Exploring Sapphic Romance with Quinn Ivins: Insights and Representation

Hey there, lovely readers! In today’s blogpost, we had the pleasure of interviewing Quinn Ivins, the talented sapphic romance author behind “Pop-Tarts and Rice,” a story that expands on the world of her novel Worthy of Love.  In this interview, Quinn shares insights into her writing process, character development, and the importance of lesbian representation in literature.

In your short story Pop-Tarts and Rice,” which expands on the world of your novel Worthy of Love, you delve back into the realm of lesbian romance. What inspired you to write this particular story, and how do you decide which moments or character aspects to explore in such stories?

In Worthy of Love, Bella flunked out of college and gave up on her dream of working in graphic design. I wanted to explore what happens when she gives it another try. Enrolling in a community college is a positive step for her, but also stressful–which gave me a chance to write some mushy moments with her supportive girlfriend, Nadine.

Your stories offer portrayals of lesbian love and relationships. How do you approach the development of your characters to ensure that they are as real and complex as possible and embody the essence of lesbian romance? Are there certain clichés or stereotypes that you consciously try to avoid to keep the portrayal genuine and respectful?

I love to write characters who are smart and accomplished, but it would be unrealistic (and annoying) if they didn’t have flaws. My stories explore situations that make high-achieving women feel insecure, which makes them more relatable. Most importantly, their struggles provide opportunities for idealistic younger women to comfort them.

When I wrote Worthy of Love, I avoided the cliché that people from more conservative countries are always homophobic. Nadine’s family in the Philippines supports her relationship with Bella. Filipino culture is something positive that brings Nadine and Bella closer together, not something that holds Nadine back.

In “Pop-Tarts and Rice” you’ve created moments that resonate deeply within the theme of lesbian romance. Is there a scene or message in the story that is personally meaningful to you or that you hope will resonate with your readers, especially in the context of sapphic romance?

The message of “Pop-Tarts and Rice” is that we all deserve to feel proud of our achievements, no matter how big or small they might seem to outsiders. Bella feels embarrassed because college has been difficult for her, but Nadine values and celebrates Bella’s hard work. Everyone has unique challenges, and a loving partner should be the first one to cheer when you accomplish a goal.

Bio Pic Quinn Ivins

What or who inspires you to write your stories, especially those that explore sapphic romance? Are there particular books, authors, or personal experiences that have had a strong influence on your work, especially in terms of the portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters? And how do you perceive the role and responsibility of queer romance authors in the ongoing conversation about visibility and representation?

My sapphic romance addiction began when I discovered The Brutal Truth by Lee Winter. I had always loved the idea of ice queens, but I had no idea authors had written entire books about this particular fantasy. After just a few scenes with Elena Bartell, I was hooked for life. I also love books by Jae, Roslyn Sinclair, and other wonderful Ylva authors.

I believe romance authors play an important role in the LGBTQ+ community. Now that gay marriage is legal in many countries, there is less emphasis on romantic relationships in LGBTQ+ discourse and culture. At the same time, we spend more time online than ever, and the Internet encourages us to isolate and navel-gaze to an unhealthy degree. I would like to see less focus on queer identity, and more on the relationships and families we create together. Romance novels provide a positive example that might encourage young people to take a chance on dating. For those of us lucky enough to have a partner, they remind us to appreciate and nurture those relationships.

We hope you enjoyed this insightful interview with Quinn Ivins. Her dedication to crafting authentic and meaningful sapphic romance stories enriches literature and fosters important conversations about visibility and representation in the LGBTQ+ community. You can find “Pop-Tarts and Rice” within Ylva’s Anthology After Happily Ever After Once Again. And you can check Quinn’s other works here!

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