LesFic Book Club: Transcript

In the May meeting of the #lesficbookclub , the readers and myself discussed “All the Love Songs.” If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.


LesFic Book Club Host (Cara Malone):

I believe @nicole_pyland is here?

  • NP: Hi, everyone! I’m here!

LesFic Book Club Host:

Hello! How are you?

  • NP: I’m good. Pausing the writing to chat with you guys. How is everyone?

Reader 1:

Hi from the UK, Nicole. Loved the book. Was Kenzie always going to be a neurodiverse character?

  • NP: She was, yes. From the start, I’d always planned on that.

Reader 1:

I think you captured her really well.

  • NP: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Reader 2:

Hey, y’all. I made it. Hahaha. Loved the book. It made me cry a bit.

Reader 3:

Thank you soooo much for doing this!!!!

  • NP: Of course, happy to be here.

Reader 1:

When you wrote the book, did you know there was also a prequel just waiting to be written? Which I’ve recently read.

  • NP: Not really, no. I wrote ATLS with the intention of it being a stand-alone book. Later, I kept thinking about Dani & Peyton and their story, and it became one of the books I had to write.

LesFic Book Club Host:

Dani and Peyton are such fully realized characters. I was surprised when I found out that their book was written second. Do you tend to dig deep into all of your characters like that while you’re figuring out the story?

  • NP: Yes, they literally all live in my head, and it’s confusing. My wife was worried at one point that I might say, “Hey, I’m off to have coffee with ___,” and it would be a character. Lol.

Reader 4:

I thought I’d missed something when I saw ATLS is now book 2. I read it before book 1 was released, I think.

Reader 5:

I’ve never heard of an autistic character referred to as graceful before. Most of the people I know on the spectrum (including myself) are more on the awkward and clumsy side of things. I’m curious as to where this originated. I don’t know everything there is to know about autism so I’m always looking to learn more.

  • NP: Kenzie felt like a graceful person to me, and it seemed like something that most people wouldn’t notice, but Lennox did, and that made it special.

Reader 4:

The gracefulness made sense, because my brain is constantly trying to optimize. As is my wife’s, and we’re both on the spectrum.

  • NP: I say this to my wife all the time, “Be more efficient with your movements.” Lol

Reader 4:

Hahahahahaha

  • NP: She’s glaring at me right now after having read that.

Reader 2:

When you wrote the book, what was the inspiration behind Lennox’s character?

  • NP: I didn’t have an overall inspiration for the character. I just wanted the right woman for Kenzie, and that’s where she came from.

Reader 2:

Character well done!

  • NP: Thank you.

Reader 5:

You did well writing all the parts regarding sensory overload.

  • NP: Thank you. I deal with these things myself, so I used a bit of my own experiences to describe them.

Reader 4:

So, are you also on the spectrum? Or adjacent?

  • NP: Asperger’s.

Reader 3:

You write with so much heart, and each character is filled with wonderful nuances and wit. How did you feel about opening yourself up and allowing yourself to write honestly? Because, all of it came through beautifully.

  • NP: I’m getting more used to it now, but it was hard in the beginning. I think fanfiction helped a lot here because I could post it, people could read it and tell me if they liked it; and since they usually did, I got my confidence to write original stuff.

LesFic Book Club Host:

How did you come up with the concept for adult summer camp? I loved that.

  • NP: It was just something that came to me, and I wrote it in my notes. And then, when I had the idea for Kenzie and the celebrity squad, it all came together.

Reader 6:

I took my granddaughter and friends to an all day concert, and there was an adult day care tent.  A/C, chargers, water, etc. Cool. Love the idea.

LesFic Book Club Host:

Nice. That sounds relaxing.

Reader 1:

I found it so interesting that you wrote someone who describes herself as awkward doing a job where everyone wants a piece of her. The tension of these opposing positions was so interesting to read.

  • NP: Yeah, I feel that in my day job myself a lot. So much of it is not my natural state and over the past decade or so, I’ve had to develop coping mechanisms and keep pushing myself when I’m put in situations I wouldn’t really like. It made sense to me that Kenzie would use acting in that regard.

