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Bisexual Urban Fiction – An Interview with Cedric Quincy

Cedric Quincy Books

In my latest episode of The Read, I had a conversation with Cedric Quincy, author of The Misunderstanding of Don Ho and more recently, co-author of Where the Players Dwell. We discussed his work and dug a little deeper. We talked about how he lived life as a pan / bisexual man, what his wife thought about it, and his experience being outed in the publishing industry. His story is a good one, so pull up a chair and take a look!

The Read: Cedric Quincy

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Inspiration for All: An Interview with Brandon Goode

Brandon Goode Interview

I had the pleasure of coming across a new LGBT fantasy author on Twitter and I just knew that we would have an interesting conversation. Brandon Goode released his debut novel, The Secrets of Eden, about a week prior to our interview. As a new author in the fantasy genre myself, I knew we would have some things in common.

In this episode of The Read on YouTube, we talk about his interests in journalism and how that got transferred into writing his novel. We also expressed similarities in critically breaking down the characters of reality shows and how that helps us as writers. However, what I thought was most potent, was his passion for inspiring others to go for their dreams.

Watch the interview below and get acquainted with your new favorite author!

The Read: Brandon Goode

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Lawayne Childrey: From Tragedy To Triumph

Lawayne Childrey Blog pic

My interview with Lawayne Childrey was one like no other I had done before. I’ve interviewed other authors about their lives, but never has a story resonated so deeply with me and with those of you who have watched. Childrey is the author of Peeling Back the Layers: A Story of Trauma, Grace and Triumph. It’s an autobiography that starts with the tragic death of his little cousin; a story told in such heart-wrenching detail that you’re immediately drawn in. After a series of negatives, even worse negatives, and a positive that’s most certainly a negative (HIV+, that is), Childrey uses the strength that has always been a part of him to pull himself out and become an award-winning journalist. Watch our interview below and get ready for the feels and the inspiration from this great story!

The Read: Lawayne Childrey

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La Toya Hankins: For the Love of Yourself

La Toya Hankins Interview

The way you discover your sexuality is as unique to everyone as their fingerprints. For La Toya Hankins, author of lesbian fiction titles SBF Seeking… and K-RHO: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood, she came to the realization of her orientation just months before she was to be married to a man. As a springboard into exploring feelings long buried, she placed a personal ad for a sexual experience with a white man and found out that she was gay. This serves as the exciting premise for her first book, but there’s so much more to explore with this writer.

 

Having grown up in North Carolina, Hankins seeks to destroy stereotypes about southern living. And as a result of her time in a college sorority, she emphasizes the values of sisterhood and self love in her work.  I interviewed Hankins about all of this in my YouTube Live show, The Read. One of the best moments in the interview is where she elaborates on this point: “As long as you are good with you, that’s all that matters.” I couldn’t agree more. Watch the full episode below.

The Read: La Toya Hankins

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Authors

Larry Benjamin: The Art of Words

Larry Benjamin

Last week, I interviewed Larry Benjamin, author of What Binds UsUnbroken, and most recently, Vampire Rising. He spoke about writing as a way to make some money during a rough time, the line between reality and fiction in his semi-autobiographical novel, and the message of the effects of prejudice and fetishizing any particular group of people. He also discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion, which is fitting because just two days ago, we saw that idea echoed with the Oscar for Best Picture going to Moonlight.

However, what I found most interesting in this interview was his story of finding love, culminating in marriage that was spurred on by an unexpected call from friends about the passage of marriage equality in PA.

Watch the interview below.

The Read: Larry Benjamin

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Read his blog | Visit his website

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Jefferey Spivey – Deeper than Fashion

Jefferey Spivey

In the second episode of my live author interview series, The Read, I talked with Jefferey Spivey of Uptown Bourgeois. He’s a freelance writer and fashion blogger who recently took his work into deeper areas of thought. This transformation lead to the completion of his first book, It’s Okay If You Don’t Read Everything. It’s a compilation of essays and articles from his blog along with a few new ones. I recommend giving it a look because every page leaves you laughing, smiling, or reflecting.

The bulk of the book is about the lessons Jefferey has learned from life; everything from being stereotyped as a tall Black man to breaking away from a job he didn’t like in order to live on his own terms. Our conversation tackles finding love, diversity in the fashion industry, and finding your own personal definition of success.

Watch The Read: Jefferey Spivey now!

Follow Jefferey Spivey on Instagram, Twitter, and more! And buy his book today!

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Victor Yates: Coming In

Victor Yates

I had the pleasure of kicking off my first episode of The Read with Lamba Literary Award winning author, Victor Yates. I explored Victor’s story from personal to professional, and I came away understanding that he has a definitive voice and perspective in his work and in life.

