It’s wednesday! The weekend is *so* close, but not quite there yet. We have something to sweeten up your week: an interview with Vanessa North, author of the newly released Off Limits. Off Limits is the first book in the multi-author series Rose & Thorns featuring awesome women loving other women!
By day, Natalie Marshall is the Thorns Ladies’ Social Club’s perfect concierge: resourceful, observant, immaculate. But she turns her phone off when the night concierge arrives, and then she’s Nat: the raunchy lead singer of Vertical Smile—notorious for lewd lyrics and sexually-charged performances.
Rebecca Horvath isn’t used to asking twice—for anything. As the scion of one of Hollywood’s most powerful film dynasties, she’s waited on, pampered, fawned over—spoiled. So when she asks the cute front person of her favorite queer punk band to be her date to a charity auction, she isn’t expecting the whispered “no,” or for the singer to disappear without even thanking her for the martini.
For Natalie, two worlds colliding spells professional catastrophe–her on-stage antics definitely violate the club employees’ standards clause. For it to be Bex Horvath—a perennial gossip-pages feature—who discovers her secret is terrifying.
When the focus of a criminal investigation at work brings Nat’s double life to the attention of her employer, everything spins out of control. Bex is there to prove there’s more to this party girl than meets the eye. Nat might have to trust her with her secrets, but her heart? That’s off limits.
Hi Vanessa, welcome to From Top to Bottom Reviews! We’re super excited to have you here with us. Ready? Let’s start! Tell us about your new release Off Limits!
Off Limits is a contemporary f/f opposites attract story about a concierge who moonlights as a punk singer and is in way over her head, and the socialite she initially wants to bone and really shouldn’t, but then falls in love with. It’s a story about family and friendship and about how hard it can be to find your place in the world with the weight of expectation on you, even from people who mean well. And I think it has some surprises in it. 🙂
What do you especially love about Off Limits? And what is your favorite thing about the Thorns & Roses series?
I love the relationships between Nat and her bandmates. I love that they have messy, complicated lives. I also love Bex’s relationship with Angie, and eventually with Karina. So, um, yeah! The friendships. I love writing stories in which friendships play a vital role. My favorite thing about the series, having gotten to read all the books that are complete so far, has been seeing these places and people we made up come to life through the voices of all the different authors. For example, Bex’s mom, Tammy, plays a small role in Touch Up, and I love it, because in Off Limits, she’s seen through the eyes of her loving-if-exasperated daughter, but in Touch Up, she’s seen through the eyes of a colleague, and you see a very different side of her.
What I personally especially loved in Off Limits were the familial bonds between the characters, and how you took the “dad’s new girlfriend”-trope and threw it overboard. Was this important to you?
Absolutely. One of the first scenes I wrote—the very first from Bex’s POV—was a scene where she calls her dad to invite him to lunch. She’s so vulnerable in that scene, so afraid to be a disappointment, and he’s dismissive and brusque because he’s got Something Huge Going On, but she doesn’t know yet. That relationship was one of the most important in the book to me, and having the new girlfriend be part of that bridge was important to me because I felt it was important for Bex to see something other than dysfunction from her parents.
Let’s say Netflix picks up this series, who would you cast in a Thorns & Roses tv show?
Ooooh, this is a hard one. The first two aren’t even actors, but I bet they could do it. Kelly Clarkson for Bex and Tamy Glauser for Natalie. David Strathairn for Bex’s dad, Ben. Dolly Parton for her mom, Tammy Dean. Emma Watson for Karina. Timothee Chalamet for Jacks. Sara Ramirez for Teri. Ritchie is HARD—like, I totally see him as a sort of cross between Lin Manuel Miranda and Jack White. Mindy Kaling could be Priya, but she’d need her own spinoff show that I would write JUST FOR MINDY. Call me, Netflix!
There is a difference between how FF and MM romance is received, what has been your experience when releasing a FF romance compared to a MM romance?
My F/F novels are marketed more like women’s fiction, and my M/M like romance, which is partly by design because the audiences are different. For me, every book release is its own journey, and its own adventure, but I’m always just really pleased when people connect with my characters and my stories.
What do you hope to see more of in FF romance?
I’d love to see more of it embraced by mainstream publishers. I see M/M being published by Berkley and Avon and Random House, but I don’t see F/F from many publishers at all. Even some queer publishers explicitly state that they will not publish F/F. It’s a problem. Queer women deserve rep just as much as queer men do, and that’s a hill I’m willing to dig in and die on.
And last question, can we expect to hear more from Jacks and Ritchie? 😉
The way I see Jacks and Ritchie’s relationship, they are very much in love but not at a Happy Ever After yet. So yeah. I’d love to write an HEA for them. Right now I’m contracted for a four-book mixed pairing series (M/F, F/F, and M/M) that will be coming out over the next two years, so writing those books is my first priority, but getting to Jacks and Ritchie is a great motivation to write faster. 😛
Upcoming books in the series:
Vanessa North is a romance novelist, a short fiction geek, and a knitter of strange and wonderful things. Her works have been shortlisted for both the Lambda Literary Award and the RITA© Award, and have garnered praise from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Northwest Georgia with her family: a Viking, twin boy-children, and a very, very large dog. For up-to-date information on new releases and special projects, sign up for Vanessa’s newsletter or join her Facebook group.
Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Lesbian Pairing: F/F Self Published Tag: Celebrity / Famous Person Tag: Interview Tag: Part of a series Tag: Rockstar/Musician Off Limits Rose & Thorns Vanessa North