Author's works of lesbian fiction strike chord with readers

by Amelia Epley
Staff writer

Nashville has approximately 545,524 people living within its boundaries. In that panorama of people, nature and metropolitan architecture, one woman is working to capture the interesting aspects of life and love in this city, and its surrounding areas, in her novels.

Erin Dutton is an author of lesbian fiction who has lived in the middle Tennessee area for 12 years after moving from upstate New York. Dutton has written six novels thus far, and is releasing a new book this month. She said that one of her favorite things about being an author is being actively involved in the genre of lesbian fiction.

“It’s that feeling that I am contributing to a community,” she said. “There weren’t a lot of stories written about people like us.”

Dutton said that she was always writing while growing up, whether it was in a journal or short stories and poetry. It wasn’t until 2005 that she began writing novels.

“I’ve always written in one form or another,” she said. “It was a challenge to see if I could write a novel-length story and be able to hold it together.”

She said that her family, which consists of her mother, father and three siblings, fully support her in her endeavors. She grew up in a small town where there were no secrets, but does not resent it.

“I’m glad I grew up in a small town. I can appreciate it more now than I did then,” she said.  “It was a safe environment and everyone knew everyone else.”

Dutton will be signing books at Outloud Bookstore on Sunday, April 25, at 3 p.m. (1703 Church St.)

Family has become an important recurring theme in her work. The bonds between family, including the conflicts and the hardships, are what people experience every day, and she says developing genuine people as characters is what her readers appreciate most.

“I write stories about real people,” she said. “People they may see on the street, or someone they meet.”

Dutton said that having the ability to capture such truth is the main reason why she loves being a writer.

“I get ideas from all around me,” she said. “I love being able to capture a scene, or a conversation I hear, perfectly on a page.”

In 2007, she was first published with a company in New York and since then has continued to rely on her editor, Shelley Thrasher, who she credits as a continuous source of support and assistance in their 3-year partnership.

“There’s definitely a lot of give and take,” Dutton said. “We have a really open dialogue in order to make the story the best that it can be.”

Thrasher said that as long as Dutton writes book for her company to publish, she would be delighted to continue to be her editor.

“I really appreciate her serious attitude toward her writing, her attention to detail and her thorough research methods,” Thrasher said. “She’s a joy to work with.”

She also said that Dutton immediately mastered point of view, one of the most difficult aspects of writing a novel, effectively and has improved her ability to create believable characters by providing a clear backstory.

“I’m delighted that Erin is developing her potential and that her readers are appreciating her stories,” Thrasher said. “She works hard to create fresh characters and situations, so it’s great that readers reward her by reading her novels.”

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