I’m delighted to announce that Love’s Portrait is a Foreword INDIES Book Of The Year Finalist.
My publisher Bold Strokes Books is celebrating with a 24-hour Flash Sale 25% off * all ebook formats.
Sale ends 26 March 11:59pm EDT
For those of you who couldn’t make the Bold Strokes Books Festival in June. Here’s a clip of me reading from Love’s Portrait.
Thanks to Same DNA Productions for the clip.
Looking for something to read over the Easter holidays – maybe in a beer garden with a pint or in the bath with a large glass of wine or flat out on the sofa with a cadbury creme egg?
Have a listen to me read from my new novel Love’s Portrait and see if it might be the book for you this Easter.
The Lesbian Talk Show is podcast channel for women about women.
Here’s what some lovely people have had to say so far…
Sparks fly between Molly, an art curator, and Georgina, her museum’s aloof benefactor, as they research the portrait of a 19th-century lesbian social activist and try to convince the museum’s board to display it. – Publishers Weekly
What an interesting book this has been! There is a passion that flows throughout the whole story and that surrounds you completely…it is really interesting and very, very recommendable. – Netgalley
I loved it, it’s got a bit of class and a gentle pace that curls around you. – Clare Lydon
It’s the perfect mixture of love, romance and belonging. – Kitty Kat’s Review Blog
It’s not too much of a leap to say that, if Jane Austen was writing lesbian romance fiction today, she might have come up with something akin to ‘Love’s Portrait’! – Goodreads
© 2016 All rights reserved.
Here’s what Clare Lydon had to say about Love’s Portrait…I loved it, it’s got a bit of class and a gentle pace that curls around you.
Love’s Portrait by Anna Larner (April 16th 2019, ISBN 978-1-63555-057-3). Sparks fly between Molly, an art curator, and Georgina, her museum’s aloof benefactor, as they research the portrait of a 19th-century lesbian social activist and try to convince the museum’s board to display it. (Publishers Weekly Spring 2019 Announcements.)
Clare Lydon is a London-based writer of contemporary lesbian romance and host of “Lesbian Book Club with Clare Lydon” with interviews and insights from other lesbian fiction authors around the world.
My Lesbian Radio is an audio stream focusing on new LGBT podcasts happening in the U.S. and the U.K.
© 2016 All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Spring 2019 Announcements: Love’s Portrait by Anna Larner (April 2019, ISBN 978-1-63555-057-3). Sparks fly between Molly, an art curator, and Georgina, her museum’s aloof benefactor, as they research the portrait of a 19th-century lesbian social activist and try to convince the museum’s board to display it.
Context of extract:
Museum Curator Molly Goode (central character) has just attended a museum funding meeting with her boss Evelyn Fox and the Chairman of the Trustees Mark Drew. Her suggestions that the museum should focus on more diversity and community based projects are rebuffed in favour of securing the ongoing patronage of the Wright family, headed by Georgina Wright (central character).
Molly returns to her desk defeated and dispirited.
Molly returned to her office, dropped her notes back into the bin where they belonged, and slumped onto Fran’s desk with a heavy sigh.
“You’re sitting on my sandwich.” Fran pushed at Molly’s hip, encouraging her to stand.
“I’ve sat on your lunch? Oh my God, could this day get any worse?” Molly held Fran’s baguette, squishy in her hands. It was now less buoyant baguette and more flatbread and pretty much summed up her morning.
Fran stood with a groan. “Want anything from the cafe?”
Molly looked down, crestfallen, and shook her head.
“I take it the meeting wasn’t exactly a great success.” Fran rested a motherly hand on Molly’s shoulder.
She couldn’t bring herself to mention the annex let alone that she had prompted the idea of a dedicated exhibition in the first place. “Honestly it was chilling to hear them. Everything’s about money or status to them. I thought museums were for and about the people.”
“You’re sounding more like a social historian every day,” Fran said, with an approving nod. “Although isn’t the art world, your world, all about that—status?”
“Not for me.”
“Good for you.” Fran placed her hands on her hips. “I think we need cake.”
“Have lunch in the square with me?”
“Sorry, no can do, I’ve a shopping list longer than David Attenborough’s career. But I’ll see you later. So what will it be—Victoria Sponge or, better still, eclairs?”
Molly mustered a smile. “How about both?”
“Good choice.” Fran turned back at the door. “Do you remember what I said to you when you first started at the museum? That you will always feel disheartened if your approach is to work against them?”
“The trick, if there is a trick”—Fran frowned slightly—“is somehow to find a way to achieve what you believe is right but that still delivers for the powers that be.”
“So is this how you handle Evelyn?”
“On my good days, yes. On my bad days, lots of rude words shouted at the top of my lungs in the privacy of the ladies’ loo.”
Molly giggled. “Right. Noted.”
