Lesfic Book Club: All At Sea

For our October 2021 meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed All At Sea by Cheyenne Blue. 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.

Cheyenne Blue  3:56 PM

Good Morning! 6am here in Oz, and I’m bright(ish) and perky(ish) and partly caffeinated.

Reader 1  3:57 PM

Thanks for being with us!!!

Reader 2  3:59 PM

Before the chat gets going and all the stuff that might spoiler me gets discussed I’m going to throw my one “me” question out there and then get back to reading.

Would you consider writing a somewhat sci-fi story set in space? Romance among the stars? Space yachts? Space whales? Romance and maybe a little adventure thrown in?

Cheyenne Blue  4:02 PM

Honestly? I’ve never thought of it. I love reading that stuff (a Battlestar Galactica type of book is fantastic) but I don’t think I could write one. Space whales is intriguing

Reader 3  4:03 PM

I wanted to ask can you sail?

Cheyenne Blue  4:04 PM

I can sail a bit, as in, I’ve been sailing, and I do okay if someone tells me what to do. “Pull this”, “sit over there”, “turn the wheel… no the OTHER WAY!!!” but I don’t call myself a sailor. For AaS, my great old mate Bazza let me interview him about all things sailing and then was a first reader for the sailing bits. I do enjoy the sailing I’ve done though

Reader 1  4:06 PM

I love the age difference between your characters. I am 12 years older than my girlfriend and I love when that’s normalized in books! People are weird about it sometimes!

Cheyenne Blue  4:07 PM

People are weird about age differences, and it’s all about the people involved in the relationship, IMHO. A creepy relationship is creepy regardless of the difference

Reader 3  4:07 PM

How about your experience with protesting on the water. That scene with the big boat and skirting in front had me on the edge of my seat

Cheyenne Blue  4:07 PM

Zero experience protesting on the water!  I dreamed that part of AaS after watching an old doco about protesters in yachts protesting nuclear tankers in NZ waters. And I had Bazza to help me keep it real and doable

BTW, Bazza taught me a lot about sailing when he was reading AaS and he told me he learned a lot about lesbian sex!!! Not in a creepy way, Baz is a darling. But halfway through the book, he sent me a cute note saying he wasn’t sure if he should read on as he “might get too hot and bothered”

Baz is 76

Reader 4  4:11 PM

I don’t know how I would feel if I ended up in Stevie’s position, trapped on a boat, but it was such a novel way to throw two characters together in a cramped space

Did you have a hard time not letting them get together in their initial time together? Because I was rooting for it the whole time

Cheyenne Blue  < 1 minute ago

Funny you mention that. I originally wrote it that way… with them sleeping together on Delilah (the yacht) but my editor suggested moving it out, for a) unresolved sexual tension, and b) to avoid any potential power differential issue it being Kaz’s yacht and her holding the upper hand

Reader 3 Today at 4:19 PM

I also loved the yacht cat

Cheyenne Blue  < 1 minute ago

Sinbad is indeed a somewhat cranky darling. There are actually cats who live on yachts. I found a few YouTube videos when I was researching

Reader 3  4:23 PM

I love the locations you keep taking us to.  They aren’t usually real cities though.  Do you scope out locations before adding them to your books.

Cheyenne Blue  1 minute ago

I’m glad you love the locations. :slightly_smiling_face: However, while I usually change the names, they are mostly based on real towns/cities.  Wallanbindi, for example, the town in AaS is based on the real small town of Eden on the southern coast of NSW. Setting a book in a town I know means I  can keep the geography straight in my head a lot better!

Reader 5  4:23 PM

A Heart This Big was my first I read of yours and I have to say is my favorite! :purple_heart:

Reader 4  4:24 PM

Was the first love scene originally right after the bioluminescence? As I was reading that I was like, “Damn, this is the most romantic thing involving a toilet that I’ve ever seen” 😀

Reader 7  4:26 PM

It sounds quite surreal

Did you plan that scene ahead of time or was it something you stumbled on as you researched?

Cheyenne Blue  1 minute ago

It was the scene after the bioluminescence. You’re good, Reader 4! And that is truly a thing on yachts, as the toilet takes in seawater to flush

I had planned the bioluminescence ahead –like the whales, I wanted the magical moments to balance the terrifying moments on board. But the bioluminescence in the toilet, well, that was Bazza again.  He told me so many magical and strange things from his time at sea (including some that he made me swear not to use or repeat!)

