Friday, December 26, 2014

Blog Tour: Razor Wire Featuring an Author Interview with Lauren Gallagher with GiveAway [f/f]

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Lauren Gallagher blog tour for Razor Wire!
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (as L.A. Witt or Lauren Gallagher; excludes Razor Wire) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 28th, and winners will be announced on December 29th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

We are very happy to welcome Lauren Gallagher to the Smoocher’s Voice blog today. Lauren’s latest novel Razor Wire is available on Riptide Publishing.

Lauren Gallagher is an abnormal romance writer who has recently been exiled from the glittering utopia of Omaha, Nebraska, to an undisclosed location in South America. Along with her husband, a harem of concubines, and a phosphorescent porcupine, she remains, as always, in hiding from the Polynesian Mafia. For the moment, she seems to have eluded her nemesis, M/M romance author L.A. Witt, but figures L.A. will eventually become bored with the wilds of Spain and come looking for her. And when that time comes, Lauren will be ready. Assuming L.A. doesn’t have her hands full keeping track of Lori A. Witt and Ann Gallagher, which she probably will.

·       Website
·       Author Blog
·       Twitter
·       Facebook
·       Goodreads

Jodi:          Thank you Lauren for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. I have to admit I am a long-time fan of L.A. Witt’s writing. This is the first book I have read penned by Lauren Gallagher, and it was as intense and intriguing as the male/male novels. Kim Lockhoff has been the victim of a brutal crime, and she is the victim of psychological and verbal abuse from her fellow sailors and her superiors. She is trapped in a situation that seems insurmountable. Tell us a little about Lockhoff’s character.

Lauren:    Lockhoff is an amalgamation of several woman I’ve met in the military. They’re brushed off as stupid and useless because they’re women, but when they don’t *act* stupid and useless, they’re brushed off as bitches. They really can’t win. Lockhoff is hell-bent on making a career in the military, even if it means playing games she can’t win, but she never expected it to blow up in her face the way it did.

Jodi:          When readers first meet Reese Marion, we are presented with a hard-as-nails Navy officer who seems to instantly dislike Lockhoff. Why does Marion dislike Lockhoff and not trust her?

Lauren:    Like Lockhoff, Reese is similar to some real people. She’s a woman in a male-dominated environment, and refuses to play their games. When women come along who use their looks (especially specific “assets”) to get promoted or to get out of disciplinary situations, she has no patience for it. As such, she can’t stand Lockhoff, who appears to be the epitome of everything Reese can’t stand in a female colleague. Reese has also become jaded by the idea of the “rape card” – a woman wants to blackmail a man or doesn’t want to get strung up for adultery/fraternization/etc, so she falsely claims she was raped. Right or wrong, that is an attitude that I’ve seen crop up many times in the military. That’s actually part of why I wanted to write this book – because I’ve seen and heard those very conversations in real life.  It’s part of why, at least with people I’ve spoken to, women are afraid to report sexual assault, and some men and women are reluctant to take the reports seriously.

Jodi:          Tell us a little about Lieutenant Stanton and how he is able to get away with his misogynist and criminal behavior for so long.

Lauren:    I really wish I could say that Lieutenant Stanton was, unlike Reese and Lockhoff, a figment of my imagination. Sadly, he is also an amalgamation of very real people who abuse their power and their subordinates. His specific actions are fiction, but his attitudes and the attitudes of those around him? Definitely real. The “charming to your face and creepy behind closed doors” persona? Seen it in the flesh, and it’s very difficult for women to convince others (especially their male superiors who think Stanton is a good guy) that he’s done or said something horrible. Lieutenant Stanton’s wife is even based on reality, as sad as that sounds.

Jodi:          As a Navy wife, did you base this story on your personal experiences or is the story complete fiction?

Lauren: The story itself is complete fiction, but like its characters, it’s made up of pieces of reality. Some are things I witnessed myself, some came to me second, third, and fourth hand. Criminal actions being swept under the rug, higher ups abusing their authority and subordinates, sexual assault being either unreported or ignored, people being threatened with their careers, etc. These are all unfortunate realities of the military, but realities nonetheless.

Also, for the record, this book isn’t intended to single out military cops. I wrote it about military cops because that’s what I’m around mostly (my husband is a master-at-arms), so it’s what I’m most familiar with. This scenario could have happened within any rate on any base, but using cops for this one was partly “write what you know” and partly a way to keep the cast reasonably small (since the characters involved would also be involved in the investigation). I chose Okinawa because of its geographical isolation, not because of any nasty feelings toward that base.

Jodi:          What kind of research did you do for this book?

Lauren:    I mostly picked the brains of military cops and a couple of military lawyers. The really sad part? Upon hearing the summary of the story I intended to write, they all agreed that Razor Wire was definitely a plausible scenario.

Jodi:          Rape is a violent crime in any circumstances. Somehow the crime seems more brutal based on the fact that Lockhoff is a lesbian who has never had sex with a man. Was it difficult writing about this issue?

