Lesbian Authors Retool Book Reading Experience
Fighting off a serious staph infection following her back surgery in 2003, Margaret Hultz looked forward to the nightly phone calls from her friend Marie Davis to ease the pain of her nursing home stay.
"It was very, very serious and I really just about died from that. It was terrible; I can’t express to you how sick I was," recalled Hultz, 53, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky. "I would sit on the phone at the nurses’ desk and laugh and laugh and laugh. I was surrounded by all these older people asking me what was so funny. I couldn’t tell them they were naughty stories."
Wanting to perk up her friend’s mood, Davis would spin humorous, racy tales featuring lesbians, transsexuals, a lactose intolerant cow, and a lying pair of panties.
"The only thing I could think to do other than get her lunch and call her every evening was to write some funny things. It was written so one very sick woman could laugh herself well," said Davis.
Once Hultz returned home, the women began collecting the stories into a narrative in book form.
"It really started off as little vignettes, little stories," said Hultz. "It wasn’t planned as a book but that is exactly what it became."
In 2010 one publisher approached them about turning their novel into an app.
"Marie and I looked at each other and said what is an app?" recalled Hultz. "If they can build an app, why can’t we?"
After hiring assistants to help with the coding and technical know-how required, the two turned their tales into an award-winning interactive e-book called "Spoon and the Moon" that debuted in January 2012. In addition to hand drawn animation, each chapter opens with a song.
"Marie is an artist and I am a musician, so we are able to combine those elements along with our writing. It is the perfect medium to combine all of those talents into one," said Hultz, a former San Francisco resident who relocated after her Noe Valley apartment was damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. "It really is the first full-length novel made into an app. We are really, really proud of it."
Davis, 51, the creator of a syndicated cartoon about Kentucky history geared toward middle school students, first met Hultz in 2001 at a bar one night when she was attempting to sing the Jimmy Buffet song "Margaritaville." Hultz joined in and the two out lesbians became fast friends.
Their professional collaboration led them to forming their own publishing house called Wickedly Sisters. They are working on releasing two new e-books this year, one similar in format to their first title that features clothing in a hall closet that set out to murder their owner called "Pocket Murder."
The other is based on the real life story of a Catholic nun called "A Civil War Truce." Both will include new music and animation created by the women.
"We don’t really call our readers ’readers.’ We call our audience media voyagers. That is what we are doing, we are setting these people up to sail through an adventure," said Davis.
They hope to inspire other women to learn the tools to create their own apps and eBooks as the popularity of tablets and other devices continues to grow.
"We want to encourage women to go out and build apps. It is not that difficult to build apps," said Davis. "There is a revolution going on in the way the arts and sciences can be experienced."
To learn more about their work, visit www.wickedlysisters.com/ or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the words "Free App" in the subject line to receive a promo code for one of their titles.