Today we have author Mel Gough with us. We talk about her new book A World Apart, her background as a fanfic writer, and more.
If you’re into contemporary M/M romances, A World Apart by Mel Gough is definitely a book you should check out. Read on to know about Mel’s new book, her writing style, and more!
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, my name is Mel; I write under the pen name Mel Gough. For the last ten years, I’ve lived in London and I’m originally from Germany.
How long have you been writing for?
I wrote a lot of (I would think) pretty terrible fantasy stories when I was a teenager. Back then, I would read mainly Marion Zimmer Bradley, David Eddings and so on. Then I stopped writing for almost ten years. I started again in my twenties, writing fanfiction in the Lord of the Rings fandom. That was pretty terrible too. I was still living in Germany and my English really wasn’t up to the job. About three years ago, I started writing fanfiction again, this time in The Walking Dead fandom. I soon had the desire to take this to the next level and write original fiction, and have that fiction published.
Are there other authors who’ve inspired you?
Ursula LeGuin, because her imagination and her use of language are just out of this world. Mary Doria Russell, who wrote The Sparrow my favorite book of all time. Stephen King, because he discusses his writing style in On Writing, and ever since I read that I feel much less of a freak.
What’s your writing process like? Do you write a bit every day?
I write every day. I write by hand first and usually manage about 15 to 20 minutes at a stretch. I’m trying the Pomodoro method at the moment, where you work for 20 minutes, then get a 5-minute break, then do 20 minutes work, and so on. After 4 x 20 minutes, you get a 15-minute break. I’m not yet succeeding in doing this consistently, but it really can help productivity.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block?
I tend not to suffer from it. I think there are two reasons: I always have more than one project I’m working on, so if I get bored with one I can switch to the other (or do promo stuff, social media etc.). This habit comes from writing fanfic, where it’s quite normal to have several things going at once.
The other reason, I think, is because I write by hand first. A piece of paper is much less scary than a blank screen. It’s sort of small and fits onto your lap and it feels nice to the touch. And it’s not a blank page, either, it’s got lines! [smiles]
A World Apart is an M/M contemporary romance story. The protagonist is Ben, who is a cop in a small, rural town in Georgia, USA. One day at work he encounters Donnie, a redneck who has been brought in because he’s suspected of a hit and run. Ben is intrigued by Donnie, who seems to have a secret.
All the while, Ben’s marriage to his wife Helen is coming apart at the seams. Ben and Donnie meet again at an AA meeting, and they’re quite taken with each other. It’s nice for Ben to have someone new in his life while he struggles with the separation from Helen. And for Donnie, Ben is a godsend too, because his life is threatening to come apart as well.
Do you have any opinions about the current state of LGBTQ+ literature?
I’ve only followed the more “mainstream” discourse for a little while since I had my head mostly in the fanfic writing universe. But I think it’s good that there are so many emerging writers in the LGBTQI literature world now. Own-voice writers are finally given the attention they deserve. I love that, mostly, everyone gets along. There are many ways now for LGBTQI writers to get their work out there before new audiences, and the number of highly visible awards (like the Lambdas) seems to be growing.
On the LGBTQI romance side of things, which I’m the most familiar with, I’ve always felt that the genre is a bit of a trailblazer. Romance isn’t traditionally known for raising awareness of topical issues, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find an author in the LGBTQI romance world who’s never written about current issues – homophobia, transphobia, HIV/AIDS, mental health, legislation changes, sexual identity politics. I love how the genre just doesn’t fit that stereotype of “trite and fluffy” at all.
Is there any advice you’d like to give aspiring authors?
If writing is what you love, keep doing it. There are people out there who will want to read what you have to say. You might have to do it for no money for a long time, maybe forever. Writing won’t make you rich (unless you’re insanely good AND in the right place at the right time; usually one of these conditions on its own isn’t enough).
Don’t let people tell you what to write. Be aware of the discourse and what the general understanding is on tropes you might want to use (e.g. how does the writing community treat issues like rape, incest, mpreg, torture, discrimination in stories; some things are probably not okay to do, but I won’t go into detail because it’s easy enough to get a sense of general sentiment once you become part of the community). But write what you like, and what you enjoy reading yourself. It’s probably true that most ideas have been done before, but that has never stopped mainstream entertainment makers reusing ideas, so don’t let it stop you!
Would you like to share any opinions regarding indie and traditional publishing?
I love that we have so many different avenues open to us now. It makes for much greater diversity in reading experience. Sure, the big publishing houses still have a lion’s share of the market, and it must be flattering to be able to say you’re being published by Harper Collins or Penguin Random House. Who’d say no to a deal like that? You’ll definitely sell more books.
But being with a small publisher also has its advantages. I love the sense of community at my publisher NineStar Press. I love that I can communicate directly with the person who owns the business and that she’s involved in everything. I personally also like being involved in every part of a process, and I’ve learned so much about the industry simply because I have to pull my own weight in the promotional effort. I don’t mind that one bit, and I’d do it again.
Being self-published would scare me a little at first, I think. But I won’t rule it out, either. The number of people who were traditionally published and have made a go at it as indie publishers is growing every day, and the support network and professional services available is, too.
Are there any upcoming works you’d like to share with our readers?
I’m elbow-deep in my next novel, which is romantic suspense with a twist (it’s got both LGBTQI and straight romance elements), and I’m very excited about it. In addition to that, there are two sequels to A World Apart, which are both half-written, and I’m hoping to work on book 2 in that series in the upcoming months.
A World Apart is currently available for purchase. I’ll be reviewing it soon.
There’s also a giveaway going on if you want to win a copy!
Have you read works by author Mel Gough? Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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