For our September meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed G Benson’s novel, Who’d Have Thought. 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

G Benson

I just got in! Hi all!

Reader 1

Yay

Reader 2

Ah, shoot. Well, you’ve always got the transcript, Reader 1

Reader 5

Hi

Reader 2

Hello! Thanks for joining us!

Reader 3

Hello.

Reader 4

Hi there

Reader 5

Do we call you G?

G Benson

Also please…no use of the Q word or Hayden won’t speak to any of you

Gabby is fine!

A fellow Aussie nicknamed me Benno, if you’re so inclined haha

Reader 6

Hey Gabby! Nice to have you here!

Reader 5

I have read Who’d have thought so many times, it’s my joint favourite book ever

Reader 7

Hello everyone

G Benson

hi @Reader 6 ! Thank you all for having me!

Reader 5

But….. One question, when did Sam start falling for Hayden. Christmas Eve, visiting her mom?

Reader 3

My first question: Why is Sam so awesome?

G Benson

This is the first time I’ve used slack so sorry if I’m a bit slow

Reader 3

And second question: Why did it take so long for Hayden to realize how awesome Sam was?

G Benson

@Reader 5 before I answer this, I would LOVE to know when everyone else thinks Sam started to fall for Hayden and why in that moment

or is that a cheat answer from me?

Reader 5

Cheat answer

G Benson

@Reader 3 Sam is so awesome because she is Sam and is never anyone else but Sam hehe

Reader 5

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

Reader 3

It’s not a cheat if you still give your answer in the end.

G Benson

@Reader 3 it took Sam so long to realise because Hayden is a bit if a stubborn fool

also my cat is trying to sit on my keyboard so all typos are his fault

Reader 3

Also, I really loved the epilogue.

Reader 5

I think it was when she got hurt by her mom and Sam was cleaning her lip

Reader 2

Very convenient excuse

G Benson

Wait I meant it took Hayden so long to realise!

Reader 6

Lol I haven’t read the book all the way. I’ve been so busy with work I haven’t read much lately but I love it so far and don’t want to miss this conversation been trying to get you here for months lol

G Benson

Can’t blame that one on me cat…

Oh no @Reader 6 you’ll get so many spoilers

Reader 5

So……. when was it??

PLease

Please even

Reader 6

I’m good. I don’t mind the spoilers

Reader 5

Reader 6, I’ll wipe your memory after this like they do in men in black

Reader 1

What i love about fake relationships is seeing who breaks first and admits feelings

G Benson

@Reader 5 I promise an answer when I hear when others thing it happened hehe

Reader 6

Thank you @Reader 5

Reader 5

okaaaaaay

Is the keyboard warrior who you based Frank on?

G Benson

@Reader 1 that is a fantastic part of it all. As an author sometimes it isn’t clear who’ll break first even to you

Reader 3

I wouldn’t be surprised if she liked her even before they arranged the whole fake marriage.

Reader 6

Same Reader 1! I always bet my self how long each will break first

Reader 8

Not a question but I wanted to say I thought you wrote very movingly about dementia. It’s such an awful disease.

G Benson

The keyboard warrior isn’t my Frank inspiration, he’s far too social! My Frank inspiration is my lovely now 10 year old guy who was on the street for 3 years before we adopted him. But since WHT was released he’s softened into a complete lap cat so Frank lives on alone as the soul grumper

Reader 1

So you didn’t know until you wrote it?

Reader 3

Sam seems to have been aware of Hayden well before their first meeting after connecting online.

G Benson

@Reader 8 thank you for that feedback! That was a lot of research and experience with my job, but also a lot of my own heart into that story as my grandmother had alzheimers. I wanted it to ring true very much

Reader 5

I took away the fact that the older version of people is not who they will be remembering. That’s not something I’d thought of. My auntie has late stage alzheimers

G Benson

@Reader 1 I’m a terrible pantser who knows nothing until I write it. I often write myself into a wall and have to restart storylines because of it

Reader 1

Lol same @G Benson

Reader 9

I’m here yall my bad I lost track of time

Reader 5

Don’t I know it Reader 1

Kidding

Have we had enough answers yet @G Benson

Reader 10

2 of my grandparents had it. And my father will (in 30 years, I hope). It was definitely well researched and well written.

