Tag: Anna

Landice interviews Anna Burke about her book Spindrift – The Lesbrary

Landice interviews Anna Burke about her book Spindrift – The

Spindrift by Anna Burke

Anna Burke is not just one of my favorite lesfic authors—she’s one of my all time favorite authors, period. I love her dystopian lesbian pirate debut novel so much that I’ve convinced 6+ different friends to read it, essentially turning my Sapphic Bookstagram group chat into the unofficial Compass Rose fan club, and I credit Burke’s 2019 Goldie Award winning book, Thorn (an F/F Beauty & the Beast re-imagining), with reigniting my long dormant love for reading.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Burke about her newest book, Spindrift. A contemporary romance, Spindrift is definitely a departure from her previous work, but I found it to be equally delightful!

Landice: Thank you so much for agreeing to speak with me, Anna! Would you like to introduce yourself to readers not yet familiar with you or your work?

Anna Burke: Sure! I am predominately a speculative fiction writer. My first book, Compass Rose, is a dystopian high-seas lesbian pirate novel, and my next two books, Thorn and Nottingham, are retold fairytales (Beauty and the Beast and the legend of Robin Hood, respectively). But most people know me as Artemis’s dog mom.

Landice: That’s certainly how I know you! [laughs] But, speaking of dogs, Spindrift is a romance between two dog moms, which I loved. I mean, there’s a lot more to Emilia and Morgan than their dogs, but Nell and Kraken do play an important part in the novel! Is Kraken (a German Shepherd) based off of your own pup? These are the sort of hard-hitting questions Lesbrary readers are here for, obviously.

Anna: Kraken is absolutely based on my GSD, and another dog, who will appear in later books, is inspired by my Cocker Spaniel. I couldn’t resist! I love writing animals into my work–and not just because I love animals, though that admittedly might have a lot to do with it. From a craft perspective, how characters interact with their pets can reveal a great deal about them, and they can also serve as a humanizing influence on characters who might otherwise be irredeemable. And, let’s face it—us queers love our pets.

Landice: Very true! Emilia is definitely a bit of an ice queen at first—or, we can tell that’s how she wants to be seen, at least, because she’s still very fragile and sort of cagey post-breakdown. But her interactions with Nell and with other animals in the first part of the novel really help us glimpse past the emotional walls she puts up! And as someone who also struggles with anxiety and other mental illnesses, I really appreciated the care you took in writing Emilia’s own mental health issues. What, if any, were some of the challenges you faced in writing that aspect of the novel?

Anna: This is a great question. Mental health is a topic that is close to my heart, and is something that I–as well as most of the people I know—struggle with. Not only is it a major issue in the veterinary profession, but it also is something that the queer community faces disproportionately. I’m queer and married to a veterinarian (laughs). By far the biggest challenge I faced in writing Emilia’s character was figuring out how to faithfully portray her struggles while also conveying a sense of hope. She’s faced some tough shit, and will continue to deal with that, but she’s also learning how to live with it, and that’s where I wanted to put the focus of the novel. Sometimes surviving is the bravest thing we can do. Emilia is brave, and because I write fiction, her reward is new friends, old love, lots of dogs, and, well… a few boat scenes, let’s just say.

Landice: And what excellent boat scenes they are! The steamier sections of Spindrift are stellar, some of the best I’ve read in a long time, but honestly, the mental health aspects were what really stood out to me. You know that meme that’s gone around lately, “Sure sex is great, but…”? Spindrift reminds me of that. “Sure, sex is great, but have you ever read a romance novel that also has phenomenal mental health rep?” [laughs]

Anna: Omg, that’s amazing. And then there’s Morgan, who is in total denial about her own issues… As a reader (and a writer and a human), I really do think that the deeper the emotional connection, the better the sex/the bigger the payoff. For these characters, an emotional connection isn’t possible without navigating the emotional depths they’ve both sunk to, which also offers such good potential for conflict. And, you know. Some good flannel ripping.

Landice: Flannel ripper! Oh, my god. That is the best possible way to describe this novel, honestly. Why aren’t flannel rippers a thing in the lesfic community, yet? Can we make them a thing? Anyway, I know you’re currently working on the second Seal Cove romance, Night Tide. What are the biggest differences, you’ve found, between writing both speculative fiction and contemporary romance?

