Interview: Roz Alexander

Roz Alexander is a queer in the midwest who ran out of gay Jewish love stories and so decided to tell some of their own. They can’t wait to hear what you all think, and to read more of your own love – and lust – tales. Their debut romance story is Matzo Match: A Lesbian Passover Novella (Hot for the Holidays Book 1)

Your 2nd book, Higher: A “Hot for the Holidays” Book, comes out on September 1, 2021, What was the inspiration for the story?
So, I started getting really, deeply into reading romance during the pandemic. Pre-COVID romance was a once in a while treat, but 2020 I basically only read romance novels. I needed those HEAs. I needed to know things would be good and sweet and safe in the fiction I was consuming because life felt like the opposite of those things.

The more I read, the more I did not see myself reflected in the stories. I mean, I’m a trans person who’s a part of the lesbian community. I’m butch (though I love to do day-drag on occasion because I have a head for wigs) and I’m Jewish. And, frankly, I think outside of the queer Jewish community people don’t really understand queer Jews at all. There’s this assumption that being observantly Jewish means you’re super religious – that’s not necessarily true. For me, it just means I closely follow a calendar of rituals and tradition – which honestly has been a lifesaver in the pandemic.
Then there’s this assumption that queer Jews are all cis and white and all moderates or, really, a lot of other painful assumptions. My queer Jewish community is radical, trans, lesbian, queer, full of Jews of many different races and experiences, abled and Disabled, loving, kind, and open.

I wanted to write stories that reflected that community, and helped people see who Jews really are through sexy, romantic entry points. I decided to write romance novels for each of the Jewish holidays. So, this next book is about Rosh Hashanah – one of the Jewish new years. And it’s a rivals turned lovers story about two butches – which is also important to me. There’s not a lot of butch for butch content out there.

What is the one thing you must know before you start to write a book?
I set a goal for myself. What do I want the reader coming away feeling and knowing? And then the characters and setting reveal themselves to me, often pretty fully formed. I think a lot of that comes from the immense amount of day dreaming I do when not writing – my brain thinks of characters and their quirks and stores them up for when I need someone for my next story. Titles are definitely the hardest part for me. I have to do a lot of workshopping and even then I’m never happy with the title of a story.

Where do you write? And has this changed with the pandemic?
Now I mostly write on our coach while our three terribly behaved cats try their very best to destroy any attempts at writing. I normally have to lull them all into kitty naps before I can dream of getting any work done. Pre-pandemic I loved to write at coffee shops. I was writing very different things thing, mostly ghost-writing for my day job. Now I wonder what it would have felt like to write a sexy scene at a cafe table and worry that the other patrons were reading my work – but, then again, maybe they need a thrill or two.

What is something you can’t resist buying?
Presents for my girlfriend. I know that’s terribly corny, but I really buy way too many gifts. Any time I see a loose leaf tea I think she’d enjoy, or a candy she hasn’t tried, or a mushy card, or a framed picture of our first date … well, you get the picture. I’m a big ol’ romantic and my love language is absolutely gift giving.
For myself, it’s books. Which I know is true for so many writers, and I’m as bad as the worst of them. My to-be-read pile is an actual nightmare. I need to take a year off from my day job and just read so I can actually get through it.

Pre-order Higher here:

Preorder link

Find Roz here:
Website
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