Posts tagged “interview

I’m on Rated G Radio Thursday March 26

Garrett Miller Looking for some great conversation? Join host and hottie Garrett Miller and me as we chat about the topics of the day on Rated G Radio. It all happens on Thursday March 26, 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern. You can follow the show at Super Gay Radio and call in with your comments at 323-657-1493.

Last time we chatted, we covered everything from the Long Beach port shutdown to Lady Gaga, and everything in between that is gay-gay-gay, so you know you’re in for a good time!


Interview with Award-Winning Novelist David Pratt

Looking After JoeyDavid Pratt, Lambda Award-winning novelist for Bob the Book, is back with a funny and touching new novel, Looking After Joey (Wilde City Press). In it, Calvin, a single accountant, must look after Joey, a porn character who unexpectedly steps through the TV into Calvin’s life–and can’t go back. Calvin’s friend Peachy comes to the rescue, declaring that he and Calvin will teach Joey what he needs to know to be a gay man in this world—from Cher and Liza to how to cross the street without getting hit. But on a deeper level Joey’s presence causes Calvin to reevaluate what he desires, and his yearning for connection propels everyone through the story, as they find themselves forming a family of choice.

As our work shares many themes, primarily those of love and family, I appreciated the time Pratt took to connect to discuss our definitions of family, particularly their meaning for us as gay men.

Kergan Edwards-Stout: David, thank you so much for taking the time to chat! As you know, I was a big fan of Bob the Book, and was so pleased to hear of your new novel. One of your gifts as a writer is in bringing objects to life. In Bob the Book, you animate a book, and in Looking After Joey, you create depths and layers in a porn character.

David Pratt: In Bob, I actually created humans in the guise of books, who live as books might if books were sentient. In Looking After Joey, it’s Joey’s vulnerability and curiosity that bring him alive. He’s a porn character who crosses into our world, like a baby bird fallen from the nest. His reactions to what we call “real life” are hilarious and touching. Or both at once, as when he sees his first handicapped person. There is humor to it, but the scene is also gripping.

Edwards-Stout: Key to my enjoyment of the book was the role that family plays in it. Your lead character, Calvin, is on a quest to find a relationship, but ends up finding much more than that. It occurred to me, though, that while I know much about you as a writer, I don’t know much about your personal life, aside from your relationship with your partner, Rogério. How did you meet him? (more…)


Rated G Radio Appearance

Looking forward to chatting once again with the personable Garrett Miller and Rated G Radio! Garrett Miller I’ll be on-air Thursday February 19, 7PM (Pacific), and while I have no idea what we’ll be talking about, our conversations are always stimulating!

UPDATE: It’s a good thing RatedGRadio​ is not televised, as my IPL photofacial today left me looking–well–lobsterish. Garrett Miller​, I look forward to talking to you tonight at 7PM Pacific. Anyone wanting to listen in or call with a question, check out the phone number and streaming broadcast here.


Interview with Author of Out Gay Star Leslie Cheung’s Biography

Book Cover - Leslie Cheung - FinalA film and music superstar in his homeland of Hong Kong and throughout Asia, Leslie Cheung broke barriers as an out gay man, finding international success acting in such films as Farewell My Concubine and Happy Together. Acclaim, awards, and fans followed, which made it all the more shocking when, on April 1, 2003, Cheung lept from the 24th floor of a hotel room to his death. Nigel Collett’s extraordinarily detailed new biography provides a glimpse into Cheung’s path to stardom, his relationships and struggles, and the pitfalls of fame. The author of Firelight of a Different Colour: The Life and Times of Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, Collett kindly shared more with me about the man ranked as the favorite actor in the 100 years of Chinese cinema and whom CNN called the “Most Beautiful Man from Hong Kong Cinema.”

Kergan Edwards-Stout: Like many Americans, Leslie Cheung first appeared on my radar with his starring roles in Farewell My Concubine and Happy Together. You had a similar experience. What is your earliest recollection of him?

Nigel Collett: I watched Farewell My Concubine in ’97 and saw him then onscreen for the first time. Alas, I never met him or saw him in the flesh, though I was in Hong Kong the day he died, and drove by the Mandarin Hotel when the mountain of flowers was being gathered on the road side where he fell. As I discovered more about him, I came to see the story as a classic tragedy–a gay man brave enough to be himself in the brash entertainment world of this city, felled from a uniquely prominent position by a condition beyond his control.

Edwards-Stout: Long before making a splash in the U.S., Cheung was a huge star in Hong Kong and Asia. You write about how, for almost 30 years, he was at the forefront of the Asian art and music scene.

