Interviewing author Lynn Ames, creator of some tough, kick-ass lesbian protagonists

Lynn, thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions for members of the Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Facebook group. 

It’s my pleasure, Jon. Thanks for asking. <g>

Let’s start off with, where do you live?

I’m originally from New York, but I live in Phoenix, Arizona.

As you probably know, writers rarely like to toot their own horns…lol, but what would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

You’re right. This is always a tough question. Do you want to narrow that down to “as an author?” If so, I would say my greatest accomplishment is being able to write what’s in my heart—to do something I love to do—and being able to make a living at it.   

Without getting too personal, would you share a little about your home life?

I work out of my house, so it’s a long commute—all the way two doors down! You can’t believe the traffic. <g> I share my life with my two beautiful golden retrievers, Parker, who is nine, and Dixie, who is three. Parker is my Zen man. LynnAmes
And Dixie should be playing the outfield for the Yankees. She’d be less expensive than Carlos Beltran. Just sayin’…

Do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing or plot out your storylines in detail?

I am a pantser from way back. I usually know three or four things that are going to happen in any book, and then the rest of it falls into place organically as I go along.

Have had you ever had to deal with homophobia after your lesbian-themed novels are released, and if so, what forms has it taken?

I’ve been so fortunate. My books have been well received and I haven’t gotten any backlash in terms of the fact that my protagonists are lesbian. Of course, my philosophy about such things is, “If you don’t like it, don’t read it.” In those instances where straight people have asked about my books, I disclose up front that there are lesbian characters in the book and invariably no one seems to have a problem with that. As I said, I recognize that this is not always the case, so I feel most fortunate, indeed.

Many of your plots include espionage, secret paramilitary organizations, diplomats, political officers, politicians, the U.S. President – among many others spanning the gambit of high-stakes mystery, action and adventure. Where do you get your ideas?

LOL. Well, in some cases, I’ve lived them. Not the espionage part, but I spent many years working in high level politics, so it’s a world that’s familiar to me. So I have some inside knowledge of how these worlds function, which means I also understand all too well how things can go awry. So, where the average person might read something in a newspaper or magazine or see a story on television about a current event and see only what is being presented to him/her, I see the moving parts behind the curtain and fill in the back story. Or, something will lead me to ask the question, “What if…?” Once my curiosity is aroused, I can start to imagine the plot I can create from it.

BeyondInstinct

You have written some seriously kickass lesbian mystery/thriller/suspense fiction with the Classified Series and Kate and Jay series; What was your inspiration behind creating such tough, kickass female protagonists and how do you keep them fresh?

Thank you for that! Having spent so many years in male-dominated fields where I was often the ONLY woman, I understand what it takes to stand strong and hold your ground. It requires a level of toughness and a proficiency at one’s job that goes beyond normal expectations. So I tend to imbue my characters with that level of proficiency at their jobs and with that strength and toughness. In the fields in which my characters work, in their jobs, in their lives, they are exactly who/what they need to be. Also, I want to present role models to girls/women that let them know that they can be anything at all that they want to be.

How do I keep my protagonists fresh? Like real people, the characters in a series must evolve and grow over time. That growth takes place either in their relationships, or the situations they encounter, or both. So I try to create situations, plots, and human interactions for the characters that allow them to continue to grow and evolve. As long as they are growing and evolving, they’ll stay fresh. And I really hope they learn some things along the way about life, and that the readers and I learn right along with them. 😉

In the first Kate and Jay release, The Price of Fame, protagonist Kate was outed and lost her job as a TV anchor. In the second book, The Cost of Commitment, Kate’s lover, Jamison “Jay” Parker cannot depend on her anonymity being guarded. Was any of their experiences autobiographical?  

Interesting questions. Although I did spend half a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist, I never got outed in that context. I was once threatened to be outed. That was when I held Kate’s job in The Cost of Commitment. In that same context, the person who threatened to do the outing would also have been outing my partner at the time. <g>

And here’s a bonus tidbit: The riot I describe in The Cost of Commitment really did happen. What I describe (except for the kidnapping) is a moment-by-moment accounting of a riot in which I held the position Kate holds in the book. Harrowing.

Which living actors would you cast to play your protagonists, Katherine Kyle and Jamison Parker from the Kate & Jay series?

ValueofValorBecause I think life should be about choices, I’ll give you a choice of Jennifer Lawrence, Keira Knightley, Kate Beckinsale, Angelina Jolie, or Emily Blunt for Kate, and maybe Natalie Portman for Jay. Of course, there’s always Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor, too.

Last question; can you share with us a little about your current release and/or WIP?

My current release actually has nothing to do with thrillers or suspense. It’s a contemporary lesbian romance titled, All That Lies Within. Here’s the synopsis:

How far would you go to hide who you really are inside? And what do you do when you find the one person from whom hiding your true self isn’t an option?

Glamorous movie star Dara Thomas has it all—an Oscar nomination, dozens of magazine covers proclaiming her the sexiest woman alive, and people of both sexes clamoring for her attention. She also has a carefully guarded secret life. As Constance Darrow, Dara writes Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction, an outlet that allows her to be so much more than just a pretty face.

Rebecca Minton is a professor of American Literature in love with the work of the mysterious, reclusive author Constance Darrow, with whom she strikes up a correspondence. A chance phrase in a letter leads her to a startling conclusion about the author.

What happens next will change the course of both of their lives forever.

And my current work-in-progress is a historical romance titled, Bright Lights of Summer. It is about the heyday of women’s softball in the 1940s. That book should be out this coming summer.

On behalf of the Facebook Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Group, thank you for giving us a little of your time today, answering questions fans of the genre want to know.

Thank YOU, Jon, for the invitation, the opportunity, and for the wonderful questions.

 

Find Lynn Ames on the web:

www.lynnames.com

Friend me on Facebook (Author Lynn Ames)

Follow me on Twitter (@lynnames)

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