Home #Hwoodtimes Lesbian Romance Novel Explores Coming out in Midlife

Lesbian Romance Novel Explores Coming out in Midlife

Housewife falls for shock jock; mayhem ensues, or is it love?

Close the cover on those old bodice rippers and make room on your nightstand for a growing genre: lesbian romances. Same-sex storylines are attractive to straight and LGBT readers alike, part of a billion-dollar business with dedicated imprints. Still, there was something missing, thought author Zoe Amos. “There are plenty of women who come out in midlife and beyond,” Amos says. “Where are those stories?” The answer is in her new novel, TALK TO ME, to be released by Sapphire Books Publishing on March 1, 2021.

Amos is right. Statistics show the average age of a romance reader is 42, while the heroine is usually in her early twenties. Amos says, “Despite their proven success, stories featuring slightly older and even senior women are far and few. I’m not willing to be erased from the popular narrative of LGBT culture and American life.”

Women wait to come out for a variety of reasons. It’s common for lesbians to have an ex-husband and children because they didn’t realize they had gay feelings early on, or they did and married men anyway. Amos knows this personally and remains close friends with her ex-husband, her high school sweetheart. “In adulthood, I experienced a pronounced shift toward women, and on that grayscale we call sexuality, I’ve been only interested in women for twenty-some years. At midlife, people frequently look at who they are and reevaluate the direction of their lives. In Talk to Me, Claire’s family dynamic requires resolution. It makes the story stronger and more emotionally gripping.”

Amos shares another path with her protagonist, having worked a couple of years on radio doing board operations and on-air as a co-host—a tough assignment for an introvert. Claire faces similar challenges with the added complication of having fallen for her boss, Marly, a 30-ish shock jock with a wild sense of humor.

Talk to Me is an over-the-top romantic comedy but with serious elements, I believe readers can relate to,” Amos says. “Claire is trying to rebuild her relationship with her daughter, there is a threat of violence directed toward the radio station, and a confrontational on-air prank played on a Rush Limbaugh-type announcer, all of which reveal the true nature of each character.”

Sapphire is dedicated to lesbian literature, romance in particular. Christine Svendsen, the publisher, says her team was “…immediately drawn to Zoe’s writing because of her distinct ability to engage the reader. We know they’ll enjoy the love story.”

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Talk to Me

Claire takes a turn for the wild side when she chances into a job at San Diego’s KZSD radio to work with Marly, the sharp-tongued lesbian shock jock of Gayline. Under Marly’s close tutelage, Claire feels the sparks fly as she learns to screen calls and handle board operations. It’s enough that her formerly quiet life has been upended after separating from her husband, and at first, she keeps her feelings hidden. Even as bomb threats force the radio station employees to clear out, Claire’s attraction to Marly’s charisma, wit, and atypical beauty keeps her coming back. Meanwhile, she struggles to maintain a relationship with her teenage daughter while her soon-to-be-ex makes it clear he wants to try again. It’s two steps forward, one step back as Marly and Claire grow closer and admit their feelings.

Will Marly’s outrageous “anything goes” attitude be too much? As their on-air shenanigans and romance heat up, Marly’s crazed plan to boost ratings threatens their relationship, and ultimately, their lives.