Reader 1

One thing I wonder is about Sam. I read her as very likely on the autism spectrum. Was that in your mind as a possibility?

Reader 9 

Thank you some one else saw that too I thought I was trippin

Reader 5 

She’s very anal

Reader 3

I had wondered as well.

Reader 5 

Definitely OCD

G Benson 

Oh we can thread! I need to learn slack

should I stop tagging and thread instead?

Reader 11 

When I described the book to my wife, I made the same observation (while telling her that it wasn’t explicitly stated in the book) 

Reader 5 

Cooeeeee

Reader 12 

or maybe INTJ

Reader 1 

Tagging is fine

Reader 5

I tried  to twitter you this question months and months ago….and here I am still waiting…..

Reader 6

I might have to catch the reread damn working a business is hard and I have to take a call. But I just wanted to say I read flinging it first and I absolutely loved it to pieces. Your writing is amazing !!!

G Benson 

So glad you liked Flinging It thank you!

Reader 6 

I’m usually not one for affairs but you did it so well…and the situation of pour Cora I can definitely relate to the abuse she was going through. It sucks to feel powerless like she did. And to work with that person is even worse. I was really impressed with the whole thing!!

G Benson 

I never thought I’d write an affair book but these things are never black and white, and for poor Cora it was so far from it

@Reader 1 I’ve had this questions a lot and the answer is definitively yes. I wrote Sam and Sam happened to be on the autism spectrum, it wasn’t something I intentionally wrote. When I realised she was, it was when a friend reading it over before publication pointed it out and it was too late to have a sensitivity reader go over it, or even go through and put it in the book in a way that meant people didn’t have to ask, and without having a sensitivity read I was hesitant to slot it in at the end post edits. But yes, Sam is definitely on the spectrum

Reader 1

A few of us are on the spectrum

I think it’s safe to own it

Reader 5

Just because it’s not explicitly stated doesn’t mean it can’t be so

Reader 9 

Sooo true

G Benson 

So true and totally agree! Just when it comes to something involving a minority group, I like to have a sensitivity reader involved as I would hate to unintentionally write something harmful, but yes, even thought it’s not stated, it is true

Reader 1

Plus older women are rarely diagnosed

She might not have thought about it

Reader 5

Still waiting Gabby, be my bedtime soon here in the UK,,, just sayin

G Benson

That’s true Reader 1, girls and women are often not diagnosed, and sam is definitely on the spectrum

Reader 5

I want me a Sam, she was like my dream woman

G Benson

So, when did Sam start to fall?

Reader 5

……….

Reader 1

Lol

G Benson

Sam had a soft spot for Hayden from the start

she all but says as much

Reader 1

Totally

Reader 3

Knew it.

Reader 1

I mean how quickly she warms to her quirkiness

G Benson

So for Sam, it was less a moment of falling and more a steady, soft descent until “thump” feelings

Reader 5

Yeah when she first looked back and saw her watching them wheel, the trolley out

Reader 1

Would sam have ever talked to her without this arrangement? Or is work too compartmentalized?

Reader 5

And Hayden hates her and says as much – ouch

Reader 3

And all the mentions of being aware of her for quite some time. Noticing her in med school. Noting her when she first saw her working as a nurse.

G Benson

I don’t think Sam would ever have approached her about the arrangement, work, to Sam, was 100% compartmentalised

I think she came close to a heart attack when someone she knew walked into that coffee shop

@Reader 5 does that satisfy your question?

Reader 3

Probably even more so that it was Hayden.

G Benson

@Reader 3 exactly! Oh no someone I know….oh no, someone I think is very, very cute and not only that but very competent

Reader 5

Yours was the first non binary character book I’ve read.