Reader 4  1 minute ago

Did he sail as a career or for pleasure?

Cheyenne Blue  < 1 minute ago

Pleasure

Reader 4  4:33 PM

What tropes or genres do you like to read when you’re not busy writing?

Cheyenne Blue  < 1 minute ago

In sapphic fic, I love anything with a found family, fake romance, anything with horses, small town settings. Scifi stories.  But I love being surprised by a book. I only recently read Jae’s Backwards to Oregon series, as historical stories aren’t my favourite. And of course I fell hard for the Oregon series.

Reader 5  4:34 PM

Would you ever write a sequel to any of your books?? And if so which one?

Cheyenne Blue  1 minute ago

I have a series, Girl Meets Girl, which is four novellas/novels with interconnecting characters, although they all stand alone. Since then, I haven’t been tempted to write a series, although I’ve started putting in tiny hints about characters from previous books into other books. All at Sea, for example reuses characters from a short story in one of Ylva’s anthology. The xmas anthology. The nursing aide, Luce, who buddies with Stevie on her first day.

Reader 6  4:36 PM

What country do you feel most of your readers come from?

Cheyenne Blue  3 minutes ago

I think most come from the US (based on sales data) but there are many readers in Germany, for both English books and the German translations. (I have 6 books translated into German).

Reader 3  2 minutes ago

Why German?

Cheyenne Blue  < 1 minute ago

The readers or the translations? The readers… I guess there’s a lot of lesfic readers in Germany (again, from sales figures), the translations because I’m with Ylva Publishing, and they’re a German company, and they do a lot of in-house translations of their authors and others

Reader 4  < 1 minute ago

Is it challenging to work with a publisher in a different country?

Cheyenne Blue  3 minutes ago

No, not challenging at all working with Ylva. They’re a fantastic publisher to work with. The time difference means I often wake up to emails from them, but that’s okay. Practically speaking, there’s not really any difference to say, working with an American publisher. And time differences are wonky with everywhere when you’re in Oz

Reader 3  4:37 PM

Can you tease what we might see in your future books?

Cheyenne Blue  2 minutes ago

My next book is out in exactly one month! It’s called The Number 94 Project, and it’s set in Melbourne, Australia. And when you mentioned real towns, well, most of the settings in #94 are 100% real.  It’s about Jorgie who inherits a dilapidated inner-city house and thinks she’ll renovate and sell. But her uncle’s Will has a very unusual clause. And then there’s Marta the next door neighbour….  It’s got found family, my favourite secondary character that I’ve ever written, and the best cover I’ve ever had!!

Reader 3  1 minute ago

Yeah, I’ve seen the cover and it made me go out and buy a tool belt to hold my gardening tools.

Reader 7  4:47 PM

Am I recalling correctly that part of the inspiration for this book was the real life tattooed badass who was in the news a couple of years ago? She did a protest thing, maybe we refugees?

Cheyenne Blue  1 minute ago

There wasn’t a particular person who was an inspiration for Kaz, but there are often protests of the extreme kind going on, particularly around the coal mines in Oz

Reader 4 Today at 4:53 PM

Do you get the opportunity to hang out with any other Australian lesfic authors? I know it’s a pretty big country but there do seem to be a lot of you there 🙂

Cheyenne Blue  < 1 minute ago

I live very close to S.R. Silcox and we hang out quite a bit. And I’ve met up with Rach Byrne from Les Reveur when I was last in Melbourne. No one else (yet) though. And Harper Bliss and Caroline have stayed with us a couple of times when they visited Oz back in the days when we could all travel!

Reader 3  4:54 PM

How has the pandemic limited writing collaborations?

Cheyenne Blue  < 1 minute ago

I’ve never collaborated with another author for a book, so I guess I’d have to say nothing has changed!!. For the editing process though, nothing’s changed as that’s all via email and Zoom anyway.

Reader 3  3 minutes ago

Would you ever think of collaborating with another author?

Cheyenne Blue  < 1 minute ago

I don’t know about collaborating. It could be great fun

Thank you everyone for chatting and for your great questions.  I’ve had a blast talking to you all.

Thank you for reading All at Sea and for inviting me here

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