Michele Rivera released her first book back in 2013. A Closer Look, her 12th novel, was released in December 2021. Michele has been kind enough to chat with me!
Michele, A Closer Look was released in December and is still going strong. For those who haven’t read it yet tell them about Harley and Tessa.
Harley is a professional dating coach who lost her belief in love when she lost her wife. She does what she does to make money off women who actually do believe in love. Then she meets Tessa. Tessa wants to be single for the rest of her life, and she’s furious when her best friend sets her up with a dating coach (Harley). But she goes along with it to appease her best friend. There’s immediate chemistry between Harley and Tessa. They challenge each other at every turn and are two very stubborn women. Their biggest challenge is trusting in each other and their mutual romantic feelings toward one another. I wrote them intending to infuriate readers at times but also tried to make them very likable.
What are you working on now and when will it be released?
Right now, I’m working on another lesbian romance that’s somewhat of a second chance romance (but not quite) and somewhat of an enemies-to-lovers romance (but not quite). I don’t think a whole lot of my books fit neatly into categories (which can make them really hard to market). There will be lots of sexual tension, witty banter, and references to the early ’00s. I’m having a lot of fun writing the story and developing the characters, Bryce and Cameron. I don’t usually set deadlines for myself. Because I have epilepsy and a seizure can often set me back in how much I’m writing, I just do the best I can every day and hope to release at least one book a year. Ideally, I’d have this ready to release by June but again, I just take it one day at a time.
Which of your books are you most proud of and which of your characters is the most like you?
This is going to sound corny but I’m equally proud of all my books for different reasons. There is some part of every book that has helped me grow as a person and a writer. That said, since I draw a lot on personal experiences to write, some of the hardest books for me to put out into the world were A Trick of Light, Holding Space, and A Closer Look for various reasons.
The characters that are most like me? Oof. Well, there is a bit of me in all my characters. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say Micah in Taking the Lead, Parker in Wait For It, and Spencer in A Trick of Light. Spencer was especially close to home because her character was my way of sharing with the lesbian fiction community more about epilepsy, what I feared as someone with epilepsy when dating, and ableism in general. I felt VERY vulnerable writing that story.
You and your wife are throwing a dinner party, which three couples from your books would you invite?
My wife loved this question when I told her about it. I would have to with Hannah and Charlie from Holding Space, Tessa and Harley from A Closer Look, and Brynne and Sophie from The Third Act.
You got married late last year. What do you love most about your wife?
Is this a trick question? The correct answer is “everything,” right? Just kidding. There are so many things I love about my wife. From the very beginning, she expressed so much empathy about my disability and would drive for hours nearly every weekend to spend time with me since I can’t drive. She’d never complain once about traffic, driving conditions, commute time. Nothing. She also wanted to know everything about my writing and tells me all the time that she loves how my brain works. She’s kind and caring, intelligent, gorgeous, and she makes me laugh. She loves all my cats, accepts all my flaws, supports all my journeys, and believes in me. We make a great team and I just feel incredibly lucky that we found each other.
My partner is a bourbon lover. Her favorites are Whistle Pig and Angels Envy. I know bourbon is your jam as well. What are your favorites?
Angels Envy is a great bourbon! I agree with your partner there. I don’t really enjoy ryes so Whistle Pig isn’t my thing. I have a long list of favorites, so I’ll narrow it down to Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, Buffalo Trace, Russell’s Reserve, and Wild Turkey’s Rare Breed. I REALLY hope someday to try a Pappy Van Winkle, William Larue Weller, and George T. Stagg.
Describe yourself in three words?
Caring, witty, anxious
You are a Massachusetts native. What do you love about your state? And please don’t say the Patriots or our new friendship may be in jeopardy. 😉We are still mad about Spygate here in Missouri when our Rams lost to them in the Super Bowl.
I don’t watch football, so we don’t have to worry about our new friendship. I love that (for the most part) my state is pretty liberal. There’s a strong queer community here, which is always a bonus. And it’s really historical. It’s also not hard to find really good food, which I appreciate more and more the longer I’ve been in recovery from my eating disorder. And as much as I loathe the winter, I can’t deny that experiencing all the seasons has its magical moments.
You have decided to open a bourbon bar with three other lesfic writers. Which three are you choosing and why?
I feel like I need more lesfic writer friends. This question really stumped me. Based on tweets alone (past and present), I went with Monica McCallan, Bryce Oakley, and TJ Dallas. My reasoning is that they all make me laugh and have tweeted out my books and show support for my work overall.
What are a few of your favorite lesfic books?
Sadly, I don’t read as fast as most folks. But my kindle is full and my TBR list is long! The three favorites that came to mind right away are Anyone But Her by Erica Lee, Strawberry Summer by Melissa Brayden, and Winter Jacket by Eliza Lentzski.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. It was a pleasure and I hope we can do it again!