Collett: Leslie overcame a complete absence of education or training to establish himself first as a TV star, then as a film star and singer, by dint of his own talent and irrepressible self-confidence. He was in the forefront of all the major entertainment waves that turned Hong Kong into an independent cultural entity in the ‘80s and ‘90s and for many he came to encapsulate the city itself. His appeal was far wider, though, for his films and music reached out to Mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the great Chinese diaspora across the world. He is probably the biggest Hong Kong star worldwide ever.

Leslie CheugnEdwards-Stout: Like many struggling actors and singers, Cheung didn’t experience fame immediately. He had a great number of steps forward, only to face setbacks. What about his personality was instrumental in moving himself toward success?

Collett: Leslie had huge belief in himself. In his early days, no one thought he could sing, and no one taught him to act. He had huge dedication and patience in getting what he did exactly as he wanted it to be. He was humble enough to learn from other stars and to credit them when he did, but he was never a follower. He was always seeking to take his art to the next level, to be cutting edge. He had no typical role or single type of music. His career was a flowing pattern of development and change.

Edwards-Stout: Cheung was friendly with Danny Chan, a fellow entertainer and Hong Kong star, but eventually their friendship ended. What brought them together, and what drove them apart?

Collett: Leslie and Danny were brought together by a gay star of an earlier generation, the highly flamboyant Roman Tam. They were both gay, both unattached, and though they weren’t each other’s types, they were looking for fun. They burned the midnight oil together. It was showbiz that broke them apart. Danny’s singing career took off first, and he was at the start a classier act on screen. Leslie had to play second fiddle, and didn’t enjoy that. It was Danny, though, who caused the breach. He could see Leslie was by far the better actor and resented him. After the breach, there’s no sign Danny minded much, but Leslie did.

Edwards-Stout: Cheung first found international recognition through his starring role in John Woo’s film, A Better Tomorrow, and later with Farewell My Concubine. How did Cheung deal with this increased level of notoriety?

Collett: Leslie was always conflicted about his fame. Stardom and success was what he sought, but he did not like the shallow lifestyle and perpetual hounding by the media which it brought. He wanted to treat people honestly and live what most would have felt was almost a simple life, but he couldn’t. He hated the way the media lied about him and hounded him about his sexual orientation. It drove him to Canada to escape and be himself, but he couldn’t shake off the need to achieve, to be a star. It was one of the conflicts, I guess, that came together in the clinical depression which eventually killed him.

Edwards-Stout: You write extensively about Cheung’s success in music, with which many Americans may not be familiar…

Collett: Leslie started out wanting only to be a singer, but he couldn’t sing. Audiences taunted him with having a ‘chicken’ thin voice and booed him off stage. It took him years of training and working on his voice before he could turn his belief in his voice into reality. When he did, he found the sweetest, silkiest Cantonese singing voice of his generation. He could be really raucous and loud, too; some of his early numbers were more like western sixties rock than anything of the time, but he got them dancing in the aisles at all his shows

leslie daffyEdwards-Stout: While initially, in his early days of stardom, Cheung publicly dated women, you detail his life as a gay man. Eventually, he came out as openly gay, which is rare for any celebrity, let alone in his cultural environment. In sketching out Cheung’s early days, you note that nothing about his story foretold the fame he would eventually achieve. But what led to his strength in living as an openly gay star?

Collett: I think it was the same huge belief in himself that made him a successful performer and allowed him to come out in public, something no other major Hong Kong star had done and which none would do again till 2013. His coming out was helped by the megastar status he had achieved. Before he reached his pinnacle, he had to be as discreet as most. By the time he was back in Hong Kong in the ‘90s, he was virtually unassailable. Even them he wrapped himself in a cloud of uncertainty which only gradually dissipated. Many young gay men today accuse him of timidity, but I think that is totally unfair. For his day, he was the bravest man in Hong Kong’s entertainment world. At the end of his life, he had given Hong Kong the message that it didn’t matter whether you loved a man or a woman, as long as you loved. That was revolutionary back then.

Edwards-Stout: Cheung took a huge leap, starring in the gay-themed Happy Together, which he knew would likely lead to being asked about his sexuality.

Collett: Leslie’s acceptance of an openly gay, and in fact a very sluttish, role in Happy Together was, I think, timed deliberately. He was in the process of drawing back the veil about himself. Hong Kong was gradually changing, opening up a little. It was time, he thought, to push the envelope. Wong Kar Wai’s art house films were as safe a way to do this as any. He was expected to be outrageous, off beat. In the event, the film had no adverse effect on Leslie or his career at all, rather it helped establish his position as an actor internationally.

Edwards-Stout: Cheung found happiness in his relationship with Daffy Tong, his childhood friend and later lover, who survived him in death. What made their relationship work?

Collett: Daffy was the rock on which Leslie stood. His mercurial talent needed a stable base from which to flourish. Daffy put up with it all, never let him down, never betrayed him, was always there to go back to. More than this, Daffy was a highly talented man, a financial expert who could manage their joint lives and relieve Leslie of all their worries. Daffy, too, was an elegant, very attractive man. They were opposites that made a whole.

