Bridget Essex - A Knight to Remember

For our April meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Bridget Essex's novel, A Knight to Remember. 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

Bridget Essex [4:01 PM]

Howdy, lovely folks! :heart: Happy to be here!

Reader 2 [4:01 PM]

Happy to have you!

So let's kick things off... what'd everybody think of A Knight to Remember?

Reader 1 [4:02 PM]

Loved it!

Reader 3 [4:02 PM]

My first foray into lesbian+scifi/fantasy (les-fi?). Really enjoyed it!

Reader 4 [4:03 PM]

I give it an F for fantastic. And fantasy. And fun.

Bridget Essex [4:03 PM]

Yay! :dancer::dancer::dancer:

Reader 2 [4:03 PM]

Les-fi, nice

Reader 5 [4:04 PM]

Loved it! I want my own Virago!

Bridget Essex [4:04 PM]

Ha, yeah, I like that--and an "f" for all those fantastic words? Pretty much the greatest right there. :slightly_smiling_face:

I've been writing my fantasy books since I was a teenager, and I was told *so* many times that no one would want to read fantasy with a lesbian lead. So not true! :heart:

Reader 6 [4:04 PM]

I like the bedroom scene

Reader 5 [4:06 PM]

The bedroom scene was amazing!

Reader 7 [4:05 PM]

Lesbians certainly will ;-)

Bridget Essex [4:05 PM]

*sweeping bow* Hooray! Thanks, Reader 6! ;D

Reader 5 [4:05 PM]

Do they not know us! Haha fantasy lesbian is the best way to go!

Bridget Essex [4:05 PM]


Reader 7 [4:05 PM]

I think people also need to learn to separate traditional fantasy like tolkein from other fantasy

This stuff I love! Epic fantasy not so much.

Reader 8 [4:06 PM]

I also think that sometimes genre-labeling gets in the way of me finding good books, because I think I won’t like the genre.

When I actually give them a chance, I find gems I normally wouldn’t pick up

Reader 2 [4:06 PM]

So glad you just wrote them anyway!

Bridget Essex [4:06 PM]

Aw, you folks are slaying me with happiness. :heart: Thank you!

:heart: Thank you so much, Reader 2!

What I wanted to do, when I set out with A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER, is teach folks that fantasy isn't necessarily scary. I start with something really normal, then gently ease you into it.

Reader 4 [4:07 PM]

I was reading a manga a while back that dealt with a female knight that was transported to another world (part of the isekai or "other world" genre in Japan) and the government there discovered the existence of someone from another world along with the existence of magic. The first thing they did was quarantine her and run all sorts of tests on her, including getting her to demonstrate her magic repeatedly. Do you think something similar would happen to Virago if the government had found out about her existence?

Reader 3 [4:08 PM]

Reader 8 - Agreed. I avoided one of my favorite books just because it sounded like a "lesbian with super powers" book.

Bridget Essex [4:08 PM]

Oh, lordy, probably! Virago would suffer in silence during this for a little while, and then she'd say her mission was too important and break the chains, so to speak! :slightly_smiling_face:

Oh, what's your favorite book, @Reader 3, that sounds really good!

Reader 3 [4:09 PM]

Colorblind, by Siera Maley. Maybe not "favorite, but really good.

Reader 5 [4:08 PM]

Exactly fantasy doesn't have to be scary! Which is what is great with yours!

Reader 6 [4:08 PM]

Bridget, you write great shifter stories. I guess those are fantasy, although For some reason I only think princess and knight when I think of fantasy.

Bridget Essex [4:09 PM]

There's this enormous umbrella, and it's called Speculative Fiction. Underneath that, you have paranormal, horror, fantasy, science fiction. :slightly_smiling_face: I write spec fic!

Reader 2 [4:09 PM]

I loved how confident and awed Virago was the whole time - if I got transported to another world I'd probably be hiding and crying :joy:

Reader 9 [4:09 PM]

Did you nearly kill off Shelley the dog? My heart was in my mouth

Reader 2 [4:09 PM]

Same! If it had been any other author I would have been afraid to finish the book.

Bridget Essex [4:09 PM]

OH HELL NO! :heart: My solemn promise to all my readers is I will NEVER kill an animal! :heart:

Reader 7 [4:11 PM]

If you did I'd think someone stole your name to publish.

