Karin Kallmaker

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Karin Kallmaker
Born 1960
Sacramento, California
Pen name Laura Adams
Occupation Novelist, Editorial Director
Nationality American
Period 20th century, 21st century
Genre Lesbian Romance, Lesbian Erotica
Subject Lesbian fiction
Notable awards Lambda Literary Awards, Golden Crown Literary Society Awards, Ann Bannon Popular Choice
Website
[3]

Karin Kallmaker (born 1960) is the prolific American author of lesbian fiction whose works also include those originally written under the name Laura Adams. Her writings span lesbian romance, lesbian erotica, and lesbian science-fiction/fantasy. Dubbed the Queen of Lesbian Romance,[1] she publishes exclusively in the lesbian market as a matter of personal choice.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Kallmaker was born in 1960 in Sacramento, California. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a B.A. in Business Administration in 1988.[citation needed]

Lesbian romance novels[edit]

Considered a master at characterization,[3] Kallmaker's work reflects the interior lives of her lesbian heroines, set primarily in romance novel situations. "Credible and spirited[4]" protagonists also face contemporary social challenges, resulting in a body of work that reflects lesbian community history since her debut novel, In Every Port (1989), which included events surrounding the assassination of Harvey Milk in 1978. Her second novel, Touchwood, established her as a writer with "a sure sense of the power of language and of the power of eros.[5]" Her typical heroine is "the kind of indestructible and talented woman we all dream we could be -- much like Molly Bolt in Rubyfruit Jungle.[6]"

In spite of publishing the majority of her work as lesbian romance genre fiction, "there's something original to every book[7]", featuring "complex stories of believable, vulnerable lesbian characters who grow strong through facing tough issues.[8]" Deeply influenced by mentor Katherine V. Forrest as an emerging writer, her fifth novel, Painted Moon, was hailed as "the next Curious Wine,[9]" and remains one of her most popular novels, fifteen years after its original publication. Crediting Jane Austen as a foremother of the modern novel,[10] Kallmaker's Just Like That is a lesbian version of Pride and Prejudice.

Another homage-by-genre-twist novel is Christabel, inspired by the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem of the same name. Written initially under the pen name Laura Adams, Kallmaker dedicated the novel[11] to Jeannette Howard Foster for her examination of the lesbian subtext, moving her to retell the story with the women triumphant. Her ability to push the boundaries of genre fiction while maintaining her popularity is epitomized by Maybe Next Time, "an engrossing, compelling story of redemption, healing and surviving,[12]" which won a Lambda Literary Award.

Her novels include the Golden Crown Literary Society and Lambda Literary Foundation award-winning 18th & Castro, In Deep Waters 1/2, Just Like That, The Kiss that Counted, Maybe Next Time, and Sugar. Her writing career began with Naiad Press, one of the shaping publishers of lesbian fiction. In 2001, she placed her work as Laura Adams with a new press, Bella Books. After Naiad Press closed in 2003, she moved the remainder of her lesbian romance titles to Bella. In 2008, she joined Bella Books as the press's first Editorial Director.

Short stories and essays[edit]

A "cleverly inventive[13]" short story writer, she has published more than five dozen short stories in collections from her own publishers, as well as anthologies from publishers such as Alyson, Regal Crest Enterprises, Circlet Press, Bold Strokes, and Haworth Press. The genre of her stories go from vanilla romance to explicit erotica. In a May 2006 interview with Q Syndicate, Kallmaker discussed some of the resistance she faced to the idea that a romance writer could also write erotica. "...Part of my goal for writing erotica was to decriminalize lesbian sex for lesbians, especially those in committed couples and those who don't live in an urban Mecca with an out-and-proud sex-positive attitude.[14]" Volumes containing her lesbian erotica short stories have won awards from the Golden Crown Literary Society and the Lambda Literary Foundation.

