What can a numbed-out, brokenhearted lesbian do when her drug dealer threatens to dispatch his sadistic henchwoman on her unless she pays her debt? Simple. Invite the rebound girlfriend to move in, lie about the rent, and wait for her to fork over the money. When the new girlfriend’s unquenchable sex drive becomes a problem? Easy. Sedate her until the money comes through. This is the start of the whirlwind plot of Dawn Winter’s debut novel, Sedating Elaine. A so-called “LGBT Fleabag,” the story steps outside the box of the traditional LGBT romance novel, producing something equal parts hilariously twisted and deeply insightful.
Author Winter joined her editor, Jenny Jackson, for an exciting discussion on this rebellious and subversive novel. A must-see for all lovers of inventive LGBT narratives that challenge the status quo.
Photos by Kelsie Lynn Bennett
By Dawn Winter
Published by Knopf
Frances was not looking for a relationship when she met Elaine in a bar. She was, in fact, looking to drown her sorrows in a pint or twelve and nurse a broken heart, shattered by the gorgeous, electric Adrienne. But somehow (it involved a steady stream of beer and weed, as things often did with Frances) Elaine ended up in Frances’s bed and never left. Now, faced with mounting pressure from her drug dealer, Dom (and his goon, Betty), Frances comes up with a terrible idea: She asks Elaine to move in with her for real. Unfortunately, this seemingly romantic overture makes Elaine even more sex-crazed and maniacal with love. Frances fears she may never escape the relationship, so, given no choice, she makes the obvious decision: She will sedate Elaine.
A story as enthusiastically madcap and funny as it is smart and emotionally surprising, Sedating Elaine introduces a roster of unforgettable characters and an indelible, wildly exciting new voice in fiction.
Dawn Winter lives in Essex, north of London, and studied English literature at the University of Roehampton. She has held a variety of jobs in prisons, hospices, kitchens, and factories. Sedating Elaine is her first novel.
Jennifer Jackson is a Vice President and Executive Editor at Knopf; she joined the group in 2002. Her authors include Emily St. John Mandel, Kevin Kwan, Erin Morgenstern, Lauren Fox, Selma Blair, Peter Heller, J. Courtney Sullivan, Helen Fielding, Jennifer Close, Chris Bohjalian, Helen Ellis, Ayobami Adebayo, Gabrielle Zevin, and Katherine Heiny. She is a graduate of Williams College and attended the Columbia Publishing Course.
Photo Credit: Torrey Liddell