Anna: I feel like #flannelripper has to already be a thing, but it clearly needs to be a BIGGER thing. Let’s make it happen. Honestly, I love hopping genres. It’s like solving different puzzles, and it lets me explore different storylines and settings. It also keeps me from getting stuck—I work on multiple projects simultaneously, and working in different genres often gets me out of writer’s block.

It’s funny—I thought there would be larger differences. I did enjoy not having to create entire worlds and societies, and there was less research involved (though again, being married to a vet made the veterinary research component easy). But characterization and world-building are the same regardless of genre. [laughs] Probably the biggest difference is that I wanted the characters in these stories to be happy. Anyone who follows me on social media knows this is a big departure from the norm!

Landice: It’s a nice change from your other books, I must say. I love the others, but they definitely hurt. [laughs] I’d love to have you back once Sea Wolf (Compass Rose sequel) is out in the world, that’d be a very different conversation. But to wrap up, how would you describe Spindrift to a potential reader in a couple sentences or so? Aside from #FlannelRipper, what’s your elevator pitch?

Anna: [laughs] Okay. Butch bottom falls for femme top/flex, plus dogs.

Landice: Yeah, I’d say that pretty much sums things up! [laughs] Thank you so much for speaking with me!

Spindrift’s official release date is August 25th, but you can snag your copy now, exclusively through the Bywater Books website!

Spindrift Description:

Can a hot summer fling mend the hearts of two broken women?

Morgan Donovan had everything she ever wanted: a dream job as a large animal veterinarian, awesome friends, and a loving and supportive fiancée. But it all comes crashing down when her fiancée dumps her after realizing that Morgan’s job will always come first. And, while Morgan still has the job and friends, her heart is broken into a million tiny pieces.

Emilia Russo is a burned-out shelter vet. When the unexpected death of her father triggers a mental breakdown that hastens the end of her relationship, she retreats to his house in Seal Cove, Maine. She plans on spending the summer renovating it while she figures out how to pull the pieces of her life back together. But when she runs into Morgan at the dock where her father’s sailboat is moored, her plans for a quiet summer of healing and reflection sink like a stone—the attraction is immediate and obvious, and Emilia finds herself slipping seamlessly into Morgan’s world.

Each woman knows this fling will end when Emilia returns to Boston at the end of the summer, but they’re unprepared for the intensity and depth of their attraction. And, as the gales of fall begin to drive leaves like spindrift upon Seal Cove, Morgan and Emilia must each come to terms with how much they’re willing to give up to stay together.

Content Warnings: past suicidality, death of a parent (off page), mentions of animal euthanasia

Anna Burke with her dog!Anna Burke was the inaugural recipient of the Sandra Moran Scholarship from the GCLS Writing Academy and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College. Her queer feminist novel, Thorn, was named 2019 LGBTQ+ book of the year by Foreword Reviews. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can usually be found drinking tea or playing with her dogs.

You can find her as annaburkeauthor on Patreon, Instagram, Twitter, or on her website, annahburke.com.

Landice is an autistic lesbian graphic design student who lives on a tiny farm outside of a tiny town in rural Texas. Her favorite genres are sci-fi, fantasy & speculative fiction, and her favorite tropes are enemies-to-lovers, thawing the ice queen, & age gap romances. Landice drinks way too much caffeine, buys more books than she’ll ever be able to read, and dreams of starting her own queer book cover design studio one day.

You can find her as manicfemme on Bookstagram & Goodreads, and as manic_femme on Twitter. Her personal book blog is Manic Femme Reviews.

Things I Read That I Love #311: As If I Were a Train and the Last Page Was Anna Karenina

Things I Read That I Love #311: As If I

HELLO and welcome to the 311th installment of Things I Read That I Love, wherein I share with you some of the longer-form journalism/essays I’ve read recently so that you can know more about cruise ship disasters!! This “column” is less feminist/queer focused than the rest of the site because when something is feminist/queer focused, I put it on the rest of the site. Here is where the other things are.

The title of this feature is inspired by the title of Emily Gould’s tumblr, Things I Ate That I Love.

It has been so long and I am so sorry but listen I am here I am back, and I have taken some real journeys into the peaks and valleys of various niche topics over the past billion weeks. I have never read the news more! Also I updated the Black Lives Matter longform reading list last month, which you should check out!


The True Cost of Dollar Stores, by Alec MacGillis for Pro Publica / The New Yorker, June 2020

On the history of Dollar Stores and where they thrive in the present and why they are a often a target of armed robberies that put vulnerable workers at risk. Also surprise, the CEOs are making ten million dollars a year while refusing to compensate employees fairly or provide basic security or surveillance!!!

