Author Spotlight – A L Brooks
Meet UK Lesbian Fiction Author A L Brooks (YLVA Publishing)
Our reviewer Valden had this to say about A L Brook’s books:
If you enjoy a range of very different stories, told with an honesty that stirs up all kinds of emotions, then A.L. Brooks is a must-read author for you.
She is a relatively new author and about to publish her fourth book, but I have found each of her books very different, taking you on a very different journey each time – and I have loved them. I have laughed, snorted (is that a British thing?) at some wonderful piece of dialogue, felt my heart beat fast, been angry, had tears in my eyes with sadness and then had to smile. There is no end to the emotions. Did I forget to add that there is also a whole dimension of hot, hot, hot and A.L. Brooks really knows how to write about sex!
We spoke to A L Brooks about her latest book and her writing plans for the year.
(a) Tell us something interesting about your current book (Up on the Roof).
Dorothy, the woman who lives downstairs from Megan and Lena, is based heavily on a woman I lived above about twenty years ago. She scared the bejeebers out of me the first few months I lived there, but we soon came to an ‘understanding’ of how to share the property we lived in, she in the ground floor flat, me in the one above.
And the Johnny Mathis scene in the book really happened – I’ve never got out of bed so quick on Christmas morning in all my life…
(b) What got you into writing?
I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I was a kid, but never really did much about it. I tried writing things but they never quite clicked. Then, back in 2015, I was off work for three weeks with a chest infection, and bored out of my mind with daytime TV, and all of a sudden my imagination went into overdrive, and I started tapping out a little fantasy of a place women could go to have anonymous sex, and what that would be like, and who would go there, and the next thing I knew, ‘The Club’ was born.
I don’t know what in particular opened the floodgates, perhaps because I was forced for the first time in ages to literally sit still and not do anything, but it was literally like once I started I couldn’t stop. And I haven’t since – four novels now published and two more in the pipeline!
(c) Can you tell us about your writing style? How do you decide on plots and characters? Are you a planner or a pantser?
For my first two novels I was definitely a planner, meticulously plotting out the story, drawing up detailed character biographies and mapping out chapters. It worked, but when I came to write my third, ‘Miles Apart’, something different started to happen, and I found I was writing the book with only the vaguest notion of what was going to happen in it – the story just sort of ran away with itself.
The same thing happened with ‘Up on the Roof’, and although I did go back and edit and tweak, I discovered that the main story didn’t change much at all from what had first burst forth from my brain. So now I consider myself more on the pantser side of things – I start with a rough idea, with key points in my head, but then I just see where the words and characters take me to hit those points.
(d) If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
Do you know, I don’t think I would. Could my first book be written slightly better? Of course! They all could, and I think every author would think that. But everything I’ve done so far has all been so rewarding, and educational, and made me a much better writer day by day, that I wouldn’t change a thing.
(e) What is next for you? What is your next project?
Well, I have two in the pipeline. One is part of the Ylva series ‘Window Shopping’, and is the story of two women who meet at a sex shop, begin dating, and hit a few bumps in the road as they do so, as they seem to have very different ideas about what they want from each other. It’s got some comedy, some romance,and some sexy stuff.
The other is a book I wrote during NaNoWriMo last year. It was my first go at doing NaNo, and I didn’t know if I’d take to the process, but was amazed to discover that I did, and churned out 50,000 words in less than the month allowed! It’s what I’m calling my ‘celebrity romance’ and it’s about a famous but closeted actress who meets a writer on retreat and they have a sizzling fling that neither thinks can continue when they return to their lives in London. Or can it…?
VALDEN’s TOP PICKS
This book is an absolute gem and so well written!
Leelawati Shah (Lena) is an accountant who lives in a loft flat in a Victorian conversion in London. She is small of build, and of Indian descent with a healthy dose of OCD which means that she loves routine and her own space. She has numerous other emotional issues caused by those closest to her in the past.
Add to the mix Megan Palmer, a new neighbour, clumsy, loud, brash and fun loving from a large, boisterous London family. Megan is a fitness instructor with private clients; she is untidy, messy and loving her new, large flat. Lena has to move out of her flat, and Megan offers her temporary accommodation in her spare room. The story that follows is superb! I must also mention Dorothy their ground floor neighbour; she is one of those women we all know and raise our eyebrows about. She is completely unique!
It is unique in the way that she approaches the story-telling. Yes, it is erotica, and yes, it has a lot of sex. But it is different in that it has a really good set of characters and a compelling story with The Club being the central point of the book. Mandy, the owner of The Club, is the only person that runs through the whole story providing some sort of continuation. The rest of the characters have almost cameo appearances; although, occasionally they re-appear. We are told their stories and how they find themselves going to, or being a part of, The Club.
The book is engaging, interesting and the sex is shown in a positive light, even when it may be in a situation that is different to the norm. Curious? Go buy it, you won’t be sorry!
Up on the Roof is out 7 March 2018 on the YLVA website.