Little Boy Lost is a coming of age story about two teenage boys—Brian McAllister and Jamie Mayfield—growing up gay in rural Alabama. The six book series chronicles their lives as they navigate through peers, parents, and porn, desperately searching for the perfect combination of circumstances in which they can be together. Through their journey, they find friends, pain, acceptance, loss, and most importantly, themselves.
Devon Hunter: Looking back at your experience with Brian while still in Alabama, and knowing your mother’s beliefs, how did you let your guard down so much as to get caught? Was it simply naiveté and inexperience??
Jamie Mayfield: We never expected mama to come up to the tree house. She’d never done it before. She had always just called for us when she wanted us. Brian and I just wanted one night for us, one night where we could be free to love each other the way we wanted to, the way we were meant to. We should have gotten dressed before we fell asleep; it was an indulgence that cost us a lot. I think we were just young, and thought maybe the world owed us one right then. We were wrong.
DH: We know bits and pieces of what happened once you were discovered by your mother, hauled into church, and then dragged away… but what was the trip from Alabama to San Diego like?? Were you being read scripture the whole time? Was it quiet in the car?
JM: The trip from Alabama to San Diego was long, horrible, and surreal. It took forever because we had to keep stopping for mama’s back. The whole first day I spent crying in the back seat, just remembering how Brian kissed me, how he cried for me. Mama kept telling me that it was for the best, that I’d love our new life in California. She never mentioned church or the bible, maybe she thought I’d jump out of the car. Instead she kept talking about how I’d meet a nice girl, and go to college. I never answered – mostly I just stared out the window. She finally stopped about the middle of the second day. After that, she seemed to understand that she wouldn’t persuade me. My dad stayed quiet for most of the trip.
I’d never felt so alone.
DH: Did you have enough contact with your mother during your year of captivity that you feared she would prevent your escape? Why did it take you so long to finally leave? Were you restrained and physically forced to stay, or was it mental and psychological terror the kept you there?
JM: They just let me there. At first, mama would come by every week to see me. I couldn’t decide if she missed me, or just wanted to make sure I was behaving. They kept telling her I wasn’t “seeing the light”, so her visits got fewer and fewer. In the last six months, I only saw her twice.
The Center was awful in some respects, but not so bad in others. They didn’t hurt me, but I felt like shit all the time. Mama and Daddy didn’t want me if I was gay. Rev. Carmichael said God hated me and that’s why he took Brian away. He said that’s probably why mama and me got into that accident before I was born, God didn’t want me to grow up and be a fag. At some points, I believed them. But then, at night, I’d take that picture of Brian out of my wallet and look at his face—that’s when I really saw God.
I stayed because I really thought mama would call the state on Brian’s parents and then he’d be alone and scared. But, I also thought that maybe if she saw that I was trying to be a good son, she’d come back for me—maybe she’d love me again.
DH: Guilt and shame are very heavy burdens. You finally began coping in a healthier manner with getting past them… For people not familiar with your story, can you explain your reconnection to spirituality and how it helped you?
JM: I’m not sure I ever had a reconnection to spirituality. I think there’s a God of some kind, the universe is too ordered to just be random, but I don’t think the bible has everything right. I also think that people read into it what they want to see.
The chakra thing helped me find balance and some sense of peace, but it’s not like I’ll be going through some cosmic drive-thru and ordering “one with everything”. I need to make peace with myself before I can find that kind of connection with the world.
JM: I hate my scars. They are a constant physical reminder of all the mistakes I’ve made in life. They are a constant reminder of Steven and how I’ll never be rid of him.
DH: Brian is buying into the company that stood by and allowed you to be abused almost to death. What is your response to this observation?
JM: To be perfectly honest, I never looked at it that way. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and the guys did what they had to do. It’s not easy for any of us, and we have to do the best with what we’re dealt.
I don’t like that Brian is staying in porn. I think he should go to college and do something more constructive with his life. If it weren’t for me, he wouldn’t be in porn. I hate myself for that. But we have wasted too much time apart for me to make that a sticking point in our relationship.
DH: Coming full cycle, are you happy again? I don’t want to say full circle, because you aren’t in the same place where you started, so cycle seems more appropriate. You can’t be innocent ever again, but you can be happy in other ways and for different reasons. Are you?
JM: Am I happy? I think I’m as happy as I can be given the circumstances. Brian is by my side, the police shit is over, and the seizures are pretty much under control. Things could be better—but they have been a hell of a lot worse.
DH: You married Brian – CONGRATULATIONS!! I recently married myself. What is your relationship with yourself like?
JM: My relationship with myself? It’s, I don’t know, strained I guess. I don’t have a lot of trust in the decision I make—Dad and Brian help me there. I never just leap before I look anymore. But, a year ago, I never thought I’d have a relationship with either of them again. I never thought I’d be in college or married to the man I love. Being an adult is hard, but I think I’m doing okay.
DH: You aren’t the only person wounded in all this… How’s your amazingly charming dad? Is he okay? Has he forgiven himself? Has he found anyone to replace your mother?
JM: Amazingly charming?
My dad is a good person. I think seeing me happy with Brian is helping him start to forgive himself for the center. No one is perfect, and my dad is human like everyone else. I get that now. I think it will be a long time before he truly forgives himself for all of the bad things that happened in my life, though none of them were really his fault.
As for finding someone to replace Patsy, I think he’s a little gun shy there. He needs to be able to trust and he needs to forgive himself before he tackles that particular challenge.
DH: If you had $1M and could do anything with it, how would you use it?
JM: A million dollars, huh? I’d use part of it as an investment for my future with Brian and then I’d donate the rest of it to Leo so he could start a non-profit that helped homeless kids. Not just gay kids, but all kids because no one should have to grow up on the streets alone.
July 2 – July 9th, Dreamspinner Press will offer the first book in the Little Boy Lost series for free on their site (Dreamspinner Press) and books 2-5 at 20% off in celebration of the release of the final book, Sacrificed.
Reviews for Little Boy Lost:
This is a compulsively readable book. I sat down with it the other day, intending just to skim it for this re-review, but within a few pages I was pulled completely into the story just like I was last year. Brian and Jamie are wonderful characters, beautifully drawn and realized. They experience the wonder and excitement of their first love, going through each step: a touch, a kiss, an embrace, and more. At the same time, they are terrified of what might happen to them should anyone find out about their relationship. They live in a very small town in Alabama where faggot jokes and homophobia are the norm. How do they reconcile their feelings for each other with the reality of the time and place in which they are living? – JesseWave
What this author does in ABANDONED is just amazing, it is a pure and honest kind of writing that bares the soul of a seventeen, going on eighteen year old. It offers the worst of circumstances in which various forms of love can ignite, nourish and inspire Brian on his journey. I never expected to experience such a strong connection to the person Brian is. I’m still amazed by it and savoring it every chance I get. ABADONED blew me away as J.P. Barnaby continues the story of memorable characters who just go for your heart. This is just about as good as it gets in the M/M genre! – Leontine’s Book Realm