Award-Winning Author of Slow-Burn Romances between Strong Women

Discovering lesbian fiction and the Sexiness of Paperbacks (Finding Ms. Write Book Tour)

Today, A.L. Brooks, author of lesbian erotic romance, is guest-blogging about her contribution to our “book people” anthology Finding Ms. Write

So, here’s A.L. Brooks: 

Paperbacks are sexy!

For me, there is nothing better than sitting back in an armchair, preferably with a good glass of red wine by my side, and turning the first page of a real book. The crispness of the paper. The pristine print of the characters on the page. That smell that only a freshly minted book can carry. Paper, not pixels. Pounds and ounces, not megabytes.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not against e-books! They are a magical invention, which has made a big difference to my own life in two ways – firstly, enabling me to store many more books than my small flat would allow if they were in printed form, and secondly, giving me significantly less weight to carry on my commute on London’s infamously crowded Tube system.

This joy of the printed book has been with me from a very young age. My earliest memory is of sitting in the library of my primary school when I was just five years old. Perched on one of those very small chairs, only a few inches off the ground, my eyes sweeping slowly from left to right along the shelves in front of me, I was in awe. I was allowed to read any of these books, any time I wanted to. Heaven.

By the time I left school at sixteen, with very little in the way of qualifications, I was reading only adult literature, having long outgrown the books aimed more at my own age group. Whilst I wondered just what I was going to do with my life, the universe handed me my dream job. Just two months after leaving school, I was hired by a local independent bookshop as a sales assistant. This time I knew I had definitely died and gone to heaven. I spent all day, every day except Sunday, surrounded by books, in every shape, size, and genre I could imagine. Unpacking a box of new books from the wholesaler was a revelatory journey. It would take us ages, as every book just had to be examined, the blurb read out to the team, a discussion to be had as to who wanted to read it and why. And if we were very careful not to mark the pages or bend the spine, we were allowed to take any book home to read before putting it on the shelf for sale.

When the shop closed, suddenly, two years later, I was devastated. It is the only job I have cried over as I left it. I felt as if a huge part of me was being left behind somehow.

Some years later, as I was going through my coming-out process, I stumbled upon the Silver Moon bookshop, in Charing Cross Road. That shop opened my eyes to a world of lesbian writing, both fiction and non-fiction. I discovered I wasn’t the only woman who had ever felt all that I was feeling, or been confused and yet excited about what was happening to her. Silver Moon is long gone, but lesbian publishing is stronger—and publications by and about lesbians more available—than ever, through the wonder that is the world wide web.

But I still make a point of going to a bookshop now and again, just to stand there and see it and sniff its atmosphere and smile at the memory of how it felt to be able to do that, every day, and have someone pay me for the privilege. Heaven.

When I sat down to write my story, “Between the Lines,” for the Finding Ms. Write anthology, I already had one key scene in mind. This scene would play on all these memories of a life so closely linked to the world of books and connect the two main characters with something they both found incredibly important about books and writing, namely their mutual love for an actual printed book. I hope you enjoy reading that scene, and the whole of “Between the Lines,” as much as I enjoyed writing it.

You can buy the paperback or e-book version of Finding Ms. Write directly from the Ylva store. It’s also on pre-order via Amazon and other major bookstore sites worldwide.

You can follow A.L. Brooks on Facebook or e-mail her at albrookswriter@gmail.com.

But wait, you can also enter our giveaway to win a free e-book! The rules are simple: We will give away five e-book copies. To enter, leave a comment on this blog or any blog on the tour. We will draw the winner on the last day of the tour.


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7 thoughts on “Discovering lesbian fiction and the Sexiness of Paperbacks (Finding Ms. Write Book Tour)”

  1. Nice post! Books are everything, but lesfic novels even more so. I remember a friend sending me Backwards to Oregon when I was 22 and how reading it opened up a whole other world of books that I, the idiot, hadn’t even considered searching for. Lesfics made me feel much more normal, much less alone and also helped developed my writing since all of a sudden I dared to write the stories that I wanted to write. For some reason this is never a good enough excuse to only write lesfics to my real-life friends.
    Oh and I’m firmly on team e-books, but that’s mainly because up until recently I’ve been a poor student for years. :P

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Magdalena. I didn’t know that “Backwards to Oregon” was THAT book for you! I still remember my first lesbian romance, “None So Blind” by the late LJ Maas. It opened up a whole new world for me too.

  2. I absolutely agree that paperback books are much nicer. I prefer them as well, the feeling of real paper beneath your hands, turning pages, it’s part of the reading experience for me. Of course the ebook reader are handy, especially when you’re on vacation but nothing can beat a real book. And they do look great in shelves.

  3. A visit to Silver Moon was a wonderful adventure. I used to travel down on the train and return with a heavy backpack – and L J Maas was a particular favourite of mine too. EBooks came just in time for me when my partner insisted I had to weed my extensive bookshelves before adding more – something I couldn’t bring myself to do. They also mean I can take plenty of books on holiday without using up my weight limit.

  4. Nice blog. I too prefer a real book you can hold & feel, but I’m running out of shelf shape too so I’m slowly turning to ebooks.

    • I have switched to e-books for exactly that reason (shelf space), but I still buy the books I really loved as a paperback in addition.

  5. I love the heft and feel of a book. I ran out of basement shelf space at 5249 HC and PB books and money at about the same time. I sold 3500 to book dealers,gave about a 1000 away and kept favorites. Used the money to start my own business and the rest is history….


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