The Pariah Ship, by Michael Smith, Drake Bennett, and K. Oanh Ha for Bloomberg, June 2020

Friends if you think my momentary obsession with cruise ship mishaps was a passing fad from when we last gathered in this space to share longform pieces, you would be very wrong. In addition to the two articles I shared last time, I also read this one, watched 10 documentaries and read an entire fucking book about the cruise ship industry! It was medicore (the book).

Diary, by Patricia Lockwood for The London Review of Books, July 2020

I think this is my favorite thing I read this week?

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It seemed more sensible to crawl from place to place rather than walk. My mind had moved a few inches to the left of its usual place, and I developed what I realised later were actual paranoid delusions. ‘Jason’s cough is fake,’ I secretly texted a friend from the bathtub, where I couldn’t be monitored. ‘I … don’t think his cough is fake,’ she responded, with the gentle tact of the healthy. ‘Oh it is very, very fake,’ I countered, and then further asserted the claim that he had something called Man Corona.

Debating Hamilton as It Shifts from Stage to Screen, by Stephanie Goodman for The New York Times, July 2020

Wesley Morris,Jesse Green, A.O. Scott and Maya Phillips discuss the differences between Hamilton’s filmed production  and the experience of watching it live, as well as how its themes have aged from the Obama-era to the present. BTW  saw Hamilton for the first time on Disney+ right right I know.

Out of Work, as told to Rowan Moore Gerety and Laura Rena Murray, California Sunday Magazine, July 2020

A photoessay that shows the coronavirus shutdown through the eyes of the recently unemployed — what they did before, what they’re doing now, and how they’re getting by.

Send in the Clowns, by Namara Smith for n+1, Spring 2020

The Democratic primaries, in their modern form, have always been a dance between imitating Republicans and rejecting them, rewarding politicians able to reconcile these two poles the most gracefully. But Trump heightened this tension to new levels, turning what had in the past seemed like a choreographed performance into a series of convulsions. All the customary moves were therethe turn to the left, the pivot to the center, the coming-together at the endbut the timing was off and no one seemed in control of what they were doing. If this was a dance, it was one that had gone badly wrong.

Sick Days, by Russel Brandom for The Verge, May 2020

Instacart is a terrible company who treats their employees terribly. And for all the money they have they really should be updating their interface more, it’s shocking that so many people have gotten mad at INSTACART SHOPPERS for unavailable items. After this I also read The coronavirus crisis has been great for Instacart. For its workers, it’s a different story.

James is a Girl, by Jennifer Egan for The New York Times, February 1996

In recent years, America has become obsessed with “girls,” and the fashion world has a theory about why: actresses have lost their glamour by turning into real people, and models have replaced them as the stars of our time. Certainly models are this decade’s contribution to our already crowded celebrity pantheon. They are what rock stars were to the 70’s and visual artists were to the 80’s. The rise of models has less to do with the fashion industry, whose business has slumped since the 80’s, than with the potent blend of cultural preoccupations they embody: youth, beauty and, perhaps most of all, media exposure.

You can see the pictures from this piece here. Also, mid-article Joi Tyler, a Black model struggling to get runway work in Paris due to anti-Black racism, which the author mentions and then just… leaps right past?

Tune In, Drop Out, by Ann Babe for Rest of World, July 2020

In South Korea, an entire economy and subculture is building around “honjoks,” people who “prefer, out of pleasure or practicality — and, often, utter exhaustion and sheer desperation — to live outside of conventional social structures and simply be alone.

Peak Comfort, by Kathryn VanArendonk for Vulture, July 2020

On prestige TV vs. the new wave of comfort television, particularly suited for The Present Moment. (The author is a particular fan of The Baby-Sitters Club.)

How 2 Pandemics Made Way For A Reckoning In Black Media, by Taryn Finlet for The Huffington Post, July 2020

How Covid and the uprising against racialized Police Violence prompted a hard look at the treatment of Black writers in mainstream media and in Black media.

Who’s Afraid of Ziwe Fumudoh?, by E Alex Jung for Vulture, July 2020

An interview with the comedienne whose Instagram Live show “asks subjects disquieting questions about race.”

The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus, by Richard A. Oppel Jr, Robert Gebeloff, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Will Wright and Mitch Smith for The New York Times, July 2020

The New York Times had to sue the CDC for the data that revealed how “Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.”

Riese

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including “The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female,” magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2830 articles for us.