Welcome to the March 21, 2010 edition of The Fox Hole. Today my guest is the lovely Lara Zielinsky, multi-published writer and editor, but so much more. So grab a cup of Joe, a cinnamon roll, pull up a chair and strap yourself in for the ride.
Welcome to The Fox Hole, Lara, I’m honored to have you visit my little corner of the universe. Could you start out by letting the readers know a little bit about yourself?
I’m a bisexual woman, married, and live in Florida. I pretty much write and edit full time now, though I substitute teach in the local school system as well. I’ve been passionate about lesbian and bisexual women’s stories since my earliest works on the web in 1998. I have had two novels published as well as several short stories exploring the themes and issues of women like me.
I recently expanded that to a radio show “Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Fiction”where I share air time with authors of the genre, discussing writing and the specifics of writing women’s stories.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? If so when did you start writing?
I haven’t always wanted to be a writer. I have simply always been a writer. I’ve been writing as long as there was a blank piece of paper in front of me, even unlined, what I saw forming from my mind to the page most easily was words not pictures. I had pictures in my head, but the way they made it onto the page was described, in words. And I agonized over the exact words even then. My mother has a photograph of me leaning hard on my elbow on the coffee table. I’m six or seven years old and scrunched up over yet another piece of paper, my head gripped tightly by my hand while my writing hand struggles over the page.
As a writer what inspires you?
Inspiration comes from everywhere for themes, the newspaper, a news show, and the characters are born from inside me. They’re parts of me, or parts of other people I’ve taken into my heart. People I’ve loved, people I’ve hated, people I’ve hurt, people I’ve seen hurt and have wanted to comfort. In the pages of a story I can give them all that.
Do you have any favorite writers?
I learn something from almost everyone I read. But I can’t say I have a favorite. I’ve enjoyed Johanna Lindsey, until I got tired of The Mallorys. I enjoyed Catherine Coulter – her romances, but her mysteries leave me cold. I do enjoy most historical romances, or general novels, if they get the facts right. I enjoyed James Patterson’s The Women’s Murder Club, until #5. I’ve enjoyed a number of first-time writers, only to never see their names again. As a child I read Tolkien; now I can’t. I’ve enjoyed all the Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey, but stopped reading when her son began to write them instead. I’ve enjoyed stories of place, I’ve enjoyed stories of passion. I’ve disliked the same number in both categories. I seem to have very specific tastes, and can’t “run through” a genre unendingly. I’ve got to mix it up.
That’s probably also why my work doesn’t always neatly fit into any one genre either. My interests are just too varied.
To me that’s a wonderful blessing as a writer. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one out there with that many
interests. So having that many interests I’d love to ask this question. If you could live in any time or place–where and when would you choose?
I have a “romance” with the 1940s. I’ve started a number of works that take place then, but I haven’t yet finished a single one. I just get caught up so much in getting all the details right, and somehow they feel very personal to me – almost too personal to share. I love the idea of living then. No, it wasn’t easy, but I’ve never hungered for the easy life. I can so easily immerse myself in the emotions of women of the time. Loving men, but…
Being a professional cook at one time, this is my favorite question. Do you have a favorite food?
Sushi. My son traveled to Japan in 2009 and learned how to make it from his host family, and now he’s trying to teach me. I’m a fumble fingers most of the time in the kitchen, but even my worst sushi look fantastic to me. And the combination of flavors just rocks my world. We have a favorite sushi place near the house which is our “we’re celebrating something” spot every few months.
I generally love the simplicity of a well-balanced home-cooked meal: a spaghetti with meat sauce, a crisp salad, a meatloaf. I make a lot of casseroles and meals in a crock pot.
Have to admire a woman who loves what my mama used to call comfort food. 🙂 Now that I’ve picked your brain though, can you tell us about your latest work? Don’t hold back
In the last three months I’ve had two big releases that have been in the hopper for quite a while. Giving birth to them has brought me immense joy.
The first is To Love and To Cherish. This is an anthology of short stories which I edited with Beth Wylde, containing stories by authors on Sapphic Planet (the reader group is SapphicReaders). It’s all for charity (Marriage Equality USA) and we hope the proceeds will help that organization fight for equality for same sex couples. The stories in the collection, On Bended Knee (proposal stories), With This Ring (wedding stories), and Lives and Wives (family and commitment), reflect the wide variety of women’s love, from sweet and sensual to passionate, filled with laughter and love. In addition to the editing work, I have a story in the collection titled “Traditional Values” and did the cover art.
The second is my novel Turn for Home. This is the sequel to my 2007 novel Turning Point. The stories follow a pair of women, Brenna Lanigan and Cassidy Hyland, who began life almost absolutely certain they were straight. They are artistic rivals as actresses on the same television series. In the course of Turning Point, to their utter surprise, they realize they are falling in love, facing a challenge to self-identities they had spent a lifetime living. Turn for Home picks up the story as they try to create a family with their children. There are those who support the relationship and to their grief those very close to them who do not. Brenna and Cassidy find even life and limb endangered by Cassidy’s ex-husband. Will their love survive?
I have to say that To Love and Cherish doesn’t just sound like a wonderful collection of stories, but it is for a wonderful cause that is in the forefront of a media blitz right now. I cannot think of any cause that needs a strong system of support now than marriage equality. You and your fellow writers must extremely proud to be a part of the anthology and the cause.
Here’s wishing you all the luck with the anthology and your other work. It was wonderful to have you here today, but our time has come to an end. Lara you are welcome back anytime you’d like. Thank you for sharing your life, your work, and passion with us.
If you would like to learn more about Lara Zielinsky and her work check out the following links:
- At the time of the interview Lara’s book Turn for Home was expected to be already available from PD Publishing. Due to unforeseen circumstances Turn for Home will not be available until later this year. Please keep an eye out at PD Publishing for its release date.
- Readers: If you send Lara an email to laraz(at)lzfiction(dot)net expressing your interest, she will choose one person to receive a bookplate (photo print) of any one of her book covers (They’re all shown here), signed, and mailed free. Entry deadline for the photo print drawing is Monday, 3/22, at 11:59:59 pm Eastern time.