Reader 4:

I don’t know how many people caught it, but I really liked that Kenzie didn’t know how to dance because she never had to learn for a role. There is so much summed up in that one sentence, that it stuck with me.

  • NP: I feel like it was something she and Lennox would both understand. It’s also the reality of being on the spectrum for a lot of us, which I’m sure you understand, @Reader 4.

Reader 4:

Yeah. And then Lennox not even questioning or pushing her was so good!

Reader 7:

Not so much a question, but: One of the things I liked about the book was the balance. For me, your book had a great balance of wish fulfillment (imagining falling in love with a celebrity crush) and… reality (in my case, there were scenes that reminded me of the early days of my relationship with my wife).

  • NP: Yeah, there’s a suspension of disbelief a little, but it’s nice to think about that the person you’re crushing on is also crushing on you, and then it turns out to be real.

LesFic Book Club Host:

And I think anyone could fall in love in a canopy in the woods – great romantic setting.

  • NP: I remember picturing that thing in my head, for whatever reason, and feeling like I had to put it in this book.

Reader 5:

I am curious if Maddox will be getting her own book at some point in the future.

  • NP: It may or may not be the next book in the series. 😉

LesFic Book Club Host:

Woo hoo – I love Maddox.

Reader 8:

Me too! Her interactions with Kenzie were great.

Reader 1:

All the Love Songs has a large supporting cast. Is this part of your masterplan for a huge series?

  • NP: As my wife will tell you, I never have masterplans. I have little surprises where I tell her upfront, “I’m not writing anymore in this series.” Fast forward a few days or even months, “So, I think I’m going to add to that series I told you I was done with.”

Reader 1: 

Hahaha. Maybe you just need to percolate!

LesFic Book Club Host:

So would you say you’re a pantser when you write?

Reader 5:

Or, perhaps, do you plot in small doses (a book at a time) and pants the overall series?

  • NP: It honestly just depends on the book. For some of them, I’ll write a general outline. Recently, I’ve been writing more detailed ones, but I rarely used to outline at all. That’s true with this book. No outline. Just wrote it with no plan. Generally speaking, I just get an idea and start writing. Then, if I like the side characters I’ve created, sometimes I get the pull to make them fall in love in their own books. That’s how pretty much all of my existing series have turned out coming to fruition.

Reader 3:

That is amazing. I think I spend too much time planning. Maybe going with the flow is the thing to do.

  • NP:I think it’s about finding your process, honestly. Sometimes, outlining holds me back, so I don’t. Sometimes, I need it, so I do it.

Reader 3: 

When is your next book due to come out? And do you have an ARC team?

  • NP: Always More (1st book in the Sports Series) just came out, and the next one is A Shot at Gold (book 2) on July 16th. I do have an ARC team. If people reach out on my site and request to join, I usually send them the form to sign up.

Reader 9:

Just popping in. I didn’t get to read this month’s book, so I won’t join in, but I have read books 2, 3 and 4 in the Tahoe series and absolutely love them. Great books.

  • NP: Thank you!

Reader 3:

You mention fanfiction, where do you post?

Reader 5:

I don’t know if @Reader 4 will have time to ask these before they have to run off, so I’ll ask for them.

1) Where did the idea for the book come from?

2) Was it hard to write the angsty parts?

  • NP: I had three random ideas that then turned into the book. 1. Adult summer camp 2. Girl squad, and 3. Kenzie’s character. Yes, it’s always hard for me to write angst after I watch them fall in love. I just want them to be happy.

Reader 1:

First book of yours I read was the one with Eva and Ember (The Best lines). I didn’t realize it was part of a series, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. Do you feel you need to read them in order to get maximum enjoyment?

  • NP: Depends on the series, honestly. I wrote Fresh Start (book 0) with no intention of writing more. Then, I wrote The Best Lines. So, it can go as a stand-alone, but Hannah and Alyssa are in book 0. If you then want to read more about the other characters falling in love, you can read the other books, but I generally write books with just that couple’s story in mind, so you can technically read them solo, too.

