I discovered Rachel Lacey on a weekend at the lake when I read the three books in her Midnight in Manhattan series. Her latest book “Read Between the Lines” will be available on December 1st and is a delightful homage to You’ve Got Mail. Rachel has been kind enough to chat with me.
Aww, reading by the lake sounds amazing! I’m so glad you found my books, Laura, and I’m so excited to chat with you for this interview!
Rachel, I adore your new book, Read Between the Lines. Tell me about Rosie and Jane and what did you love so much about You’ve Got Mail that inspired you to write this book?
Thank you so much! The thing I really fell in love with about You’ve Got Mail is the dynamic of a couple who are enemies in real life (while battling their attraction) but have no idea that they’re also flirty online friends. There’s so much potential for all that delightful angst!
I had always wanted to write a book with that dynamic, and I was so excited to get the chance with Read Between the Lines. Rosie is a romance-loving Manhattan bookstore owner who’s still waiting for her own real-life romance. She secretly fantasizes about a relationship with her favorite author, Brie, who she chats with on Twitter. She has no idea that in her day job, Brie is actually Jane Breslin, the sexy but infuriating woman who’s just terminated the bookstore’s lease.
Jane holds a really special place in my heart. Not only is she a romance author (and the first author character that I’ve written) but she’s so shy and awkward, which is something I definitely relate to haha. I feel like a lot of times when I read books about authors, the author character is super successful and famous, but I really wanted to write an author who’s more like a lot of the authors I know in real life – still working toward earning enough money from her books that she can quit her day job. She has major imposter syndrome about being an author, and I just want to give her a big hug and tell her she’s amazing J
You won a Goldie Award this year for Don’t Cry for Me. Josie is such a great character, I mean, she takes care of sick kittens! What does this book mean to you?
Oh my gosh, I’m still pinching myself about winning that Goldie! It’s such an honor, and especially for this book that is truly one of my favorites that I’ve written. Like Josie, I’m also a huge animal lover and rescue advocate. You’ll find rescue pets in most of my books and sometimes even characters who work to protect endangered animals, like Gwen from Off the Rails and her work with right whales.
Josie is somewhat inspired by a Youtuber that my son watches – Hannah Shaw or “Kitten Lady.” She rescues and raises tiny bottle-fed kittens, and by watching her videos with my son, I learned so much and was inspired to write a kitten rescuer of my own. If you hadn’t guessed, I’m a lifelong cat lover! I have two rescue cats at the moment – Luke and Obi, who we took in as tiny feral babies, although not when they were little enough to need bottle feeding J
You began writing male/female romances. Tell us about your bisexual self-discovery and how it brought you to write wlw stories?
Sure! Reading – and later writing – sapphic romance was actually a huge part of my self-discovery. I was such a late bloomer! I didn’t start questioning my sexuality until I was almost forty. I didn’t know much about bisexuality when I was younger, and since I had been attracted to men, I just assumed I was straight. I convinced myself that my female infatuations were women I admired (ha!)
I discovered wlw stories first in fanfic, and let’s just say…it was eye opening. After that, I dove headfirst into the world of sapphic romance. It was so validating to me as I sorted out my own sexuality. I really can’t say enough about how important these stories – and the authors who write them – are to me. Writing my first sapphic romance was a bit intimidating, but also so freeing! That was Lost in Paradise, and I actually drafted the entire thing in a week. It felt like rediscovering my love for writing, and I knew then that sapphic stories were what I wanted to write going forward.
There seems to be some bisexual discrimination in the lgbtq community, which is so disappointing. We all should be supportive of each other. Have you experienced any discrimination or hostility based on your sexuality?
Unfortunately, I have, although the community overall has been SO welcoming and wonderful. I love the lesfic community so much! There are a few who don’t think bisexual authors should be writing f/f stories, especially if they’re married to a man. When I first starting writing sapphic romance, I got comments and reviews stating that I couldn’t possibly understand the connection between two women since I had started out writing m/f romance. That hurt a lot, to be honest. I’m very thin skinned! But I don’t read my reviews anymore (unless someone specifically tags me) so if those people are still there, I don’t know about it.
When you started writing lesbian romance novels, were there any authors who offered you advice or encouragement and what are a few of your favorite books?
I have to preface this answer by saying that I’m a super shy person who always tends to feel like I don’t quite fit in, and when I first started writing sapphic romance, I was still in the process of tiptoeing out of the closet, so I had major imposter syndrome about being here! It really meant a lot to me when other lesfic authors were so welcoming.
I think one of the first authors to welcome me into the community was actually Jae when she included me in the F/F Crossword Challenge in 2020. I spend a lot of time on Twitter, and I’ve made a lot of author friends there. Lucy Bexley, Jennie Davids, Bryce Oakley, and Lily Seabrooke were some of the first lesfic authors I chatted with (although I’m sure I’m forgetting some others!)
A few of my favorite books! This is a topic I could talk forever about haha. Some of my current favorites are: Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson, When Tara Met Farah by Tara Pammi, The Fate of Stars by SD Simper, The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley, Hotel Queens by Lee Winter, Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo, and The Headmistress by Milena McKay.
You are a confessed travel junkie. What was your favorite location to visit and where would you still like to travel to?
Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I can pick one favorite, but I visited London a few years ago, and it was every bit as awesome as I had hoped! English pubs, our adorable little Airbnb in Picadilly Circus, museums, and all the touristy stuff like the London Eye and Trafalgar Square. I even got to see a show in the West End (and met Gillian Anderson!) I just fell in love with the whole city and would love to go back someday.
A place I’d still like to travel to is Hawaii. I want to see those gorgeous beaches and the volcanoes too. I’ve never seen a volcano in person! There are actually so many places right here in America that I haven’t visited yet. I’m so ready to travel again haha!
What kind of music do you listen to and who are some of your favorite artists?
Pop has always been my jam, and right now, basically my entire musical brand is Taylor Swift – ha! Folklore and Evermore pretty much got me through 2020, and now I’m living for her re-released albums. Other than Taylor, I listen to a lot of random music and artists depending on my mood and what book I’m working on.
Read Between the Lines made it into the top 50 of all kindle books, which is such a feat for an lgbt book. What I loved seeing was how so many other authors expressed congratulations to you. What did the support of other authors and making the top 50 mean to you?
Well, if you saw my Twitter flailing, you know that I completely lost my mind when it happened haha! And yes, the support of other authors made it even more special. Monica McCallan was in the #1 spot on the Lesbian Romance chart, absolutely KILLING IT with her new release, and when I bumped her out of the top spot, she messaged me to say congrats and then shouted about my book on Twitter. Lesfic authors are the best! J I love that we are always lifting each other up, and I’m so glad to be a part of the community.
In all seriousness, I’ve been publishing books for a while. Read Between the Lines is my 22nd book, and I’ve never even broken 1000 in the Kindle store outside of a BookBub day, so seeing my little sapphic book go all the way to #33 in the Kindle store was really overwhelming (in a good way!) I am sooooo grateful and yeah…my mind is still blown!
Rachel, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me. I know Read Between the Lines will be a big success for you and I look forward to book two in the series, No Rings Attached, releasing on April 12, 2022. Thanks so much for doing this!
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Laura, and for your support for my books! I appreciate it so much.