If reading LGBT romp novels are your thing, then check out "Something Fabulous" by Alexis Hall.

What was your inspiration behind your most recent book?

In a very indirect way, the pandemic. I should stress that there are absolutely no pandemic references in Something Fabulous. I just mean that it was 2020, I was on lockdown, reading a lot of books and feeling a real need for something joyful (or, indeed, something fabulous now you come to mention it). So I decided to write a very silly, very whimsical, hopefully very joyful story about people who read a lot of books for better or worse.

What does "Reading with Pride" mean to you?

Ooh, difficult one.

The short answer is that I’m very much a “pride is a protest” person rather than a “pride is a party” person (partly because I’m not great with parties) so I think to me “Reading With Pride” means a whole lot of complex and slightly contradictory things. I’m very aware that there are some people for whom “Pride” as a concept is a profoundly important part of their identity, and how they live their identity. But I’m also very aware that there are others who feel excluded and alienated by it. One of the things that’s really important to me as a reader and a writer is recognizing the diversity and complexity of LGBTQ+ experiences, identities and expressions and sometimes Pride culture can erase or homogenize that. Even amongst people who do strongly identify with Pride as a concept there are real questions to be asked about inclusivity, about commercialization, about who gets singled out to represent the community.

Sorry, I’m aware that’s not really an answer other than “it’s complicated.”

Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books?

Short answer: because a variety of people exist and have a right to see themselves reflected in the material they choose to read.

Longer answer: I’m afraid this is another “it’s complicated” and I really try to avoid thinking in terms of “representation” when I’m writing for a couple of reasons. Firstly I don’t think it’s my place to tell people that my work “represents” them if they don’t think it does — one person’s representation might be another person’s tokenism and a third person’s stereotype. Secondly (although relatedly) I think it’s very easy, especially in LGBTQ+ fiction, to treat a fairly narrow part of the community as representing the whole community. So I suppose the more complex answer to the question is that representation of a variety of people is important precisely because representation is complex and to some extent subjective. It’s not as simple as one person making sure they tick off a checklist of identities in any given work of fiction, it’s about a range of different stories being told by a range of different voices from a range of different perspectives.

Tell us a little more about the book and why you decided to write it.

So I’ve sort of spoilered this one because, as I say, it was kind of a response to the pandemic in a roundabout way. But basically it’s a romp. A self-consciously absurd, picaresque romp that deliberately plays fast and loose with history.

It’s about a pampered duke who begrudgingly proposes marriage to the daughter of his best friend — which she takes badly enough that she flees from him, forcing him to pursue her across southeast England in the company of her irritating but charming twin brother. Hijinks ensue. It’s a very hijinksy book.

What can fans expect from your book?

I feel like I’m kind of answering the same question three different ways – so sorry about that. But the book includes a duel! A curricle chase! Bees! Charades! A scandalous gossip monger! Lesbian novelists! (Well one lesbian novelist!) A sex toy carved of amethyst! A Prize Pig Named Bouddica!

What's up next for you in the bookish world?

My 2022 is quite the ride. I think the next release is A Lady For A Duke, which is another historical romance, but a much less rompy one. Then I’ve got the follow-up to Boyfriend Material, which is appropriately enough named Husband Material. And then there’s sequel to Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake which is called Paris Daillencourt Is About To Crumble, which is same show, different characters.


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