When a Cat thinks it’s a Dog, You get Great Fiction

Hello, and thank you for tuning into my interview with Rachel Gold, and author whose book I just adored (check out my review via my other blog). Somehow Just Girls was both super serious and incredibly fun. I used to review by separating out my ratings for entertainment value versus depth of meaning, and even though I don’t do that any more, I would have easily given Just Girls 5 stars on both scales. It’s that good!

Let’s paint a picture of your novel. Please choose something from each of the following categories that best summarizes the book and explain why: color, animal, US city, car, and food. 

Color: Ultraviolet because there are a lot of aspects of the book that people might not think about or see everyday, but that surround them anyway – like gender and sexuality.

Animal: A cat who acts like a dog. One of my cats is like this, and it’s adorable – he comes when called and plays fetch. Similarly, the book gives you the best of both worlds: deep, thoughful subjects, but also sweet romance and fun. (You can decide which part is that cat and which is the dog.)

US City: San Francisco, no question, because the cast of the book is very diverse and at times playful about their diverstiy.

Car: I’m not a big car person, but I’d be a fool not to say this book is a Tesla. It has a lot of energy and may recharge you while you read it.

Food: Ice cream with lots of Stonewall Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce (because that is the best sauce ever). If you warm the sauce, you get a dessert that’s both cold and warm, sweet and salty. I like contrasts in my dessert and in my fiction. In Just Girls you get profound ideas and light, fun moments. Also the main character, Ella, eats a lot of ice cream with caramel sauce, so it works that way too.

Here’s a clichéd question:  You’re wandering out in the desert and trip over a hard object lodged in the sand. It’s a magic genie’s lamp—OMG! Which three things do you wish for and why? Any chance you’ll regret these choices later?

#1. That all people get the innate ability to value and enjoy other people, so there isn’t hatred and discrimination

#2. That everyone has enough to eat, and a home they like, and good health (unless that counts as three wishes, in which case go to wish #3 first)

#3. More wishes, of course. Yep, I’ll probably regret that, because then everyone will want me to grant their wishes. Of course, I could ask for a wish-granting assistant …

If there was one fictional character (either from literature, television, or movies) whose life and personality most resembled your own, who would it be and why?

Dr. Lauren Lewis from the SyFy show “Lost Girl” because she has a mysterious and checkered past, but now spends most of her time coming up with really smart ideas that save the day. I appreciate that she made it through almost the entire four seasons without hitting anyone (she does once). She usually gets to rescue the other characters in the show by figuring things out.

Now a different spin on the same question:  If you could pick, which fictional character’s life would you most want to have and why?

I’d probably pick one of the really long-lived ones so I could write lots of books. Someone like the vampire Octavia Voss from Louise Marley’s book “Mozart’s Blood.” Octavia bit Mozart himself and has some of his memories and each generation she recreates herself and becomes a star opera singer all over again. I think I’d really enjoy that, except I’d like to have bitten Virginia Woolf and each generation recreate myself as an author.

Would you rather your writing remain obscure forever all the while knowing you had talent and stayed true to your creative vision OR would you prefer to write a book that achieves great commercial success but that you just aren’t proud of? Why did you choose the answer you chose?

I think there’s a middle ground on this one, because it’s not fun to have no one read your books but it’s not fun to write work you’re not proud of. Most authors are writing books that we’re to some degree proud of and that also have some readers. So let’s think of this as a slider rather than an either/or. My slider would be set at about 60% “true to vision” and 40% “read.”

I want my books to make a difference in people’s lives, and in order to do that, they need to be read by people. And of course I want them to be strong, engaging stories, which means navigating a course between my initial creative vision and what’s really going to communicate to readers.

About the book: Jess Tucker sticks her neck out for a stranger—the buzz is someone in the dorm is a trans girl. So Tucker says it’s her, even though it’s not, to stop the finger pointing. She was an out lesbian in high school, and she figures she can stare down whatever gets thrown her way in college. It can’t be that bad.

Ella Ramsey is making new friends at Freytag College, playing with on-campus gamers and enjoying her first year, but she’s rocked by the sight of a slur painted on someone else’s door. A slur clearly meant for her, if they’d only known.

New rules, old prejudices, personal courage, private fear. In this stunning follow-up to the groundbreaking Being Emily, Rachel Gold explores the brave, changing landscape where young women try to be Just Girls. Get Just Girls through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: An award-winning marketing strategist and author, Rachel Gold also spent a decade as a reporter in the LGBT community where she learned many of her most important lessons about being a woman from the transgender community. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Religious Studies from Macalester College, and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Hamline University. When she’s not “translating English for English-speaking people” or working on her novels, you can find Rachel online checking out the latest games. Connect with Rachel on her website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads.


Mrs. Storm

Writing everything from Sweet Romance to Children's Books to Nonfiction, Melissa loves books, birds, and bonbons--in that order. She has an advanced degree that she never uses.