Coffee Date is a 12,000 word contemporary transgender novella that explores Alice's struggle to find acceptance, and possibly love, in a world that has not been kind to her on either front.
Alice is finally happy with her body and her life—except for the part where revealing she's trans winds up leaving her hurt and abandoned over and over again. She's decided she's done making herself miserable by looking for love.
Love finds her anyway, in the form of Hank, the new guy at her local coffee shop. He's sweet, friendly, charming... and will probably turn out like all the rest. Determined not to shatter the fantasy and lose him before she has to, Alice holds fast to her secrets.
But if the truth doesn't ruin everything, the lies will, and it seems no matter which choice she makes Alice is set for just one more heartache.
1. Where do you find your inspiration?
Coffee Date was actually originally supposed to be a submission for an anthology focusing on transgender characters, but the publisher decided to not pursue the anthology because of lagging sales on other transgender works within their house. So, I kept it and refined it, giving myself more time to explore all the ins and outs of Alice's psyche as she navigates her place in society and her own perception of who she is.
I knew that I wanted to explore Alice's feelings in this novella, and that she would have built up a wall to protect herself from the hurt she'd experienced over the years since she began her transition. What I didn't know, and what she soon showed me through revealing her story, was how deep that hurt ran and how much damage it had caused. Alice is constantly trying to match up to what she thinks she should be, what society has taught her she should be, while making herself miserable because she hasn't reached that constructed reality. In the end, what she had to learn and what we all have to learn, is that you don't have to fit into anyone's constructed categories. Be yourself, whoever that might be.
2. What's the process of your writing?
I schedule out all my time. I have to, else I wouldn’t get anything done. I set aside a certain time every weeknight to focus on writing, and then might schedule extra writing sessions throughout the weekend. When I’m on deadline, that writing time might be spent writing something new, cleaning up a proof copy about to go to print, or tweaking a few plot elements based on my writer’s group feedback. But I commit to the process consistently.
3. What has been the most useful thing to have helped you with your writing career?
I think the advice I give to other writers is what has helped me the most. Write every day. That’s the number one piece of advice I give all prospective writers. Many times I hear the excuse “I want to be a writer, but I just don’t have the time.” You have to make the time. Schedule out a piece of your day where you’re committed to just writing. Or if that doesn’t work, use whatever spare time you have (10 mins here, 30 mins there) and write. Think about how much time you might be spending waiting around between appointments. That’s writing time.
And write what you love. Don’t write something just because the market seems to like it, or it’s a hot genre, because by the time you finish the market will have moved on. Plus, if you’re not passionate about what you write, it will show. Write the story you want to read, then worry about the logistics of publishing later. Get that first draft written because you want to write it and you want to read it.
4. What is the best part about being a writer? What’s the most challenging?
I think the answer to both would be the same. I consistently get the idea for my next work 70% through the current work. It's odd, but it's happened throughout my publishing career thus far. I finish the current work, then let it sit for a while before I go back to editing, so I either switch to a short story for anthology submission or I start working on the new book idea. That's both exciting and challenging because I will have new characters vying for my attention when I want to finish what I'm currently working on, but it's exciting because I know I'll get to meet all new characters with new challenges in a short amount of time.
5. What are you working on next?
Besides going to graduate school while working full-time? It is a very busy few months for me in publishing. My novel His Womanly Ways released in May, my family-focused anthology story was out from Torquere Press in June, this novella is released in July, and then I have a novella from Dreamspinner Press also out in July that is about a blind artist and his emerging romance with a veterinarian, and I have another novella coming out later this fall that is about a noted novelist who is getting over the death of his long-time partner and not looking for love, but love finds him anyway. You can see all my releases on my website (WriterKLynn.com).
About The Author: K. Lynn
K. Lynn has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. While in college, K. Lynn increased her involvement in LGBT issues and writing within the LGBT fiction genre. She has become a long-time fan of the authors that seek to explore the commonality that exists within all sexualities and genders. Most of K. Lynn's work features LGBT characters, many of whom are in established relationships and show how love perseveres through every trial and tribulation that life holds. She also has a particular interest in seeing transgender characters gain a larger foothold within the LGBT fiction genre, hoping that the market for these works expand in the future. Contact K. Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @WriterKLynn
Alice danced around in front of the mirror, trying to reach back far enough to pull up the zipper on her dress. She didn’t know why she kept the damn thing, considering it was always a hassle to get it on. Finally, she managed to snag the metal tag and bring it up. Tugging on the material bunched at her sides, she took a look at herself in the mirror. Her hair had suffered for her acrobatics, so she ran her fingers through it to put the escaped strands back in place, but otherwise she was fine. And she was running twenty minutes ahead of schedule. Maybe she would actually make it to work on time for once.