Edwards-Stout: Battling depression, Cheung eventually took his own life. In your view, was this a result of years spent living in the closet, mental health issues, career challenges…?

Collett: There must have been things that sparked off the depression which killed Leslie, but we don’t really know what. It had to be something to do with his career, perhaps the attacks he’d received in his last world tour concerts, or his personal life, conflicted thoughts about his mother, maybe. Once it took hold, the depression was both physically and mentally debilitating, humiliating to a man who had always put such store by his abilities, looks and relationship with his public. It destroyed his life to such an extent that it was better to abandon all he loved and die rather than carry on. That point of blackness is inconceivable to anyone who has not gone through such mental pain. The effect of mental illness is still a taboo subject in Hong Kong, and Chinese society generally. Leslie’s life will help those families struggling with depression to know it can affect anyone, that it is just a medical condition, and that you have to get help.

Edwards-Stout: In life and death, Cheung has amassed a devoted following of fans. What do they gravitate to, and what legacy has he left them?

Collett: Leslie’s fans came to him through their love of his music and his performances on the screen, both large and small, but they stayed with him, and even now, over 11 years after his death, they stay with him because of his warmth, simplicity and humbleness of character. Leslie valued people for who they were, no matter how great or small their place in the world. He was kind, genuine, and generous. He touched each of the fans he came in contact with, and they love him still.

Nigel Collett’s Firelight of a Different Colour: The Life and Times of Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing can be found at Amazon and other fine booksellers. Originally posted on KerganEdwards-Stout.com.


On Twitter? Join a live TweetChat with me on Thurs. November 7th at 5PM EST

writers kaboodleThis Thursday November 7th I’ll be doing a live TweetChat with @SezoniWhitfield at 5PM EST.  To follow or jump in with a question, follow hashtag WritersKaboodle.  This is your chance to ask me anything! 🙂  And hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with my typing and keep my answers SHORT! 🙂


I’ll be on GSH Radio.com on Wednesday Nov. 6th at 3:10PM EST

GSHRadioHi everyone!  I’m happy to be invited to back on GSH Radio’s Rainbow Hour this Wednesday November 6th around 3:10PM EST.  I’ll be chatting with Victor and Greg about my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given, and tackling any crazy question they throw my way! Listen live at GSHRadio.com.


Thanks to Alina Oswald for the fun interview on my new book!

Alina OswaldI very much appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with photographer/author/activist Alina Oswald, whom I first met at the NYC Rainbow Book Fair in 2012.  She graciously interviewed me for her blog, which you can find here.

Here is an excerpt:

So, are any of the stories inspired by actual events? They capture everyday life with such finesse, readers may forget the tales are fiction and feel they are reading about their own lives.

Some were definitely inspired by real life.  As you know, my debut novel was loosely based on a partner who died from AIDS in 1995, and there is a story in the collection which was inspired by his final days in the hospital.  And even the stories which are completely fictional have some personal impetus, as they burst out from my creative conscience, and largely fall in line with my world views.  Many are about being respectful of each other, being authentic to who we are, showing compassion, and the importance of discovering and claiming our own unique place in the world.

What would you like readers to take from Gifts Not Yet Given?

My hope is that readers will find themselves touched by the characters…  They are a varied bunch, from young to old, gay and straight, of different religions and ethnicities, but emotionally we are all the same, driven by the same desires and needs.  I hope people connect to our shared humanity.

Check out the full interview here.  Thanks, Alina!


My Interview on GaySoulCast with Lichen Craig

FiresideI so appreciated the time author Lichen Craig took to chat with me about both my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given, and Songs for the New Depression as well. She had some great questions ready for me and the conversation flew by!

We barely got through a fraction of what she’d prepared and it sounds like I’ll be back for other chats with her in the future.  You can listen to the interview here and I look forward to our next exchange.  Lichen Craig can be found via her website, Twitter, and Facebook, and her debut novel, Gentlemen’s Game, can be found on Amazon and online booksellers everywhere!  Thanks, Lichen!


Thank You, Garrett Miller, for the Great Radio Interview!

Garrett Miller

I so enjoyed appearing tonight on  Garrett Miller‘s Rated G Radio.  We talked about everything from sex to Jack Black, parenting, condoms, Steven Fales, writing, my experience as chauffeur to Jennifer Beals, to my books (Songs for the New Depression and Gifts Not Yet Given) and more.  Lots of fun, and I hope you’ll give it a listen here!

Garrett’s radio show occurs Monday through Friday, 7PM Pacific/10PM Eastern and I think you’ll enjoy it.  He can be found on Facebook and Twitter as well as his website.  Thanks, Garrett!


Thanks to Top 2 Bottom Reviews for the Great Interview!

