Interview with K.L. Gallagher

K.L. Gallagher’s first book, Hat Trick, was co-written with Ali Spooner, was released in September 2021.  The sequel will be her first solo effort and will be released in the fall.

K.L. thank you for taking some time to chat with me today. For anyone who hasn’t read Hat Trick yet, tell them about it.

Hat Trick is a story of perseverance and second chances involving two women who suffered personal tragedies and swore off love to ensure they never expose themselves to that kind of pain again. Criminal defense attorney Alex Hawthorne moved across country to New York and threw herself in her work in hopes of making partner while Janelle Leblanc, the first female NHL head coach, kept her eyes on the ice and head in the game to avoid feeding into the misogynistic whispers of doubt a woman could succeed at the highest levels. Once their paths crossed, the spark was immediate and the chemistry was impossible to ignore. Can Janelle break down Alex’s walls to give them a real chance? Or will Alex’s past heartache be too much for them to overcome?

The way you came to write Hat Trick with Ali Spooner reads almost like a novel.  Tell me how that collaboration came about?

The partnership with Ali is really great story about kindness and paying it forward. There was an auction on Facebook for one of our community’s favorite WLW authors who needed a medical procedure that wasn’t covered by her insurance. As our great community does, we came together, readers and authors alike, and generously donated/bid on numerous items, including the naming of a character in one of Ali’s future works. I won the auction and she emailed me, asking for not just the name but a background that I envision for the character. So, I thought about it and sent her a character that had been swimming around in my mind for years, Alex Hawthorne. After she read the blurb, she responded with asking me why decided not to write it myself. My immediate reaction was to decline, explaining that I have no experience writing. I’m paraphrasing, but her response was to ask, as a lawyer, don’t I write for a living. Basically she was not going to let me weasel a lot of this and what she offered to write it with me, all of my excuses were flushed down the toilet.

Writing the book with Ali was just amazing. She was patient, kind, supportive, and when I was in my home head so deep that I was ready to give up, she pulled me right back out with her southern drawl and words of wisdom. We decided to alternate chapters, with her taking on Alex and me taking on Janelle, until about halfway through the book when the floodgates opened in my brain. She basically told me just to keep writing until I hit a wall. So, I kept writing all the way through to the end of the Epilogue. I’m not sure many other authors would let me take over like that considering I have zero experience in this and I’ll never be able to thank her enough for doing so.

We didn’t really have any disagreements on the book since she basically gave me free reign to guide the story the direction that I saw. In terms of funny moments, I can only speak for myself but writing my first sex scene and contorting my body to make sure it makes sense was probably the closest thing to intensive yoga that ever done.

You are currently working on your first solo book. How are you finding the experience?

It’s a lot slower, for sure 😊. Which is actually okay since I’m using the tools and resources I’ve earned from the GCLS Writing Academy. We are now in the mentorship portion of the program and I am working with the wonderfully talented Lynn Ames on my first 7 chapters. I had hoped to get it in final by the end of April, but with opening my own law practice in January and wanting to make sure Snapshot is ready for prime time, I am resolved to pushing my release date back into the Fall instead of late Summer. It’s more important to be fabulous than fast.

You’re a hockey player and a lifelong Californian. Those two don’t seem to go together. How did you get into hockey?

Ha, spoken like a true East coaster 😉. It is true when I was growing up, hockey wasn’t exactly a hotbed on the West Coast. Now, the NHL is filled with California born players, including Trevor Moore of my Los Angeles Kings.

Like most of my experiences, hockey started as an after thought. A way to steal time with my Dad on the couch when I was growing up. He is a huge sports fan and I learned quickly if I wanted to spend some QT with my dad during the week, I better try and follow that little black mark around my 13 inch screen. After a couple of games, I started seeking out the game times in our TV Guide. By my 10th birthday, I was spouting off stats about the game and the history of the LA Kings. I knew it better than he did!

Unfortunately my parents split up a couple years later. Hockey turned into my escape from the pain caused by families breaking up. One day, I saw an add in our local newspaper for a new roller hockey shop opening across town. My mom’s new boyfriend and I were there for the grand opening and we saw they were going to put a small league together for us desert kids. My mom and the BF found some of the heaviest skates known to man at the local pharmacy, rounded up some old soccer shin pads and volleyball elbow pads, turned the motorcycle chest protector into a hockey one, and went to the thrift store to find a 2XL sweater I could use since I didn’t have a jersey. He also made a net out of PVC pipe and stuck a plastic blade on the bottom of a 2×4 so I had a stick. They painted a used helmet from the 1970s and stuck a bag full of packing popcorn inside the top to help me keep my head safe. I looked like a dumpster fire and I couldn’t have been more excited! Even though I was one of the worst skaters out there and ended up on a team that only scored 4 goals all season (I was one of them 😊), I never gave up. It was as though I was born to be a hockey player. Over time I became one of the most prolific scorers in the league, captained many teams to championships, and eventually transferred to ice when I moved to Sacramento for law school. It’s always been my happy place.

