Gina is about to marry her boyfriend. George is about to join a lesbian pop band. Gina and George are the same person. No wonder Georgina is Double Booked.
Double Booked is a fresh and fun queer romcom that is both hilarious and heartfelt. We had the honour of chatting with Lily Lindon about the complexity of the queer community.
I finished this in one sitting! This is so fun. Can you please tell us where the inspiration comes from, esp the setting where Gina teaches piano but wants to be a keyboard player in a band?
Thank you! I’m so glad you had fun reading it, that was absolutely my hope!
Well, I suppose I was inspired by a few things coming together at once: I was working in publishing as an editor and, although I love editing in and of itself, I was also aware of wanting to be writing, so I felt a little like a creative shadower – that comes out in Georgina and her desire to be a musician herself but ending up as a teacher. I used to play the piano a lot when I was younger, so writing about a music setting came naturally to me.
I love how you can split Georgina’s name into two! Did you ever (want to) do that with your name, to give yourself a second identity?
I wish I could do that with the name Lily! Unfortunately it isn’t a name that lends itself to splitting up. I am a huge fan of nicknames and pet names generally, it’s like a love language for me, so I’m always delighted when someone affectionately calls me Lil or LL or whatever. But I’ve never really managed to make a nickname stick. Yet!
Gina sharing a calendar with her boyfriend is a huge thing for the two of them, and for Double Booked. Do you personally think sharing an online calendar is a huge relationship milestone?
Ha! Certainly I think there’s a point in a relationship, especially if you’re living together, where it’s both practical and kinda romantic to share each other’s plans. It’s lovely to be able to put in spontaneous dates or cute words into the other’s calendar too (or just remind them to take the bins out…)
Many people often wrongly associate bisexuals as cheaters. How do you ensure that Double Booked does not perpetuate this notion when Gina starts noticing she is bisexual ever since she has a crush on Kit, the drummer in Phase?
People are people, individuals are individuals – your sexuality is not predestination for whether or not you will cheat. It’s a ridiculous idea when you think about it! But there’s a vital difference between being attracted to someone who isn’t you partner, and whether or not you are unfaithful in your actions or feelings. Attraction is normal. If a straight person has a little crush outside a relationship, there isn’t a huge existential crisis about it! It doesn’t make you a bad person or automatically mean you love your partner any less. This is what Georgina has not learned at the beginning of the book. Georgina has spent her life repressing her attraction to anyone who isn’t male (and, frankly, anyone who isn’t her long-term boyfriend Doug). But I also wanted to be realistic about how often a crush can act as a trigger for showing things that are not working in someone’s life, whether that is your identity, self-esteem, or existing relationship.
In Double Booked, many of the characters are LGBT+ but they still display biphobia. In some way, is biphobia from within the queer community worse than biphobia from the straight community?
Yeah, it’s tricky. I must say, in my own experience, my queer friends have been incredibly supportive of my sexuality and have never made me feel anything less than welcome and accepted. I think even for fictional Georgina, I wanted to show that a lot of the really hurtful biphobia is internalised – it’s what she assumes people will think of her, and therefore she misinterprets people and self-excludes. However, I didn’t want to shy away from the fact that bisexual people experience different kinds of prejudices to lesbian and gay people, and one of the nuances is that you can experience ‘othering’ from both straight and queer people. There’s a feeling of bisexuality being ‘gay lite’ which can be painful and isolating for bisexual people who are just as likely to experience the same attractions and prejudices. I also didn’t want to perpetuate a myth that just because someone is queer, doesn’t mean they’re incapable of being bigoted or making mistakes! Queer people are still people, it’s not a magic wand of unique moral perfection. We’re all still learning and growing. At the end of the day, queer people are not automatically nor exclusively able to be ‘kind’ or ‘accepting’!
How important do you think it is for queer people to learn all the LGBT+ histories and semantics so they can “represent” the community and not be harmful unintentionally?
God, it makes it sound like horrible homework doesn’t it! Sure, I think it’s important that people continue to keep an open mind and don’t get complacent in thinking they know everything already, because all of us carry biases and blind spots. My feeling is most people – especially queer people who are aware of the power of histories and semantics on their own experience – are interested in continuing to learn anyway, for their own enjoyment and growth, not just to feel like they’re passing a test. I think we should be wary of making ‘representation’ seem like something people can too easily and villainously fail and be punished for: this could lead to fewer stories with varied characters, because people could become scared to write about anything that isn’t literally their own lived experience. There are obviously nuances and limits, but I think if you listen to people and try to actually empathise with people’s experiences, you can’t go too far wrong. You can usually tell if someone is coming at things from a place of sincerely good intentions.
Get a copy of Double Booked here.