Reader 4 [4:10 PM]

The threat of other world viruses is probably not something that either Holly or Virago were thinking of I am guessing.

Bridget Essex [4:10 PM]

@Reader 4 In my book universe, Agrotera and Earth are sister worlds--there have been constant folks coming back and forth since the beginning of humanity. :heart:

Reader 3 [4:15 PM]

@Reader 4 We read books the same way! "What if..." I kept thinking that Holly should have asked more questions about Virago's home world. She only sees female knights, the only knight she knows only mentions girlfriends...what if men are kept as slaves and breeding stock on her home world!?

Reader 2 [4:16 PM]

I have not read more in the series yet but I was thinking that too - all-female world, please :smile:

Reader 3 [4:11 PM]

Question - you describe Holly's "comfort book." Do you have one, Bridget?

Bridget Essex [4:11 PM]

@Reader 3 Aw, yes, I have lots! Probably my favorite one is written by my wife, Natalie Vivien--DRAWN TO YOU. :heart: I've read it a million times!

Reader 7 [4:12 PM]

Oh, I haven't read that one yet. Will need to.

Bridget Essex [4:12 PM]

It's just so fun, Reader 7--when I'm sad, it always makes me feel better. :heart:

Reader 7 [4:14 PM]

Random question but do the names ever get confusing when you go out to do a book event, since you both have pen names?

Bridget Essex [4:15 PM]

@Reader 7 I'm not sure if it is for Natalie--I'm in the middle of legally changing my name to Bridget, so everyone calls me that, so for me, it's easy! :heart:

Reader 1 [4:15 PM]

When you set up the knight's society, what was your biggest influence?

How did you decide the rules and social order?

Bridget Essex [4:16 PM]

My biggest influence was what I wanted to see in the world! And ha, no, @Reader 3 no slaves! :stuck_out_tongue: There are men in other countries, but I say it in a later book--folks tend to go to places where others like them exist. Arktos is special because a lot of lady loving women got together.

Reader 6 [4:16 PM]

Doesn’t Virago talk about her brother?

Reader 7 [4:17 PM]

Basically, everyone now needs to read Date Knight. You learn all about Arktos

Reader 3 [4:17 PM]

Father, wasn't it? But she doesn't get specific.

Reader 7 [4:17 PM]

And meet so many different knights, so if Virago isn't exactly your type, you'll likely find one among the group :wink:

Bridget Essex [4:17 PM]

There are two versions of my book floating around out there. One of them was when I thought the book *wouldn't* sell, so I set it up as a one off, and didn't put my world stuff in it. The other version is the correct one! It slays me that there are still old ones floating around!

Reader 2 [4:18 PM]

When you're working on something new, do the characters or the world generally come to you first?

Bridget Essex [4:18 PM]

It's always the characters, first! They appear, fully formed in my head, and I want so badly to tell their stories!

Reader 1 [4:18 PM]

How long did it take to create Arktos?

Bridget Essex [4:19 PM]

I've been working on my Agrotera world since I was a teenager! :heart:

It's been a part of me for so much of my life--it's my happy place. :heart:

Aw, Reader 6, that makes me so happy! :heart: I'm sure you'd make a great knight!

Reader 5 [4:19 PM]

Im reading date night now I love this world

Reader 6 [4:19 PM]

I want to be a knight on Arktos.

Reader 2 [4:19 PM]

That origin story for the goddesses... :ok_hand: So good!

Reader 5 [4:20 PM]

Yes love the goddess story! So beautifully told

Reader 5 [4:19 PM]

How did you first get the idea of Agrotera??

Bridget Essex [4:20 PM]

I was a very avid fantasy reader when I was a kid. I knew I was a lesbian by the age of fifteen, and I read--voraciously--looking for someone like me in the stories I read. They were never there. It broke my heart. I wanted to read a story about someone like me. So I decided that I was going to create one. :heart:

Reader 10[4:22 PM]

Thanks to all of you authors for doing that

Reader 3 [4:22 PM]

I'm glad so many of you did that, Bridget! It worked. Starting at 14 I was reading tons of lesfic books. None of them from the school library, but it was a start!

Reader 9 [4:22 PM]

Do you and your wife have separate offices so you don’t distract each other from working?