Ken HarrisonI really enjoyed reconnecting with publisher Ken Harrison, of Seventh Window Publications, whom I met at the 2012 Rainbow Book Fair in NYC. It was so nice of him to reach out to me about my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given, even though he didn’t release it himself!

Instead, we chatted about the book on Top 2 Bottom Reviews, and I hope you’ll visit their site for the full interview. Here is a brief snippet of our exchange:

“Edwards-Stout:  I wanted a book which conservative straight folks could read, and maybe have their eyes opened, while the LGBT community might read it and think, “At last, we’re included.”

Gifts Not Yet GivenHarrison:  What do you mean?

Edwards-Stout:  Well, the first story, The Nutcracker, is about a straight woman who has been career-obsessed her whole life, suddenly at a holiday office party finding herself wondering why.  And the next story, Festive Beaver, is about a young gay boy orchestrating his elementary school’s Mardi Gras celebration.  There’s something in it for everyone.”
Check out the rest at Top 2 Bottom Reviews!  Thanks, Ken!


A Great Interview by Jim Duke, Guide for Gay Living

Jim DukeI recently had the pleasure of chatting with Jim Duke, whose Guide for Gay Living podcast helps gay men navigate this crazy thing called life.  Not only was Jim a joy to talk with, but I think it is the most incisive look yet at who I am, my inspirations, and my evolution as a being. Intriguing questions, far beyond the usual “book talk.”  I hope you’ll give it a listen!   Check out the interview here!

Follow Jim Duke on twitter and on facebook.


Listen to Ramble Redhead on “Songs for the New Depression”!

Ramble RedheadI had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by Tom on Ramble Redhead.  Tom’s podcast hit over 500 episodes, which is a huge accomplishment, and I’m honored to be joining the long list of folks he’s interviewed.  We chatted about my novel, Songs for the New Depression, as well as a whole host of other topics, and I hope you’ll give it a listen here!

Ramble Redhead can also be followed on Twitter and Facebook!


Legendary Author Patricia Nell Warren: Ever the Front Runner

The Front RunnerI recall it as if it were yesterday: stepping inside the sprawling bookstore, which smelled faintly of dust; walking past the periodicals, where gay porn titles peeked at me ever-so-discretely from the uppermost row; crossing to the back of the store, reaching “my” row, and nervously looking about before finally stepping up to the shelves, above which hung a large sign, “Gay Studies.”  I felt uncomfortable standing beneath it, as it labeled not just the shelves, but my own burgeoning identity, and committing to this unfamiliar label so publicly felt entirely premature.  While the “Gay” part I understood, it was only years later that I realized the second part of the sign was equally true, as I was studying the world I would soon fully inhabit.

Coming out has changed greatly in the years since, but what I found through the books on that shelf provided for me the same reassurance as those emerging today seek;  through the stories, I learned I was not alone.  Novels by such authors as Larry Kramer, Armistead Maupin, Andrew Holleran, and Felice Picano filled me in on this mysterious world, where other men openly searched for love, but one book from that time stands out to me as unique, and resonated with me deeply.  Patricia Nell Warren’s groundbreaking novel The Front Runner follows coach Harlan Brown and his protégé Billy Sive as they discover love against the backdrop of the Olympics and a changing world.  As a young man myself, I had yet to find a book which spoke to my generation, and identified both with Brown, as he emerged from his more rigid, conservative environment, as well as Sive, who embodied the new, free spirited era, exploding on the horizon in front of me.

Prior to The Front Runner’s publication in 1974, Warren authored her first novel, The Last Centennial, published in 1971.  She had also published three volumes of Ukrainian poetry independently, as well as amassing a large body of unpublished work.  While the debut of The Front Runner introduced Warren to a new legion of fans, she was surprised to find that the book rankled some in the literary establishment, who were uncomfortable that such a seminal gay male romance had been written by a woman.  It didn’t seem to matter to them that she had come out in 1974 as a lesbian.  In the years following, however, Warren solidified her reputation in both the gay and literary worlds with continuations of The Front Runner saga (Harlan’s Race and Billy’s Boy), as well as novels The Fancy Dancer, The Wild Man, and The Beauty Queen, and non-fiction (including Lavender Locker Room and My West.)

The Fancy DancerWhether as an American writing Ukrainian poetry, a runner helping to usher women into the sport, a woman writing gay male fiction, or as a writer, taking control over her own work as publisher with Wildcat Press, Warren has long been a game changer, moving into uncharted waters and navigating them for others.  She graciously agreed to take time out from her busy schedule to talk with me about her body of work, issues facing the LGBT community, and the rewards and challenges of having written a literary classic.  As a bonus, she also reveals more about the prospects for the long-awaited The Front Runner movie, as well as the continuation of that tale in a fourth book.