Published essays have dealt with issues of identity for the author. In 1993, she wrote "When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Lesbian" for Multicultural America: A Resource Book for Teachers of Humanities and American Studies, which explored the disconnect between different stages of coming out, when she first observed the community but did not yet feel a member of it. Ten years later, after the birth of her two children: "For many years I was, by all outward appearances, a suburban married woman.[15]" In 2007, in Love, Castro Street, her essay "Where One Size Fits All" concluded the award-winning anthology with "No matter what my clothing of the day might be, from a shy writer offering to sign her first novel to a seeming soccer mom with two kids in tow, Castro Street has never refused me entry. The potholes, the crowds, the scary traffic are still there, but somehow the street is larger than ever.[16]"

Science fiction and fantasy novels as Laura Adams[edit]

As Laura Adams, Kallmaker has written lesbian science-fiction and fantasy titles that include a "chilling brush with reality.[17]" Though the novels include strong lesbian romance storylines, their themes revolve around the power of lesbian community and spirituality.

Writing career[edit]

Kallmaker has 18 years of experience with non-profit financial management. Workplaces, such as an association of home and health care service providers to the elderly, a private lender investing in projects to benefit low income people, and a half-year at an oil refinery, have provided background for many of her novels.[18]

  • In Every Port (1990)
  • Touchwood (1991)
  • Paperback Romance (1992)
  • Car Pool (1993)
  • Painted Moon (1994)
  • Wild Things (1996)
  • Embrace in Motion (1997)
  • Night Vision (1997) (writing as Laura Adams)
  • Christabel (1998) (writing as Laura Adams)
  • Making Up for Lost Time (1998)
  • Watermark (1999)
  • The Dawning (1999) (writing as Laura Adams)
  • Unforgettable (2000)
  • Frosting on the Cake (2001) (short stories)
  • Tunnel of Light 1: Sleight of Hand (2001) (writing as Laura Adams)
  • Substitute for Love (2001)
  • Tunnel of Light 2: Seeds of Fire (2002) (writing as Laura Adams)
  • Maybe Next Time (2003)
  • All the Wrong Places (2004)
  • New Exploits 1: Once Upon a Dyke (2004) (with Johnson, Szymanski, Watts)
  • One Degree of Separation (2004)
  • Sugar (2004)
  • Just Like That (2005)
  • New Exploits 2: Bell, Book and Dyke (2005) (with Johnson, Szymanski, Watts)
  • 18th & Castro (2006) (short stories)
  • New Exploits 3: Stake through the Heart (2006) (with Johnson, Szymanski, Watts)
  • Finders Keepers (2006)
  • New Exploits 4: Tall in the Saddle (2007) (with Johnson, Szymanski, Watts)
  • In Deep Waters 1: Cruising the Seas (2007) (with Radclyffe)
  • Christabel (Second Edition) (2008)
  • In Deep Waters 2: Cruising the Strip (2008) (with Radclyffe)
  • The Kiss That Counted (2008)
  • Warming Trend (2009)
  • Stepping Stone (2009)
  • Above Temptation (2010)
  • Roller Coaster (2011)
  • Love by the Numbers (2013)

Works in translation and other formats[edit]

Numerous novels have been translated for distribution in France (KTM Editions), Germany (Verlag Krug & Schadenberg), Spain (Egales) and the Czech Republic (LePress). Some titles have also been acquired for hardcover editions by InsightOut Book Club, a division of the Quality Paperback Book Club. Most of her titles are also available in e-Book format. A complete listing of works in translation is available on the author's website.

Awards[edit]

