Ceillie Simkiss is publishing her first novella Learning Curves today. It’s a sweet and fun f/f story about a plus size Puerto Rican lesbian and a panromantic asexual girl who form a relationship while trading college notes and studying together in the library.
Ceillie has written a wonderfully diverse story about two strong career-focused women who find love and companionship together, and I couldn’t miss the chance of having her here to share her inspirations and favorite lesfic, on our blog!
Q1: How does it feel to be publishing your first F/F novella?
Honestly, it’s a little terrifying, but I’ve seen a ton of support from my friends and online community. I’ve always heard that f/f doesn’t sell, but I’ve almost reached 100 preorders in the month that it’s been available, with many other promising to order once it’s available for real.
I think, given that this is the first book I’ve ever put out into the world, that this is a great start. Now I just have to wait until it publishes and hope that the readers love it as much as I do!
Q2: Is there anything or anyone who inspired you with this idea?
Elena and Cora were originally the main characters of a novel that I started it in mid-2016 after having a dream about them. I got to a point where I wanted to write a flashback scene of how they met… and got a little carried away. Thus, the novella was born. I took quite a bit of inspiration from my friend Taylor, who graduated with her Master’s degree in Social Work this spring. I’m incredibly proud of her and all the work she does, but I could never do it. I started thinking about what I would do if I wanted to have the kind of impact she would have.
Q3: You mention that this story brings many ownvoices aspects. How do you feel writing about such personal matters in your characters?
Much like having a book in the world, I’m feeling terrifyingly vulnerable about writing so much of myself into Learning Curves. Cora is very much like me, in her career, personality, identity and ADHD. I gave Elena my anxiety and noise sensitivity. I wrote Learning Curves this way because I wanted to have others like me to know that they were enough – queer enough, neurodivergent enough, lovable enough. There are a lot of gatekeepers out there. If you’re reading this, I want you to know that no matter what, you are enough.
Q4: What are some of your favorite LGBTQIA+ books?
Oh gosh, there are so many! I’d like to give a special shoutout to Tash Hearts Tolstoy and Let’s Talk About Love – two of the biggest traditionally published asexual YA books in the last few years – and The Cybernetic Tea Shop, which is a sweet asexual romance that I can’t stop recommending.
I’m gonna divert and recommend some authors that I love, because usually when I love a book, I devour their entire backlists.
I adore pretty much everything Claudie Arseneault has written because it’s all great! If you haven’t read her work, I highly recommend you try City of Strife or Baker Thief. Other authors whose work I’ve devoured include Yoon Ha Lee’s The Machineries of Empire series, Austin Chant, Kaia Sønderby and Shira Glassman.
Q5: Any plans for more stories coming soon?
Yes! I have a fantasy romance novella WIP called A Knight To Remember that was inspired by Zendaya’s Met Gala 2018 dress. It features a fat, grumpy, cinnamon roll-esque blacksmith, a fat and joyful nonbinary tailor, a female knight, and a trans man scholar. I love it dearly so far and hope to have it out in early 2019!
I also have a few novels in various states of undone, which you can see on my website! I’m in the plotting stages for a Wizard of Oz retelling in space, and about 20k deep in a poly space ace story that I’m in love with. I’m very excited about all of them, but my brain isn’t in the right space to work on them at the moment. They’ll get finished… eventually. I swear!
About the Author:
Ceillie Simkiss is a queer writer of all stripes based in southern Virginia. She is also a blogger, public relations professional, and freelance writer. She has bylines at sites like Culturess, Global Comment, and Let’s Fox About It, in addition to her self-published novella Learning Curves
She started writing fiction as an escape from her day job as a small town journalist, and has been at it ever since, with the support of her partner, her dog and her cats.
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