One of the most powerful points of the interview was when he started to outline the message he wanted to convey to readers of his first novel, A Love Like Blood. He mentioned that he wanted parents of LGBTQ children to “…love them, because they might not always be there in your life.” It strikes me as very sad to need this to be a message to parents because you’d think love would be natural. But unfortunately, it needs to be said. What better way than through a beautiful narrative that follows Carsten Tynes, the protagonist, as he deals with his abusive father?

More strong moments like this are found in the interview below.

Watch it now!

Where to Find Victor Yates

Victor’s Website | Follow Victor on Twitter

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Samuel Alexander: The Perils of Publishing

Samuel Alexander

I am delighted to share an interview with my first author friend, Samuel Alexander. He’s the multi-genre writer of books like Virgil, Dana, and Salinor: The Beginnings, and has recently released a new book that’s a gritty take on the coming of age story.

Samuel Alexander Novel

His latest story involves multiple gay characters of color, but as we all know, there is more to growing up than just dealing with sexuality. We talk all about that title, Brothers and Frenemies, as well as his experience with publishing. This is one interview other writers and independent authors will not want to miss.  Check out the video below and follow Sam on Facebook and view his blog for even more.

Purchase Brothers and Frenemies now on Amazon!

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Shad O. Walker – King of the OWLS

spellbound-owls

When I first began this journey of seriously doing the work of becoming an author, I did my research to see who else was in the space to which I was writing. At first I found it hard to pick out who wrote fantasy involving black, gay characters. The scarcity of such material – or, at least, a way to find it – was shocking, but I eventually came across someone attempting to change that. Shad O. Walker, author of the One Warlock’s Love Story series, has created a world that’s part fantasy, part paranormal romance, and very erotic. He’s amassed a dedicated following that’s stuck with him through six books. After interviewing him about his personal experiences and his work, it’s become clear to me that he’s just getting started.


JK It’s hard to find a picture of you anywhere online. Why the secrecy?

SW Great question! I’ve been told that I am as elusive as the vampires in my series. There is a reason for that. Prior to finishing the One Warlock’s Love Story series, I had the opportunity to meet a phenomenal author and spirit by the name of L.A Banks. She is the author of the Vampire Huntress series. If you haven’t read it, then you have to check it out! She gave me lots of great advice, but the one thing that she admonished me to do was to put the focus on the story (and not on myself). She talked to me about how easy it is to get caught up in the hype of being a popular author and she suggested that I learn from her mistakes. I loved her as author, but I grew to love her even more as a mentor. Unfortunately, I had no idea that she was sick. Not too long after we met, she passed away. I was devastated. So in honor of her and all that she taught me, I am not planning to put myself out there until my entire series is released.

JK Have you always wanted to be a writer? Have you had any desire to do anything else?

SW I have always been an avid reader! I didn’t realize that I had a gift for writing until much later in life. I went to bed frustrated one night because I couldn’t find a paranormal series with gay, Black characters. I woke up that night at 3:06am (I remember it like it was yesterday) and the entire story of Zander Knight was running through my mind like a movie. I started writing and I wrote all weekend long. When I was done, I had the outline for the entire series. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else. This series has introduced me to so many wonderful readers. My “super fans” call themselves OWLS after the series’ title. This entire experience has blessed me more than I could have ever imagined.

JK What was your experience like growing up as a black gay male? And how has it influenced your work?

SW Growing up as a black gay male who liked to read meant that I never found science fiction, fantasy or paranormal stories with characters that looked or loved like me. When I was growing up, black gay boys weren’t validated at church, at school or at home – and not even in books that I was reading. The stories were all about unassuming, confused little white girls. I didn’t know it then, but I know now that it had an impact on my impression of my self-worth.

JK Your website mentions that Octavia Butler, James Baldwin, and E. Lynn Harris are all authors that you admire. What is it about their works that inspired you?

SW I could talk about them all day long! Let’s start with Queen Mother Octavia Estelle Butler! I think her work was ahead of its time. Her ability to create entire worlds for her characters was amazing! I felt (and still feel) connected to her because her books literally saved my life. As a result of childhood abuse, I stopped communicating with my family. I literally shut down and stopped talking (kind of like I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings). They thought I had lost my mind. To make a long story short, I found myself through reading Octavia Butler’s books. I was able to forget my own problems by losing myself in her stories.  As for James Baldwin, I’ve always thought his writing was poetic and beautiful. He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind or write from a place of truth. He was a proud gay Black man when it wasn’t cool to be either. You’ll notice that one of the main characters in my series is named Giovanni after Baldwin’s book, Giovanni’s Room. And then there is E. Lynn Harris who broke ground for all modern black, gay male authors. I actually met him at a book signing before he passed away. I suggested that he write a science fiction series with gay black characters and he didn’t even miss a beat before he said to me, “why don’t you write it.” I didn’t know it then, but he sowed a seed.