Kergan Edwards-Stout:  Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me.  In reviewing your work, I became very curious as to the key, pivotal moments in your life.  What most shaped you and your journey?

Patricia Nell Warren:  It wasn’t so much a moment, but an experience, of being raised on a ranch in the West, at a very particular time.  So much of what we think of as LGBT literature is based on an urban worldview, but growing up in a rural setting, as I did, is very much a part of who I am today.  Looking back, now that I’m 76, that life gave me a very different viewpoint, as you’re living in a situation where, any day, there could be a storm that wipes out the wheat crop.  That kind of day-to-day existence is challenging, and in many ways, at heart, I’m still a ranch kid. In fact, I’m co-writing a book on that with my brother, called Kids on a Ranch.

Edwards-Stout:  Did you find it difficult, making connections with people in that kind of environment?

Warren:  Our ranch wasn’t that far from town.  We were close enough that we could walk, bicycle, or ride our horses into town, so we had lots of friends.  It wasn’t an isolating kind of life, but it was definitely a different life, with different jobs at home than the town kids, who may not have known one end of a horse from the other!

You had to take a very practical approach on how to handle things, which today has led me to have political impatience.  My dad used to say, “When your horse is caught in barbed wire, you don’t sit around making speeches.  You grab the wire cutters and get to work!”

Edwards-Stout:  Look at what has happened recently, with the Sandy Hook shooting(more…)


Out Indie Artist Matt Gold Learns He Must “Drown” Before He Can “Swim”

Matt GoldIn the not-so-distant past, gay musicians hid in the closet or played coy about their sexuality, but today’s artists are an entirely different breed.  For up and coming singer-songwriter Matt Gold, being gay may be a given, but is simply one more piece to his overall puzzle.  For Gold, inspiration is found in key moments from his life’s journey; they tell of growing up in a small town as an only child, of being adopted, the search for identity, and the experience of being abandoned, due to being gay.

Such themes and more are explored in Gold’s debut album, Drown Before You Swim.  Tellingly, in its CD format, the album is broken into two discs, “Drown” and “Swim,” balancing his darker and lighter elements within.  Gold recently took time to share more about his life, art, and the passions that fuel him.

Kergan Edwards-Stout:  Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Matt.  To begin, as your songwriting is so tied to your piano, how did you first come to play it?

Matt Gold:  Originally, I wanted to play the saxophone, but my mother was concerned that it could affect my mouth, especially as I needed braces.  So instruments in your mouth were out!  I tried the bass drum, bells, xylophone, and finally settled on the piano–but only took a month’s worth of lessons before I quit.

What made you quit?

I was really frustrated at my inability to learn it as quickly as I wanted, but, more importantly, I realized that improvisation was really my style.  I love taking music out of the expected and making it my own.  I played piano in church for a long time, and those are very structured, by nature.  But with hymns and ballads, particularly, you can do so much more than what is written on the page.

Was religion important to you, or was playing in church just what was expected? (more…)


The Rainbow Hour: An Interview with Kergan Edwards-Stout

I’m so thankful to GSHRadio’s Rainbow Hour for including me on yesterday’s show, in honor of World AIDS Day.  What fun, to follow the hysterical “America’s #1 Tupperware salesgal” Dixie Longate!  The hosts, Victor, Otto, Gregory, Steve, and I chat about HIV/AIDS, my novel, as well as my piece on Huffington Post, “Please Defriend Me,” which has had almost 130,000 facebook likes.

My section starts at 48:28! 🙂

Thank you all!


Q&A with Marten Weber, Author of “Benedetto Casanova” and “Bodensee”

While readers of gay fiction may be familiar with author Marten Weber due to his best-selling novel Benedetto Casanova: The Memoirs, over the years he has crafted many a tale, with each set in unique and varied places and times.  He graciously took the time to answer some questions as to his work, writing process, and issues with which the LGBT community grapples.

With tales as disparate as Benedetto Casanova (a fictionalized memoir set in Italy), The Almost Unbelievably Curious Case of Jeremiah Hudgejaw: America’s First Gay Wedding (set at the beginning of the last century), Shayno (a tale of mid-life crisis set in Silicon Valley), as well as your new title, Bodensee (sci-fi), it seems you’re intent on covering every place and genre under the sun!  What guides your decision of what to write next?

I think most genres in modern literature have become very stale and narrow. Every new best-selling thriller out there seems follows the same formula. Writers spend too much time copying television shows and learning from bad teachers in overpriced writing courses. I want to bring a new approach to each genre. I’d like to show that it can be done differently, outside the established boundaries.  Not every crime novel has to read like CSI in book form. Luckily, I don’t have the pressures of a publisher’s money-making machine behind me, so I can write what and how I want, and experiment.

What commonalities does your work share?

Most of my writing starts with specific aspects of relationships between men, but I then put them in whatever setting I want. Bodensee may be science fiction, but it’s also an attempt to merge sci-fi into the context of a 19th century literary tradition.

