I'd like to thank author Dahlia Adler for answering my questions and agreeing to be on the blog today. I'd also like you to know that Out on Good Behavior, an f/f NA novel, is out on June 14 (Just one more week! Add to Goodreads now)!
1. Your upcoming NA novel, Out on Good Behavior, features an f/f couple. You have also written a YA f/f novel, Under the Lights. Did these characters come to you within these relationships, or did you set out to write about two females falling in love?
Very different answers for those two books, actually! With Out on Good Behavior, I always knew it was going to be an f/f book. The main character, Frankie, is Pansexual, which you know from the first book in the series, and the romance is set up in the second book.
Under the Lights, however, originally had the main character Vanessa in a straight romance. They had zero chemistry, though, and I couldn't figure out why that storyline was tanking so hard. Then in a fit of frustration I said to my critique partner, "I feel like I just want to make her a lesbian," and it was a total light bulb moment; I didn't have to make her anything. In fact, when I went to revise the book to write it as f/f romance instead, I found that the only character she had any chemistry with was a waitress she meets early in the book. That scene is still in there, only instead of a random interaction, it's how she meets her future girlfriend.
2. Out on Good Behavior is the third Radleigh University novel you have written. Do the previous two feature any LGBT+ characters? Do readers of Out on Good Behavior need to read the first two, or do they all stand on their own?
Yes! Frankie (the main character in OoGB) is in all three books, and Samara, the love interest, is in two of them. There's also a major subplot in the second book featuring a gay male athlete, and two of Frankie's good friends in OoGB are a trans guy and a bi girl. And, of course, because it's supposed to be depicting real life, there are plenty of LGBT+ characters around campus, and the books are explicit about that.
Each book does stand on its own--they're companions, rather than direct sequels--but I do think it adds a lot to read the earlier books, especially because the romance gets its start in book 2.
3. Why do you think featuring LGBT+ characters in literature is important? Do you plan to just focus on f/f couples in future novels, or does it just depend on the story line?
I think it's important that books acknowledge what real life looks like, and to fail to do so sends an invalidating message to the people who never see themselves in books. But LGBT+ characters in particular, especially in kidlit, are of monumental importance to me, because there are so many kids who have these feelings they don't feel safe to talk about with friends and family; they may not know anyone in real life who feels the same way. So to make sure they know that same-sex attraction and/or gender identity issues are real and valid and that they're not the only ones experiencing them, sometimes books are going to be the best company they have until they're old enough to be free to seek out like-minded people on their own.
I definitely plan to continue writing f/f couples in future novels, but not strictly so; I have plans for m/f, f/f, and m/m romance in the near writing future.
4. What are some LGBT+ novels that you are personally a fan of and would recommend to others?
I have a lot of LGBT+ novel love, but a bunch I have to shout out: Black Iris and Cam Girl by Leah Raeder, Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassel, Far From You by Tess Sharpe, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz, Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour, Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, and If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo.
5. Finally, what is one thing that fans can do to really help an author when they release a new book?It's so, so important to show that there's a market for these books, and nothing does that like buying or requesting from a library. Nothing can top that. (But reviewing, especially on Amazon, is pretty key too!)
Thank you Dahlia! Don't forget to grab one of her novels, especially teh two NA novels before Out on Good Behavior. Keep up with Dahlia at the following places: