Jenny Frame - Charming the Vicar

For our June meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Charming the Vicar by Jenny Frame. 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.

Jenny Frame 4:00 PM

Hi everyone. Thanks for inviting me.

Reader 1 4:00 PM

Hello Jenny, thanks for chatting with us!

Reader 2 4:01 PM

Hi, just reading the wrong book of yours for book club like you do ya know......

Jenny Frame 4:01 PM

Ha ha! That’s okay. Quade’s book is a fav of mine.

Reader 2 4:02 PM

They’re by the haystack after reconciling .....

Reader 1 4:02 PM

I have not read it yet but I loved Quade in Charming the Vicar

Do you pick favorite characters when you write?

Reader 3 4:03 PM

Ouch, hay is pokey

Reader 4 4:03 PM

Hey jenny

Jenny Frame 4:04 PM

When I start a new series, I always know who the side characters are going to fall for... So it’s always exciting to start and give them all a love story. Quade is especially sweet though.

Reader 4 4:04 PM

Quade is sweet but the vicar s by far my favorite

Reader 2 4:05 PM

Did you have Penny mapped out for Quade from the get go?

Jenny Frame 4:05 PM

Bridge is one of a kind. It was so much fun to write a very femme character with so much confidence and power at her fingertips.

Reader 4 4:06 PM

What was the inspiration for making bdsm part of her background

Jenny Frame 4:07 PM

Penny was always going to be a social media influencer, who couldn’t live without her phone and Instagram, but I did some deeper character work for her when I came to write it.

Reader 2 4:07 PM

Up to the epilogue.

Reader 3 4:08 PM

The character work is definitely fascinating.

Jenny Frame 4:09 PM

The Bdsm part of Bridge somehow was always part of her, and I don’t know why. She came fully formed as a character, and as I say she was different from the normal characters I wrote. From the beginning I saw a Vicar with a whip. The two sides of her creating a conflict.

Reader 2 4:09 PM

How did you research for the royal books? Do you have insider knowledge?

Reader 3 4:10 PM

I am not at all familiar with the churches in England, so it was very interesting to compare the approach to religion in this instance with what I've experienced.

Reader 1 4:11 PM

Agreed - having the church leaders be such a center point of the community was very different from what we have locally but it definitely added to the “everybody knows everybody, we’re all family” vibes that were so great in this book

Jenny Frame 4:12 PM

I’m a big history buff and in the U.K that goes hand in hand with royalty. I loved learning about the strange rituals the family take part In. The things they do in their day to day life is fascinating.

Reader 5 4:12 PM

I also found my church comparisons going, though with a little more familiarity because most of the churches I’ve been involved with (and employed by) have been historically connected to the Church of England, but they do things differently than their Canadian and American outgrowths. (And one of the ways has been that the North American outgrowths have, at their national levels, been more welcoming than the C of E as a whole.)

Reader 4 4:13 PM

Of all professions why a magician for finn

Reader 3 4:13 PM

I didn't even know the C of E was here... which sounds ridiculous to say. But where I grew up our heritage is strongly German and Scandinavian.

Jenny Frame 4:14 PM

Thank you. Yes small English village life has two focal points the church and the pub. The church doesn’t even have to be for believers, it’s sometimes just a traditional thing people take part in on Sundays-then off to the pub! :-)

Reader 2 4:14 PM

A lot of UK primary schools are c of e including the one I went to

Reader 5 4:15 PM

Well, the Episcopal Church has had a couple of centuries to diverge from the Church of England

Reader 2 4:17 PM

Where do you get your ideas from for your books? What inspires you?

Jenny Frame 4:18 PM

I saw Finn as a magician because I wanted my atheist character to be so sure in her disbelief that losing her faith in atheism was such a hard thing. And I’m influenced greatly by the famous magicians who set about debunking faith healers and such. We have Derren Brown in the UK and I believe Penn and Teller do similar things.

