Razor Wire Featuring an Author Interview with Lauren Gallagher with GiveAway

We are very happy to welcome Lauren Gallagher to the Smoocher’s
Voice blog today. Lauren’s latest novel
Razor Wire is available on Riptide Publishing.
Lauren Gallagher is
an abnormal romance writer who has recently been exiled from the glittering
utopia of Omaha, Nebraska, to an undisclosed location in South America. Along
with her husband, a harem of concubines, and a phosphorescent porcupine, she
remains, as always, in hiding from the Polynesian Mafia. For the moment, she
seems to have eluded her nemesis, M/M romance author
L.A. Witt, but figures L.A. will
eventually become bored with the wilds of Spain and come looking for her. And
when that time comes, Lauren will be ready. Assuming L.A. doesn’t have her
hands full keeping track of
Lori A. Witt and Ann Gallagher, which she probably will.
Jodi:          Thank
you Lauren for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. I have
to admit I am a long-time fan of L.A. Witt’s writing. This is the first book I
have read penned by Lauren Gallagher, and it was as intense and intriguing as
the male/male novels. Kim Lockhoff has been the victim of a brutal crime, and
she is the victim of psychological and verbal abuse from her fellow sailors and
her superiors. She is trapped in a situation that seems insurmountable. Tell us
a little about Lockhoff’s character.
Lauren:    Lockhoff is an amalgamation
of several woman I’ve met in the military. They’re brushed off as stupid and
useless because they’re women, but when they don’t *act* stupid and useless,
they’re brushed off as bitches. They really can’t win. Lockhoff is hell-bent on
making a career in the military, even if it means playing games she can’t win,
but she never expected it to blow up in her face the way it did.
Jodi:          When
readers first meet Reese Marion, we are presented with a hard-as-nails Navy
officer who seems to instantly dislike Lockhoff. Why does Marion dislike Lockhoff
and not trust her?
Lauren:    Like
Lockhoff, Reese is similar to some real people. She’s a woman in a
male-dominated environment, and refuses to play their games. When women come
along who use their looks (especially specific “assets”) to get promoted or to
get out of disciplinary situations, she has no patience for it. As such, she
can’t stand Lockhoff, who appears to be the epitome of everything Reese can’t
stand in a female colleague. Reese has also become jaded by the idea of the
“rape card” – a woman wants to blackmail a man or doesn’t want to get strung up
for adultery/fraternization/etc, so she falsely claims she was raped. Right or
wrong, that is an attitude that I’ve seen crop up many times in the military.
That’s actually part of why I wanted to write this book – because I’ve seen and
heard those very conversations in real life.
It’s part of why, at least with people I’ve spoken to, women are afraid
to report sexual assault, and some men and
women are reluctant to take the reports seriously.
Jodi:          Tell
us a little about Lieutenant Stanton and how he is able to get away with his
misogynist and criminal behavior for so long.
Lauren:    I
really wish I could say that Lieutenant Stanton was, unlike Reese and Lockhoff,
a figment of my imagination. Sadly, he is also an amalgamation of very real
people who abuse their power and their subordinates. His specific actions are
fiction, but his attitudes and the attitudes of those around him? Definitely
real. The “charming to your face and creepy behind closed doors” persona? Seen
it in the flesh, and it’s very difficult for women to convince others
(especially their male superiors who think Stanton is a good guy) that he’s
done or said something horrible. Lieutenant Stanton’s wife is even based on
reality, as sad as that sounds.
Jodi:          As
a Navy wife, did you base this story on your personal experiences or is the
story complete fiction?
Lauren: The
story itself is complete fiction, but like its characters, it’s made up of
pieces of reality. Some are things I witnessed myself, some came to me second,
third, and fourth hand. Criminal actions being swept under the rug, higher ups
abusing their authority and subordinates, sexual assault being either
unreported or ignored, people being threatened with their careers, etc. These
are all unfortunate realities of the military, but realities nonetheless.
Also, for the record, this book isn’t intended to single out military cops. I
wrote it about military cops because that’s what I’m around mostly (my husband
is a master-at-arms), so it’s what I’m most familiar with. This scenario could
have happened within any rate on any base, but using cops for this one was
partly “write what you know” and partly a way to keep the cast reasonably small
(since the characters involved would also be involved in the investigation). I
chose Okinawa because of its geographical isolation, not because of any nasty
feelings toward that base.
Jodi:          What
kind of research did you do for this book?
Lauren:    I
mostly picked the brains of military cops and a couple of military lawyers. The
really sad part? Upon hearing the summary of the story I intended to write,
they all agreed that Razor Wire was
definitely a plausible scenario.
Jodi:          Rape
is a violent crime in any circumstances. Somehow the crime seems more brutal
based on the fact that Lockhoff is a lesbian who has never had sex with a man.
Was it difficult writing about this issue?
Lauren:    It
was definitely difficult, yes.  
