By Ciara Reid, staff reporter
KANSAS CITY - Kansas City is known for its barbeque, baseball, and jazz. But the city is also home to some of the most talented writers making their mark in the genre of lesbian fiction, or ‘LesFic.’ Authors Kris Bryant (Whirlwind Romance, Just Say Yes, Taste), Tara Wentz (Traffic Stop, Deception by Design), and C.L. Cattano (Cursed Hearts) are just a few of the local names churning out novels that will surely have readers staying up late to turn the pages.
Liberty Press spoke with the authors about the local LesFic writing community, their own writing styles, and upcoming books readers can look forward to gobbling up next.
Liberty Press: There seems to be a burgeoning community of lesbian fiction writers in the Midwest. How would you describe this community? Do you look to go to each other for guidance and support?
Kris Bryant (KB): We are a small, but fierce group of writers here in the Kansas City area. One of my best friends is K.B. Draper who is an indie writer. We actually became friends because of writing. We schedule monthly writing dates and attend several writing functions together including Golden Crown’s Literary Annual Convention and Women’s Week in Provincetown in Massachusetts. We’ve also done a few radio shows with Elizabeth Andersen, host of The Tenth Voice on KKFI. It’s nice to have another writer who gets the struggles and the rewards of writing. K.B. is very supportive of my writing and is one of my biggest fans, and I, hers.
Tara Wentz (TW): There is isn’t there? There are several publishing companies in this genre, but I like to think we are all in it for the same goal and that we support each other wholeheartedly. I know that here in Kansas City there is a group of us that do things together and work together. Kris Bryant and K.B. Draper are among those. The late Sandra Moran was a big influence for me as far as writing goes. She was always very encouraging. I also want to point out that it’s not just writing either. The support across the board has been fantastic. From the band Radial Red including local authors at some of their events to Elizabeth Andersen and 90.1 KKFI.
OVERLAND PARK – Best-selling author Deepak Chopra will speak about his latest book, You Are the Universe, at 7pm Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Carlsen Center’s Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College.
Tickets, which are $45 and include a copy of the book, are available through the JCCC Box Office at 913-469-4445 or online at jccc.edu/TheSeries.
REVIEW By Grayson Barnes
KANSAS CITY - Sandra Moran’s first book was her last. Already an award-winning novelist, after four other books, she started reworking the first one she had written but not published. The final revision of State of Grace (Bywater Books, $18.95) was completed in September 2015. By October, Moran was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. She died on Nov. 7, 2015 in the arms of her spouse, Cheryl Pletcher, and surrounded by family and friends. She was 46. State of Grace was printed posthumously with a forward by Pletcher.
Moran had a varied background. She was a reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal and the Lawrence Journal-World, was the deputy press secretary for Kansas Governor Bill Graves, and taught as an assistant adjunct professor at Johnson County Community College. Her dive into the fiction-writing world didn’t start until she was. Letters Never Sent was Moran’s first published novel and won four awards, including the 2013 Rainbow Awards Best Lesbian Historical Romance and Best Lesbian Debut.
A few years ago, the Sandra Moran Radio Book Club began, an LGBT book discussion on KKFI 90.1 FM out of Kansas City, MO. Elizabeth Andersen hosts the discussions. It is one program of The Tenth Voice, an LGBT public affairs show on the station. In September 2016, the show examined Moran’s Letters Never Sent.