Reader 1 4:19 PM

Was it difficult to figure out how you/Bridget were going to lead Finn back to her faith? I was on the edge of my seat for a while and you pulled it off really well, not compromising either character

Reader 3 4:20 PM

I liked the parallels between illusion and fake preachers, but also the connections you drew to the way Bridge and Annie used similar techniques without harm

Jenny Frame 4:20 PM

Songs inspire me a lot. I build up a playlist for every book and listen on repeat as I write. Songs have always opened up stories in my imagination, but often news reports can set off a story, as it did for my book Unexpected.

Reader 3 4:21 PM

There were times I was genuinely concerned about how you were going to handle everything, but it was well done.

Reader 5 4:22 PM

I think what I loved most was how Bridge and Finn each had histories that shaped them but didn’t, in the end, trap them

Reader 2 4:22 PM

So what song inspired you to write about a bdsm whip wielding vicar?

And was it Could it be Magic by Take That that inspired Finn? :wink:

Reader 5 4:23 PM

And I’m so glad that I was “complete-ist” enough to buy and read the first book, so that I could recognize Harry and Annie when people spoke about them (and when they returned to Axedale).

Jenny Frame 4:23 PM

Thank you. I wanted a kind of balance between their beliefs. An open door that Finn could look through into Bridge’s strong sense of faith, but still leave room for Finn’s disapproval in fake faith healers etc. I have Church of England vicars in my family as well as atheists, so I can see that tension in real life.

Reader 6 4:24 PM

I just want to say I love the book! It's my first read by you and I'm highly impressed... You give Anna Stone a run for her money on the S&M like I was SO drawn to Bridget and how she was protrayed! It was beautiful

Reader 2 4:25 PM

You’re so lucky Reader 6, I read the wrong book! :smirk:

Reader 3 4:25 PM

And I'm the opposite. That aspect still leaves me uncomfortable, but I enjoyed the story either way.

Jenny Frame 4:25 PM

Bridge and Finn’s song was Bad things by machine gun Kelly and Camilla. I think it describes their relationship to a tee.

Reader 2 4:28 PM

Jenny, you’re with Bold Strokes right? Do you ever find there’s a language barrier between yourself and your editors or do they have uk editors?

Reader 3 4:28 PM

To clarify, not that the dom/sub relationship existed, it was quite interesting and perfect for the characters. It was that it never let up that made me uncomfortable in the end.

Which I recognize as a 'me' issue, not a book issue

Jenny Frame 4:31 PM

No. My editor Ruth is assigned to a lot of the U.K authors. She studied there I believe and is very intune with us over here. The only things I ever have to adjust is the Scottish characters language. Some of our local language wouldn’t quite be understood. So it’s like Scottish light. ;-)

Reader 2 4:32 PM

I’m from Yorkshire and struggle with that too as we’re very strong on dialect.

Reader 1 4:32 PM

Yep I’m with you - Scottish is its own language, depending on who’s speaking it :smile:

Reader 3 4:33 PM

I enjoyed the Scottish bits in the Unexpected books

Jenny Frame 4:33 PM

Yes, I think we both have the same issue Reader 2. :-)

Reader 1 4:33 PM

Do you have a favorite part of the romance to write, or a favorite part of the whole publishing process?

Jenny Frame 4:34 PM

I love research. I love learning about every aspect of a characters job, way of life etc. Unlike a lot of authors I do love editing too. I like to get back to the manuscript and make it better.

Reader 2 4:34 PM

Out of your Axedale characters (minor ones too) who would you be BBF with, who would you marry and who would you bury under the patio?

Jenny Frame 4:37 PM

Bridge BBF, I’d marry Quade, and I’d bury Bishop Sprat.

Reader 5 4:37 PM

Good choice on bury!

Reader 2 4:38 PM

In the book I read (book 3) it said Finn’s well known hair (can’t remember the wording) was dishevelled. I was intrigued to know what her hair is like

I’d marry Quade too

Reader 4 4:38 PM

Yes bury bishop sprout!!!