What’s more, I’m not very comfortable with the idea of genres at all. These categories were invented by book-sellers so they knew which shelf to put a book on. Authors shouldn’t care about them.  You’ll find that most of my books cross boundaries. I’m working on a crime novel now which will have neither murderers nor police inspectors as major characters, nor a traditional investigation. So most publishers would say that doesn’t quality as a ‘whodunnit.’

(more…)


Author Spotlight: David G. Hallman

When I lost a partner to AIDS in 1995, I immediately found myself adrift in a sea of ever-changing emotions, which with I wasn’t yet equipped to deal. I didn’t have the tools needed to properly channel and process my chaotic state, until I tried writing about my experience. Author David G. Hallman suffered a similar loss when his partner of 30 years was diagnosed with cancer, only to die just two weeks later. He too used writing as a way to explore his emotional state, and that commonality helped us forge a friendship when we were fortunate enough to finally meet at the Rainbow Book Fair in New York. His memoir, August Farewell, details the death of his partner to cancer and was noted by The Advocate magazine as one of the 21 Biographies or Memoirs You Should Read Now, calling his novel Searching for Gileadan honest examination of questions about God, injustice, love, and death.” It was a pleasure to speak with him recently about his life and journey to author-hood.

Kergan Edwards-Stout: Hi David. Nice to talk to you again.

David G. Hallman: Good to connect with you too, Kergan. The last time was over martinis in New York after the Rainbow Book Fair! I remember getting fortified so I’d be in good shape for the Black Party that night.

KES: Yes, the rest of us were a bit in awe that you were heading out to dance all night after being at the book fair all day!

DGH: Well, I’m not a father of two kids like you and your partner, Russ. That takes an impressive amount of energy. I bow to you in the personal stamina department.

KES: As you mention stamina, you’ve been through quite an emotionally exhausting journey. While you’d written other books prior, you wrote your memoir, August Farewell, after the dramatic death of your partner, Bill, from cancer. When you began writing, was it as a cathartic outlet or were you intending it to be a book?

DGH: I never intended anyone else to see it. Bill was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in August 2009 and died two weeks later. After it was over, I started panicking that I would forget the details of those excruciating, intimate, heart-wrenching, spiritual, god-awful sixteen days that were, at times, punctured by Bill’s uproarious sense of humor. So I started writing the story of those days and spontaneously began integrating vignettes from our thirty-three years together. I wrote nonstop for six weeks. But I only did it so that I could have that record to go back to and relive our time together in the years to come. Just like how we treasure photo albums.

KES: Why did you decide to publish it? (more…)


ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Glenn Gaylord – Director of “I Do,” “Eating Out 3,” & Screenwriter of “Leave It On the Floor”

Throughout my life, I’ve met a great many people. Some stay, some go, some are remarkable, some not…  But one of the constants has been the unforgettable Glenn Gaylord, who I first met over 20 years ago when we both volunteered at AIDS Project Los Angeles.  He has charisma and wit to spare, and takes on each task, whether educating people about HIV or directing an actor in a laborious sex scene, with unbridled enthusiasm.

Glenn is a noted director, having helmed the new indie hit I Do, which is receiving accolades and awards at gay film festivals around the world, as well as the gay cult fave Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat.  Prior to I Do, Glenn wrote the screenplay and lyrics for the musical film Leave It On the Floor, which also received great acclaim, and is newly out on DVD.

Recently, Glenn took a break from his busy schedule to share with me more about his films, his life, and his views on the gay community.

Glenn, thanks for taking the time to chat!  First of all, congratulations on your new film, I Do, which I’m hearing great things about.  What can you tell us about it?

I Do is an intense romantic drama about a gay English man in New York who, despite wanting to stay to help raise his niece, faces an expired visa.  He marries his lesbian best friend, Ali, played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler of The Sopranos fame, but things get complicated fast when he meets and falls for a sexy Spaniard.  The film touches upon some very profound issues of our time, the Defense of Marriage Act, and how even though gay people can get married in certain states in this country, immigration is a federal right.  So even if a gay person legally marries someone, it doesn’t grant citizenship because of DOMA.  All told, despite its hot button topicality, this is the very human story about a man who has to decide who’s life he’s living. (more…)


Author Spotlight: Drake Braxton

I love discovering fresh literary talent, particularly in the genre of gay fiction, and was pleased when Seventh Window Publications introduced me to one of their new authors, Drake Braxton.  His debut novel, MISSING, is a fun and sexy read, detailing what happens when a happily married man journeys to the Deep South for a 20 year high school reunion, only to find that his husband has mysteriously disappeared.  Part romance, part suspense, MISSING takes readers on a fast paced ride, with twists you never see coming.