I’m often asked why I like hockey so much. What it has to offer the other sports don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of baseball (go Dodgers!), football, and basketball. But those sports are mostly one dimensional. In hockey, you get all of those sports and more wrapped into one game. The hand-eye coordination of baseball. The teamwork & finesse of basketball. The hitting of football. And the fighting of a good old fashion boxing match. All on ice with 1/8 inch knives attached to your feet while skating 10-20 miles per hour. What other sport can offer you that much excitement?

On your website is the video of you proposing to your wife during hockey practice. It was super sweet. What makes your wife the perfect woman for you?

How much time do we have? My wife is everything I never knew I wanted or deserved. She is kind, generous, loyal, beautiful, and compassionate. She sees me for who I am and loves me anyway. Ours is a true partnership. We never go to bed angry. We don’t keep score as we only focus on the issues before us during disputes and don’t bring up old crap. She grounds me when I am on my high wire act of life. She supports me without hesitation, but also knows when she needs to step in and moderate my grand plans. And most of all, I know her intentions are always from a good place. I grew up with a lot of turmoil in our household and endured several awful relationships as an adult. When a compliment came, it was usually a backhand one. We were a family, but not a team. One night, early in our relationship, she gave me a compliment and I spun out on her, asking if she was taking shots at me. She sat me down, took my hands, and said the words that sealed my heart from all others forever. “I’m on your team.” Those four little words changed my entire worldview. Finally, I was with someone who wasn’t looking for a way to knock me down a few pegs or hold me back by insulting me. She meant what she said, not what I was conditioned to read into. She’s never wavered from those 4 words. Even if her words are tough to hear at times, I know they are coming from a place of pure, unconditional love. And a desire to ensure I succeed.

One other thing about Lisa, which I am sure she will kill me for sharing, is that even though she puts on a tough exterior, she is one of the biggest softies I’ve ever met. I ask her to kill a bug and she finds a way to save it from her Grim Reaper wife. A baby bird lying on our grass without momma? Lisa carefully puts it in a box and drives 20 miles to the aviary so they can nurse it back to health. Come across a wet dog while driving home in the rain in a brand new car? Let’s put him in the back on the new seats and bring him home for the night so he’s out of the elements. The list goes on and on.

You aren’t just a writer, you’re a lawyer. You just opened your own law firm. What do you love most about being a lawyer and how are you balancing opening a law firm and writing your book?

Oh the B word. Finding balance has been a significant challenge since I’ve earned more clients. I’m still trying to find a sweet spot where I can write and also get my work done in ways I feel I am giving both their just due in my life. I’m sure as the months go on and I hone in my practice protocol it will get easier. For now, I typically write at night when I’m not exhausted.

My favorite part about being a lawyer is giving those with limited to no resources a voice in how they live their lives. Helping restore dignity to a world where being dignified is no longer the norm. The most precious moments for me are when my clients tell me how much I’ve helped give them hope. They can see a bright future again now that the burden of the reasons they came to me are lifted. It’s why I decided to be an attorney.

What place would you most like to travel to?

I would love to travel to New Zealand. It’s a beautiful country with a rockstar of a Prime Minister who has done remarkable work for her country. She is a true statesperson, and it shows by the statistics of how happy Kiwis are with their way of life. The culture is right where I want to be – live and let live. Love thy neighbor. Gay people are not your enemies. I long for the day when we finally get to visit.

What are some of your favorite lesfic books?

There are so many wonderful books in our genre, I could give you a list a hundred plus long. If you put a squirt gun to my head and forced me to choose my top five, in order they’d be (1) Kiss the Girl by Melissa Brayden, (2) And Playing the Role of Herself by K.E. Lane, (3) Does She Love You by Rachel Spangler, (4) The Brutal Truth by Lee Winter, and (5) The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley. Honorable mention to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid since it’s not technically a lesfic book.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. It was great getting to know more about you. I look forward to reading more of your stories.

Pleasure is all mine! Thank you for inviting me.