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, she publishes exclusively in the lesbian market as a matter of personal choice..
Considered a master at characterization, Kallmaker's work reflects the interior lives of her lesbian heroines, set primarily in romance novel situations. "Credible and spirited" 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." Her typical heroine is "the kind of indestructible and talented woman we all dream we could be -- much like Molly Bolt in Rubyfruit Jungle."
In spite of publishing the majority of her work as lesbian romance genre fiction, "there's something original to every book", featuring "complex stories of believable, vulnerable lesbian characters who grow strong through facing tough issues." Deeply influenced by mentor Katherine V. Forrest as an emerging writer, her fifth novel, Painted Moon, was hailed as "the next Curious Wine," and remains one of her most popular novels, fifteen years after its original publication. Crediting Jane Austen as a foremother of the modern novel, 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 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," 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.
A "cleverly inventive" short story writer, she has published more than five dozen short stories in collections from her own publishers, as well as anthologies from publishers like Alyson, 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." 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.." 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."
A complete listing of short stories and essays in anthologies is available on the author's website.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels As Laura Adamsmore �� less
Under the pen name Laura Adams, Kallmaker has written lesbian science-fiction and fantasy titles that include a "chilling brush with reality." Though the novels include strong lesbian romance story lines, their themes revolve around the power of lesbian community and spirituality.
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.
Born 1960, Sacramento, California.B.A., Business Administration, California State University, Sacramento.Kallmaker has 18 years 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.
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.