Reader 7:

Best of both worlds. I can be so completist about reading series, but sometimes, it’s just nice to pick up a book. 😊

Reader 6:

I think it’s better to read in order. Chicago is still one of my favorite series. Love Hailey and Charlie (Just Tell Her).

  • NP: I read a lot myself, so I like to find the first book in a series whenever I can. It’s why I created the character connection page on my website, so people would always know where to start. I’ve ended up mid-series as a reader at times, and I always feel like I’m missing something.

Reader 4:

Heading into a canyon soon. Will read later. Will say this is one of the few books with autism representation I’ve read, and it was so helpful when I was figuring myself out. So, thank you for writing it.

LesFic Book Club Host:

Could you see yourself writing full-time if the opportunity presented itself?

  • NP: I used to think no, but as I’m getting older, I can see myself doing it, yes.

LesFic Book Club Host:

You write so prolifically, I assumed that you were full-time until you just mentioned otherwise – you go girl : D

  • NP: No, I have a stressful day job. I usually write most evenings and on the weekends. I’m lucky. I write very fast.

Reader 7:

I also wanted to applaud the representation: I liked that it wasn’t anywhere close to her entire character. And it didn’t fall into the “obstacle or gift” dichotomy, but showed that (like so much else in life) that aspect of her had both positives and negatives for Kenzie.

NP: I wanted to show that it’s part of who she is, but not all of who she is because that’s how I know I feel, and I think that can be applied universally; not just with being on the spectrum.

Reader 1:

What’s your “day job” and how on earth do you fit it all in?

  • NP: I direct a training team of about 20 people at a tech start-up. It’s taken me a while to get the whole work/life balance thing. I’m not perfect at it, but in my home office (since I’m working from home right now due to COVID), I have a set space for my day job and a space for my writing. That helps.

LesFic Book Club Host:

That separation is so important.

Reader 1:

That sounds….. intense! I am rubbish at working from home. Too many distractions, too many dogs to snuggle!

  • NP: I have 2 cats. One is downstairs. The other, and I’m quoting my wife here right now, is “Trying to get in trouble.” So, I get it.

Reader 10:

Hi, Nicole. I loved the book. I would like to know how long it takes to write a book? You always seem to have a book out for us to read!

  • NP: It depends on the book. For ALTS, I finished the first draft of it in a weekend. For some of the others, it’s usually about 2 weeks for a draft. Others do take longer, but that’s usually because there’s something going on at work or in my life and I need to pause until I can get back to it. I’d say, I easily hit the 10K a day mark almost every day and, sometimes, I write much more.

Reader 3: 

You are truly gifted.

  • NP: Thank you!

Reader 4:  1:33 PM

Does your wife read your books?

  • NP: She’s the first reader. I know how much she likes it by how late she stays up reading it.

Reader 4:  17 days ago

Very nice 🙂

  • NP: She runs the business side of the publishing, so she gets dibs. My writing is also how we met. She read my stuff on fanfiction and messaged me. We got together later after that. So, my writing is a big part of our relationship. I’m very lucky it’s not something she just tolerates, but something she loves and participates in.

Reader 7:

With balancing both a day job and a writing life, how much time do you work on your writing in an average day/week?

  • NP: I’m usually at it at least 1-2 hours a night when I’m writing. On the weekends, I’m writing most of the day, but I do stop for breaks and meals (assuming I remember I’m supposed to eat). So, I’d say, maybe 15-20 hours a week on average.

Reader 1:  1:35 PM

I really enjoyed The Fire and The Disappeared. Any plans to go more in this direction again?

  • NP: I have one idea I’ve had sitting in my notes app. I haven’t written it yet. Mainly, what happens is, I get an idea, write that down, and then have a new idea (or an old one) pop into my head, and I trust that. When my brain is telling me to write an idea, I trust that and do that one instead of going down my list. So, I’ll get to it at some point. I’m sure there will be more, too. My degree is in criminal justice and behavior analysis, so I’m always into writing more in that genre.