Jenny Frame 4:38 PM

Unkempt, messy mop that somehow sits perfectly and sexily.

Reader 2 4:39 PM

What is your next book about?

Reader 5 4:41 PM

And… for somebody introduced to your work through the Axedale series, which of your non-Axedale books or series do you like most?

Jenny Frame 4:41 PM

I’m part of a novella anthology that is out in July. It has stories from Ali Vali, Carsen Taite, and me. It’s about second chance romance, and features a Glasgow couple. After that I have the second in my vampire series, Longing For you.

Reader 5, I think Unexpected is closest to my heart. A simple family romance.

Reader 2 4:42 PM

Which genre do you like best? Vampires or sweet butch/femme romance?

Reader 1 4:43 PM

Sounds like you do a lot of research, is it safe to say you’re a plotter rather than a pantser? Do you do all your worldbuilding with setting and side characters before you write?

Jenny Frame 4:43 PM

Definitely sweet butch/femme romance. They’re the kind of stories that come from my heart. I’m a hopeless romantic!

Reader 2 4:45 PM

I read somewhere that you’re known for your butch/femme stories? Do you write any others like femme/femme or is this like your signature style

Jenny Frame 4:46 PM

Yes Reader 1, I like to plan, but then during writing I kind of veer off from time to time.

I do butch/femme, although every couple is different. Different energies, different ways of presenting, or expressing themselves. Especially the butch characters. I like to represent butch women for the wonderful people they are.

Reader 2 4:49 PM

Butch people tend to be as soft as s**t like cuddly teddy bears

Reader 3 4:49 PM

And that's beyond appreciated (shhh @Reader 2 don't tell all our secrets)

Jenny Frame 4:49 PM

Gentle giants!

Reader 1 4:49 PM

Who are some of your favorite authors to read?

Jenny Frame 4:51 PM

I love Ali Vali. Her devil, gangster series is my top Lesfic loves, and of course Radclyffe, who writes sweet butch/femme books.

Reader 2 4:52 PM

I love Radclyffe books, her medical ones are my favourite by her

Jenny Frame 4:52 PM

Yes the province town series is lovely.

Reader 2 4:53 PM

Do you write full time or work and write?

Reader 6 4:54 PM

Was there any chance that Finn and Bridget had been at Reds at the same time and never knew it?? Bridget's dream just got me thinking like what if...

Jenny Frame 4:55 PM

I’m lucky enough to be able to write full time from home.

Yes Reader 6, that was the what if I was thinking of. I had a similar experience with my partner Lou. We worked out we were in the same small gay club years before we met, and never knew it. That’s what inspired me.

Reader 6 4:58 PM

I love little snippets like that.... As long as Harry never actually got with Finn I think all is safe. :joy: Though would be hilarious

Reader 1 4:58 PM

That’s adorable - everything in its time

Jenny Frame 4:58 PM

That would just be so wrong! Ha! Ha!

Reader 6 4:59 PM

It would be .. my mind went there when I read it though. :woman-shrugging::skin-tone-2:

Reader 2 5:00 PM

Have you got any other author friends - like a posse you hang out with (online even)?

Jenny Frame 5:01 PM

Not really. I’m a very shy person. Not good at socialising.

Reader 2 5:02 PM

This group is my posse

Reader 1 5:02 PM

It’s hard! Do you do conferences and stuff for Bold Strokes?

Jenny Frame 5:04 PM

No, I have a back injury that doesn’t allow me to travel, and I’m not so good with socialising. I do my best to interact with readers online and I love talking with them. It’s wonderful to get feedback from readers and to learn that maybe a character has resonated with them.

Reader 1 5:06 PM

We have so much access to be able to talk to each other these days, it’s a great time to be an author or a reader

Well we’re at the top of the hour - thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, Jenny!

Reader 3 5:06 PM

I look forward to reading the rest of the series!

Jenny Frame 5:07 PM

Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s been lovely.