Cara Malone - Love in the Stacks

For our November 2021 meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Love in the Stacks by Cara Malone. If you weren't able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we're reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you'll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Cara Malone 4:03 PM

We read Love in the Stacks this month, but @Reader 4 suggested opening it up to anything else in my catalog you all want to discuss, and I’m fine with that if you are!

Reader 1 4:05 PM

Was it always the plan to connect all of your different series of books with the characters that are involved?

Cara Malone 4:07 PM

Pretty much! I didn’t go into writing book 1 thinking that way, but when I wrote Chelle as the best friend in Awakened, I knew I wanted to write her story too, and it’s just been happening ever since!

Reader 2 4:06 PM

Love In The Stacks!!! I loved it!! You know what I think appealed to me the most? Their instant attraction. That's very intriguing to me. I didn't come out until a few years ago and (TMI maybe) I've been with one woman. We talked for a while before anything happened. So the whole instant attraction and acting on it is foreign to me lol Like does that happen??

Cara Malone 4:09 PM

That’s one of my favorite things about romance - in real life, it’s usually a bad idea to jump right into bed with someone (unless that’s all you want). In a novel, you can be entirely uninhibited and tell your love interest exactly what you want without “being clingy” or scaring them away because they’re just as into it as you (because you wrote them that way haha)

Reader 4 4:06 PM

How did you come up with love in the stacks? I have theories. Lol

Cara Malone 4:10 PM

Hahaha are you asking me if I have first-hand experience? Because I -did- work in libraries for about a decade :wink:

Reader 4 4:12 PM

Do you prefer to write insta love or slow burn?

What's the hardest part of the pre-writing process?

Cara Malone 4:15 PM

Hmm… tough question! Younger me would have said slow burn because I used to be a real stickler for “realism” and it’s hard to make an instalove romance feel like a relationship that’s going to stand the test of time. But I’m working on an instalove right now that’s a ton of fun, and sometimes you just want to throw two people together and make them figure out how to overcome their obstacles right from the start

I think the hardest part of prewriting is knowing when to stop. On one hand I could spend months outlining and figuring out every little thing about my characters. On the other, I could jump right in and find all that out as I write. “Writing into the dark” usually results in more interesting stories with surprising developments, but then I have to edit a whole lot more to make it readable before I can publish.

Reader 1 4:13 PM

Do you prefer to write standalones or series?

Cara Malone 4:18 PM

For my sanity, since I publish often, series - it’s so much easier to do all the worldbuilding at the beginning and then know my characters for a year’s worth of writing in advance

That being said, some of my favorite books I’ve written have been standalones - Trail Magic, Good Vibes and The Beginning of Everything were a lot of fun to research and develop characters for

Reader 4 4:19 PM

Follow up - do you feel your stories would have taken a different turn had you chosen the other strategy (pre-written instead of pants it)? Or so you think your end result would have been the same no matter what?

Cara Malone 4:24 PM

Oh yeah, they would definitely be different books. The main characters would still live happily ever after because come on, it’s romance, but how they get there would certainly change. And I’d probably have gone bald and maybe given up trying to write full-time too, because my brain just doesn’t work that way, haha. Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, neither way is better than the other but that’s one thing that’s pretty much written into your DNA, based on conversations I’ve had with other writers

Reader 5 4:13 PM

Why jack... Where did u come up with his cantankerous person

Cara Malone 4:21 PM

Haha, oh Jack… he’s basically an amalgamation of stubborn, unhelpful coworkers I’ve had over the years, librarians and non-librarians. He’s basically Squidward - his job is to help people but he hates helping people

Reader 6 4:22 PM

It was good to know that working in a library has as much bureaucracy as nursing does. Maybe a different type but still crushingly slow to get anything changed.

Reader 7 4:21 PM

How much time do you spend writing (for books) in a typical day or week?

Cara Malone 4:26 PM

Not nearly as much as people probably think! After 5 years of experimenting with various schedules, I’ve pretty much decided that I’m a one chapter a day girl, and that takes me 1-2 hours. Of course being an indie author I also have marketing tasks and other admin things to do, but I always make sure the actual writing is the first thing because it’s the most important

Reader 3 4:27 PM

How many more books do you plan on adding to your Fur-Ever Series?? I want more animal love!

Cara Malone 4:28 PM

I have ideas for 3 more at the moment and I’m really only limited by the number of animals I can think of

Reader 5 4:34 PM

OK I got a Wierd question... Did I just happen to buy an earlier version of the paperback or am I tripping... The chick on the cover is wearing white but on my book it's black

Cara Malone 4:37 PM

Is the word Love pink or blue? I did tweak it but it’s been years

Apparently blue is a more universally appealing color for book covers - got that little tip from Harper Bliss

Reader 5 4:37 PM

Ahhhhh that's cool to know

Reader 6 4:38 PM

Good to know

Reader 3 4:38 PM

Hmm who would have thought

Cara Malone 4:41 PM

So, I have a question for you all… what would you say your breakdown is between reading lesbian romance and other genres of lesbian fiction? And do you think there’s enough to choose from of whatever other genres you like? (Okay, 3 questions… what genres are those?)

Reader 2 4:43 PM

I enjoy reading just about anything lol Lesbian romance is probably my favorite right now because well I'm still kinda a baby lesbian I guess lol So learning. :woman-shrugging::skin-tone-3:But I love a good mystery. Your Fox County Forensics series is definitely at the top of my all time faves list.

Cara Malone 4:50 PM

Fox County was a surprise for me - I went into it thinking I was writing Lakeside, but at the coroner’s office, and it’d be a straightforward romance, but then the series turned into romantic suspense and I had a ton of fun with it. Will definitely write more :D

Reader 3 4:44 PM

Hmm. I like Mystery and Medical more then just the romance of lesbian fiction for sure. Other layers in a story besides just romance I believe gives the characters a bit more angst to work with.

Reader 8 4:46 PM

I forgot to reread the book, so I'll just ask my me question. Would you ever write a sci-fi murder mystery set aboard a space station? Lesbian protagonist of course.

Cara Malone 4:53 PM

Sure! I agree with @Reader 3, it’s probably not a good fit for my Cara Malone catalog, but it sounds like a fun challenge. Maybe throw in some dinosaurs and a Michael Myers-type character just to really crank it up to 11

Reader 7 4:51 PM

Two questions: one easy, one tougher. The easy one: what should we expect next from you?/what are you working on these days? And the tough one: Of all the books you’ve published so far, which one’s your favorite?

Cara Malone 4:56 PM

Easy one: I asked readers if they’d prefer a Christmas/winter holiday book every couple of years, or if they’d rather have different holidays all taking place on Emerald Mountain where my existing Christmas book takes place. They said the latter, so I’m writing an opposites attract instalove Valentine’s Day story that is delightfully over the top

Tough one… really is a tough one! I think I’d have to go with The Beginning of Everything because it takes place over multiple decades so I felt like I really got to know those characters in a deeper way. I also learned a TON about the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the US from the 60s to present, and it was really cool to be able to pass on what I learned through the story

Phew, that hour flew by! Did I miss any questions or does anyone have any last remarks/comments/questions?

Reader 3 5:10 PM

Are you ever going to do the huge meet of Nat with all the lakeside folks! I need a get together of them all! Like so badly still!

Cara Malone 7 days ago

Probably not as a novel, but I was thinking that it’d be fun to do another Love Everlasting newsletter-only story

It’s been 5 years and I still get choked up when I think about how amazing everyone I’ve met thru lesfic is. I had no clue if anyone would read what I wrote, and not only am I able to do this full-time, which is the dream, you all have become such great friends. I love you :smile: