The eagle-eyed amongst you – especially those who have been following my blog for a while – may notice that this is not the first time I’ve interviewed Chloe Keto. I actually interviewed her back in October – you can read that interview here! I enjoyed getting to know Chloe so much that I knew I had to bring her back for Round Two, just with some different questions!
Chloe Keto is the author of Ransom To Love, a Sapphic romance full of computery geekery, trans rep and an adorable cat! I met Chloe in-person at the South Coast Sapphic Hang Out in Crawley last year, and she barely got a few sentences out about the book before I vowed to buy it. Nine months later and it’s still one of my favourites!
So here we go… Round Two with Chloe Keto, for Sapphic-Fiction-February-in-March!
Introduce yourself! Tell us a little bit about you!
Hi, I’m Chloe Keto, a fairly new romance author. I’m lesbian and trans, which reflects in my reading and writing interests. Being middle aged (forty-cough) and married, I love seeing older couples in sapphic literature. I live in the UK and have a background in IT so for many years I saw myself as an avid reader but never a writer. One thing transitioning does, however, is cause you to question many aspects of yourself. If I could question so much else then why not question how creative I could be with my newfound “me”? That’s when I started playing with a few short stories and, eventually, created Ransom to Love, my first novel.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?
I don’t know about relaxing but I’m married with two teenage kids who are sports mad so, if I’m not carving out a little “me” time to write, then I’m likely to be running around after (or more likely shouting up the stairs to tidy something or hurry up) one or other of them. My relaxing “safe place” is reading, whether in bed, in a quiet corner or in a warm bath with candles. I can lose myself in a story completely, much to the amusement of my kids who both take after my wife in wanting to be outside kicking a football rather than turning pages of a novel.
Imagine your book, or one of your books, was made into a film. Who would you cast in the lead roles?
I’m not a massive film buff so I frequently have to Google it when people quote celeb names. My current work in progress has a main star with powerful, fiery red hair. Having just watched last year’s “Christmas at the Ranch”, I could totally crush on the idea of Amanda Righetti from the Mentalist playing her. She’s confident, stunning and the idea of her working a pole? Yes, that could be the stuff of dreams?!
What’s the first book you remember reading and really enjoying?
I always remember reading when I was in school, starting with Jeffery Archer (for some reason) and moving onto Sci Fi. One series that sticks in my mind was the Rama trilogy (Rendezvous with Rama etc...) by Arthur C Clarke. I do have a geeky sci-fi side so the science of alien spacecraft appealed but, looking back, I realise this series had something beyond that which has become the hallmark of my reading more recently too - it had relationships. I'm always far more interested in the relationship of any romance than the sex (don't get me wrong - I like those scenes too!).
Are there any genres you would absolutely never read or write?
I don’t think I could ever write horror. I’m not a fan of scary and / or psychological thrillers or mysteries. I get so absorbed in a story that I need that to be a happy place for me. I’d much rather be left with a warm loving afterglow in my book hangover. One of the most impactful stories in this regard was Barbara Winkes “The Amnesia Project”. I was listening to the audiobook and it scared me so much I simply had to finish it to achieve closure. Her writing is amazing and the plot was so scarily close to reality. I’ve not been able to read or watch The Handmaid’s Tale for the same reason - it would just terrify me too much.
What is a motto you live by?
I wouldn’t say I have a motto, per se, but I try to be the normal, kind, person that I’d want people to look at me and see. During my transition, my ultimate goal was to be unremarkable and just blend in. In most day-to-day life, I’m lucky that I do appearance-wise.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given with regards to being an author?
‘Don’t compare yourself to others’ was one. I suffer with a hefty dose of imposter syndrome, like many authors I know. There’s always someone out there who is better at sex scenes or writes more realistic dialog. In life, there’s always someone prettier or cleverer. However, there’s nobody else who is you. So, I got up the courage not to judge or compare my work to others, just to enjoy writing it and make it the best I can possibly make it. It’s up to the reader whether I achieved that.
And in general life?
The same advice applies in general life. Comparing yourself is an absolute fast route to zero. You end up drained and chasing your tail. I also suffer from anxiety and that, combined with my imposter syndrome, means my brain will tell me how rubbish I am regularly. It rarely tells me how wonderful I am so I’m supremely grateful for the friends, beta readers and my ever-long-suffering wife who all roll their eyes at me in frustration but give me another encouraging hug or kick up the butt.
Where can people connect with you?
The main way is via my newsletter at www.chloeketo.uk. I don’t have any particular release schedule but I’ll send one when I’m excited about something or have some news! I’m also on: Twitter at @ChloeKetoWLW, Facebook at Chloe Keto Books, Instagram at @ChloeKetoWLW.
Finally a lighthearted one. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be?
I think I’m pretty boring for the most part so probably a ham sandwich on white bread. However, since I do have crazy ideas– like deciding at the last minute to publish a Christmas novella or taking up pole fitness – there’s probably a slightly 'out there' sandwich topping like cherries on my ham!
It's not over yet... there's still one more interview to go!
If you enjoyed this interview, then make sure you’re following my social media accounts (@kblakemanwriter on Twitter and @katherineblakemanwriter on Instagram) to get all the latest updates! And if you want to support my own Sapphic Fiction journey while you’re here, my new novel The Summer We’ve Had is available now!