I am so incredibly stoked to bring you today’s Sunday Shorts Q&A with Fiona Riley. If you don’t know Fiona Riley, then you obviously don’t follow me on Goodreads or Facebook or Twitter, and hey, I’ll forgive that if you go grab your copy of Miss Match right now. It’s an awesome romance with a kick-ass set of characters and ohmigosh the sequel is next year and I cannot wait. But seriously: go, now, and grab it. I’ll wait for you to come back.
Back? Okay. So I got to meet Fiona at the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans, and she and her wife are fricking hilarious. Then we were both at the Bold Strokes Books writer’s retreat, and by the end of it I almost had abs from laughing (I didn’t quite have them because there’s this place called ‘The Ice Cream Man’ and also every breakfast was bacon, so… no abs.)
College: four years when anything goes and rules are made to be broken. A time for freedom, experimentation, and guiltless pleasures. Come join the co-eds for a homecoming bash, crash a girls-only party, and enjoy study hall where the topic is Eros. From roommates with benefits to sexy sorority initiations, hot professors demanding extra credit after class and summer vacation threesomes, this collection is required reading for anyone looking to earn an A in sex-ed.
NB: We all know I loved your debut novel, Miss Match, which was moving and funny and, yes, sexy, but ‘Extra Credit’ is scorching hot! Did you find shifting into short fiction (and erotic short fiction, at that) challenging at all?
FR: Aww, thanks! To answer your question: no, the transition wasn’t too difficult for me. Before I wrote Miss Match, I dabbled briefly in the fan-fiction realm. In my experience, that audience had a short attention span and tended to demand a fast turn-a-round on content; so writing an erotic short based off of a prompt was something I’ve done more than once. It’s very freeing to sit down and write out a quick and dirty romp. I usually use that as a way to get over any form of writer’s block I may encounter: really dive head first into a little erotic fiction to stir up those, uh, creative juices. Works every time. 😉
NB: You flipped the power dynamic a few times in your piece. Tristan the student is at first racing to the beck and call of her TA, but when things get hot, they shift back and forth a bit. It made your story stand out among the theme, as more often it’s the professor or TA with the reins, so to speak. How conscious a choice was that?
FR: I really enjoyed this piece for that exact reason. We’ve all been in the position that Tristan is in at the beginning: we’ve mentally checked out for the semester or portion of the school year and there is one final grade/paper/assignment standing between us and “freedom.” Whether that “freedom” is a school break, a summer holiday, or the biggest party of the year- it’s an obstacle that everyone encounters. So of course she’s panicked when it appears as though the final page of her paper didn’t upload; the passing grade for her class is dependent upon this paper. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your plans and potentially miss out on getting the girl to grovel at your TA’s feet when technology fails you. That being said, grovelling is a lot harder to do when you’re packing…
Without giving too much away, the reader finds out that some of this fear of failing isn’t warranted- that’s why I enjoyed this so much. Clearly, Tristan’s attraction to the TA over the whole semester did not go unnoticed, in fact, it’s a mutual admiration. There is something so undeniably sexy about someone that knows what they want and how they want it. Prishka definitely uses her authority to set the evening in motion, but Tristan is no angel here and uses her, uh, cockiness to her advantage once she realizes Prishka’s intentions. The fluidity of their power dynamic in this piece was really fun to write: it shows the reader a glimpse of what both women are capable of and desiring of- sometimes I think labels like “top” and “bottom” feel limiting, neither of these women like restrictions. Who am I to stop them from reaching the climax of their relationship?
NB: Did the short fiction bug bite? Will we see more Fiona Riley short pieces soon? What’s on the horizon for us rabid fans?
FR: I think I will always keep an open mind to writing short fiction because I feel like it helps keep you on track as a writer. It’s a great way to continue to hone your craft—short pieces require you to get to the point…I think that’s something that we can all learn from at one time or another.
NB: Short fiction is my first love, and novels are the things that make me flinch. It’s fascinating to see it from “the other side,” as it were.
FR: I submitted a short piece for consideration for the Girls Next Door anthology out next year through Bold Strokes Books—it’s less erotic and more romantic in theme, but it was a blast to work on. Additionally, I’m working on writing a teaser piece following some of the characters from Miss Match to come out before the sequel, Unlikely Match, which is slated for release on June 20, 2017. The matchmaking industry is in full swing over here!
I’ll be doing some readings with Bold Strokes Books and the Golden Crown Literary Society in Provincetown, MA this October during Women’s Week this year- so people can stop by to catch an erotic reading, get an autograph, or hear more about Unlikely Match and my upcoming projects in person. I update my FB and twitter regularly, so check those out for more information on what I have brewing or stop by just to say “Hi!”
NB: I can’t wait for Unlikely Match. Next June can’t come fast enough.
If you’d like a copy of Girls on Campus of your very own, you should head on over to the publisher page at Bold Strokes Books here. Or, check out your local brick-and-mortar store—it’s always a good move to check Indiebound.org here. And, of course, the book is available anywhere quality LGBT books are sold.
Fiona Riley was born and raised in New England where she is a medical professional and part-time professor when she isn’t bonding with her laptop over words. She went to college in Boston and never left, starting a small business that takes up all of her free time, much to the dismay of her ever patient and lovely wife. When she pulls herself away from her work, she likes to catch up on the contents of her ever-growing DVR or take a walk with her dog.
Fiona’s love for writing started at a young age and blossomed after she was published in a poetry competition at the ripe old age of twelve. She wrote lots of short stories and poetry for many years until it was time for college and a “real job.” Fiona found herself with a bachelor’s, a doctorate, and a day job, but felt like she had stopped nurturing the one relationship that had always made her feel the most complete: artist, dreamer, writer.
A series of bizarre events afforded her with some unexpected extra time and she found herself reaching for her favourite blue notebook to write, never looking back.
Fiona can be contacted at Fiona Riley.