1. Tell us a bit about yourself:
Well, where to start? I am a writer, a Health & Safety Manager (for now), a partner, a daughter, a sister, a step-mum, step-grandma (eek!) and auntie to five wonderful nieces and nephews whom I adore!
I am co-founder of MWiDP (www.markwilliamsinternationaldigitalpublishing.com) and the face and voice of the Saffina Desforges writing partnership.
I have written since I was a child and it’s only now that I am actually making a living out of it and hope to write full-time at some point in 2012 and onwards.
I love football (playing and watching), in fact, I’m a bit of an addict! I love music, reading, snowboarding, hockey and films and cooking, if I’m not writing, I am in the kitchen.
2. Tell us all about your novels, and why you chose to have a lesbian as the main character in the ‘Rose Red Crime Series’ (which of course, we love that you do!)
Well, this will sound like a huge cliché, but I didn’t choose it consciously. The characters in my books usually just walk into my head, introduce themselves and then we base the stories around them. Red (Cassie Rose) just kinda announced her arrival one day and it went from there. Suddenly, she had a stuck up, snobbish Barrister for a partner, Pippa, three insta-kids and was on the trail of The Hunstman. Before we knew it, we had sketched the first five books in the series and half written the first one!
With ‘Sugar & Spice’ it was different. When I met my writing partner, he had been researching and sketching out the main plot for it for some time, but the subject matter was so ‘taboo’ that he had never done anything with it. We re-wrote what he had and then took the plunge with sticking it on Amazon. A year on and it got to number two in the UK Amazon charts and has sold over 100,000 copies. It is still in the Waterstones Top Ten.
It doesn’t stop there. Before the end of 2011, we will have released the second book in The Rose Red series, ‘Rapunzel’, an anthology of short stories from other writers called, ‘Saffina Desforges presents…’ and hopefully, a Young Adult book about a boarding school, ‘St. Mallory’s Forever!’
2012 is very exciting for us. Not only are we opening our own digital bookstore (MWiebooks) and starting a project called ‘STW2R’ (Saffina Desforges teaches the world 2 read), but we will be releasing book one of our Equilibrium trilogy, ‘First Blood’ (which your readers will most definitely be interested in!), the first in ‘The Chinatown mysteries’ (chick-lit at its finest) and books three and four of Rose Red, plus lots of other stuff!
3. When did you come out and how did your friends and family react?
I was ‘outed’ by a friend (yes, she was my friend and still is) of mine at the time who was struggling with her own sexuality. We had a ‘fling’ and her mother found out (as did her fiancé!) and she thought it only fair that my parents knew too.
I denied it at first, but then decided that I had to ‘fess up. My parents were hurt that I hadn’t been able to tell them and then angry. It was tough at first (it was only 1991, things were still a bit ‘backward’ then) but gradually, things got easier and my parents came to terms with it. My friends were cool (and intrigued!) and have remained so.
4. Why is it important to you to be out and proud as a lesbian
Well, this one is a toughie. I am out and I am proud of who I am, but I am not the kind of person who feels the need to announce myself as a lesbian the second I meet people. Being gay is secondary. I am me first off and I happen to be a lesbian.
However, I do feel that it is important to be open about being gay and you should be proud to admit it, but don’t let it define you. Let you define you and be who you are, as a person. You just also happen to be a girl who likes girls ;-)
5. Have you or your family experience any homophobia? How do you deal with it?
Personally (and thankfully) I haven’t had any negative experiences. Sure, we have always had the usual ‘can we watch?’ and ‘which one’s the bloke?’ comments from people (mostly men) when out and the odd ‘dyke’ utterance when walking down the street, but it doesn’t bother me. I don’t consider that homophobia as such, more ignorance or jealousy! As for my family, I think maybe my two younger sisters might have had some stick at school about me, but they dealt with it and it doesn’t seem to have bothered them hugely. I think it’s important to remember that for the most part, it is a defence mechanism for people who don’t fully understand or are questioning their own sexuality and that you should take most of it with a pinch of salt, however, if abuse becomes regular or physical, then that’s a whole different ball game and needs to be stopped.
6. Do you think that there is a lack of lesbian role models? If so, Why?
Again, I am not sure where I stand on this one. There might be a lack of strong, independent women to look up to, who happen to be gay, but do we need lesbian role models? Sure, it is great when famous women come out and stand up for their rights and beliefs, but I don’t think it’s important for there to be a raft of gay women to aspire to be like, I think it’s more important for young girls to know that you can grow up and achieve your goals and do whatever you want, without having to rely on a man to get there. If you’re gay too, then hey, that’s just a bonus! ;-)
7. Any thoughts on being a ‘Real Life Lesbian’ and helping fill the lack of role models/ raise lesbian visibility?
As I say in answer to the previous question, I hope to be looked at as a successful business woman and writer who happens to be a lesbian, not a lesbian writer, but I am a ‘Real Life Lesbian’ and if it helps to raise visibility and awareness, then cool.
8. Do you have any advice to those struggling with their sexual orientation or fearful of coming out?
Sure: it gets better!
