Posts tagged “creative

Interview with LL Book Review: Kergan Edwards-Stout

Thanks to the good folks over at LL Book Review for the fun interview!

An Interview With Kergan Edwards-Stout, author of Songs For The New Depression

By Shannon Yarbrough on April 1, 2012

Tell us a little about your book.

Songs for the New Depression captures that moment in the gay community during the AIDS crisis, prior to the HIV drugs we now have, with all of the love, humor, friendship, sex, and danger those days held.  Lead character Gabriel Travers knows he’s made mistakes in his life, and doesn’t want to die without making amends–but has no clue as to how to do that.  With the clock ticking, he begins to peel back the layers and face his demons, with the help of the music of the Divine Miss M (Bette Midler) and his mom’s new wife, a country music-loving priest.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had a partner, Shane, who died in 1995, as well as other friends I lost through my work at AIDS Project Los Angeles, and I wanted to find a way to honor them.  The temptation is to write about that period in sepia tones, but I really wanted to try to bring that period to life, as vividly as I could.  And one day a sentence popped into my head.  I didn’t know who it was or what it would lead to, but that eventually became the first sentence in the novel.

What are you doing to market your book?

Happily, positive reviews are helping to market the book, and my articles on Huffington Post and other publications bring new people to my website.  I’ve also done readings and signings, most recently at the Rainbow Book Fair in New York.  I also looked at this first book as an investment in myself and my future as a writer, and put money into online advertising as well.

How have sales been? Where have you had the most success?

My book is out in hardcover, paperback, and all e-book formats, but–not surprisingly–Kindle is definitely my biggest seller.  Sales are increasing, month over month, so I’m hopeful that this book will reach many people.  I’m not so interested in the financial return, as much as that I really think most folks haven’t really considered the full impact of the AIDS crisis, and I hope my book spotlights that for them.

How are readers/reviewers reacting to your book?

Terrific! The big reviewers, such as Kirkus, Midwest Book Review, and have been very generous.  But I’ve also been pleased with reviews on book blogs sites, and in such unexpected places as Liberty Press, which is a small paper in Kansas.  I had thought, given the location, they’d be less open to this frank urban story, but they totally embraced it.  And being short-listed for the 2011 Independent Literary Awards was a big feather in my cap as well. (more…)

Life’s Many Moments: How Our World Shapes Our Art

Author Gregory G. Allen and I, up until now, had yet to meet. Still, we’d found ourselves bumping into each other virtually on any number of occasions.  Both of our debut novels had been short-listed for the 2011 Independent Literary Awards, we’d continually run into each other on twitter, and asked us for a joint interview, which we were happy to do.  As we gathered together for the Rainbow Book Fair in New York City, however, where we’d both be reading and signing our books, I found myself wondering, “Who is this person?” In a way, I felt as if I knew him quite well, but our conversations thus far had all been about our work, and I was very curious as to whom he was as a person, and how his life’s moments had influenced his writing.  Today, at last, my questions were happily answered.

Kergan Edwards-Stout:  Finally!

Gregory G. Allen:  I know, right?  It seems as if we have been connected for so long–

Edwards-Stout: And yet never met!  I’m so curious, having read your novel, Well With My Soul, as to who you are, and what part of you is in the characters you created.  You write so specifically about two brothers.  What was your situation like, growing up?

Allen:  Well, for the longest time, I was the baby of the family–the youngest of five kids in our blended family.

Edwards-Stout:  Five? Wow, that must have been challenging.

Allen:  I was the peacemaker.  I was the sole offspring of both my mother and father, so my role was to try to pull the other siblings together.

Edwards-Stout: That must have really had an impact on who you’d become.

Allen:  You have no idea.  I was the performer.  I was always on stage, singing or acting–I played Elvis when I was in the 4th grade.

Edwards-Stout:  Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

Allen:  You kidding? It was great! It started an entire career of seeking that limelight on stage. By the time I was 12, my folks adopted my little brother, and I went from being the baby of the family, to an older sibling.  But I was so thrilled to be a big brother, I was more than happy to give up that title…

Edwards-Stout:  Given all of these siblings and your family dynamic, what was coming out like for you?