One of the advantages of being in a writer’s group is, well, you get to meet a lot of author’s. Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association, has been a great place for me to hone my writing skills, but it is also a great place to see author’s work before it hits the rest of the reading world’s eyes. Kelly is a member of the group and her first book is now out in the world!
Early this fall I was lucky to receive a Netgalley copy of Kelly’s debut book from Carina Press Out On the Ice and Kelly was so kind to let me ask her a few questions!
Thank you Kelly and Carina Press for the opportunity to read and review Out on the Ice. This would make a great Christmas Gift for the Happily Ever After Reader in your life!
Connect with the author
Kelly Farmer (she/her) has been writing romance novels since junior high. In those days, they featured high school quarterbacks named Brad who drove Corvettes and gals with names like Desireé because her own name was rather plain. Her stories since then have ranged from historical and contemporary male/female romances to light women’s fiction to LGBTQ+ romance. One theme remains the same: everyone deserves to have a happy ending.
Kelly was a 2015 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Finalist in the Contemporary Romance category. She is past president of the Chicago-North Romance Writers and is also a member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association.
When not writing, she enjoys being outside in nature, quoting from 80’s movies, listening to all kinds of music, and petting every dog she comes in contact with. All of these show up in her books. She also watches a lot of documentaries to satisfy her hunger for random bits of trivia. Kelly lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she swears every winter is her last one there.
To connect with Kelly, talk about Schitt’s Creek and RuPaul’s Drag Race, and share photos of your adorable pets, please head over to:
To get us started, I hope you are game for Two Truths and a Lie. I use this with the middle schoolers and high schoolers as an ice breaker in our programs because if I ask them anything about themselves they will say, “I don’t know.” The option of being allowed to lie is too big of an opportunity for them to pass up.
So, give us two truths and one lie about yourself.
What did you love about writing Out on the Ice?
It was so much fun hanging out in a world filled with strong women. There’s a big celebration of female friendships, and older generations reaching back to help young women reach their goals. It was also a lot of fun watching these two dorks fall in love with the help of Caro’s senior black Lab, Doug. He’s a tribute to my black Lab and yellow Lab/husky mix who passed away a few years ago.
On a personal level, it helped me work through my own discovery of being bisexual. It’s one of the most personal books I’ve ever written. Some real art imitating life! I figured this all out in my early forties, so it’s never too late to live an authentic life.
What was the hardest part of writing the book?
There are a few moments of biphobia and homophobia that were hard to write. In particular, there’s a scene where Caro has a nasty interaction with her family. I got so angry and sad and hurt writing it, mostly because it’s based on real things I’ve seen and heard within the queer community.
Also, revisions are a grind. I like the creative part of writing and would be happy to type “The End” and go about my day. But, y’know, you guys probably appreciate reading a book that doesn’t have typos and things like [FIX THIS] and [RESEARCH THIS].
Who did you identify with more Amy or Caro? Why?
Haha—This is funny, because they are a 50/50 split of my personality. I’m pretty reserved and don’t share much with other people, like Caro. I tend to keep my personal life private. Amy’s nonstop “squirrel brain” was taken directly from my own racing thoughts. She’s a people pleaser and tends to do things for external approval. It was much easier to write Caro. I just got where she was coming from in her desire for self-protection, even at the expense of her happiness. Amy can be exhausting. Her scenes really drained my already scattered mind.
What was your journey to publication like?
Long. Very long and winding. I’d been pursuing publication for about 20 years (not a typo). It’s strange that I’m considered a debut author, since Out on the Ice was something like my 11th completed manuscript (also not a typo). Or maybe it was my 12th. You lose count after a while. I came close a couple of times, with my foot in the door, and then like half my body in the door. Fortunately, I’m very stubborn and determined and refused to give up on my lifelong dream. So of course, it made total sense that the journey led to selling and publishing my first book in the Year of Covid. Very appropriate!
I do love hockey, but I am embarrassed to admit I didn’t know there were professional women’s hockey teams. Why did you choose hockey as a career for your characters?
There have been several professional women’s hockey leagues in the U.S. and Canada. It’s very unfortunate they haven’t been able to find traction like women’s soccer and basketball. I’m also a big hockey fan. Years ago, I wrote a romance with a goalie heroine. It took years to write that book, so I “lived” in that world for a long time. When the United States Women’s National Team won the gold medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics, it was thrilling. And it reminded me how much I enjoyed that world. And then the plot bunnies began to hop around. There are plenty of hockey romances, but very few (if any) featuring two women falling in love. It’s not uncommon for women to find their happily ever afters on the ice. In fact, I was inspired by several real-life couples! I wanted to share that joy with readers.