It is probably one of the hardest things you will do in your first few decades but you will look back on it eventually and think that you’ve done a lot harder things as your life progresses. It is usually a relief once everyone knows and you can start to find yourself. No more awkward questions about boyfriends or having to pretend to your friends that you fancy Robert Pattinson or whoever, you can finally become who you were meant to be – and that’s cool.
9. Anything else to add?
Well, I’d like to say how much I love your site and thanks for having me, it’s been a blast!
Oh and, lesbians rock! ;-)
Wow, Saffina surely has a busy year with it all happening in 2012! We wish her all the best. What are yout thoughts on her answers? Do you think we need lesbian role models? Drop us a comment! & let us know if you win her book :) & yes- lesbians rock woo!
Details of the Giveaway! (YAY)
Win the book 'Snow White' by Saffina Desforges
1) Follow What Wegan Did Next via google friend connect
2) Follow WWDN on Twitter
3) Follow Saffina on Twitter
Once you have done all three, please comment beliow with your email address. First 10 to comment will receive a digital (for e-readers/kindle), word or PDF copy of the book.Good luck!
What Wegan Did Next in South Carolina:
As the days drew to an end of our time together we enjoyed nothing more than snuggling up and watching a good film (or Dexter!!)
(Yes, Whitney is wearing Hello Kitty PJ's ;D)
We took a trip to Cracker Barrel. I just love how old fashioned & Southern it is!
We drove around to see the local sights (what is with that TINY bridge? hehe)
Mine to the left, Whits on right. Obvs.
That evening we went and spent Thanksgiving with some friends. Look at the feast!
Sushi cake to the bottom left!!
Their girls are ADORABLE
We enjoyed some more yummy Mexican, and cheapppp margaritas! (Where we also made a new friend Pearla- meaning Pearl. What a lovely name?!)
More cosy times!
Last few drives together (& me loving the new length of my hair.. it's growing!)
Our final indulgence of KRISPY KREME!! YUM. Oh how I miss Cinnamon Twists. Yummmm.
Last trip to the mall (with sneaky kisses at Victoria Secret of course)
We got some more photo booth pictures done
& Whitney bought me the Hunger Games to entertain me on my journey home. (Which it did, I couldn't stop reading- who else is a fan??) Also used the photobooth strip as a bookmark and Whit wrote a note on the back <3
Our last evening me made most of the Christmasy feel that we could together with a trip to the Christmas trees!
Can't believe it's Christmas Eve already!!! & in order to celebrate, here's Wegan sharing some moves with you... ENJOY!
If it doesn't work, click here.
No doubt the picture will circulate for years symbolising a change in time towards equality. Plus, how damn cute?? Read more here.
Adam Lambert in Fight with Boyfriend
With Adam's new song released this week there are rumours it is a publicity stunt. What do you think? The song is about fights with loved ones but ultimately that they couldn't be without each other.
"I sometimes lose my temper, and cross the line. That's tthe truth. I know it gets hard sometimes, but I could never leave your side no matter what I say"
Take a listen to the song here:
(I personally am a fan of Adam, and love his new song).
Where's the Aloha Hawaii?
Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Hawaii are currently being sued by two lesbians (pictured above). In 2007 they tried to book a room but were denied due to their sexual orientation. The B&B is in Hawaii Kai, where Whitney & I were actually living. Nice to know we had some homophobic neighbours near by! Luckily Hawaii is one out of 21 states that has a law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation by those who provide accomodation. Good luck ladies! To read more go here.
Football matches in the UK are well known for football hoolaganism and homohobic slurs. It is only recently that homophobia at football matches has finally started to be duly tackled. One man was given a three year ban and a fine (read here), and another had been given a caution (read here). Now football stewards are wearing head cameras to catch those who shout any homophobic taunts (read here). This is a positive step forward towards eradicating homophoba as being synonymous with football. However, the biggest change will be achieved when closted footballers finally take the brave step to come out.
3 more days until Christmas!!!
P.s who likes the new lilac look and pictures to the left side of the blog?? :)
Lauren from the fab blog Aspiring Kennedy contacted us to help spread the word of their campaign to raise funds to help those less fortunate than us. So what are we talking about?
Fundraise for clean water!
Imagine not having access to clean water. We take it for granted, whether we're bathing in it, making a coffee or simply enjoing it for what it is. (I for one an obsessed with water, and always have a bottle with me..)
Charity: Water is a non- profit organisation bringing clean water to developing countries.
Following on from a previous successful campaign, where Aspiring Kennedy and many other blogs raised money to help, they are trying o do it again. This time the goal is $5,000.
So please, try give up that Starbucks or cocktail today annd donate $5. Together we can make a change. Please pass this on to your followers as well!
Donate here. There are only 10 more days left!
For more info and banners go here.
To see what we got up to last Christmas (including afternoon tea and ice skating), check out this blog post.
We are sad that we won't be able to celebrate Christmas or New Years together this year with Whitney not visiting for the first time :( We have both sent gifts that should be arriving just in time for Christmas day *fingers crossed*
Now it's Tuesday so you know what that means... & we begin it suitably themed! To start it off here's Whit in her new festive jumper & Megan in her new snood (don't your love that word?)
So, who's ready for Christmas??