Lesbian Novel Explores Coming Out Midlife

By Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine Staff

Close the cover on those old bodice rippers and make room on your nightstand for a growing genre: lesbian romances. Same-sex storylines are attractive to straight and LGBT readers alike, part of a billion-dollar business with dedicated imprints. Still, there was something missing, thought author Zoe Amos.

“There are plenty of women who come out in midlife and beyond,” Amos said. “Where are those stories?” The answer is in her newly released novel, TALK TO ME.

Amos is right. Statistics show the average age of a romance reader is 42, while the heroine is usually in her early twenties. Amos says, “Despite their proven success, stories featuring slightly older and even senior women are far and few. I’m not willing to be erased from the popular narrative of LGBTQ culture and American life.”

Photograph of Arlene Cooper

Women wait to come out for a variety of reasons. It’s common for lesbians to have an ex-husband and children because they didn’t realize they had gay feelings early on, or they did and married men anyway. Amos knows this personally and remains close friends with her ex-husband, her high school sweetheart.

“In adulthood, I experienced a pronounced shift toward women, and on that grayscale we call sexuality, I’ve been only interested in women for twenty-some years. At midlife, people frequently look at who they are and reevaluate the direction of their lives,” she said. “In TALK TO ME, Claire’s family dynamic requires resolution. It makes the story stronger and more emotionally gripping.”

Amos shares another path with her protagonist, having worked a couple of years on radio doing board operations and on-air as a co-host—a tough assignment for an introvert. Claire faces similar challenges with the added complication of having fallen for her boss, Marly, a 30-ish shock jock with a wild sense of humor.

TALK TO ME is an over-the-top romantic comedy but with serious elements I believe readers can relate to,” Amos says. “Claire is trying to rebuild her relationship with her daughter, there is a threat of violence directed toward the radio station, and a confrontational on-air prank played on a Rush Limbaugh-type announcer, all of which reveal the true nature of each character.”

Sapphire Books Publishing, located in the Bay Area, is dedicated to lesbian literature, romance in particular. Christine Svendsen, the publisher, says her team was “…immediately drawn to Zoe’s writing because of her distinct ability to engage the reader. We know they’ll enjoy the love story.”

TALK TO ME is available wherever ebooks and paperbacks are sold.

Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine - Issue 33

This article was originally published in the Family & Pets Issue of Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine, and can be read in its original format here.