Gabriella West was born in Santa Barbara in 1967. In 1969, her parents moved to Dublin, Ireland, and she grew up in Ireland, studying English and Italian at Trinity College, Dublin. She graduated and left Ireland in 1988.
She earned an MA degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University in 1995.
She has published six LGBT-themed novels: The Leaving, Time of Grace, Elsie Street, The Pull of Yesterday, and A Knight's Tale: Kenilworth. The follow-up, A Knight's Tale: Montargis, was published March 2018.
Gabriella West lives in San Francisco, CA.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was stuck in my writing career. I had a book traditionally published in 2002, but the press declined the next novel I offered them. I had a novel sitting in a folder on my computer that I thought would NEVER get published, but I thought it deserved to because it had gotten so much positive attention years earlier, when I was going through the Creative Writing program at San Francisco State. So I read about Mark Coker and Smashwords in 2011 on SFGate, the online news site for the SF Chronicle. I thought.... hmm.
Something about the way Mark Coker talked about the process made sense to me. So I took the leap and published my novel "The Leaving" in May of 2011. I published it on Kindle a few months later. And then things took off for me when I started publishing shorts on both platforms.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Starting with Smashwords was a good choice for me. I got a bit sucked in by Amazon's platform when I started making quite a bit of money there (it didn't last, though!). I find that I have to carefully navigate through Amazon's constant changes, some of which don't seem to have indie authors' interests at heart. Smashwords is more like a fair parent, who says "this is what I will do for you" and then delivers.
In this LGBT historical romance set in 13th-century England, Will Talbot trains as a squire at Kenilworth Castle, the home of the De Montfort family, and his history becomes enmeshed with theirs during the Second Barons' War and its bitter aftermath. Ultimately, his love for Stephen, whom he first meets as a young clerk at the castle, sustains him through dark times and exile in France.
A three-book LGBT romance series exploring the changing relationships and identities of three young men (Aaron, a techie, Dave, a museum guard, and Matt, Dave's old flame who works in finance) set in contemporary San Francisco and Marin.
San Francisco, 2012. Aaron is adrift, the only thing sustaining him being his weekly therapy sessions with Marc. But Marc's feelings for Aaron have changed, and this unlikely couple must transition to a new and risky adventure: falling in love. When Aaron asks Marc to drive him back to his SoCal hometown of Carlsbad, which holds darkly painful memories, the new relationship hangs by a thread.
France, 1266. Will and his lover, Stephen, are safely ensconced at Montargis Abbey, where the widowed Lady Eleanor de Montfort has chosen to live out her days as a nun. It's in many ways an idyllic life, but the reappearance of Simon brings a shadow onto the two young men's relationship. And when a horrific murder in 1271 shatters the calm, Will must journey to Italy to see Simon one last time.
Warwickshire, England, 1260. Will Talbot is leaving home at 14 to spend the next few years in training at nearby Kenilworth Castle, the home of the De Montforts. His adjustment to life at the castle is made easier by his growing love for Stephen, the young chaplain's clerk he shares a chamber with. But Will's life soon becomes more complicated when the household plunges into war with the Crown.
Dave Madden starts off the new year of 2011 with a haunting dream, which doesn't bode well for his and Aaron's relationship. While Dave clings to the stability he has found with Aaron, thoughts of his old flame Matt Cohen obsess him. A sudden trip back to Boston for a family emergency adds to Dave's angst and shakes his sense of identity further. In this sequel to Elsie Street, all bets are off.
Dave Madden has just been fired from a bartending job in San Francisco. His long-suffering girlfriend helps him get a job at a nearby fine arts museum as a guard. But what Dave finds there will challenge his whole sense of identity. Despite a fling with a college roommate, he considers himself straight. Yet after his first encounter with Aaron, a young techie, Dave's life will completely change.
A close friendship between two struggling women writers evolves into a passionate love affair. What could go wrong? Well, pretty much everything...
San Francisco in the mid-to-late 1990s and two women are trying to build a successful lesbian relationship. But issues of self-image, love, sexuality, and intimacy somehow seem to push them apart just as much as bring them closer.
Most of us have heard of ADHD, so why is it so common for women not to be diagnosed until they are in midlife? Novelist Gabriella West is refreshingly candid about her journey towards a diagnosis of ADHD, which started a few years ago when she encouraged her partner to get a diagnosis. She uncovers a family history of the disorder, looking back at her own mother's life in Ireland in the 1970s.
Shy young Caroline has come from England to Ireland in 1915 to work as a governess at Thornley Hall. But beautiful housemaid Grace, with her fierce dedication to Ireland's freedom, opens Caroline's eyes to new erotic worlds.
As their friendship blossoms into passionate romance, Caroline finds a happiness she's never known. But will Grace's commitment to the upcoming Rising jeopardize their love?
San Francisco, mid-1990s. In this poignant short personal memoir, Gabriella West goes back to her twenties to explore a confusing friendship with a married couple that started promisingly, but became a painful and obsessive love. Readers who have found themselves lost in destructive and addictive relationships will find it compelling reading.
New York, 1930. Bubbly young blonde Betsy Parker is left a widow at only 25, after her older banker husband commits suicide in the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Her family has sent her off on a voyage to England by ocean liner to recover. Innocent and curious to explore, Betsy attracts the attention of both the ship's captain and an experienced and exotic English artist, Claire.
Want to know more about the toxic, destructive effects of sugar on your body? This special report presents the latest, cutting-edge info in 10 bulleted points. We now know that sugar is linked to obesity and diabetes, but there's more:
Did you know that sugar has a pro-inflammatory effect on the body's cellular level, which causes aging--and perhaps Alzheimers, down the line?
