I’ve always been a huge fan of African American literature and thoroughly enjoyed the works of authors like E. Lynn Harris, James Earl Hardy and Terrance Dean. It feels like there’s been a void in African American gay fiction in recent years, especially from a younger perspective. Since the age of about 15 or 16, I’ve been involved in working creatively in the music industry. And within the last few years, we as gay men have become more visible in the media as working individuals in entertainment industries. I love being able to connect and see myself and my friends in the characters that I’m reading. Without doing your research, it can be hard to find those kinds of characters right away, so I decided that it was time to take matters into my own hands and develop characters and write stories that I wanted see, hear and grow with.
Although it can be crazy and difficult to navigate at times, I wanted to marry my love of the music industry, reading, writing and developing and conceptualizing stories and characters. That’s how Songs About Boys came about.
Songs About Boys is the story of twenty-four-year-old Sidney McKenna, an aspiring songwriter, life-long artist and hopeless romantic, whose love for music and thirst for independence finds him in the middle of the competitive, straight male dominated music industry. Everyone believes in Sidney’s talent and supports his eagerness to follow his dreams in such a fickle industry, but he begins to second guess his confidence when faced with the hip hop community’s open opposition of homosexuality. In addition to proving himself to his peers, Sidney is also challenged with the scrutiny that comes with being in the public eye, as well as an unexpected romance that could potentially change the course of his life and possible career.
I’m completely finished with the creative process and I’m in the editing stages of the first novel and have even begun conceptualizing plans for a second book, but I need your help to get my first work out there! By donating, you will give me the ability to self-publish my first novel by Archway Publishing from Simon & Schuster. The publishing packages (which can be viewed here) includes ISBN Assignment, copyright registration, Library of Congress control number, cover design, interior book design and layout, cover copy review, editorial assessment, worldwide book distribution, E-book publishing and so much more.
Risks and challenges
It can be a very unique experience being an African American gay man that works in the entertainment industry, specifically when it comes to music. It’s a marriage between creative and business worlds, and it’s really interesting to see what side of that coin people want to guess you’re one. Any time I’m at an event, someone asks me (or rather tells me, in their way), “What do you do? Are you a stylist?”
It sucks that we all get put into the stylist/make-up artist box. Don’t get me wrong, both sides are equally important pieces of the well-oiled machine that makes up the entertainment industry. But some of us are songwriters, producers, engineers, choreographers, managers and creative directors, and we get overlooked because we’re not in the forefront of those arenas. It’s unfair to pigeon-hole us into one facet of entertainment and creative industries.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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