She was so close to being out the door, her hand was on the door handle and everything, when the phone rang. Alice briefly considered not answering it. No one needed her at eight o’clock in the morning; it was probably a telemarketer or something. Seriously, she should just leave. But what if something was wrong? And if she ignored it, the worry would just haunt her all day long. Giving a sigh, she snagged the portable phone off the side table and answered.
“Oh, good, you’re home,” Mary said, not bothering with a proper greeting. “I thought you might have left already.”
“I was just heading out and…”
“This’ll be quick, I promise.”
Which meant it would take a while. Alice had learned to decipher Mary’s promises long ago. She sat down on the couch and waited for her best friend to continue.
“Did you get an invitation in the mail yesterday?”
Alice thought about the stack of envelopes that were still sitting on her kitchen table. She’d thrown everything down last night, too tired from work stress to deal with a bunch of bills, figuring she’d just go through it later.
“What kind of invitation?” she asked, already heading to the kitchen. “I haven’t checked.”
“Well, do it. You’ll know it when you see it.”
“Why don’t you just tell me what I’m looking for? I don’t have time for this.”
She broke off her words when she saw the cream-colored envelope with a return address of her alma mater, which she and Mary had graduated from five years ago. Running her fingers under the seal, she opened it up and saw the stylized card inviting her to attend a reunion of her class. And it was signed with a familiar name.
“Winston Carver requests the honor of our presence,” Mary said when Alice remained silent.
“I’d rather give him the honor of a foot up his ass,” Alice said, tossing the invitation in the trash in disgust.
Mary busted out a laugh at that. “I think we should go just to fuck with him. Give him a little payback for the misery he caused us.”
“Mostly to me,” Alice said, remembering all the torture Winston had put her through during junior year. She’d started transitioning from Al to Alice and didn’t have an easy time as her features started changing and her emotions ran the gambit from anger to tears. Mary had been her rock, standing beside her and supporting her, but Winston couldn’t get past the freak aspect of what Al was becoming. He took particular delight in calling her every derogatory name he could think of, goading others to take part in the taunts as well.
“I bet he’s still a screw-up,” Mary said. “Probably running his daddy’s car dealership and hitting on anything that moves.”
“Well, I don’t care to find out. I had enough of him and his buddies at the time. I don’t need a repeat.”
“Still, it might be fun.”
“Yeah, well, not for me.” Alice glanced over at the microwave clock and her eyes widened as saw that it read eight forty. “Damn it, how’d it get so late? I’ve got to get to work.”
“Think about it.”
“Fine, whatever,” Alice said, gathering up her lunch one-handed. She stuffed it into her purse and headed back to the living room. “I’ll see you tonight?”
“Reservations are at seven. Talk to you then.”
“Later.” Alice thumbed the off button and replaced the receiver on its dock. Having left no time for breakfast, she hoped the line at Cafe Connection wasn’t too long as she headed out.
As luck would have it, there were only two people in front of her when she stopped at the coffee shop. When the place opened just a block from her building last year, she was wary of its sustainability. The small shops often started off with high hopes, but soon collapsed under the economic pressures of having to compete against the larger chains. Cafe Connection, however, had stayed put and even started gaining customers from its larger competitors when word got out about how wonderful their products were. Alice had to admit she had fallen hard for the place and was now known as a regular, stopping in for a cup of coffee on her way to work every morning. Well, when she could spare the time, at least.
The line to the counter started moving again and she dug into her purse for her wallet. Hopefully she had enough cash for an item from the bakery to go along with her drink. The phone call with Mary had put her behind and she didn’t know if she could survive the morning with no food. Plus, it was Tuesday, which meant there were fresh-baked apple cinnamon muffins available. She could already smell them, and her stomach grumbled at the temptation.
“The usual,” Alice said, not looking up. Instead, she continued counting through her change, trying to scrape up enough for her muffin. She really should have gone to the bank yesterday, but she forgot. Her debit card had met with an unfortunate accident in the dryer last week, so she was left to nickel and dime her way through her morning routine.
“I don’t know what the usual is,” a male voice said, causing her to glance up.
She knew everyone that worked here, at least by sight, and the man in front of her was definitely not someone she recognized. He was tall, but built solid with muscle, and would have looked more at home in a gym than behind the counter of a coffee shop.
“Who are you?” she asked, still jarred by the change in her routine. She shook her head once she realized what she’d said. “I’m sorry, that was rude.”
Coffee Date officially released on July 1st.
You can purchase is from Less Than Three, Amazon, or any online retailer.
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