Bridget Essex [4:23 PM]

It's not so much distraction...I know this is sappy, but we want to be around each other all the time and talk, so we have to shut ourselves up in our separate towers to get stuff done! :stuck_out_tongue: :heart: We also have different collections and want places to display them! :heart:

Reader 4 [4:24 PM]

If you were to make a TReader 10series off of your Knight Legends series would you want it to be live action or animated (2D or 3D)?

Reader 6 [4:24 PM]

Did you name your house or was it already named?

Bridget Essex [4:25 PM]

Live action!!!! I *love* animation, but I think actresses are amazing and I'd be so happy to see it in real life!

We named it, @Reader 6! :heart: We've always named every place we've lived in, and this beautiful little cottage needed a magical castle-y name. So Lion Hall it was! :heart:

Reader 2 [4:26 PM]

Did you have a particular actress/person in mind when you were writing Virago? We were talking about that earlier in the week :smile:

Bridget Essex [4:26 PM]

No, I didn't! I hope she exists out there, though, because I want it to become real someday!

Reader 7 [4:26 PM]

It totally does...somewhere. We just need to find a portal

Reader 7 [4:28 PM]

I must find who made the portal and tell them they need a storm to go with it. And probably a full moon. :wink:

Reader 11 [4:29 PM]

Hey Bridget. I always wonder how books like yours transfer to the big screen and who would play the lead characters. Any thoughts?

Bridget Essex [4:29 PM]

@Reader 11 I didn't have any actresses in mind, but I definitely have filming locations in mind!

Reader 2 [4:30 PM]

Ooh, so where on Earth is closest to Agrotera?

Bridget Essex [4:30 PM]

Everywhere, since technically they occupy the same space, just on different dimensions. #Nerd

Reader 3 [4:30 PM]

A couple of lines stuck out to me. I wonder if you knew they stood out when you wrote them? like p141 "We don't often want what we know we can have."

Reader 5 [4:31 PM]

Love that line!!

Reader 9 [4:31 PM]

That’s so true

Bridget Essex [4:31 PM]

I was crying when I wrote that line. I remember it very well. :heart:

Reader 1 [4:31 PM]

Can you be a knight and be afraid of horses? Asking for a friend

Reader 3 [4:31 PM]

Reader 1 - Sure, but you have to ride a dragon.

Bridget Essex [4:31 PM]

Of course! In JUST ONE KNIGHT, I explore that. :stuck_out_tongue: :heart: You don't need horses to kick ass, I promise!

Reader 1 [4:32 PM]

I would totally be OK riding a dragon.

Or, my friend would be

Reader 6 [4:32 PM]

No but you need one to get around - no cars

Reader 2 [4:32 PM]

You could take a small dragon to the grocery store

Bridget Essex [4:33 PM]

It depends on where you want to go! I think your own two feet can get you pretty far.

OMG, @Reader 2 I just did a spittake. :stuck_out_tongue: :heart:

Reader 9 [4:34 PM]

We call nasty people dragons here therefore your comments are amusing

Reader 4 [4:34 PM]

Excuse me sir knight, I would like to report a dragon theft.

Reader 2 [4:34 PM]

I imagine dragons are a lot harder to steal than cars, what with the fire breathing and all

Bridget Essex [4:34 PM]

(Immediately thinking about how dragons breathe fire, so they would probably be theft proof? *again taking notes* )

Reader 1 [4:35 PM]

I guess dragon theft would be dependent on the dragon's loyalties

Reader 5 [4:35 PM]

I wouldn't worry about dragons being stolen

Reader 7 [4:35 PM]

I'm thinking about a character using meditation to accidentally stumble on a world...

Reader 2 [4:36 PM]

Oh yeah, I love that. And you apparently have to be pretty powerful to open a portal so it's probably going to be a monk who's about to reach nirvana, but falls into Agrotera instead

Reader 7 [4:35 PM]

What if it's a young dragon and they don't have control of their fire yet?

Reader 4 [4:35 PM]

Depends on the world. Not all dragons breath fire. Some breath ice. Some breath lightning. Some breath poisonous or corrosive gas or vomit acid. Some don't breath anything.

Reader 7 [4:36 PM]

Or, an entirely too docile dragon who loves everyone and thinks everyone is it's new friend?