Jodi:          Both
Lockhoff and Marion struggle for acceptance in a historically male-dominated
world, and the men in this novel seem especially intolerant and crass. Tell us
a little about Alejandro who also is conflicted throughout the novel.
Lauren:    Like
all the others, the guys are based on real people. Most of the comments they
made are comments I’ve heard, and I was aiming to replicate the “locker room”
atmosphere that sometimes shows up on bases. It’s generally brushed off as
“boys will be boys,” but it can get pretty crass.
As for Alejandro, I think he’s representative of a lot of men in the military.
He engages in the crass locker room stuff, but he’s also empathetic and
generally tries to be a good person and a good leader. He’s also dealt with
women who use their “assets” to advance and men who act like “if she’s pretty,
she’s asking for it,” so he’s never quite sure what the reality of a situation
is until he’s delved a bit deeper.  He
wants to do the right thing, though.
Jodi:          At
the end of the novel, Lockhoff mentions, “It felt good to be back in my own
skin.” She is a dynamic character who evolves a great deal through the course
of the book. The one thing that has not changed though is her inner strength,
which is obvious even when she appears weak. Was this a difficult
characteristic to develop?
Lauren:    It
really wasn’t. I had actually envisioned her as being a bit more fragile for
the first part of the book, but once I started writing, it became obvious that
she wasn’t having it. I really liked her because of that.
Jodi:           Will there be any more books with these characters?
Lauren:    It’s
entirely possible. I don’t have anything planned at the moment, but I
definitely haven’t ruled it out.
Jodi:          Both
Lauren Gallaher and L.A. Witt write in the romance genre, but while Gallagher
writes male/female (including lesbian and bisexual) romance, Witt focuses on
m/m romance. What are some of the challenges when focusing on two male
protagonists as opposed to a male and a female or two females?
Lauren:    In
general, there’s really no difference. In a military setting, though, that’s
not quite true. You tend to have a very high ratio of men to women. There are
attitudes within the ranks that haven’t caught up with the rest of society,
including victim-blaming and rape apology. So going into a lesbian military
romance is going to have some different dynamics than a civilian romance or a
gay male military romance. You tend to have women who’ve been fighting an
uphill battle since boot camp, and they’ll be fighting that uphill battle for
the duration of their careers.  Is that
true for all women in the military? Maybe not, but I can’t say I’ve ever
encountered a female service member whose gender hasn’t come into play at some
point in her career.
Military aside, I don’t find it too difficult to switch between lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and straight relationships.
Jodi:          What is
the main difference in the sex scenes when writing about two men together and
two women together (besides the body parts)?
Lauren:    It
really does just come down to body parts. I’ve heard it said that women focus
more on emotions and men focus more on the physical, but I don’t really buy
that. Women can get just as primal as men, and men can get just as emotional –
it just depends on what the sex scene calls for.
Jodi:          Although
Razor Wire is not the first romance
you have written focusing on two lesbian characters – the short story
What This Woman Wantsis available at Riptide Publishing
– it is your first full-length f/f book. Will you be writing more novels with
two women protagonists?
Lauren:    Definitely.
For whatever reason, I find it harder to come up with stories for two women
than I do for two men (I seriously have no explanation for that), but I will
absolutely be writing more.
Jodi:          You
mentioned in our previous
interview that you are writing Anna
Maxwell’s book. Anna is a character in L.A. Witt’s
Starstruck, which is part of the Bluewater Bay series. When is that book tentatively
scheduled to publish?
Lauren:    It’s
hard to say. Probably sometime in 2016. I’ll be writing that one very soon,
Jodi:          What is
your next project?
Lauren:    I’m
currently on a bit of a ménage kick. I’m working on a few bisexual books at the
moment, and I’ll hopefully be taking a little detour in 2015 to write some more
mainstream science fiction. At the moment, I’m finishing a ménage story and the
sequel to Aleksandr Voinov’s Dark Soul.
After that…well, it depends on how long it takes to settle into Spain. LOL
Razor Wire
Two women. One terrible crime. Zero
After being raped by a superior officer,
MA3 Kim Lockhoff wants to leave the whole thing in the past. A cop herself, she
knows all too well that it’s her word—and slutty reputation—against that of a
respected Navy officer.
MA2 Reese Marion, a tough cop hiding her
own trauma behind a hard-as-nails exterior, has no patience for pretty little
princesses who use their cleavage to win favor with the guys. But when Reese is
partnered with Kim, she slowly realizes that reputations can lie. Kim is
whip-smart, ambitious—and scared. The man who attacked her won’t let anything
damage his career, least of all Kim . . . or the baby she’s carrying as a
Isolated on Okinawa, thousands of miles
away from home, the two women lean hard on each other. But when Kim confides in
Reese, she unwittingly puts her new lover—and both of their careers—in the line
of fire. Now her attacker just might have the leverage he needs to keep her
quiet for good.


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