Drake Braxton took the time to engage in an interview via email, sharing more about his inspiration, gay literature, and his debut novel, MISSING.

Thanks for taking the time to “chat”, Drake!  Tell me about MISSING.  How did the story originate?

Most stories have a strange place where they start and this one, as cliché as it sounds, was a real dream. I awoke in a panic, full of fear and sadness, as I’d dreamt that I had attended a reunion with my other half and he disappeared. My goal was to recreate that horrible feeling in the early part of this book.

Your lead character, Blain Harrington, has many issues he is dealing with, which I won’t go into, as I don’t want to ruin any surprises.  But how did he come into being?  What was your impetus for his character?

Blain is someone so different from me and yet, I’m sure there are parts of me in all of my characters. He wants desperately to be the good guy in the relationship, but he is deeply flawed and has done things in his past that haunt his current relationship. I also wanted to show a character that gets on a soapbox about how people are so judgmental towards gays and yet he has judgments of others based on their education, intelligence, background…a little Shakespearean book snob.

While MISSING isn’t strictly a romance, it also isn’t strictly a suspense novel, either.  It straddles the two genres quite well.  Were you aware, when you began the book, that it wasn’t quite one or the other?

I love reading books that are not afraid to mix genres–that have sensual moments that propel the story, but also other moments of great romance or suspense. I needed to unravel the past romance of these two men and that led to twists and turns I did not expect.  Interestingly enough, a few years ago, an LGBT publisher really wanted to publish the book, but only if I changed it to be a “true mystery.” I couldn’t do it. And in hindsight, I’m glad I waited and that Seventh Window has took the chance with the book.

Given the genre-bending, who is your reader?  To what kind of person would MISSING appeal?

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Chapters and Chats Interviews Kergan Edwards-Stout, Author of “Songs for the New Depression”

Chapters and Chats is a fun blog focused on authors and reading.   Jodi does a great job both in leading readers to terrific books, but in interviewing authors as well.  I was flattered she both gave my book a glowing review, but took the time to interview me as well.  You can check out the full interview at her site, but here are a few of my favorite questions and answers:

C&C: First let me say what an honor it is to have read your book as well as the chance to interview such a skilled author. With your writing, directing, volunteer work and being a father and spouse how do you juggle everything successfully?

Thank you so much for the opportunity to discuss my work! I really appreciated your review of the book, and love it when a reader or critic “gets it!” As far as your question, juggling it all is a struggle, and the biggest reason I don’t write more. It is tough to do it all, and in my life, our kids come first–even if that means my next book will have to wait.

C&C: At what point did your sons Mason and Marcus realize you are incredibly talent and celebrated with many awards? How do they react?

(Laughing.) Well, I’m not sure they think I’m talented! I won’t let them read “Songs for the New Depression” until they’re older, due to some racy bits, but they are very proud of my accomplishments. When it’s won awards or gotten great reviews, the kids have done a family toast at dinner, which is really all the acclaim I need.

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Book Pleasures Interviews Kergan Edwards-Stout

I enjoyed being interviewed by Joseph Valentinetti at Book Pleasures recently, as he asked a lot of fun questions most people don’t.  Check out the interview on the Book Pleasures site, or see below for a taste!

Joseph: Here’s some fun questions to start. At least they’re fun for me. What is the most overrated virtue?

Kergan: Chastity. But I’m not telling my kids that.

Joseph: What is the one thing other people always seem to get wrong about you?

Kergan: Until the publication of my novel, I’m not sure anyone thought there was as much going on in my head as there actually is. Most folks just saw me as a “gay dad.”

Joseph:  If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?

Kergan:  I would erase the divide between the have and have not’s.

Joseph:  What pet peeve do you have about other people?

Kergan:  Wastefulness. Whether it is food, water, resources, or–for writers–words.

Joseph:  Is there any occasion when it’s OK to lie?

Kergan:  The trite answer is to say that it is alright to lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. But, as I grow older and–hopefully–wiser, I’m not entirely sure even that is justified.

Joseph:  Tell us your philosophy of writing?

Kergan:  Write from the heart and let the words flow.

Joseph:  Is your writing an art or craft or some combination of both?

Kergan:  I think of writing as an art, which is more passionate and emotional. Too often, writers treat it more as craft, making sure every syllable is perfectly placed, but–to me–that kind of perfectionism usually robs the writing of its soul.

Joseph:  If you could go back ten years and give yourself one piece of advice what would that advice be?

Kergan:  “It doesn’t get any better. Life is harder than you think it will be. The trick is to find the joy, even amongst the rubble.”

Joseph:  What’s the name and genre of you book?

Kergan:  My debut novel is entitled Songs for the New Depression, though it is neither a song, nor inordinately depressing. It is a work of literary fiction, along the lines of a Michael Cunningham book, but mixed with the humor of Augusten Burroughs.

