Best selling author, publisher, and activist JL King has been appeared in hundreds of publications all over the world. King’s first book On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of ‘Straight’ Black Men Who Sleep With Men spent nearly a year on the New York Times Best Sellers List and lead to a memorable appearance on The Oprah WInfrey Show.
King’s latest venture The African American LGBT Literary Society, is scheduled to launch sometime in November. PrideIndex.com has learned that King will revisit The Oprah Winfrey Show in a taped interview on Thursday October 7. He will be in Chicago on Sunday October 10 for an appearance at B.BLYSS! Productions’ Ascend: A Literary Arts and Jazz Series for LGBTQA Men & Women at OneSixtyOne located at 1251 W. Taylor from 5:00PM-10:00PM.
PRIDEINDEX: Where are you originally from and where do you currently reside?
JL KING: I currently live in Atlanta, GA but grew up in Springfield, OH until high school. I have lived all over the country and abroad but my favorite place is New York City; I love Brooklyn where my son lives.
PI: What is your earliest memory of being a writer?
JL: Ever since I was 7 years old I loved to read and wanted to write books. I’ve always loved telling my kids bedtime stories that I made up. I knew that I would be a great writer because I am a great story teller. To be a great author, you have to be able to tell stories.
PI: Where did you find the inspiration for writing each book?
JL: I’ve written 10 books each one has a strong message and my inspiration for each was to teach and educate.
PI: How do you identify and nurture ideas for new projects?
JL: I pray a lot. I ask God to give me ideas and then provide me with the people, money and skills to make them happen.
PI: Could you share some of your thoughts on your upcoming project(s)?
JL: Where do I start? I am on a mission to turn 100 black writers into best selling authors. I want to use my experience as a New York Times best selling author to help aspiring writers. That’s the primary reason I started my pubishing company www.jlkingpublishing.com. I’m making a TV movie about my life. I will be touring abroad speaking on the subject of relationship and how to forgive your man if he was on the DL and I’m also working with my ex-wife on a new book and a tour. I want to retire in the next few years and move to Paris for a year doing nothing but shopping, eating, and falling in love a couple of times. (Smiles)
PI: Tell us about any notable challenges and how you overcame them?
JL: Learning how to accept that I am gay was hard. But, I did it and I am a better man for it. My motto is, who you sleep with doesn’t define who you are as a man. My life is more than my sexual orientation. I don’t want to waste my life trying to convenience folk who hate me because I am gay. Too each his own and do you boo is what I tell folks. (LOL)
PI: When you appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show several years ago to discuss the DL Phenomena many African American gay men believed that you were squarely placing the blame on them for the increased rate of infection of the AIDS/HIV virus among black women, what is your response to those charges?
JL: I have never, ever, said anything about gay men. I have always (and still stand firm) that men who are bisexual, not gay men, put our sisters and mothers at greater risk when they have unprotected sex outside of their relationships, and especially if they are having random sex with many other men without a condom. I have been clear on stating that I am not talking about gay men who only have protected sex with other men. (Smiles).
PI: What is the biggest misconception about you or your work?
JL: I am misunderstood; you have to get to know me, to love me. Most people, who say they don’t like me later changed their minds after they met me. They change their tune and say that I was one of the nicest men they’d ever met.
PI: Do you believe African American and /or LGBT authors have an obligation to the African American and/or LGBT community? Why or why not?
JL: An obligation to do what? My only obligation is to write great books that everyone will enjoy.
PI: I understand that you’re the head of your own company which mentors and represents new writers, tell us more about that.
JL: My publishing company JL King Publishing is my passion. I love using my experiences through my company to help new and established authors who want to have bigger success. I can proudly say that my team is made up of the best and most talented individuals and our goal is not be the biggest, but the best!
PI: What’s playing in your CD player?
JL: I have several independent artist from London that I enjoy listening too. And I keep Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye and others in both my car and home players.
PI: Name 3 books and CDs everyone should own?
JL: Books: Conversations with God’s Vol , The Game and How to Play It (written and published in 1884) and On The Down Low by me (Smiles). And everyone should own Amazing Grace by Aretha Franklin, it can get you through any problems that you’re going through.
PI: There’s a rumor circulating that you are planning to produce either a stage play or a feature film based off characters from your book, is there any truth to these rumors?
JL: Yes I am talking to a major network about producing a story based on my book On the Down Low.
PI: What advice would you offer an aspiring writer?
JL: Call me and let me help you make it happen for you. I will utilize my clout in the publishing business to make it easier and fun to get published. My team will do more for you than any other publishing company. Also I would advise an aspiring writer to do your homework and to make sure you understand that to write and publish a book takes time, determination and lots of money.
For more information on B.BLYSS! Productions’ Ascend: A Literary Arts and Jazz Series for LGBTQA Men & Women visit www.ascendlitartjazz.eventbrite.com,