Readers nominated Me and Mine by Sarah Goodwin for a 2014 LGBT Book Gem. I asked her to stop by and give us some background on the story. ~B.
I wrote the first version of Me and Mine while I was in my second year of university, doing my Creative Writing degree. At the time I was only just starting to receive treatment for depression, and because I wasn’t able to focus on assignments, I began to write a lot of fanfiction. I’ve always read fanfiction, since I was about thirteen, but I’d never really written any before. This was the first time I’d read slash fiction, and writing it threw me in at the deep end.
Once the fanfiction version of Me and Mine had accumulated and I’d finished it, someone, just one person, messaged me and said that it should be a novel. I think it was just a throwaway comment, but as I’d been writing ‘novels’ since I was a teenager, I thought it would be a good project to keep me busy. So in the summer break I converted the original text into a more novel-like format, and changed the names. I also ended up adding about 40k to what I’d already written.
And that’s how Me and Mine ended up as an ebook.
Since then I’ve converted another fic into a novel, Ink, and written four more novels without having a fanfiction basis for them. I’ve been experimenting with tropes like amnesia and spur of the moment weddings and trying to find an original take on them with my stories.
Now I’m back at Bath Spa University, studying for my Masters in Creative Writing. I’ll be done with that in September and will hopefully have finished the novel I’m writing for the course; an 1850s Pioneer epic, exploring a lesbian relationship.
The best thing about having people read my novels is hearing that they want to write, and I love it when people ask me how to go about getting their books out there. There’s a whole new world of digital publishing, and self-publishing is so different to the way it was even ten years ago. Creative Writing courses haven’t really caught up yet, but I think that the world of fanfiction is full of really talented writers, who can and do publish their own work online; usually in a way that makes it more affordable than ‘proper’ books.
The most touching thing about Me and Mine is the messages that I’ve received from people who have lived the life of Jude, one of the main characters, and who have grown up gay in a very Catholic, or religious household. Hearing that they recognised Jude’s struggle, and got some comfort from reading it actually made me cry. I went to church school from the age of four, until I was thirteen, and while it wasn’t as hard-line as it could have been, it still affected me, and it took me a while to realise that being gay didn’t mean I was ‘wrong’
When seventeen-year-old Jude Walker confesses to his priest that he’s gay, and in fact has an unhealthy attraction to the priest himself, the last thing he expects is compassion. Father Gray surprises him with his understanding and Jude accepts his offer of help in overcoming his condition.
When Sebastian Gray extends an offer of help to a troubled teenager, the last thing he expects is that it is Jude that will save him. Yet Jude steadily breaks through the priest’s barriers, bringing him out of his self-imposed exile and into the world.
As the two find surprising parallels between their lives and obsession gives way to affection, both men begin to understand that their love may cost them their souls. Jude stands to lose his family to the truth of his affections, and Sebastian could fail in his original task; saving Jude, no matter what the cost.