Reader 1:  17 days ago

That’s good to know!

Reader 8:  17 days ago

I loved The Fire. One of my top three books of yours. The Disappeared was great, too.

  • NP: Thank you. Both of those were really intense, but fun to write. For The Fire, I spent a whole day just trying to come up with the names for the characters because I wanted them to be the opposites. Ripley is water-themed, and Kenna is fire-themed.

Reader 8:

Yes, they were intense as a reader, but damn. Oh, can I say that word… The way you wrote the characters was amazing. I especially loved Ripley and Kenna’s connection.

  • NP: They were really important to me. For whatever reason, I wanted them to find each other and be together, and I wanted them to have to fight through some stuff and earn it.

Reader 8:

Excellent book. Can’t say it enough. That’s deep… how you came up with the characters names.

  • NP: It was a lot of Googling and finding the right ones.

LesFic Book Club Host:

What’s your favorite genre/trope/fandom to read in (if you even have free time anymore, haha)?

  • NP: I listen to books every day, so that’s how I find time to read. I usually read at least a book a week, depending on how long they are. I don’t know that I have a favorite. It depends on my mood. I am 99% of the time reading LesFic, though. Outside of LesFic, true crime is up there. I should read books on business, leadership, and blah blah blah, but I’d rather read something else.

Reader 3: 😀

LesFic Book Club Host:

Who’s your favorite LesFic author?

  • NP: I have a couple right now. I generally read/listen to anyone that’s on Audible, but I just finished Elle Spencer’s latest, and I’m a Brayden fan, too.

Reader 8: 

Glad to know I am not the only one who reads LesFic 99% of the time. 😊

  • NP: I don’t think I’ve picked up an actual physical book in years. I’ve been buying books on Audible and listening to a ton of LesFic since before I started publishing. I think I really only have a couple of business books in my Audible library, all the Harry Potter books, The Diary of Anne Frank, and the rest is all LesFic.

Reader 8:

I’m a Brayden fan, too. Loved her Seven Shores series, especially, ELT.

  • NP: That’s my favorite in that series as well.

Reader 11:

Are you planning on writing books outside of your comfort zone? Sorry I am late. I am making chicken gumbo  .

  • NP: Pretty much everything I write is out of my comfort zone. Lol. The Moments was out of my comfort zone when I wrote that one. Many of my sex scenes are out of my comfort zone. Lol. ATLS was definitely out of my comfort zone because it was so personal. I try to tell stories differently whenever I can. I have a few written that will come out at some point that are also like that.

Reader 3:

I think that’s what makes it so authentic. You dig really deep down to the point where the connections between the characters is raw and honest.

  • NP: I think that’s the Asperger’s thing. My default state is that 99% of things are out of my comfort zone.

Reader 1:

Similar to Reader 11 above, any plans on a different genre? Say, historical or sci-fi?

  • NP: Historical – nothing yet. I did just have an idea pop into my mind for a possible sci-fi book. I wrote it down to maybe use later. Sports is up right now. Then, I have some different one-offs that I hope people like.

Reader 8:

Starting the first book in the first series today. Just finished reading ATLS again.

  • NP: Have fun! I hope you like it.

Reader 12:

Hi, Nicole. Loved both books in this series. I re-read both in the past couple of weeks. “Fresh Start” was one of the first books in lesbian romance I read. It really affected me and turned me into a fan of the genre.  Thanks for the great books!

  • NP: Thank you! Fresh Start is special to me. It’s the first real LesFic I wrote that wasn’t fanfic, but my own. I’d written stuff before (that I rarely finished), but not LesFic and nothing worth publishing.

Reader 3:

Being that many of these books are personal, do they ever take so much out of you that you have to take a break from writing?

  • NP: Honestly, no. I usually need to take a break from writing because my hands hurt from typing. When that happens, I revise, mostly. While I’m revising, though, I’m usually itching to get back to writing.