The instant Fran closed the door, Molly was engulfed by images of the chairman with his expression of vacuous power, his mane-like hair swept back, his tie tight against his collar moving with his throat as he spoke. He was confident in a bullish way that suggested at his heart he was insecure. His insecurity made him dangerous, and if she was not mistaken, that was likely the source of his power and influence—not his knowledge, not his experience, but the fragility of his ego, charming when stroked, ferociously defensive when challenged.
Evelyn seemed to be a master at managing him, stroking to calm and cajole. She appealed to his competitive nature by presenting the museum as a place of excellence. A leading institution, indeed. She was the consummate manager of people.
Molly closed her eyes at the image of Evelyn with her pen raised to silence her. Her temper rose. She needed to find a place to shout rude words.
Leaving the frustrations of her meeting behind, she headed to her sanctuary, a small public garden next to the museum. Aptly named Museum Square, the simply designed square patch of civic ground was bordered on two sides by parked cars. A collection of benches placed around the inside edge of the square separated the grass from wide borders. A diagonal path, broken up by tree roots, stretched across, splitting halfway along to encircle a large horse chestnut tree. This tree marked the seasons, signalling the changing patterns of the year. In winter, bare and stark against white skies, the tree seemed to shrink, huddled with those brave or crazy enough to stop awhile and sit. In spring, tentative buds relaxed in the welcome return of the first rays of sunshine. In summer, students rested against its weathered waist reading their books, cool in the shade of branches laden with the soft flutter of green leaves. And in autumn, the debris of crushed conkers bashed free from its branches, littering the ground with evidence of battles won and lost and of time passing as the empty husks curled and browned.
She cherished those moments spent sitting on her favourite bench eating her sandwiches, with her lunchbox at her side and with the sprawling horse chestnut her faithful companion.
Basking in the calm stillness of the beautiful September day, she took off her shoes and let the grass brush against the soles of her feet. She lifted her chin to the cloudless sky. The air was changing from the dry sandy notes of summer to the sweet musk of autumn. The leaves above her were fading, and their greens had softened to mossy shades from vibrant lime. Even the midday light beaming through the canopy seemed weaker now, less luminous, its strongest rays falling on another person sitting on another bench, in another square, in another land.
*Now available to buy at the Bold Strokes Books webstore*
*Now available to pre-order at Amazon*
ISBN-13 978-1-63555-058-0 ebook
ISBN-13 978-1-63555-057-3 paperback
© 2016 All rights reserved. No reproduction without written permission.
We spoke to Anna Larner about her books and her writing plans for the future.
My debut lesbian romance Highland Fling had the working title How Does The Sun Know How To Shine?
Without giving too much of the plot away, early on in the book, Moira Burns (one of the main characters) is worried about her lack of sexual experience and she seeks reassurance from her first love. Her lover responds by saying “How does the sun know how to shine, Moira?” “How does the wind know how to blow?” “How does the rain know how to fall?” helping Moira to understand that her sexuality is as natural as nature itself and is something to be cherished and enjoyed.
It is one of the key messages that I hope readers will take from Highland Fling, along with living your life for today, looking forward, free from regret.
I attended the ‘States of Independence’ Book Festival held in Leicester’s De Montfort University, back in 2012. Bold Strokes Books hosted a panel on that day, encouraging people to consider writing for an LGBT press. It was a proper lightbulb moment for someone like me with an overactive imagination and a passion for all things LGBT.
I’m a writer with a lyrical, descriptive style who cares about the detail of things. Bringing to life a setting is important to me, evoking a sense of place and the particular mood of the moment. I’m also keen to portray the uniqueness of each character, what makes them laugh, what makes them cry, and sharing this with the reader.
I’m not sure I decide upon plot and character, it’s more that a place, a person or an event sparks a creative response from which a story begins to form. For example, the idea for my latest work Love’s Portrait came from a creative writing workshop focusing on forgotten female abolitionists. Their passion and courage in the face of opposition was so inspiring that I began to wonder ‘what if’…and how to weave that ‘what if’ into a contemporary love story.
As to whether I’m a planner or a panster…I’m a bit of both. I work to an outline which gives me direction but ultimately the details, the heart of the story emerges from the act of writing, which for me is where the magic lies.
No, I wouldn’t change a thing. Going back and seeking to change the path of your life feels a bit like flattening out the mountains – with the breathtaking ride of the highs and lows lost in favour of a more plain and certain view.
I’m currently working on my second novel Love’s Portrait, a contemporary romance infused with a tragic love story from the past. At the heart of the plot is the mystery of a watercolour of a beautiful woman painted in the 1830’s.
Again not trying to give too much of the plot away, it is a love story between Molly Goode (a sweet, quirky, and passionate museum curator) and Georgina Wright (a confident, stylish, but somewhat closed off investment banker) who has inherited the painting through the death of her father.
The theme of the book is about the strength, compassion, and ballsy-ness of women whether it be during the fight for the abolition of slavery or in the fight for LGBT voices to be heard in mainstream society.
Why not check out the ELLCon website for more interviews with authors who are attending the conference. Also you can sign up to their newsletter for book giveaways and get all the latest conference news.
Not long to go now…
© 2016 All rights reserved.