By Kris Ripper
I’ve moved a lot in my life. Probably high average. I get the gotta-gos and I take off.
Or at least I did, before I had a kid. Staying in one place for eight years—the longest I’ve ever stayed anywhere—allowed me to see things I hadn’t seen before. The Butch and the Beautiful would have been a much different book if I was still picking up and leaving whenever I felt like it.
One of the fun tensions in this book has to do with the fact that both Jaq and Hannah are from La Vista. Jaq’s never left. She went from grade school to high school to community college to teaching at the high school from which she graduated. She’s a regular at the local queer club, and she knows the folks who work at her favorite coffee shop by name. She and her best friends do the same things they’ve been doing together for years, and Jaq likes the security of her life.
You know. Until she meets Hannah.
Hannah’s the kid who got out of dodge for college and never looked back. She moves back to La Vista after her marriage ends, when the life she’d built elsewhere no longer seems to fit her. Through Hannah’s eyes, La Vista has changed. It is both an artifact of her past and a place where she sees possibilities for her future.
In other words: for Jaq, La Vista is the default; for Hannah, it’s a setting of intention.
I’m all about intention. I’ve lived in a lot of places for a year, maybe two, before moving on. I enjoy figuring out how a place works, getting lost in it, ferreting out the best holes in the wall, discovering the character of the local coffee shops. But eventually I get itchy and want to find a new place to explore.
Staying in one place for years brings different things. For instance, I can tell you the five different restaurants that have gone out of business in that one joint downtown, and I can tell you why the furniture store shut down (the real story—which is a secret, but of course everyone knows it anyway). When I drive through the town where I currently live, it speaks to me in story, not novelty.
Fictional La Vista is a playground where I know all the stories, and each character knows some, but not others. Emerson, in Gays of Our Lives, is a newcomer to town; he has a small sphere of knowledge. Jaq, by contrast, is on first name basis with years of La Vista High graduates, knows their parents and siblings, and is still friends with the people she knew growing up. Cameron, who tells the story later on in One Life to Lose, is even more engaged with local roots: his family owns the local independent theater, and has been entertaining La Vista for generations.
Where do you fall in the local/outsider continuum? Do you prefer to stay in one location for decades, or do you find yourself always reaching for the next new place?
Title: The Butch and the Beautiful by Kris Ripper
Queers of La Vista Universe
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Lesbian, Erotic, Romance
Length: 257 pages/Word Count: 65,700
Jaq Cummings is a high school teacher who really wants a committed relationship—as long as it doesn’t keep her out late on school nights or interrupt Sunday mass with her dad. She is absolutely not about to fall for the hot-mess divorcée she hooks up with even if said hot mess pushes all her buttons. Jaq’s white knight days are over.
But one hookup with Hannah becomes two, then coffee, then more incredibly hot sex. And unlike most of Jaq’s exes, Hannah’s not looking for someone to come on strong. In fact, Hannah comes on plenty strong enough for both of them. But she’s just out of a disastrous marriage, she’s in the process of moving across the state, and Jaq can’t take a chance on yet another relationship where she defaults to being a caregiver instead of a partner.
Just when Jaq decides her relationship with Hannah is far too precarious, a crisis with a student reminds her of her priorities and makes it clear that sometimes, you have to take big risks to get what you really want.
This book can be read on its own, or enjoyed as the second book in the Queers of La Vista series.
Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.
To celebrate the release of The Butch and the Beautiful, one lucky winner will receive their choice in ebook from Kris’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 27, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!