put the character through?

Gerri Hill

Party….wow, that would be fun!

READER 7

Oh my gosh I would totally read a major mash up book

Gerri Hill

I found Cameron Ross’s background hard for some reason.

And of course CJ’s…..that was hard.

Reader 2

Poor CJ

READER 7

Without any spoilers, CJ’s was hard to read

But I felt it really made her a better character and a better cop

Reader 2

Which is why I was extra happy when things worked out

READER 7

Still bar none my favorite book and my favorite two characters

Reader 2

They are awesome

Reader 4

Can’t get an endorsement better than that!

Gerri Hill

I keep thinking I’ll do a third book with them….

Reader 2

Please

READER 7

I’d buy it in a heartbeat!

Reader 2

Besides, the guys are fun to read too.

READER 7

Omg yes. The present. I cracked up laughing

Reader 8

I love that your characters are fully threshed out and developed. How much research goes into the books before you begin?

Reader 2

(no spoilers, but yea… that was amazing)

Reader 9

Which book is CJ etc in please?

READER 7

Keepers of the Cave is the first one

Reader 2

and weeping walls

Gerri Hill

Research depends on the subject matter, really. I’m working on a book now that involves a psychic….tons of research!

Reader 2

and the audio is phenomenol

READER 7

Oh cool!!!!

Reader 2

yes!

Do you have an eta?

Reader 8

Ahhh. That’s why I’m confused. I’m not that far into the previous releases. Must catch up!

Reader 3

There is a lot.

Reader 8

Rock on!

READER 7

Back to the names thing, are there any names that are a no go?

Reader 2

Those are from 2012 and 2013 Peri, but the audio is recent

Reader 3

I think I’ve only read about a third of what I see listed on Goodreads.

Reader 9

I stayed away from the crime ones but I think one of the ones I said is one of them that I have with me??

Gerri Hill

Names? I don’t think there are any that are “no” ….but picking names is one of the hard parts of writing…at least to me!

READER 7

@Reader 9 the Scorpion

Reader 2

I wasn’t sure about the crime ones (Keepers and weeping walls), but I recommend them. They were a lot funnier than expected and the romance aspect is really nice.

Reader 8

What authors do you admire?

(Cause I admire you. Always looking up lol)

Gerri Hill

Authors with longevity! Karin Kallmaker, for instance. I now know how hard it is to write for many years and keep things fresh.

Honestly, I don’t get to read much, if at all.

Reader 8

Karin Kallmaker is the ultimate for me, too. She saved my life with her early novels.

READER 7

I don’t think I’ve ever read her

Gerri Hill

I have a shelf with books that I’ve purchased, waiting to read. But there is little time between books for me.

Reader 8

Would you change anything from your previous novels? If you could do them over again?

Reader 9

Gerri, do you ever wish you were in your books living the life of a character?

Yeah! I thought I’d ventured out and been brave. Might make that the next

Reader 2

As the only lesfic author I’ve met in person I can say Karin is so sweet and awesome.

Gerri Hill

I would do One Summer Night over again!

That was my very first book and I think it’s awful!

Reader 8

What would you change?

Gerri Hill

Some of the dialogue for sure. The pace seems slow.

Reader 2

But it got you started

Gerri Hill

I wish I’d been in No Strings!

Reader 2

That’s on my tbr list for sure

READER 7

Also a good one

Which character would you want to be in No Strings?

Gerri

I think Morgan.

READER 7

She’s feisty lol

How long does it usually take you from the time you start typing to the time the book hits the shelf? Is there a specific process for you?

Gerri Hill

The writing part takes anywhere from 4 months to six, for me.

Publishing dates are set a year in advance, at least.

Reader 4

Do you work on just one book for that 4-6 month period or are you a multi-project kind of writer?

Reader 2

Do you struggle with deadlines?

Gerri Hill

I try to write every day, but that’s not always the case.

I only work on one book at a time.

READER 7

If writing wasn’t an option, what other type of work do you think you’d do?

Gerri Hill

I’m usually ahead of my deadlines!

What would I do or what would I like to do? I’d love to paint….I’m just not talented enough!

Reader 9

My internet keeps crashing so I’ll say goodnight (or afternoon for you US dudes). Thanks Gerri, been very interesting reading all about you

Gerri Hill

Thank you!

READER 7

What inspired you to be an author?

Or even to write in general?

Gerri Hill

I ran out of books to read one winter in Colorado!

So I started my own story.

Reader 4

That’s awesome

But now I’m picturing this taking place at the Overlook Hotel

Reader 8

Hahahhaa. All work and no play makes Gerri a famous author?

Gerri Hill

It was a cold, snowy cabin at about 10k feet and I had no water!

Reader 8

No water?? Whoa.

Reader 2

I literally had this discusison with a client yesterday. She rents out a tiny one room cabin in the foothills and it has no water once it freezes.

Gerri Hill

I call it “the time I was snowed in”

Reader 2

and was inspired to write Snow Falls?

Gerri Hill

Yes, actually!

Reader 2

I could see that happening so easily.

READER 7

Dang it I was gonna ask that

Reader 2

Too slow bud

Reader 3

I need to reread that.

Reader 2

Maybe this winter

READER 7

I had to remember the title. I’m bad with title names

Reader 2

That sounds like fun actually. Read every Gerri Hill book set in Colorado this winter.

(I cheated and used goodreads haha)

Reader 3

That was my other choice for this month’s book club meeting.

Reader 4

Reading challenge

READER 7

I don’t remember if we’ve asked this, but do you have a favorite character you’ve written?

Gerri Hill

I hate to keep bringing up CJ….

Reader 2

we love CJ too

Gerri Hill

Tori was kinda fun

READER 7

Definitely my favorite, CJ

Any chance of a CJ/Tori crossover that’s NOT angel fire?

Gerri Hill

I don’t think so.

READER 7

Awwwww

Reader 2

But another CJ book would work

We’ll help you promote the crap out of it.

Gerri Hill

lol

Well….if you’re through with me….I need to get ready for company popping over in about 45 min.

Reader 4

Thanks for chatting with us, Gerri!

Gerri Hill

I’ve enjoyed the chat!

READER 7

It was a pleasure chatting with you!

Lisa

Thank you for your time.

Reader 2

Thanks Gerri!

READER 7

Thanks for putting up with us!

Reader 8

THANK YOU So much for being here!!

Gerri Hill

If you ever have questions or comments…shoot me an email or FB message!

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