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Author Interview: Brey Willows Chats about Lines of Love

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Get ready to learn more about the book Lines of Love in this discussion with sapphic author Brey Willows.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Brey Willows about Lines of Love, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the No Strings Attached category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Lines of Love?

Lines of Love is the third book in the Memory’s Muses series, and I think it may be my favorite. Eris, the Muse of Love, is jades and doesn’t believe real love exists anymore. When you look around us, I think you’ll find a whole lot of people who might feel this way. Maybe that’s why so many of us love a good sapphic romance–we want to know that love is still out there. And if even the Muse of Love can lose faith, then it makes sense that so many ‘regular’ people do too! I wanted to explore the nature of love; what it means, how it works, and the vastly different aspects of it, but all with the background of Greek myth.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Honestly, I’ve grown to love every character in this series, and they continue to live in my subconscious even though they’re not in motion right now. I really adore Eris and the way that she came to me so fully formed. Who wouldn’t fall for a butch muse? She’s sexual and vulnerable and feels things really deeply, and her wounds made my heart ache for her. I suppose in that way she’s a little like me. I feel things quite deeply and can be easily hurt or lost. But she’s also WAY more confident than I am! I suppose you would be, after so many centuries of life. (I also love Aphrodite, though she makes a short appearance. She’s the kind of badass you don’t want to get on the wrong side of.)

What inspired the idea for Lines of Love?

The Memory’s Muses series came after the Afterlife, Inc trilogy. I suppose I simply wasn’t ready to let go of that world, which is almost as real to me as our own. I adore mythology and the amazing stories that have come down to us through the centuries, and the issues around faith and belief have always interested me, but I never wanted to write anything preachy or heavy. So I play with myth and gods among humans and see how those issues play out. Lines of Love was a logical next step as the gods and humans continue to try to live in harmony. What roll does love play in faith and vice versa?

How much research did you need to do for Lines of Love?

So. Much. Research. When you’re using world myth as your basis for books, there’s no end of things to choose from, but you also want to get it as right as you can. How many hands does Ganesh have? What poems did the Muse of Love inspire? How many years did the Titan spend chained to a rock? How does the law work if you’re going to sue an immortal? I adore the research rabbit hole, and I always want readers to get the absolute most out of the book, so weaving the research into the story in a way that doesn’t sound academic or bog it down is important.

If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

Lines of Love is the third book in the series, though they’re all meant to be standalones. Of course, if you read from the beginning of the Afterlife series you’ll probably get more out of it! In the next book we’ll have an opposites attract, enemies to lovers romance. Our Muse will be all about preserving a special neighborhood, while her nemesis is all about gentrification and upscaling it. There will be plenty of crossover characters from other books, too. Given that there are 9 muses, there are still plenty of stories to explore!

What is your favorite line from your book?

Eris flushed. “I’m not an anomaly. I was born of Zeus and Mnemosyne, one of nine children dedicated to helping inspire humanity toward greatness. You make it sound like I’m some kind of weird leftover, like something left in the fridge too long that starts to talk.”

What is your writing process like?

It depends on what I’m writing. When it comes to the Muse series, I have to be more of a plotter than I’d normally like to be, mainly because there are SO many characters in motion. I have to be careful about consistency and watch for all the different plot lines I might touch on, so there’s a lot of graph work and Excel sheets involved! But generally I like to be a that combo of plotter and pantser: a plotser? I have an idea of what’s going to happen, but I like the characters to take me along for the ride. I try to write every night, from seven to nine, so I don’t lose the pace or forget where my characters are.

Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

My wife, Robyn Nyx, and I have a writing studio in the back garden. It’s our little sancturary, and we have it decorated with canvases of our book covers and other quotes that inspire us. We’re in there every night for at least two hours while we’re in book mode, and we try not to use it for anything non book related so the space stays the creative nook we need it to be. Robyn keeps a jar of sweets at her side, but all I need is coffee!

What’s your favorite writing snack or drink?

I am the self appointed queen of peanut butter cookies, and these are our go-to when we’re mid-book. They’re nice and chewy so they take plenty of time to eat and the sugar boost keeps us going!