Joseph:  Who is the audience for this book?

Kergan:  I believe the book is for everyone, as the themes of love, longing, sex, and redemption are very universal. But if you ask my publisher, the primary audience is the LGBT community and straight women, as the themes seem to resonate strongly for both audiences.

Joseph:  Describe your protagonist and describe the challenges the protagonist needs to overcome and the motivation for overcoming them.

Kergan:  Set prior to the HIV drugs we now have, Gabriel is a gay man facing death, and wondering how the choices he’s made have led him to this point. Blessed with beauty and a sharp wit, Gabe has–more often than not–used words as a weapon, to keep others from getting close. Now, he’s facing the ramifications of such behavior, scrambling to make amends to those he has wronged. In particular, to find peace, he needs to reconcile an incident which, while it occurred long ago, continues to haunt him.

Joseph:  Quote a passage from your book that you love and elaborate on the meaning of the passage .

Kergan:  “James Baldwin once wrote that Americans lack a sense of doom, yet here I stand.” Over 12 years ago, that line popped into my head. At the time, I didn’t know who was speaking it, its context, or where it would lead, but that one line is now the opening sentence of my novel.

Joseph:  What surprising things did you learn while writing this book?

Kergan:  I think, most surprisingly of all, I learned that I am actually a writer. When I was younger, I would’ve never imagined that this could have been a career option, but here I am!

Joseph:  How has your upbringing influenced you writing?

Kergan:  My upbringing and life experiences have helped define my voice as a writer, so that everything I write has a certain shared sensibility.

Joseph:  Where do you live and how does that influence your writing?

Kergan:  I live in Southern California, and I think that kind of “laid back” attitude influences my writing style. I don’t obsess over every notation. While at times poetic, my writing is much more of a dialogue with the reader, putting all of my characters thoughts onto the page. And I think that “accessibility” is definitely influenced by my location.

Joseph:  Do you prefer fermented or distilled?

Kergan:  I’m drinking chardonnay right now.

Joseph:  Thanks once again and good luck with your book.

 


Kergan Edwards-Stout and Gregory G. Allen in The Advocate!

A special thank you to the staff of The Advocate Magazine for featuring Gregory G. Allen (author of Well With My Soul) and I in an interview on our commonalities and differences. It was a lot of fun to do, and I appreciate the opportunity!

Read the full interview here!


Author Spotlight: Ken Howard, LCSW

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ken Howard since our days together at UCLA, many moons ago.  Since then, he has gone on to become a renowned therapist in Los Angeles, and has written a book, Self-Empowerment: Have the Life You Want, which I’ve been hearing terrific things about. Ken was gracious enough to answer a few questions about his book and work.  Welcome, Ken! 

Q & A: Ken Howard, LCSW

Thank you for taking the time to chat!  First of all, congratulations on your new book, which is getting great buzz.  What prompted you to write it?

I get great inspiration from self-help books written by others, and have done this both before and after I became a therapist.  I recommend books to my clients, depending on their situation, as an adjunct resource between sessions.  But most self-help books aren’t written by actual licensed psychotherapists who are currently in full-time private practice, as I am.  So I decided to write a self-help book for a general adult audience based on my 18 years of experience in practice at the time of the writing (now 20 years).  I wanted to bring my message of inspiration, hope, and support to more people than I can possibly see in my office in a week.  It’s also, I believe, the first self-help book for a general audience written by an openly gay, openly HIV-positive author, so I’m proud of that.

I know that much of your psychotherapy work has been within the gay community, but I understand this book has a larger reach.  What can people hope to gain by reading it?

This is a book for people who are struggling what I call the gap between how life is, and how you would like it to be, in important areas of life such as mental health, health, career, relationships, finances, family, community, and spirituality.  The main benefit is that it helps people feel empowered – self-empowered, hence the name – to confront their challenges, and take their quality of life to the next level.

Each chapter of the book – which corresponds to those different life areas – includes ways to empower yourself, a list of common challenges that get in the way (and what to do about them), and a “case study” vignette of how someone  from my practice actually put these ideas into practice (altered to protect their confidentiality).  This way, you look at things from all sides.

I was moved to become a therapist when I was younger and just coming out as a gay man, and many of the people I knew, or at least knew of, were affected by AIDS, or even dying from it.  I couldn’t just sit around and watch; I had to do something.  I developed a niche in working in HIV, but also with gay men who don’t have HIV, along with others with psychiatric disorders, since I have specialized training in those (Depression, OCD, ADD, PTSD, etc.).  Today, my practice is still largely made up of gay men.  Being in West Hollywood, I also see a lot of creative professionals from the entertainment industry, who are straight, gay, male, female, older and younger.  With this book, I wanted to share some of the lessons on self-empowerment developed in my practice with a broader audience beyond the gay community. (more…)