Reader 9 [4:36 PM]

Do dragons have fuel tanks in their tummies so they can always breath fire

Reader 5 [4:36 PM]

Ice breathing dragon would be nice

Reader 3 [4:36 PM]

I picture getting stuck with an eeyore type of dragon. "Someone's stealing me. Oh well. Nobody's gonna miss me anyway."

Reader 7 [4:36 PM]

I think this shows that @Bridget Essex needs to write a story involving dragons.

Bridget Essex [4:36 PM]

I did, @Reader 7! JUST ONE KNIGHT has a prettttttty sexy dragon lady! :heart:

Reader 11 [4:37 PM]

Who are some of your favourite authors Bridget? And what genres do you enjoy reading?

Bridget Essex [4:38 PM]

Oh, lordy, so many! In lesbian fiction, I've read most and love most! :heart: In fantasy, my favorite is Terry Pratchett. :heart: Followed closely by Mercedes Lackey, Tamora Pierce, Andre Norton, Anne Macaffrey, all the greats. :heart:

I had a really rough time growing up. Whenever the world would become unbearable, I'd read a Pratchett and it would always make me feel better. He had the power to make me feel safe. :heart: Magic, right there. :heart:

Reader 11 [4:41 PM]

Literature does have that power to take you somewhere else completely, especially needed in these uncertain times.

Reader 1 [4:39 PM]

What is your favorite Pratchett book?

Bridget Essex [4:40 PM]

My absolute, absolute favorite is A HAT FULL OF SKY. :heart:

Reader 1 [4:40 PM]

50 years from now, please don't do what Pratchett did; all of your creations need to be published and not destroyed.

Reader 2 [4:40 PM]

Was he the one that burned his unpublished works?

Reader 7 [4:40 PM]

That will be hundreds of stories by then too

Bridget Essex [4:40 PM]

It's heartbreaking, the reason he did it...most of it was garbled because of his illness. I understand

why, though it breaks my heart. :heart: Hopefully I'll be all right as I age, but that's not a guarantee!

Reader 9 [4:41 PM]

Alzheimer’s shows no mercy :pensive:

Reader 7 [4:41 PM]

Did you create at least rough backstories for each knight once you realized it was a series, or did that develop as you wrote more?

Bridget Essex [4:42 PM]

I had a lot of ideas for each one, but things have definitely evolved for each one, too, like Kell! What is going to happen to her wasn't original, but now it's exactly what needed to be! :heart:

Reader 1 [4:43 PM]

Of all your series, which took you the longest to come up with?

Reader 7 [4:43 PM]

I love so many of the books, but I felt Charaxis's story affected me the most. It's such a powerful book.

Bridget Essex [4:43 PM]

:heart: Charaxis is so special to me. She's the one character I based on my wife. :heart:

Reader 7 [4:45 PM]

Speaking of names, how do you come up with them?!

Bridget Essex [4:46 PM]

Names are SO IMPORTANT to me! I'm such a nerd--they have to have eighteen different levels of meaning! :heart: I do SO MUCH RESEARCH and then do background research, so the origin of the name would make sense in a place the knights would have visited in our world!

Reader 9 [4:45 PM]

Are the other knight books the ones in the bottom of the portal?

Bridget Essex [4:45 PM]

Yes, several of them!

Reader 7 [4:45 PM]

Wait, which book is Kel's because she intrigues the hell out of me?

Bridget Essex [4:47 PM]

Kell's book hasn't come out yet.

Reader 2 [4:48 PM]

Is this going to be your next release?

Bridget Essex [4:48 PM]

No, it's somewhere down the line! :heart: I'm not sure what my next release will be right now. :heart:

Reader 6 [4:48 PM]

Your wolves are my favorite. Any of those in the future?

Bridget Essex [4:49 PM]

Aw, thank you so much, Reader 6! I'm working on about five different wolf books right now. :heart: There are definitely some coming soon! :heart:

Reader 2 [4:50 PM]

Haha oh wow, so you are definitely not a one-project-at-a-time kind of author, huh?

Bridget Essex [4:51 PM]

And ha, no, Reader 2, I'm definitely not! :stuck_out_tongue: :heart: I'm like a bunny--I like to nibble on lots of different things at once. :stuck_out_tongue: :heart:

Reader 9 [4:51 PM]

Do you write a bit of one, then a bit of another or just plan them but focus on just one for writing

Bridget Essex [4:51 PM]

I'm planning tons, outlining a lot, then usually concentrating on writing the first draft of one at once.