1 cup peanut butter (I use organic crunchy)
1 cup caster sugar (or a half cup of Half Spoon, which is a sugar/sweetener combo)
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla extra
1/2 cup crushed pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Mix it all together, make dough balls, flatten a little on the tray, and bake for 10 min at 160 C or until they’re just lightly browned on top.

What are three words that describe your personality?

Sloth, awkward, kind. I’m slow to respond and often have to think my answers through, by which time the conversation has moved on. I’m awkward in pretty much every way possible and often say or do things that make eyebrows raise. But I really, really want everyone to feel happy, comfortable, and cared for and try my utmost to make that happen. Given the other two aspects, it often works out about as well as a balloon with a slow leak.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing, and by whom?

“You can give someone the tools to be a writer, but you can’t make them a writer.” My creative writing professor said this when I was doing my MA, and it has stuck with me. Writing isn’t easy. You have to work at it and keep trying to be better. I never forget that or take the work for granted.

What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?

My wife encourages me constantly, and I can definitely say she’s the biggest help in getting me to finish a book. In fact, when it came to my very first book, she said she’d get the tattoo that the main character has if I’d just finish the manuscript. And she did! It’s a snake coming out of a page of a book, complete with my words on the page. She’s had three more since from my other books. Talk about encouragement! My health hinders me pretty regularly. I have mental health issues as well as pretty intense physical issues, and that can make it hard to sit down to write when I really don’t feel like it. But, going back to that quote…writing is hard. Do it anyway.

If you could be mentored by a famous author (living or not), who would it be?

Many of the authors I really like would probably tear me apart and I’d be too afraid to actually speak to them! Oscar Wilde and Margaret Atwood both have sharp, intense wit and intellect, and I’d love to know how they let go of market expectation and simply put down incredible stories.

Do you feel bad putting your characters through the wringer?

As an editor and writing instructor, I tell every writer to make this part as intense as possible. I think the best character growth moments come from having to face demons, both internal and external, and I want to see that transformation happen because of the deep conflicts they face. So I don’t feel bad–I know it’s for their own good! They’ll thank me for it later.

What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?

I’ve been a spec fic reader since I began reading as a child. I love other worlds, magic, fantasy, and the adventures held within those realms. I love anything to do with myth and magic, and I adore a writer who can write humor. I’ll read almost anything, really, and I went through a stage of enjoying mysteries. But my heart always belongs to spec fic.

Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?

I was at GCLS in New Orleans in 2007, a month before I left the USA to live in the UK. It was the second one I’d been to and it had opened up a whole world of queer fiction I didn’t know about. At dinner, Lori Lake was chatting with me and convinced me to submit a story to an anthology they were putting out–Women in Uniform, I think it was. She convinced me I could do it, and it was my very first published story. At that same conference, Jennifer Knight asked me if I wanted to be her editorial intern at BSB. That conference changed the direction of my life in so many ways, and I owe those two authors more than I can say. Of course, as I said, my wife Robyn inspires me daily and she’s the reason I actually finished my first novel, and the inspiration for me to continue writing through the years.

What books have you read more than once in your life?

This is going to say something about me, but why not… I’ve read and reread the Kushiel series by Jaqueline Carey, and the book covers are well creased. The books are huge, which I always like, and I adore the main character and the changes she goes through all the way through the nine books, though she’s a secondary character in the other six beyond her first three. I love the mix of intense and well balanced erotica with the fantasy world and the historical background she’s included, which she’s done with finesse. There’s an enormous cast of characters, and I appreciate how she handles that as well. The love story with the villain always leaves me breathless.

What book do you wish you had written?

Library of the Unwritten by AJ Hackworth. I adore this series. They’re fun, intelligent, and I can picture every single character so vividly. I love the concept of a library in Hell and what happens to all the untold stories in the world. And they’re subtly sapphic, which is always a plus!

Meet Brey Willows

Brey Willows believes that humor and a bit of fantasy can keep us all going.

Visit Brey Willows’s Website

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Author Interview