As a librarian, we advocate for books to not only provide windows into the experiences of people who are different from the reader but also to make sure readers will see themselves in the books they read. I have to admit it is hard to find books for readers who are looking for a Female/Female romance or non-gender conforming romance than it is to find a Male/Male romance. Is that your experience? Do you think the publishing world is changing? What can we as readers do to help own voices authors?
There are definitely female/female romances out there. There’s a popular misconception in publishing that they won’t sell. It can be harder to break into traditional publishing because of this. However, there are several smaller presses and many independently published books/authors that continue to do very well. And thank you for mentioning other romantic pairings we need more of: non-binary, transgender, asexual and other romances. These are even fewer and farther between. Again, the indie market is the best place to find authors doing the work. This is changing (shout-out to my publisher, Carina Press!), albeit slowly. Traditional publishing moves at the speed of mud. It feels like two steps forward, one step back a lot of the time.
It’s really a reflection of other media. Male/male romances and white gay men have eased into mainstream media gradually over time. And that’s terrific. We need their stories, and I’m not saying it was easy or is widely accepted by any means. But think about it: How many movies and TV shows can you name with gay men as main characters? Now, how many lesbians, or non-binary folx, or bisexuals, or gay men of color have been at the center of a movie or TV series? Romances written by Own Voices authors need to be celebrated and included at the table just as much as the traditional male/female, straight, white romances. I’m a big believer in word of mouth. So if you read a book you enjoyed that opened your eyes to a new perspective, please recommend it. Recommend it a lot. Ask your local library to carry it. Dispel those misconceptions that something “won’t sell.”
Along with your book, what other books do you suggest for readers would you suggest for romances that focus on female/female relationships?
I can happily recommend some wonderful authors writing stories about ladies in love! E.J. Noyes is terrific. So are Chelsea M. Cameron, KD Fisher, Alyssa Cole, Tamsen Parker, Rachel Lacey, Jae, Chencia C. Higgins, Lily Seabrooke, and Skye Kilaen. If you’re into historical romance, you can’t go wrong with Olivia Waite. Vanessa North and Elia Winters write great female/female romances as well as other queer pairings. If you’re looking for queer love stories with transgender and/or non-binary romance, check out Anna Zabo and Cat Sebastian. I’m forgetting people for sure, but this will get you started!
What three books do you love?
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. This book literally changed my life! I read a lot of self-help books, and this one’s at the top. It’s easily the book I’ve recommended the most.
Hamilton’s Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan and Alyssa Cole. I recently did a re-read of this and it’s just great. Funny and touching and some “Hell, yeah!” moments. Alyssa Cole is so good, she could publish her grocery list and I’d be here for it.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. So many moments where I just stopped reading and sat and thought. The author has a very interesting personal story about her own coming out that is worth learning about, too. I think this book resonated so much because I read it when I was starting to question my own sexuality and identity. Sometimes, it’s not just a book but when you read it that can make a difference.
Bonus Book: If you’re a romance writer (or aspiring to be one), I highly recommend Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes. It helps keep you on track without large amounts of spreadsheets and other scary things. (I’m an Aquarius. Spreadsheets are scary things.)
( I am an Amazon Affiliate, if you click on a link it take you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a percentage of the sale.)
What book wasn’t for you?
As someone who now gets reviews, I would never disparage another author’s work in public. Five stars for everyone! 😉
What are you reading now?
This is always so hard for me to answer because I have a short attention span and tend to read a few books at once: a self-help book (obvs), a queer romance, a friend’s latest book… It’s not the author’s fault—all me!
I am reading a draft of my friend Julie Hamilton’s manuscript and I looove it. It’s a fake relationship for social media romance called Just for Show. You heard it here first: She is going to be a published author very soon!
Can you tell us anything about what you are working on next?
I’m writing the next book in my female/female hockey series. It picks up about a month after Out on the Ice ends. The romance is an enemies to lovers between arch rivals with lots of bad blood between them. Maisy is a Canadian goalie, and American Jen scored the controversial game-winning Olympic gold medal against her. They are now teammates in the National Women’s Hockey League and have to play nice. And whoo boy, they are not happy about it. But then…feelings!
Here are the answers for the first question: The first two are the truth, and the last one is a lie. My high school choir director sang the National Anthem, and I went to watch him and the game with two friends. 🙂
Thank you again to Kelly Farmer for taking time to talk about her book, the writing process and some of her own favorite titles. I can’t wait the next book release!