Genevieve Fortin returns to the podcast to talk about her favorite lesbian historical novels. Now with transcript!
The Lesbian-Interest website posted a nice shout-out to The Lesbian Talk Show and featured my episode on Sappho's poetry to illustrate it. If you're interesting in discovering lesbian media in a wide variety of formats and from the entire international scene, you should check them out! I'm going to go add them to my Feedly feed right now.
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Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 19 (previously 14b) - Book Appreciation with Genevieve Fortin - transcript
(Originally aired 2017/09/16 - listen here)
(Transcript commissioned from Jen Zink @Loopdilou who is available for professional podcast transcription work. I am working on adding transcripts of the existing interview shows.)
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Heather Rose Jones: Last week, we had Genevieve Fortin in to interview her about her recent historical novel, Water’s Edge, set in 1880s New England and Canada. This week, we’re bringing her back to talk about a particular lesbian historic novel that she really enjoys. Tell me about a historic book involving lesbians that you really, really enjoy?
G: Well, the first one that I read was Patience and Sarah by Isabelle Miller. It really stayed with me because, first of all, it was in my favorite period of time, which is 19th century.
G: Although it was early 19th century, but most of all because it showed a way for those two women to actually live together, live happily together. They finally buy this little farm and they live together which I thought was very sweet and positive and encouraging and that’s why it stayed with me. It really inspired me also for Water’s Edge.
H: Yeah, so let’s let the readers know what this book is about. I love Patience and Sarah, I read it back when I was first coming out in the late 70s. It’s about two frontier women in, I think it’s maybe New York, upstate New York?
G: Right, it starts in Connecticut and ends in upstate New York. That’s where they get their little farm.
H And two women that set up housekeeping together and find a way to live together and to have a relationship. It’s very simple, sweet, well, simple is not the right word, a very sweet relationship.
H: It’s a little touch of butch-femme, as I recall.
G: It is. It is. One of them, Sarah, she wears pants and she does work that men usually do. Patience is very attracted to that also.
H: As I recall, Patience is a painter that she’s modeled after, I’m trying to remember, one of the early American painters.
G: Mary Anne Willson. Yes. But I didn’t know that when I read it. I didn’t know there was any inspiration on someone that actually lived. I just read it and enjoyed the sweet story and especially the happy ending or somewhat happy ending that I didn’t see historical fiction. You know, whenever there was a lesbian character in historical fiction prior to that, that I read, it was not in a positive light. That’s what I love most about it.
H: Yeah, I think one of the things I really like among novels of that era, most of the lesbian fiction was looking at contemporary culture, which was not always a very happy life. Even having happy endings for the contemporary novels at that time was unusual. It was just such a wonderful fresh air to say, ‘Hey, you can write these stories.’
G: Absolutely, nobody has to die.
H: Yeah. Thank you for sharing your love for Patience and Sarah with us. Thank you for joining us again, Genevieve.
In the Book Appreciation segments, our featured authors (or your host) will talk about one or more favorite books with queer female characters in a historic setting.
In this episode Genevieve Fortin recommends her favorite queer historical novel:
Links to the Lesbian Historic Motif Project Online
Links to Heather Online
Links to Genevieve Fortin Online