Reader 9

On another note where did the inspiration come from for luce to be non binary

G Benson

Two important things on Sam’s checklist of “am I interested in this person”

Reader 5

Satisfy my question……. welll…… I suppose so

G Benson

@Reader 9 I have many enby friends and it felt so natural to have Hayden’s bestie be enby! And Luce was just so fun to write, they just flowed for me

Reader 9

That’s awesome I love luce as a character they are quite the personality

Reader 5

Luce is a star, she got nearly all the best lines

G Benson

Haha if you want more specifics @Reader 5 I can say that when they were at Hayden’s families Sam’s soft descent suffered a trip that was very akin to a fall

Reader 5

Sorry threy

thye

they

argh my keyboard

hates me

G Benson

Luce is an absolute crack up

Reader 5

Thanks

I knew when she wiped her lip there were genuine feelings there

Reader 3

I didn’t really understand much about what it meant to be non-binary until recently. I kind of knew, but kind of didn’t.

Reader 5

I’m so ignorant I didn’t spot the they bit at first, ten thought it was a typo…. then finally twigged

Reader 3

I have a much clearer picture now.

Reader 1

Hahaha

Reader 11

How did you come up with the inheritance idea and how Sam planned to spend it? (That really helped me actually like the fake wedding idea that I had only tolerated earlier)

G Benson

I think that’s such a great thing about fiction, we can introduce ourselves and each other to so many new and wonderful things and learn so much compassion through it

Reader 3

If only Sam’s parents knew anything about compassion.

Reader 5

The way you wrote them I really wanted to reach thru the page, grab their necks and throttle them

Reader 9 

Took the words right out of my mouth

G Benson 

Same to be honest

I got angry when I was writing and had to take a break

Reader 9 

They are just so.. Horrible

Reader 5 

As a mother I have no comprehension of how they could act like that. I know its a book but it’s real life too, I’d never heard of conversion therapy and was horrified such a thing existed

Reader 4

I’m back, had to do a few things  was scrolling through what has been said, i don’t think it’s when Sam had feelings, i think more when Hayden did, because hated her

G Benson

@Reader 11 that’s a great question, because it took me a while to figure out! I wrote WHT for Nano (national novel writing a month, where writers live of coffee and try write an entire novel in four weeks) and as I’m a pantser, I just went “right, okay, fake relationship, they can be fun, two people who work together cause I love me that in a hospital setting, and oooo, one doesn’t really like the other” and I got part way and was like…but why the fake marriage? And the first thing I thought of was I wanted it to be unusual, so I started from the angle of wanting to get back at homophobic family, and how that could look…and then the only way a character like Sam would go about it was the way she did. Just dating a woman to annoy them wouldn’t be solid enough a reason for fake marriage. Plus, if I’d only gone with that angle we would have had to see Sam interacting with her family more and they were poo and I didn’t want to do that

Reader 2

When you’re not working on a NaNo project, how long does it usually take you to get through a draft?

READER 13

Not gonna be able to participate but just stopping in to say hi

G Benson

Even with Nano, I don’t really get to finish as I’m notorious for writing super long manuscripts…oops

My first took me about a year over all

My second something ridiculous like 6 weeks, I lived and breathed caffeine

My third 6 months

And WHT 8 weeks

BUT that’s like, messy draft, then it’s going back and revising every sentence and story line and looking at what beta readers have said, then the editing starts (enter headache)

Reader 1

All while working full time?

Reader 9

Wow

Reader 4 

No kidding, wow

G Benson 

I’m definitely no the norm! I can sit hyperfocused for two hours and pump out words, but then not write anything for six months once it’s finished

READER 13

What do you do for work? I work 2 full time jobs while trying to write so I understand that

G Benson

The last I was part time but the others full time! It’s why I work so well with Nano, i have to write every day

Reader 3

Is it weird that the most positive and healthy portrayals of autistic characters I have found have been in lesfic?

At times there may be a detail or two missing from the author’s portrayal of autistic characters, but their portrayals are fairly accurate and genuine and don’t leave me feeling offended or upset in any way.

Unlike with other autistic characters outside of lesfic.

G Benson

I teach English as a foreign language

Reader 9 

That’s pretty cool

Reader 5 

English is a foreign language within itself

I often struggle to speak it and to type it…. well there is no hope

G Benson 

Its a horrendous language

my favourite joke is that English isn’t a language, it’s three other languages wearing a trench coat

Reader 5

So you edit after the beta readers? Do they see first, second draft?