Lauren:    It was definitely difficult, yes.  

Jodi:          Both Lockhoff and Marion struggle for acceptance in a historically male-dominated world, and the men in this novel seem especially intolerant and crass. Tell us a little about Alejandro who also is conflicted throughout the novel.

Lauren:    Like all the others, the guys are based on real people. Most of the comments they made are comments I’ve heard, and I was aiming to replicate the “locker room” atmosphere that sometimes shows up on bases. It’s generally brushed off as “boys will be boys,” but it can get pretty crass.

As for Alejandro, I think he’s representative of a lot of men in the military. He engages in the crass locker room stuff, but he’s also empathetic and generally tries to be a good person and a good leader. He’s also dealt with women who use their “assets” to advance and men who act like “if she’s pretty, she’s asking for it,” so he’s never quite sure what the reality of a situation is until he’s delved a bit deeper.  He wants to do the right thing, though.

Jodi:          At the end of the novel, Lockhoff mentions, “It felt good to be back in my own skin.” She is a dynamic character who evolves a great deal through the course of the book. The one thing that has not changed though is her inner strength, which is obvious even when she appears weak. Was this a difficult characteristic to develop?

Lauren:    It really wasn’t. I had actually envisioned her as being a bit more fragile for the first part of the book, but once I started writing, it became obvious that she wasn’t having it. I really liked her because of that.

Jodi:           Will there be any more books with these characters?

Lauren:    It’s entirely possible. I don’t have anything planned at the moment, but I definitely haven’t ruled it out.

Jodi:          Both Lauren Gallaher and L.A. Witt write in the romance genre, but while Gallagher writes male/female (including lesbian and bisexual) romance, Witt focuses on m/m romance. What are some of the challenges when focusing on two male protagonists as opposed to a male and a female or two females?

Lauren:    In general, there’s really no difference. In a military setting, though, that’s not quite true. You tend to have a very high ratio of men to women. There are attitudes within the ranks that haven’t caught up with the rest of society, including victim-blaming and rape apology. So going into a lesbian military romance is going to have some different dynamics than a civilian romance or a gay male military romance. You tend to have women who’ve been fighting an uphill battle since boot camp, and they’ll be fighting that uphill battle for the duration of their careers.  Is that true for all women in the military? Maybe not, but I can’t say I’ve ever encountered a female service member whose gender hasn’t come into play at some point in her career.

Military aside, I don’t find it too difficult to switch between lesbian, gay, bisexual, and straight relationships.

Jodi:          What is the main difference in the sex scenes when writing about two men together and two women together (besides the body parts)?

Lauren:    It really does just come down to body parts. I’ve heard it said that women focus more on emotions and men focus more on the physical, but I don’t really buy that. Women can get just as primal as men, and men can get just as emotional – it just depends on what the sex scene calls for.

Jodi:          Although Razor Wire is not the first romance you have written focusing on two lesbian characters – the short story What This Woman Wantsis available at Riptide Publishing – it is your first full-length f/f book. Will you be writing more novels with two women protagonists?

Lauren:    Definitely. For whatever reason, I find it harder to come up with stories for two women than I do for two men (I seriously have no explanation for that), but I will absolutely be writing more.

Jodi:          You mentioned in our previous interview that you are writing Anna Maxwell’s book. Anna is a character in L.A. Witt’s Starstruck, which is part of the Bluewater Bay series. When is that book tentatively scheduled to publish?

Lauren:    It’s hard to say. Probably sometime in 2016. I’ll be writing that one very soon, though.

Jodi:          What is your next project?

Lauren:    I’m currently on a bit of a ménage kick. I’m working on a few bisexual books at the moment, and I’ll hopefully be taking a little detour in 2015 to write some more mainstream science fiction. At the moment, I’m finishing a ménage story and the sequel to Aleksandr Voinov’s Dark Soul. After that…well, it depends on how long it takes to settle into Spain. LOL

Razor Wire

Two women. One terrible crime. Zero allies.

After being raped by a superior officer, MA3 Kim Lockhoff wants to leave the whole thing in the past. A cop herself, she knows all too well that it’s her word—and slutty reputation—against that of a respected Navy officer.

MA2 Reese Marion, a tough cop hiding her own trauma behind a hard-as-nails exterior, has no patience for pretty little princesses who use their cleavage to win favor with the guys. But when Reese is partnered with Kim, she slowly realizes that reputations can lie. Kim is whip-smart, ambitious—and scared. The man who attacked her won’t let anything damage his career, least of all Kim . . . or the baby she’s carrying as a result.

Isolated on Okinawa, thousands of miles away from home, the two women lean hard on each other. But when Kim confides in Reese, she unwittingly puts her new lover—and both of their careers—in the line of fire. Now her attacker just might have the leverage he needs to keep her quiet for good.

Buy Links


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  2. Thanks for the giveaway, already added to my TBR list.

  3. Thank you for the interview! It sounds really good.

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