In this compelling short travel memoir, the author and her partner, Selena, travel to Kauai, Hawaii's garden island, in their first trip as a couple, staying at a new age-y women's guesthouse. The couple struggle with anger, misunderstandings, and a ghostly presence in the guesthouse that terrifies Selena. Will their trip to Hawaii end up tearing them apart?
Could our food actually be the main cause of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
Did you know that the amount of allowable food dyes in our diet has increased FIVE times between 1955 and 2007? Food dyes have now been officially linked to hyperactivity in children with learning disabilities, but so far the FDA has not acted to warn consumers about their toxic effects.
Italy, 1980s. The shy unnamed narrator and her tougher English friend, Liz, are booksmart but inexperienced 18-year-old students on a budget traveling around Northern Italy by train. As they share adventures, wine and conversation, their edgy friendship not surprisingly begins to deepen. But it's on their final nocturnal train trip back to Florence that they take it beyond friendship.
Enter the dark and deceptive world of Venice in the 1600s. Piero is a young boy from a working-class family who is chosen by the priests of the royal court to be castrated and to sing in their choir. Several years pass. Androgynous and girlish, Piero is surprised to be singled out by the adolescent daughter of the Doge (ruler of Venice) for special favors...
English professor Jack, an embittered older man in 1990s San Francisco, has a vivid flashback to his turbulent, secret love affair in North Beach in the early 1950s with tormented young artist Ray, who cares only about ambition and his art. An intense, gripping story about a doomed relationship that changes the course of a man's entire life.
Cathy is a conflicted teenager living in 1980s Dublin. She soon discovers that her charming older brother Stevie, who's gay, is falling in love with her classmate Ron, the one boy she likes. Cathy struggles with school, her dysfunctional family, coming to terms with her growing love for her best friend Jeanette, and leaving Ireland. The novel is a realistic look at adolescence and first love.
This book gets four stars because of its originality and daring and because it's a wonderful picture of alternative life in London: pubs, dances, cold flats, buses and all. I loved the way the narrator, Nadia, is so uncomfortable in her own skin at the beginning of the book and could really relate to it. When Nadia is taking her first tentative steps into poly life with her first girlfriend, Christine, An Expanded Love shone. In the end it's a bit of a rambling story with perhaps too many characters, but still a rewarding read.
This book was a surprise. I expected an erotic novel, but what I got seemed like so much more than that. Of course the book is filled with explicit male-male sexual encounters, but we are locked inside the head of the likeable young narrator, Harley, who is reluctantly coming home for the summer to help out at his Aunt Bird's farm. The small-town Southern setting is authentic and the boredom of the youthful characters is deeply felt. Harley and his childhood pal Tavor enter into an obsessive sexual affair with increasingly disturbing overtones, as Tavor is closeted and violent when challenged. Then, towards the end, a twist throws the earlier action into doubt. But this steamy novel is one of the best ebooks I've yet read. Totally entertaining, but not mindlessly so, it will draw you into its seductive world.
"The Loves and Tribulations of Detective Stephen Carlton" is a long novel that deserves a wide readership.
A cosmopolitan writer and former academic, an Italian by birth, Rene Natan was new to me, but I soon became wrapped up in Stephen Carlton's story. In Natan's narrative, he is a sympathetic protagonist who tries to do the right thing, a young Canadian working in law enforcement in the 1960s who is really a humanist with a streak of innocence in him. Unfortunately, he has grown up without a father's guidance, and his love life is tumultuous.
I loved the character of April and I enjoyed Stephen's growing attraction to this sexually experienced young girl who uses the "F" word (shocking the young Canadian!) but who is really a deeply sweet person. Unfortunately, her dysfunctional past takes its toll, and grief-stricken Stephen is on to his next woman, someone who will give him a real family. But in the last third of the book, the middle-aged Stephen's life becomes a whirlwind of adventure, something that one suspects he always wanted it to be. He is drawn to another bad girl, an outlaw, basically, and must fight to prove her innocence while he is under the thumb of an unsympathetic boss.
With aspects of both edgy romance and intense thriller, this novel reads smoothly and takes the reader on an enjoyable "tour" of Stephen Carlton's inner and outer world.
I enjoyed this fresh fictional look at the intertwining lives of Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. It never lost my interest. I was prepared to believe the love affair and I enjoyed the scenes of the two wordsmiths slowly falling into intimacy and passion against the backdrop of ragged and tawdry Elizabethan London.
There were some flaws in the story too: I felt that there were too many minor characters. Some of them were actors and they never came alive for me, even though their names were constantly mentioned. I also found it hard to believe that Shakespeare would have written many of his subsequent works for Marlowe, after Marlowe's death, since I know the plays well and I don't see or sense Marlowe in them. But I'm willing to at least entertain the idea.
The final plot twist was extremely difficult for me to believe, sadly.
Also, there was a sprinkling of anachronistic language: the "huh"'s and "okay"s were jarring. But since Bohm is an excellent writer and captures the time period well, it wasn't as painful as it could have been :)
Enjoyable look at a forbidden relationship, with some intense gay love scenes. I also liked Bohm's take on Shakespeare's troubled marriage and conflicted sexuality—it seems pretty right on.
I think this was my first Clare London, and I really enjoyed it. The description of the rocky move was quite funny and there was an excellent sex scene. It was a story that could have used multiple POV to good effect, I think.
Deftly written fantasy novel, but it's not a romance in the classic sense, and I wanted there to be more emotional depth to the characters. They do demonstrate loyalty and love in the face of constant peril, but there is very little sexual tension between them. This becomes wearying by the end. One feels that the author was avoiding writing the sex scene for as long as he could.
On the plus side, it was very well edited. I sensed that the author's copy editor made quite a difference and worked hard to beat the prose into shape!