READER 13

Ok gtg

Gtg, Gabby it was a pleasure meeting you. Hopefully we can have you back so I can actually converse with you

G Benson

I tend to send every few chapters to beta readers, but only two suffer that, as they know it’s the messy, not even up to being called first draft version

The others I work with get the first draft

Reader 5

Reader 1, are you reading this? Can we do this?

Reader 2

Do you edit as you go then, take the betas’ comments into account once they read those chapters?

Reader 1

What send out every few chapters? Of course

Reader 5

Nooooooooo

Reader 1

Lol

Reader 5

Send out after first draft

Like the first chapter because I’m lazy and don’t want to do more work than is necessary

G Benson

@Reader 2 I tend to take them into account as I go, as I’m a pantser, their comments can catch me up before I write myself into a wall

Reader 2

Sounds like a good strategy!

So one of my favorite questions to ask is what’s your favorite part of the romance to write?

G Benson

@Reader 2 ooo this is a fun question and one I’ve never thought about

Hmm

I love writing flirty banter

At the start, before its a thing, and right after they’ve had a first kiss/a moment that confirms their both interested, that flirty banter then is such fun to write

Reader 5

In all your books, who is the character most like yourself?

G Benson

What’s everyone’s favourite part of a romance to read?

Reader 2 

I’m gonna have to go with the meet-cute – sets up all the ‘before’ personalities and issues and has the potential for a lot of different creative interpretations

Reader 6 

My favorite part of romance to read is the falling in love

Reader 4

I love the flirty banter

Reader 9

I love the banter right before the first kiss

G Benson

@Reader 5 oh wow thats a terrifying question best made to one of my friends or my wife

Reader 5

The happy epilogue after all the angst is over and done

Go on then ask her for me please?

G Benson

Haha she’s not here! Wait I’ll whattsapp her. if the answer scares me I’ll pretend she’s not online

Reader 5

Ok, which would you most like to sleep with, who would you least like to kiss

Reader 3

I like all the little moments that pull the characters slowly together.

G Benson

It looks like everyone loves flirty banter

Reader 4

And the angst

G Benson

It’s so strange to think of my characters like that because they’re all my little creations

Reader 3

What was the most fun thing to research for this book?

Reader 1

I also love banter and the resolution

Reader 3

The epilogue was great.

G Benson

can I turn that question around and ask who everyone else would least like to kiss? Haha

Reader 5

I like reading the banter but writing the arguments 

G Benson 

I lvoe writing arguments, they’re so snappy

Reader 5 

I’m having so much fun, I broke off writing one now to be here

G Benson 

Then I feel honoured!

Reader 5 

Lol, you haven’t seen my writing. You may just have saved mankind

Reader 6 

Don’t let her foul you!!! She’s amazing when it comes to writing!!

Reader 5 

Aww Reader 6, thanks chick. We need you to read the collaboration book to see what you think so far please

Reader 6 

I’ll let you know when I have the time. I have the little bit that Reader 1 sent me the last time you said and I still haven’t read it. Plus my phone is still acting up and won’t let me in my docs. Been pissing me off!! Ive just been so focused on my business it’s been nuts. But hey I made $100 today in Pre-Claims doing nothing but sitting on my butt haha. I didn’t even read Who’d have thought yet. I’m like on chapter too. Before they meet up. And I’ve been waiting for this book forever! Lol I’m gonna stay up tonight and read this though. I was even late to reading @Reader 2 new book she wrote as Kaylin for its M/F and I’m excited for the series. Scary & Sweet was amazing and just what I needed for that small break. Definitely check it out! But I will find the time here when this month is over. I should be more organized and on a schedule I’m hoping.

Reader 5

You need to chill a little. You’re super busy so don’t worry about beta reading. It’s still only half way thru and there’s a lot to write still. I need to finish Crash Dance as it’s changed loads since you read it. Story is the same just more details. And I have first draft of my 2nd book written which you’re welcome to look at some time in 2022 when you’re not so busy

Reader 6 

It will slow down come October. Maybe, at least I’ll be more organized I hope!!! That’s awesome I’m super excited for when you finally finish it!!!