Reader 3 [4:52 PM]

I have a question - I devoured quite a bit of YA lesfic over the last few years, and it was pretty much exclusively fem/fem. The more "mature" lesfic (you know, with dragons and monsters and stuff!) seems to be skewed butch/fem. Is there a reason for that?

Reader 1 [4:52 PM]

How many do you usually have going on at one time in various stages?

Bridget Essex [4:53 PM]

@Reader 3 I think it's about author preference! As time goes on, it's getting more robust with lots of different types of ladies across the spectrum of queer--I'm really noticing an evolution of that. :heart:

SO many, Reader 1! Hard to say how many--I think I'm working on about twenty right now.

Awww, Reader 6, thank you! :heart: I LOVE that one. :heart:

Reader 1 [4:54 PM]

20.....twenty....Wow!! :star-struck: :star-struck:

Reader 9 [4:54 PM]

I wouldn’t be able to remember who was who and what was what if I did that lol (edited)

Reader 2 [4:55 PM]

Well you're not going to run out of ideas any time soon :joy: Great news

Bridget Essex [4:55 PM]

I don't really remember once they're released, which is bad! But when I'm writing I'm so laser focused!

Reader 7 [4:56 PM]

I'm pretty sure I've listened to all of the books I've read from you, and you've done a wonderful job finding narrators. I think a good portion is because your books are well written, making the narrator's job easier. I'm currently in love with Marina Barrett though!

Reader 4 [4:56 PM]

If you were given the chance to live life on another world and the god or goddess of that world decide to give you a blessing, what kind of blessing would you choose of given the choice? It could be anything. A power or ability, a magic sword, immortality, a companion, or anything else you could think of.

Bridget Essex [4:56 PM]

OH, LORDY, I LOVE HER SO MUCH. :heart: That makes me so happy, @Reader 7! :heart:

Ooh, I love that! I'd want to be able to talk to animals, definitely. :heart:

Reader 7 [4:57 PM]

She's only done your books (with one exception). Do you hide her in your basement? lol

Bridget Essex [4:57 PM]

*laughing so hard* She's the nom de vox of Maria Marquis! :heart: She narrates mostly YA and wanted to separate romance from YA.

Reader 11 [4:59 PM]

How much do you enjoy events like this, interacting with readers?

Bridget Essex [5:00 PM]

Aw, I love them so much! :heart: I love talking with folks, and I love your questions so much! :heart:

Reader 1 [5:00 PM]

And we love you and your creations!

Bridget Essex [5:00 PM]

I always talk with my readers and have a really wonderful relationship with them! :heart: If you haven't already, please friend me on FB to see lots of cute animals! :heart:

Reader 6 [5:02 PM]

Lots of animals...a bird that bites, a majestic dog, a rabbit that sleeps with the dog

Reader 9 [5:31 PM]

So you have a bird, a bunny, a dog..., what else?

Bridget Essex [5:31 PM]

We have three dogs, six cats, four bunnies, one conure, two cockatiels, one parakeet, nine finches, one lovebird, six guinea pigs, two gerbils, one mouse, many fish, lots of shrimp. :heart: They're all rescues except for Zelda, our sheltie. :heart: :heart: :heart:

Rescue and animal activism are my and my wife's greatest passions--besides writing. :heart:

Reader 9 [5:32 PM]

And a partridge in a pear tree

Bridget Essex [5:32 PM]

Ha, totally! *peeks at pear tree* :heart:

Reader 1 [5:33 PM]

How do you do all of that, have 20ish books in process, and ....everything else?

Bridget Essex [5:33 PM]

I drink a LOT of coffee. :smile: :heart:

Reader 6 [5:37 PM]

Bridget Essex, I’m a true blue fan and Patreon. I love your books and your spirit. Don’t be sad if you can help it. Thanks for the hours of escapism you have given me. Thanks for coming to talk to us.

Reader 2 [5:38 PM]

Thank you so much for joining us, Bridget!

Bridget Essex [5:38 PM]

You have all been a dream, and I adore you. Thank you for the laughter and lovely welcome--it was wonderful. :heart:

Reader 1 [5:39 PM]

Thank you for...being you!!! :star-struck:

Whoot. I didn't faint.