JK In your bio, you mention that you’re armed with your grandmother’s dictionary. What’s the story behind that?

SW My grandmother was a brilliant woman, but she wasn’t able finish school because she had to go to work to help her family. Getting her GED and going to college wasn’t an option for her, so she saved up her money and bought a dictionary that she used to read over and over to teach herself new words. I can remember sitting in her lap and learning words with her. So when she passed away, I kept the dictionary. I can still feel her presence every time I open it. Sure it is easier to go online, but using her dictionary is so much more meaningful to me.

All Knight Long

JK You mentioned noticing a lack of LGBT characters of color in paranormal romance pushed you into writing this series. How has this affected you? And since you started writing the series, have you seen a change?

SW Although I have started to see a few other science fiction and fantasy stores that feature LGBT characters, my work is different in that it is an eight-book series that includes elements of science fiction, fantasy and paranormal romance. I am honored by all of the aspiring writers who reach out to me and say that reading my story has encouraged them to write and publish.

JK What is your series about?

SW One Warlock’s Love Story is the coming out and coming of age story of a young, Black, gay warlock named Zander Knight. I wanted to capture all of the wonderful “firsts” associated with being young and Black and gay – your first time going to a gay club, meeting your best friend, and your first time falling in love. The twist is that the series also includes magic, vampires, shape shifting and sex – lots of sex.

JK What has been the reaction to your series? And how did you feel about the positive and the negative reception?

SW The reception has been OVERWHELMING! I have a loyal legion of fans and there are new readers joining the fold every day.  It is very humbling. I had a young, gay man write me and tell me that he found the series after his religious parents kicked him out after they found out he was gay. He went on to tell me that this series helped him realize that he could create his own family just like Zander Knight.  Like all authors, I will run across a negative review every now and then, but that is just a part of the game. Like Jill Scott says, “everything ain’t for everybody.”

JK Who’s your favorite character and why? Is it the same for all of your readers?

SW Asking me which character is my favorite is like asking a mother which of her children is her favorite. I love them all. They are all a part of me.  With that said, I do have an affinity for the main character in the series, Zander Knight. I guess mothers do have a favorite child. I think I need to call my mother and ask a few questions.

JK There’s a line in your first book that Kindle notified me was the most highlighted line. It was when Zander was driving back home to see if his family was safe after an attack: “He was sixty miles out when he started to get angry for not having been given the magical training that was his birthright. He knew that his parents loved him, but he was starting to think that they had made a critical error in judgment in raising him in the ways of mortals.” This is a line I think a lot of people could connect with. What was the inspiration for that moment? Was it all about Zander or was there something more personal behind that?

SW I had no idea that that was the most highlighted line! Thank you for sharing that with me. I think there comes a point in all of our lives when we start to evaluate ourselves and see our parents’ failings and shortcomings. It is an introspective moment that is both humbling and empowering. As an author, I wanted to give readers a peak into Zander’s thinking. This is also the beginning of the end of Zander’s relationship with his parents as he knows it.

Knight and Dae

JK You just published Book 6 this past April. Without spoiling anything, how has the series changed, if at all? And what has been the reaction to this entry?

SW One of the challenges of writing an eight-book series is that you have to maintain the integrity of the story while keeping readers engaged. The series needs to follow the eight-pint arc with stasis, a trigger, a quest, a surprise, a critical choice, a climax, a reversal and a resolution; but so does each book in the series. And that is an artistic challenge. I think I was able to accomplish this with this series. Readers also want to see the characters grow and evolve, but not so much that they don’t recognize them any longer. The series started out as a paranormal romance, but by the sixth book you’ll notice that I’ve incorporated elements of fantasy and science fiction.

JK What’s next for you and for these characters?

SW As for the characters, you’ll have to read the last two books in the series to find that out. The seventh book is due out on January 4, 2017 and the eighth book is due out on April 12, 2017. I have four other series that I am waiting to publish. I am not sure which one will be next. I am still trying to figure that out. I am currently taking suggestions from my readers as to what they’d like to see next.  Beyond that, I am just living and loving life!


Follow this author on Twitter or connect with him on Facebook and get started on a magical journey by making a purchase on Amazon. You can also check out his website for more info on the series and additional buying options.

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