Reader 5 

Me too, it’s been nearly a year now lol

Reader 6 

Yeah lol thats terribly long though mine will take longer so…I understand

Reader 5 

There’s no rush and when it’s fine it will be the best I can do. Then if it’s rejected I’ll take the hint

Reader 6 

It won’t be! Don’t doubt yourself it gets nowhere. I know from experience. And I just got a bit busier. I officially have a team now!! I signed my first team member last night

Reader 5 

Proud of you!

Jae edited the first chapter of mine and Reader 1’s book. I say edited it was more like ripped to pieces but I learnt some valuable stuff from her

Reader 6 

Yeah I can imagine. Jae is perfect for that !!

Reader 5 

She is very good at it lol

Reader 6 

Awwww!!!

Reader 1

Haden is adorable

G Benson

@Reader 3 most fun to research was marriage law

It was such a bizarre rabbit whole to fall down and it was all US based and being Australian I got super confused, a lot

@Reader 1 an adorable fool (her words, I’m sure)

Reader 1

Shit we get confused too

Reader 2

Do you have a project you’re working on right now, Gabby?

Reader 4

Is Flinging It going to be on audiobook at anytime

G Benson 

I haven’t heard anything about that from my publisher sadly!

Reader 4 

That’s too bad

G Benson

@Reader 2 I actually can finally, after 2 years, say I do! I have about half way into a new manuscript. This one has been like pulling teeth, and will change the “how fast I write a manuscript” answer drastically

Reader 5

Have you ever considered a follow up to WHT like Sam with a baby and nappies to change

Reader 1

And where do you get your ideas in general?

My solution to not having ideas is to hang out with creative and silly writers. I have more snippets from conversations here than anywhere.

G Benson

@Reader 1 I used to write a lot of fanfic, so TV used to inspire me a lot. Now it’s just more, things I want to see wlw getting to do in stories!

@Reader 5 Sam would be such an organised mum

I havent thought of it at all but the image of Hayden, Sam and Frank all coping with a newborn is delightful

Reader 2

I imagine a lot of willful discussions all the way around – I love it

Reader 5

Hmmm, Have you got kids Gabby?  Because an organised mum is only possible if you leave it all to the nanny

G Benson

There would be so many discussions. Those two will never have a problem with communication

Reader 3

I think they’d be coping with things regarding Hayden’s mom as well considering everything.

Reader 5

Yes please then, a sequel Called Who’d Have Them

Reader 14

Stopping by to say hi to a fellow Aussie

G Benson

Haha Sam will try be organised, desperately clinging to the schedule the baby, Hayden, and Frank all refuse to adhere too

WHo’d Have Them hahahaha

Reader 9

Hahahahahh

Reader 6

It be great!!

Reader 5

You have my permission to use that title

G Benson

If it ever happens, I may take you up on that @Reader 5

Reader 5

You’re welcome, I only ask you send me a free book as I gave you not only the title but the story too

G Benson

That sounds like a fair trade

Reader 6

Awww! Lucky!

Reader 5

Bugger, maybe I have undersold myself??

Reader 1

And if you need future autism sensitivity readers you have a few here.

G Benson 

Thank you Reader 1! That’s great of you to offer!

Reader 1 

It’s my pleasure. Doing that now for a debut and it’s great representation and story so far

G Benson 

Its fantastic to hear debuts are utilising sensitivity readers!

Reader 1 

Yes. It’s great that people are taking rep seriously

G Benson

My wife said I’m most like Anna because of my humour apparently…hmmm

Reader 9

Alright yall it’s bed time for me gnight yall @G Benson it has been a pleasure

G Benson

Anna from all the little moments in case you havent read it

Reader 5

I’ve read it

G Benson

@Reader 9 Thanks for chatting! Hope you sleep well

Reader 9

Thanks @G Benson gnight yall

Reader 2

Night Krys!

