Welcome to the first in what hopefully will become a series of interviews with some of my favourite authors! And who better to start with than the wonderful Chloe Keto? Chloe is a fantastic beta reader, Twitter goddess, lesfic author and friend who I had the pleasure of meeting at the South Coast Lesfic Hang-Out in May, and a couple of months ago we interviewed each other for our newsletters.
Unfortunately, some people aren't subscribed to my monthly newsletter. (I know, I know, they're crazy. But they can sign up very easily...!) So they didn't see Chloe's interview. But because I'm fantastically nice - and also had nothing ready to post this month - I decided to share it with all you lovely blog readers. Chloe also interviewed me on her own newsletter, to which you can sign up here. Chloe is the author of Ransom To Love, a sweet lesbian romance in which a computer hacker falls in love with... well, one of her victims! In Chloe's own words, it's 'a story of insecurity, gender identity and confrontation [becoming] an unconventional tale of love and peace'. And if you're not already sold, there's a cat. Need I say more?
I couldn't wait to interview Chloe about her writing experiences, so we set up a Google document and did it. My answers are on her newsletter, and hers are here. Enjoy!
How do you develop your plot and characters?
For Ransom to Love I had an idea in my head and started writing it. The problem was, I got totally confused and forgot half of what I’d planned. I had to go back and rework it. For my WIP, I’ve got a wall covered in Post-It notes with key events for each chapter planned out so I don’t make the same mistake again!
Are there therapeutic benefits to modelling a character after someone you know?
One of my characters was inspired by someone from my past who I had a rocky relationship with. I admit it was quite pleasing to be able to describe them in the way I saw them through my eyes. The actual events are totally fictional but it was a bit like saying “This is how I see you!” so it was really satisfying.
Which of the characters do you relate to the most and why?
It’s got to be Teri from Ransom to Love for me. She’s committed to the people around her but her Imposter Syndrome means she can’t value herself. Fortunately, like Teri, I also have a great group of people, and a fantastic significant other, around me who remind me when I need it!
What was your hardest scene to write, and why?
I feel so close to Teri that the scenes where bad things happen to her - either the confrontation in her past or the police - felt like I was attacking a friend. The original plan was that Teri would be arrested but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it to her.
Whom do you trust for objective and constructive criticism of your work?
My beta team are the most amazing and supportive group of people. I’ve been so fortunate to have a mix of fellow authors, experienced betas and a really encouraging sensitivity reader so I’ve had all the support and criticism I could ask for. I also had an external editor who critiqued the story direction - she was really honest and objective. It’s the job of good betas and editors to give it to you straight so it’s not always easy to take but I thank my lucky stars my betas are also my cheerleaders!
Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?
The first authors I discovered as they started publishing were Sabrina Kane and Lily Seabrooke. Up until then I’d only read people who had published lots of books and were established. Both Lily and Sabrina are amazing, approachable women I look up to. They have been so friendly and shown me that authors are just real people.
What books have you read more than once in your life?
Ensnared Hearts by Anna Stone. It was about the third lesfic book I discovered but was the best introduction to powerplay relationships. It’s outstanding in the way it shows how they differ from the mass media portrayals. Unfortunately, it’s also set the bar high and so I shy away from writing such relationships, much as I’d love to one day!
Is there a particular genre you would love to write but only under a pseudonym?
Building on my love of Anna Stone’s work - I’d absolutely love to write a Ds (Dominant-submissive) power exchange but I’d only do it if I was confident I could do it justice. There’s nothing worse than bad BDSM writing. I’d like at least one trans character but I totally admire Lily Seabrooke for how she makes her trans character’s past almost incidental to who they are as people.
I’d [also] like to write a historical romance - regency aristocratic relationships are my guilty pleasure! I really admire Jane Walsh for bringing LGBT+ characters into Regency.
Does anyone in your family read your books?
I very much doubt it. Some friends have but I don’t think a few of my scenes are suitable for parental consumption!
Has your own writing ever made you cry?
Every single time I read a couple of scenes in Ransom to Love where especially poignant events happen between Teri and Sophie. A couple are particularly ones which have some basis in my own life. I’ll leave people to guess which ones but I can’t read those scenes without (mostly) happy tears.
And if you need any more convincing to buy Ransom To Love, here is an excerpt of my own review, from a few newsletters ago:
'Ransom to Love ticked all the sweet-and-steamy-romance boxes for me! The way the plot came together was very clever, and - without spoiling anything - the messages sent out were excellent. I'm sure I'm not alone in demanding that Number One the cat gets his own book, although how Chloe will create lesfic out of a male cat has yet to be discovered...'
Stay in touch with Chloe to be kept in the loop about her upcoming WIP, featuring a main character called Nikita! (Isn't that just the best name?) You can find her on Twitter @ChloeKetoWLW, and subscribe to her newsletter here. I strongly recommend you do... she, and Ransom To Love, are amazing!