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LEE WINTER IS AN AWARD-WINNING
NEWSPAPER JOURNALIST AND IN HER
25-YEAR CAREER HAS LIVED IN
VIRTUALLY EVERY STATE OF
AUSTRALIA, COVERING COURTS,
CRIME, ENTERTAINMENT, HARD NEWS,
FEATURES, AND HUMOUR WRITING.
THESE DAYS SHE’S A SUB-EDITOR AT
A SUNDAY METRO NEWSPAPER, LIVES
WITH HER GIRLFRIEND OF 16 YEARS,
AND HAS A FASCINATION FOR SHINY
How would you describe The Red Files?
Lesbians, darling! Or, to be more specific, two
warring LA journalists forced to work together to
chase the story of a lifetime. It involves a road trip
to Nevada, snark, and seduction. Also a killer plot.
But mainly, lesbians!
What inspired you to write a novel about politi-
I’d argue it’s not really a political scandal. It
encompasses so much more than that. And this
meat in the lesbionic sandwich is why I wrote it. I
wanted a really powerful story that would stand
alone with or without the sexy sizzle. I wanted
a story that I would like to read, that would,
theoretically, be good enough to cross over to
mainstream because the central plot stood on its
own two legs.
It’s an old frustration of mine: Why should we be
shortchanged because we’re not straight? Don’t
lesbian readers deserve the same vast array of
choices of complex, intriguing storylines as their
straight counterparts get, not merely creative
ways to fling each other into bed? Not that there’s
anything wrong with that – as long as it’s just
one type of story for us among many. Anyway, I
combined the two – compelling plot, bed flinging.
Who’s your favourite character in The Red Files?
Catherine Ayers, the mysterious, beautiful, fallen
Washington bureau chief dumped on the social
writing round in LA. The vapid celebrity party cir-
cuit is pure hell for her. She’s become a bitter ball
of Armani-clad snark. Seeing her vicious tongue
unleashed and her aloof, caustic, screw-you-all
attitude makes me weak at the knees. Everyone
wants her. Me included.
What was your favourite part about writing The
Watching Ayers melt. Slowwwwly. And finding out
why she lost her political bureau chief job. Also,
there’s one awesome car chase, with Ayers’ rival,
Lauren, hauling ass like a pro behind the wheel
of her Chevy. That was super fun to write – and I
don’t even like cars!
Which scene in The Red Files was the hardest
for you to write?
There’s a scene where Ayers finally unravels and
explains to Lauren why she is the way she is. It was
so painful. I’d gotten so attached to her and I don’t
want any of my literary babies hurt. Especially not
the strong, icy ones. But it was necessary for her
What did you learn from writing this book?
How long it takes to write a book. Mine swallowed
every Sunday for 14 months. What rotten little
beasts. Who does this for a living? WHO?!
What are your favorite lesbian fiction novels?
I haven’t read enough of these to answer that.
Besides, my information is seriously out of date.
I last dove into lesbian fiction as a super-keen,
bright-eyed 19-year-old and bailed six months
later at the poor quality of plots and editing. I’ve
been told that there’s much better out there now.
I should really pull my finger out. I’m open to recs
as long as there’s a compelling story included
within the romance.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I would love to say something noble. Rescuing
orphaned dogs. Running a Meals on Wheels
service. Investigating which superfood is the most
super. Alas, I’m good for sleeping, weeding and
computer gaming (the Fallout series rocks). I have
been known to indulge in boxing in the past –
actual boxing training with mooshed-in faces and
macho men (well, OK, office workers). And while
I have since given that away, I still have a mean
What can your readers expect next from you?
Readers can expect me to look thoughtfully at
the horizon while frowning. This should hopefully
incur inspiration to strike. If it does, there shall be
more words. I do have a bunch of shorter things
for Ylva Publishing (http://www.ylva-publishing.
com/) coming up. Can’t say too much, because I
haven’t written them yet.
THE RED FILES – BOOK BLURB
Ambitious Daily Sentinel journalist
Lauren King is chafing on LA’s vapid
social circuit, reporting on glamorous
A-list parties while sparring with her
rival – the formidable, icy Catherine
Ayers. Ayers is an ex-Washington
political correspondent who suffered
a humiliating fall from grace, and her
acerbic, vicious tongue keeps every-
one at bay. Everyone, that is, except
knockabout Iowa girl King, who is
undaunted, unimpressed and gives as
good as she gets.
One night a curious story unfolds
before their eyes: One business launch,
34 prostitutes and a pallet of missing
pink champagne. Can the warring pair
work together to unravel an incred-
ible story? This is a lesbian fiction with
more than a few mysterious twists.
Published by Ylva Publshing
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