Reader 5

Night Krys

Reader 4

Goodnifht

Reader 2

Anybody else have questions for Gabby? @Reader 3 I don’t think you’ve asked your traditional oddball one yet have you?

G Benson

OO oddball

My interest is piqued

Reader 3

I’m still thinking of one.

Reader 2

And now I put you on the spot, my bad!

G Benson

I’ll pretend I didn’t read anything about an oddball question

Reader 5

Have you any author mates that you drink wine with and come up with great one liners for your books

Reader 1

Has your wife read all your books?

Reader 3

Hmmm… if you could be any part of a BLT sandwich, which part would you be? The bacon, the lettuce, the tomato or the toasted bread?

G Benson

Haha any author mates I drink with we end up talking about other books we love

@Reader 1 she has!

Reader 5

Names or it’s never happened

G Benson

@Reader 3 I’d be the lettuce, mostly made of water and I like green

Reader 5

Gabby, whose books have you read who are here talking to you tonight?

That’s an on the spot question

G Benson

Ohh nooo I cheated in my answer because I mostly read fanfiction hahaa

I talk about fanfic and they talk about books and I say “Yeah but…Kara and Lena from Supergirl…in another 20000 word angsty one shot”

Reader 3

Favorite fanfic pairing?

G Benson

Lena and Alex from Supergirl

Reader 6

Yes!!  Love Kara & Lena!! Can’t wait for october for the new season!!!

G Benson

Clarke and Lexa too but also it hurts a lot to think about

Reader 6

Eek no no no not okay Alex with Kelly

G Benson

I love Alex and Kelly too

But I tend to love whats not on the screen as it has more fic and angst potential, I am an angst love in fic. I don’t even need happy endings

Reader 3

What pairing would you like to see but have yet to see?

G Benson

@Reader 3 I wanted Alex and Lena very badly because then they could give us queer Lena, even thought they’d never give Lena/Kara, and Alex could avoid the trap of having a relationship and that would be all her story would become, or all her gfs would be, as Lena has a role in the show that extends to connections and storylines with other characters

Reader 10

Lena with almost everyone. Katie McGrath is amazing.

Reader 6

Though I did think last season they were pushing Lena and Alex…only for Alex didn’t know who Kara was lol … then in pops James’s sister haha

Reader 1

I am a season behind

G Benson

@Reader 6 same!

@Reader 1 the last season was suuuuuper slow to start

Reader 1

I’m just too busy to catch up. I will though. I love alex

Reader 6

I want Alex haircut!!           

G Benson

Alex is the best, as is the relationship with Kara and Alex

Reader 1

Definitely. They are great

Reader 6

It was super slow for sure but it was great besides the end with stupid Lex!!

Reader 5

What are we discussing here? I’m too old for this convo, might be my bedtime now.

Reader 6

Supergirl

G Benson

HAha I do need to head off too, it’s late this side of the world

unless there’s any last WHT question?

Reader 1

My daughter loves supergirl too. Since she was 2.

I will probably think of some after i finish my reread

Reader 5

I could talk to you about WHT all night, i can practically recite it I’ve read it that often

Reader 2

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Gabby! Especially with the time difference

G Benson

Feel free ask them when you have the Reader 1!

Reader 1

Will do

G Benson

@Reader 5 that’s the highest praise I think one can get!

Thanks for having me @Reader 2 it’s been fun!

Reader 4

It was so great chatting with you, thanks so much

Reader 6

Yes thank you!! I’ve been trying months to get you here!!

Reader 5

It’s true, I even bought the paperback

Reader 3

Yes, thanks for joining us.

Reader 5

Thanks Gabby, it’s been amazing to talk to you

Reader 10

Thank you!

G Benson

It’s been so much fun chatting to you all! Revisiting Sam and Hayden is always such a good time

Reader 5

Don’t forget the sequel

Reader 1

Thanks for creating them

G Benson

They pretty stubbornly created themselves, they popped out fully formed

Reader 1

Awesome

Then thanks for listening to them

G Benson

Thanks again, and I hope you all have an awesome afternoon/night/morning! This was fun, I hope to see you all again!

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