Reader 1:

Sounds like you’re a writing ninja. Lol!

NP: That made my wife laugh.

Reader 1: 😀

Reader 11:

Is there going to be an answer to the brother on The Disappeared?

  • NP: No, unfortunately not. I made that a conscious decision that I know some people had a problem with, but I wanted it to be as real as possible. The reality is that when something like this happens, the family so often never gets answers.

Reader 11:  17 days ago

I can understand that.

  • NP: I wrestled with it a lot. I knew people would want to know, but the truth is, I don’t even know what happened to him. I wrote the book that way intentionally, not trying to come up with an answer, because I knew I’d find a sneaky way to leave clues and/or to incorporate it, and that just didn’t feel like the right way to end the book for me.

Reader 1:  17 days ago

As a reader, I did want the answer to that question, but I respect that life is not neat.

  • NP: Yeah, I get that. I wish life could be a little “neater” these days.

Reader 8:  1:52 PM

I’m just going say it… I love how you write the sex scenes. They have so much passion. Being that writing them is outside your comfort zone, how is that you write them so well? What’s your process, if any at all?

  • NP: I wish I could tell you I had some grand process where I mapped things out and knew what the heck I was doing, but that would be a lie. I don’t. This will sound cliché, for sure, but I do what my characters tell me to do. That includes but is not limited to the sex scenes. If they’re sassier with each other outside of the bedroom, they might be sassier in the bedroom. That kind of a thing. I try to make sweet moments as well as some hot, passionate ones in each book if I can, because I think that’s reality. But that’s the extent of my planning.

Reader 7:  17 days ago

From what I read in this book, it works! (Definitely won’t be the last book of yours I read!)

  • NP: Thank you. Lol

Reader 8:  17 days ago

Wow… I love how you just explained that. I feel like you hit every sex scene perfectly for ALL your characters.

  • NP: Thank you.

Reader 11:

What are your favorite characters or couple in your books?

  • NP: Kenzie & Lennox, Ember & Eva, Dylan & Ada, and now Everly & Wyatt.

Reader 11:

Nice!

Reader 6:

I still vote for Charlie and Hailey (Just Tell Her).

Reader 8:

Loved, loved Ember & Eva. I’ve read that book at least five times.

Reader 11:  

Dang. I’ll have to go with Fresh Start couple.

  • NP: I love Charlie and Hailey, too. They frustrated the hell out of me, though. Lol

Reader 1:

What book are you most proud of?

  • NP: I’m proud of a lot of them for different reasons. I think ALTS is probably the one I’m most proud of overall, though. It took a lot for me to write it because it is, in a way, personal, and then to publish and see the reaction from people who read it.

Reader 3:

I think of your books as insightful and, honestly, therapeutic. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. So how does it feel, to be the one to have helped so many people gain an understanding and compassion for those on the spectrum?

NP: Honestly… weird. Lol. I write for myself. Always have. So, to find out that something I’ve written has helped someone be more comfortable with who they are (whether it be this, or with their own sexuality) is one of the best things I’ll ever do.

Reader 3:  

And you do it so well. Thank You!  I honestly can’t remember which one of your books was the first I read, but I will tell you, it took me less than a week to read every one of your books. It was a whole new meaning to binge-reading.

  • NP: Thank you!

Reader 8:  

Read all of them. Seriously, they are all great!

  • NP: Thank you!

LesFic Book Club Host:

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Nicole! Does anybody have any parting thoughts or last questions?

Reader 11:

Thanks you for your time. Greetings from Alabama.

Reader 1:

Thanks for joining us, Nicole. Have enjoyed the insights. Goodnight from the UK.

Reader 6:

Enjoyed this session. Love Slack.  Thanks, Nicole, for your time.

Reader 7:

Thank you!

Reader 13:

Thank you so much!!!

NP: Thanks for hanging out with me!

If anyone is interested, you can hop over to my site, create a login, and get some free stuff right now (like, The Proposal Series and the What Happened After for ATLS and No After You).

Thanks everyone! Have a great night or day wherever you are!

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