Hello all! Happiest of Novembers to everyone. This month we wanted to welcome Jude Sierra for two exciting reasons: first for a very first look at her upcoming novel and second, for a four part series she wrote for Binge On Books. Jude will be spending the month of November discussing the intersections between some of her favorite things: fanfiction, romance novels, and authors you know who play in both sandboxes! Jude will be talking with some of your favorite romance authors throughout the month about their fanfiction to original fiction publication stories and just how important fan communities have been to them.
Before we get down to the nitty gritty, there’s one more order of business. It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a new novel by Jude, and we’re excited to announce the details of her upcoming novel, A Tiny Piece of Something Greater.
Blurb: Reid Watsford has struggled with his cyclothemia his whole life. When his grandmother offers him a place to stay at her condo in Key Largo, he decides to leave Wisconsin, his ex, and his family to try to make a fresh start. There he meets Joaquim, a Brazilian wanderer who came to the US looking for adventure, and ended up an intern at the Key Largo Dive Shop. When Reid signs up for his introductory dive classes, it seems an adventure has come to Joaquim—but Reid has a lot of secrets, and a past he can’t quite escape. As their relationship deepens, so do Reid’s complications, something they both must learn to navigate—on their own and with each other.
Coming from Interlude Press on May 17th, 2018.
The Romance of Fanfiction, part 4
As I wrap up this blog series, I find that I could say so many more things about what a gift fanfiction and fan communities are and have been for me. Let’s be honest, that’s basically what I’ve done this past month: write a long winded love letter to the practice, but also in a way, to the authors whose work I love and who too have loved what fanfiction has given them.
When I interviewed authors, my final question was this: if you could tell the world one positive thing about fanfiction or fanfiction communities, what would it be? Community, friendship, learning experiences, cultural importance: these were just some of the answers I received.
Co-writers Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick, themselves authors of fanfiction, described other fan authors as, “incredibly dedicated. They spend hours and hours creating new stories, verses and series, for an audience that doesn’t even know their real names, let alone pay for their work.” This dedication and love for work and fictional worlds is what led Tom and Jen to their write own original fiction: one of the main characters in their soon to be released novel, Snowsisters, writes fanfiction and is active in online communities. Their example, and that of authors who described the doors opened to them through fanfiction, shows this – that fanfiction offers a world of opportunity and inspiration and future potential.
I’ll be honest and say that one of my favorite responses to my final question came from Racheline Maltese (Love in Los Angeles series, Tremontaine). “People who like stuff hang out and talk about it. I feel like that’s a really minor, bland statement, but that’s sort of my point. It’s like any other hobby, sometimes it’s where you meet your best friends.” In this series of blog posts, there were so many threads I could have explored; so many lovely things each author shared. At the end of the day, however, one of the most important things I’d love to see would be readers of this series walked away with this: it doesn’t always have to be complicated. Yes, sometimes it is complex. But it’s also just fun.
Writing fanfiction is often a breath of fresh air. It’s enjoyable and it’s a rollercoaster. It’s a unique experience shared with other people who just love a thing as much as you do. It’s filled with laughter and tears. I once wrote a story so filled with cute banter I woke my husband up laughing. For those of us in the Glee community, losing Corey Monteith was a tremendous blow. Writing about Finn was cathartic, it was healing, and it helped us feel like we weren’t alone. Writing fanfiction provides us with an outlet to love and remember a thing together, whether in joy, sorrow, and the millions of nuanced human experiences and emotions in between.
For many of us fanfiction has allowed us to see or place ourselves – our othered selves – within stories that often exclude us. For Taylor Brooke (Fortitude Smashed), fandom was a place to create a self-affirming, inclusive narrative. “I wanted to see more of the characters in certain fandom worlds and more importantly, I wanted to see them Queer. I wrote stories where characters were out and proud… because I was desperate to find myself in media.” So many of us want our queer bodies, our colored bodies, our real selves to be reflected in the world and in media. Fanfiction is a space where we get to do that.
There is often a practice of justification many of us fanfiction authors feel we must participate in in order to be taken seriously. I want to shelve that and redirect to the best of this world. The final message from authors interviewed then: here we learned to write. Here we had fun. Here we learned how to put ourselves into conversations that have marginalized or excluded us, giving ourselves affirming stories, love stories, queer and erotic stories – and with them, lifelong friendships and communities of love and support.
Personally, fanfiction and fandom have meant the absolute world to me. Without them I would never have this platform to even share these stories. I wouldn’t be published. More importantly, there would be huge parts of myself (my sexuality, my desire to connect with community stories and narratives, my intense love of fictional stories and characters) I would not understand. But whether big or small, lighthearted and simple or deeply personal, writing fanfiction has been life changing. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother who began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”. Jude began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007. In 2011Jude was introduced to the Glee fan community began writing fanfiction, where her stories garnered thousands of readers.
Jude is currently working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for From Top to Bottom Reviews. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary LGBT romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her upcoming novel, A Tiny Piece of Something Greater will be available in May of 2018.
Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick are two friends who started a conversation in high school and years later are still talking. Together they write LGBTQIAP+ YA fiction, and blog about LGBTQAIP+ books at neverhaveieverbooks (@nhiebooks). Their upcoming novel, Snowsisters, will be coming in February of 2018.
Racheline Maltese is a hybrid author who has published in non-fiction, fanfiction and with various small, medium and big five presses. She has published several novels, novelas and short stories with fellow fan author Erin McRae. Their most recent work is the award winning A Queen from The North. They can be found at www.Avian30.com.
Taylor Brooke if a former special effects makeup professional and the author of the Camelia Clock series the first of which, Fortitude Smashed was published in 2017. The sequel, Curved Horizon will be released in March of 2018.