Come on over to the Virtual Living Room! This weekend all winners and runner-ups (like me) of lesbian fiction at the Rainbow Awards 2013 are invited to the virtual living room where readers and authors of lesbian fiction meet to celebrate and talk about their fabulous book(s).

The VLR is a place where readers and writers of lesbian literature in its permutations (books, e-books, comics, etc) can come together and discuss the works and the topics within them, as well as celebrate the community that lesbian fiction readers can be.

Join the yahoo group here – http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Virtuallivingroom/

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Here are my answers to the Saturday questions:

Firstly could the authors tell us a little bit about themselves before answering the first set of questions for the weekend which are:

A bit about me: I’m a management consultant and a political activist and a writer. As much as possible, I take advantage of all the amenities my home in New Orleans has to offer, especially the food! My food blog can be found at http://www.mouth-brothels.com/ and my author website is at http://www.marygriggs.com

My books include the romances Unbroken Circle (a Rainbow Award winner for Best Lesbian Debut Novel) and Crash Stop and the speculative fiction novel, In the Midst of Tribulation, which was a runner up for the Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Sci-Fi / Futuristic this year.

1) Tell us about your book. How did you get the idea for your book? What genre is it? 

In the Midst of Tribulation is a story about survival. A small group attempts to create a community in a post-war world. It is sort of an adventure romance.


Long suspicious that the world was going to go up in flames, Jay has retreated to remote Northern California and lived off the grid for years. She didn’t want to be right—but she was.When the war ended, it was clear nobody had won. Susan knows only one place where she and her extended family might be safe: with Jay, her ex. Desperate and frightened, the refugees rely heavily on their friend Piper, who agrees to make the journey with them.

After a ragged reunion, Jay is willing to take in the newcomers, but the only way they will all survive on the land is if they all work and sacrifice. It is easier said than done, especially when old feelings—and new ones—break the fragile peace and threaten them all.

The story came out of my wondering what would have happened if, instead of George Bush stealing the election a liberal president had done the same. How would the Teapublicans have reacted (based on their reactions to President Obama)? In addition to that political element, I used my own background as the daughter of a survivalist in the story. My dad thought it great fun to drag the family out in the woods for a weekend with just a pocket knife and required us to find food and shelter from what was there. I also am a doomsday prepper – with emergency supplies for most possible contingencies, so it was fun to share that knowledge, too.

2) Do you have the ending in mind and work towards it or do you prefer to let the story develop freely? 

I wanted there to be hope so I always knew I wanted to end the story on a positive, romantic note. Typically, when I’m writing, I know the main things I want to do and the end and, then, it is just a matter of filling in the details!

3) What is the most surprising thing you discovered in writing this book? 

How much I learned from watching my mom can veggies and my dad hunt. I hadn’t planned on becoming an expert but it looks like I did despite myself.

4) Were you good at English composition/essay writing at High School? 

Yes, in fact I parlayed my skill into bringing up my math grades by convincing my teacher to let me write essays on famous mathematicians!

5) What elements of your background have influenced your work? And if your novels are an escape from your own background, what else has influenced you? 

I’m an army brat who moved around a lot, so my novels are set in places I’ve lived and remember fondly. I’ve experienced a lot of different cultures, so I try to include that diversity in my novels. My family is also very southern and that, too, has influenced my characters and settings.

6) What have readers liked about it in particular? 

I have been told that some like it because of the interesting survival tips and strategies that are in the book, others like the diverse characters and the beautiful setting. Most of all, people seem to like the story itself.  Here is the Lambda Literary Review – In the Midst of Tribulation