Clare Lydon is one of the most prolific writers in lesbian fiction as well as being one of the nicest. Her latest book, Change of Heart is available now. Clare was kind enough to chat with me.
Clare, your new book is a fauxmance with a twist. Tell us a little about the book and its characters Erin and Steph.
It’s set in the Scottish Highlands, which my wife and I took a trip to this summer and totally fell in love with. I hope this book encourages Highlands tourism as it’s an absolutely incredible place with views for miles, stunning beaches and just an other-worldly feel.
Change Of Heart is a fauxmance with a delicious twist between Erin and Steph. Erin’s parents are about to host their 40th anniversary party, and Erin needs a date. Enter Steph, hired for a long weekend to charm the family. Of course, she ends up charming Erin too, but just when the pair look like they might sail off into the sunset, family drama and past secrets explode, knocking them right off course. Will they get their happy ever after?
I loved writing this book. I think it’s my best one yet, a romance with emotions ramped high, and one that deals with major life issues. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, but this is a book that will have you holding your breath and make you wonder: what would I do if I was in that situation?
Your London series has been wildly successful. Which character from the series do you most identify with?
Good question! With every book in the series, I love the new characters who come in. But if pushed, I’d say I probably most identify with a mix of Kate and Cleo. They’re both strong, independent, professional women who know what they’re doing and what they want, with solid family connections to fall back on. Plus, I reckon they’d be cool women to have dinner and drinks with too. I’d love to go out with some of my characters. That would be wild.
You obviously love London. What makes it so special to you and where should I not miss if I ever visit?
I’ve always wanted to live in London from a really young age. My parents met and fell in love here, my grandparents lived here, and I eventually made the move when I was 28, and never looked back. What makes it special? That there’s always something to do and see. It’s culturally vibrant, and I can go to gigs, plays, football games any day of the week. I also love the rivers and parks London has. I’ve worked out many plot points walking along the river Thames. If you visit, I’d say don’t miss East London, with the hipster areas of Stoke Newington, Dalston and Shoreditch a must for great food and cocktails. I’d also say Greenwich, where I live, is gorgeous – a seaside village in the middle of London with a ton of history and incredible architecture. It’s got so much to see and do, you’ll want to come back.
What are you writing now and can you give us a little teaser?
A very good question! I’ve got three books on the go, and I can’t quite pin down the one that I want to do next. I just mailed my editor and told her I’m setting myself a deadline to see if that will kick me into gear. Next year, I’ve got the final London Romance book (sob!), a Christmas book and the one I’m trying to pin down now. I can’t give you a teaser because it’s still in the Ikea stage. Currently missing instructions (in Danish) and two hinges.
You have collaborated with both T.B. Markinson and Harper Bliss. What do you like about the collaboration process?
That the book gets written in half the time. That your writing partner will come up with ideas and twists you’d never have thought of. That you get to chat with someone every day while you’re working on it. And once it’s done, it’s also nice to have someone else marketing the book, too. I might be working on a project with someone new this year. Watch this space!
In your previous career you were a music journalist interviewing some of the biggest names in pop music. Who was your favorite and do you have a funny story you could share?
Favourite interviews were many: Boy George was brilliant and honest, I interviewed Craig David while lying on a bed (don’t ask!), Bruno Mars was a delight, and Steps were awesome. And Joss Stone really liked my tie.
Funny story: Listening parties were big when I was a music journalist. The record company invited you to a venue, plied you with food and drink, gave you a comfy seat and turned the new album of whichever artist up really loud. I remember listening to Britney’s new one in a huge padded room with fizzy wine, which was quite surreal. But when Kanye West launched his album 808s & Heartbreak, he hosted the listening party himself. He sat on stage on a wooden chair, demanded silence from an audience of 300 tipsy press, then hit play. He stopped the album every time a journalist chatted, issued stern words about this being a listening party not a chatting party, then restarted the track. It was like being in a really strange exam, and Kanye was the headmaster.
What are some of your guilty pleasures?
Right now? The Christmas24 movie channel. But I don’t really believe in guilty pleasure. If you like it, enjoy it and feel no guilt!
You’ve been appointed lesbian ambassador to the world. Yep, it’s a real thing that I just made up! 😊 Which lesbian authors would you recruit to help you spread the lesbian love?
Spreading lesbian love is a big responsibility!
TB Markinson: Because she’s a loveable prude, so watching her face as I told her she had to spread lesbian love would be funny.
Erin Zak: Because she promised me cocktails and she understands that Kate Winslet makes the world a better place.
HP Munro: Because she’s a hoot and has a lilting Scottish accent that would make everyone swoon.
Harper Bliss: Because who better for the job?
Lise Gold: Because she’d get shit done. Also, she’s really tall, so would be able to spread the love far higher than me.
If I asked your wife to describe you and tell me one thing you do that drives her crazy, what would she say?
She’d say I’m a maddening Virgo who’s stubborn and insistent I’m always right. She’s completely correct. But I make very good dauphinoise potatoes, so she puts up with me. One thing that drives her crazy? I hang the washing out incorrectly. It drove her so crazy, she took over laundry duty. I consider this a win!
What have been your three favorite lesfic books you’ve read this year?
This one’s easy!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
One Last Stop – Casey McQuiston
Back In Your Arms – Monica McCallan
Thanks so much for chatting with me Clare. It has been an honor and I hope we can do it again!
You’re very welcome, thanks for asking me!