  • 2011 - Above TemptationGolden Crown Literary Award Winner, Lesbian Romantic Suspense
  • 2011 - Frosting on the Cake 2Golden Crown Literary Award Winner, Lesbian Anthology/Short Story
  • 2010 - Stepping Stone – Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Lesbian Romance
  • 2009 - The Kiss that CountedLambda Literary Award Winner, Lesbian Romance
  • 2009 - The Kiss that CountedGolden Crown Literary Award Winner, Ann Bannon Popular Choice
  • 2009 - In Deep Waters 2: Cruising the Strip - Lambda Literary Award Winner, Lesbian Erotica co-authored with Radclyffe
  • 2008 - In Deep Waters 1: Cruising the Seas - Golden Crown Literary Award Winner, Lesbian Erotica co-authored with Radclyffe
  • 2008 - Finders Keepers - Golden Crown Literary Award Finalist, Lesbian Romance
  • 2008 - Finders Keepers - Golden Crown Literary Award Finalist, Ann Bannon Popular Choice
  • 2007 - 18th & CastroGolden Crown Literary Award Winner, Lesbian Erotica
  • 2007 - 18th & Castro – Lambda Literary Award Finalist, LGBTQ Erotica
  • 2007 - Finders Keepers – Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Lesbian Romance
  • 2006 - Just Like ThatGolden Crown Literary Award Winner, Lesbian Romance
  • 2006 - New Exploits 2: Bell, Book and Dyke - Golden Crown Literary Award Finalist, Lesbian Fantasy co-authored with Julia Watts, Therese Szymanski and Barbara Johnson
  • 2006 - All the Wrong Places –Golden Crown Literary Award Finalist, Lesbian Romance
  • 2006 - All the Wrong Places – Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Lesbian Erotica
  • 2006 - All the Wrong Places – Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Lesbian Romance
  • 2005 - Sugar - Golden Crown Literary Award Winner, Lesbian Romance
  • 2005 - New Exploits 1: Once Upon a Dyke - Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Fantasy co-authored with Julia Watts, Therese Szymanski and Barbara Johnson
  • 2004 - Maybe Next TimeLambda Literary Award Winner, Romance
  • 2003 - Tunnel of Light 2: Seeds of Fire - Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Fantasy
  • 2002 - Substitute for Love - Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Romance

Other recognitions[edit]

  • 2004 Alice B Medal - The Alice B Readers Award for body of work
  • 2008 Selected as guest lecturer, Distinguished Author Series, Stonewall Library and Archives
  • 2008 LJ Maas Memorial Award for mentorship of new and emerging writers
  • 2011 Golden Crown Literary Society Trailblazer Award

Personal[edit]

Kallmaker and her partner of more than 30 years reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. They were married on August 25, 2008, and are the mothers of two children, Kelson and Eleanor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Journal of Lesbian Studies, 2001
  2. ^ In Their Own Words: Lesbian Writers on their Inspiration, AfterEllen.com, 5/26/2008 [1]
  3. ^ Lambda Book Report, Vol. 14, Issue 2, Summer 2006
  4. ^ Bibliophile's Bounty, Bay Area Reporter, 12/18/97
  5. ^ The Age Thing, Bay Area Reporter, 7/1/1990
  6. ^ Lesbian Review of Books, Winter, 2000.
  7. ^ Gay Power, Lesbian Lust and Literary Trash, San Francisco Bay Times, 9/21/2006
  8. ^ Midwest Book Review, 4/3/2003
  9. ^ Lesbian Review of Books, Summer, 1995
  10. ^ Author's Blog Romance and Chocolate, "Becoming Jane, Thoughts," 8/14/2007 [2]
  11. ^ Christabel frontis dedication. Naiad Press, 1997; Bella Books 2008.
  12. ^ Midwest Book Review, 1/11/2004
  13. ^ Frosting on the Cake, Bay Windows, 3/23/2002
  14. ^ Interview for Q Syndicate, by Joy Parks, May 2006
  15. ^ Kallmaker, Karin in "Dangling Earrings" from Milk of Human Kindness: Lesbian Daughters Write About Their Mothers (Lori L. Lake, ed.). Regal Crest Enterprises.
  16. ^ Kallmaker, Karin in "Where One Size Fits All" from Love, Castro Street (Katherine V. Forrest and Jim Van Buskirk, eds.). Alyson.
  17. ^ Lesbian Review of Books, IV.4, Summer, 1998.
  18. ^ Kallmaker, Karin. Lecture at Stonewall Library and Archives, Ft. Lauderdale (2008)

External links[edit]

A complete listing of short stories and essays in anthologies is available on the author's website.