Great LezBritain is a fortnightly stroll through the very best of British lesbo-centric entertainment and culture. Plus there will be some jolly good interviews with the top ladies who are waving the flag for gay UK.
Some books are more than just books. Some reveal such vivid, involving worlds that it’s impossible to leave them behind. You become so wrapped up in the characters that their experiences become entangled in your own and their words become a part of your own vocabulary.
Sarah Waters’ Tipping The Velvet is such a book. In all honesty, there is barely a day that goes by without one of us calling the other “An exquisite little tart.” To say we love Tipping The Velvet is silly — it is quite simply the pulpy love of our lives. And although we’ve had affairs along the way — quite passionate, filthy ones with Waters’ other novels Fingersmith, The Night Watch and The Little Stranger it must be said — our true heart’s desire will always be the story of Nancy Astley, the oyster girl.
So we’re still amazed that when Sarah Waters agreed to meet us for a chat at Aye Write, Glasgow’s book festival, we managed to restrain ourselves from dressing up like soldier boys and greeting her with the words “Tommy Atkins at your service,” and talk to her quite calmly about World Book Night, the new TV adaptation of The Night Watch and most excitingly yet another new lease on life for Tipping The Velvet.
AfterEllen.com: You’re here for World Book Night to read from Fingersmith which is one of the selected novels. Why did you want to take part in this initiative?
But it’s a great idea, quite a mind-boggling idea to give away a million free books. In London there was a huge event at Trafalgar Square and around 5000 people came and stood in the cold listening to people read. So it’s felt like a real celebration of books, and of reading, and it is lovely to be part of that.
AE: Fingersmith is not only the book that was picked for World Book Night, it’s also the book that crossed you over into the mainstream from being seen as a celebrated “lesbian writer” to just “celebrated writer” — would you agree?
AE: The Night Watch has been adapted by the BBC for television and The Little Stranger is being made into a film, which means that every one of your books has made it onto our screens. How does that feel? Would you be disappointed if the next book wasn’t adapted?
AE: I’ve only read it once so far because it broke my heart.
AE: How involved are you with the casting or on set?
AE: Do you ever feel a bit frustrated when you see it, like “I wouldn’t have done it like that” or “That’s not how I saw it”?
AE: In Tipping The Velvet the book, no one could really want Nan to go back to Kitty, but then in the TV adaptation, we disagreed over it and Sarah did want that. What were your thoughts about how that was played out slightly different in the TV adaptation?
AE: Poor kitty