Lucy Bexley’s new book No Strings will be released on January 13th. Her first full length novel, Must Love Silence was a Goldie finalist and is one of my favorites. Lucy has been kind enough to chat with me.
Lucy, tell us about your new book No Strings and what we can expect from Elsie and Jones.
No Strings is an age-gap sapphic romance. Elsie is a young-at-heart puppeteer on a children’s television show. Jones is coming in as the temporary CEO after her estranged father passes unexpectedly. Jones is also left taking care of her much younger brother. She often feels overwhelmed, but throughout the course of the book, Elsie shows Jones how to find joy in the small things.
I loved writing this book, especially all the scenes for the show Fangley Heights and Elsie’s other show ideas. The relationship between Elsie and her roommate and best friend Avery was also delightful to craft.
It’s a book about family dynamics and second chances. Elsie and Jones make each other better.
Some of the highlights:
👹 A muppets-like kids show
😺 A cat named Ratatouille
🧖♀️ A matriarch à la Lucille Bluth
🍬 Accidental edibles
🥷🏼 A puppet heist
Must Love Silence is such a wonderful book. It tackles serious topics but does so with a lot of humor. What do you love about Reese and Arden and how special is this book to you?
Thank you so much! What I love most about Reese and Arden is how neither drastically changes to become a better partner, what happens is they come to understand and appreciate each other. So much of love is communication and compromise.
A lot of things made this book special to me! As a sober person, I really wanted to write a sober love interest. I haven’t come across many sober characters in lesfic or sapphic romances. Or, when I have, it’s sort of a rock bottom situation. I wanted to show Arden getting back in the ring and thriving. I also wanted to talk about disclosing sobriety to new people and how that feels like coming out to me, a never-ending process filled with strange reactions from others.
Writing about Reese’s anxiety was also important to me. At the start of the book, Reese is a shut-in (I wrote that part before Covid made its way to the U.S.) But Reese has all these strategies that she uses to engage with the world. And I wanted to show that she’s not anti-social or broken–she’s very funny and people exhaust her.
Must Love Silence was also my first published novel. I started writing again after getting sober in 2017, so it felt like a huge accomplishment for me. It was my getting back in the ring and thriving moment.
You wrote the Flippin’ Fantastic series with Bryce Oakley and Stephanie Shea. How did that collaboration come about and what do those two women mean to you as fellow writers and friends?
Well, clearly Steph and Bryce are the absolute best people in the world (Bryce wrote this line, but I definitely agree)! We all met on Twitter in a writing group I started called Dad Jobs (a typo on day jobs). In March or April of 2020, I put out a call on Twitter to see if anyone wanted to do camp Nano with me. A bunch of people did, which was so amazing. I didn’t really have many friends on Twitter at that point, so I was kind of shocked. From that, I made the writing group. As time went on Bryce, Steph, and I just clicked. If you read my acknowledgments you’ll always see them mentioned.
We all beta read each other’s work and cheerlead the hell out of each other. I guess what I’m trying to say is that they mean everything to me.
I can’t remember who mentioned collaborating first. It was shortly after Bryce and I co-wrote Just My Type. We kicked around a few ideas. One was to write about a group of women who pull off a heist, but we were having trouble figuring out how writing that would work and how to integrate romance. Bryce was renovating her dad’s house at the time and that’s how the idea for Flippin’ Fantastic came about.
We met on Google Hangouts to plot. I’m intense so I made a shared timeline doc where we all added key events to maintain consistency. We also read each other’s drafts as we worked and we all used the same editor, Amanda Laufhutte (she’s amazing and a true blue friend). Steph is also intense so she made this character sheet where we put all the key personality details of our main characters and love interests, including physical descriptions, personalities, flaws, etc. Bryce tolerated both of us being very intense. And Bryce did most of the work on the covers!
What are you writing now and can you give us a sneaky peak?
I’ve got two projects just starting up! One is a fake dating celebrity romance called We Are Never Getting Back Together. The other is part of a project I’m working on with other authors. That one’s called Howl, it’s about a lesbian bar in Boston and it’s inspired by the classic cinematic masterpiece: Coyote Ugly.
I also just published a free short story called A Little Bit Alexis! It’s free when you sign up for my mailing list. It’s a toaster-oven, one-night stand short story featuring Sacha’s sister Alexis from my holiday book Checking It Twice.
You bring the jokes to Twitter on the regular. What are a few of your favorites?
One of my favorite jokes I’ve ever written is in No Strings! I don’t want to spoil it but it is a puppet sex joke and the punch line is “just hand stuff.” My other favorite joke is in Just My Type. Annie asks Ero if her family is still in Greece and Ero says, “yeah, they’re all buried there.”
As for Twitter jokes *cracks knuckles* I have a few favorites:
What’s a cows favorite punctuation?
The Ox-ford comma.
I was going to post a joke about the Midwest but it was too corny.
What did the Vampire call the first draft of her memoir?
What did NASA say to the reporter after they got the date of the meteor shower wrong?
I could go on, but I’m going to show some restraint.
How did you meet your wife and what would be the title of the book based on your romance?
I’d call it “I Love You, Why Are You Trying to Kill Me?”
We met at a dinner party at her apartment. But the story of how I got there is the best part.
I had moved to Boston six months before and the city was having a bear of a winter, snowdrifts past my head, cars so buried in snowbanks you couldn’t tell they were there. I posted about this on Facebook and my friend from high school’s mom commented to ask if I lived in Boston now (I grew up in Michigan). I said yes and she told me Stephanie (her daughter) lived in Boston now too. She said, “I’m going to organize a friend date for you two”. So Steph’s mom set us up as friends. It was amazing because I didn’t know many people in the city and Steph is amazing. And one night she asked me to go to a dinner party with her. It was at the apartment of a woman she was in grad school with who she described as a “great resource for the LGBT community in Boston.” That combined with the fact that the woman’s name was Greta and she was hosting a dinner party had me thinking she was maybe in her fifties.
As fate would have it she was my age (25). She had made chili filled with peppers, which I’m allergic to! I ate it anyway because I’m more allergic to being rude. I got extremely sick and the rest is history.
For our first date, she took me hiking in the White Mountains. In Michigan, hiking means walking in the forest, so when I tell you I was underprepared it’s an extreme understatement. Anyway, I had an asthma attack on that mountain. Somehow she asked me out again. It’s probably a good thing I’m funny.
What were you like as a child and what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was a super quiet kid. I come from a really big family and I often found that chaos overwhelming. I loved reading. I had like one friend.
I’m kind of the same now, actually.
Anyway, I always wanted to be a writer. I recently was a visiting author at my alma mater (Michigan State), which was a dream come true for me.
You have decided while writing is still your first love, you have a lovely voice and are going to start recording audiobooks, like Reese from Must Love Silence. You can choose three books, other than your own to record. Look out Abby Craden! 😊 Which ones will receive the Lucy Bexley voice treatment?
This question made my week! I do love reading aloud! My dream books to narrate would be Alone by EJ Noyes, Never Mine by Bryce Oakley, and Casting Lacey by Elle Spencer. I don’t think I could hold a candle to Abby but it would be fun to try!
You are obviously the joke queen of lesbian Twitter. What or who makes you laugh?
Truly, this is the highest honor!
Some things I laugh at:
videos of dogs being silly gooses
Schitt’s Creek and Arrested Development (cue the Lucille Bluth character in No Strings)
Kids saying absolutely bonkers stuff
Elyse Myers on TikTok
Co-Star for its sheer brutality
Thanks so much for chatting with me Lucy. It has been an honor and I hope we can do it again!
Thank you! This interview was so much fun! Let’s definitely do it again soon!