Name, Gender, Birthplace:
Blair Robert Poole. Male. Pittsburgh, PA. However, I’ve been a Jersey boi for almost 20 years.
Current or most recent project(s):
My latest literary work, which also happens to be my first literary work, is a novella, entitled Breathe. Breathe is not a down low (DL) story like Asante Kahari’s Homothug or J.L. King’s On The Down Low. It is a realistic portrayal of a young black male’s experience “coming out” in an urban environment and facing his family, friends, and community.
The book was released in November 2005 through my publishing house, Burrow Publishing, LLC. I chose this subject matter because I feel that it is an important issue and an area of concern not just in the African-American community but in all communities. I wanted to write a book that was real and honest, but also entertaining without taking away from the seriousness of the subject matter. At its core, Breathe is about strength, pride, acceptance, self-respect, love, and survival.
Earliest memory of being a writer and first publication experience?
My earliest memory of being a writer is five years old. I was an only child, and I remember whenever I didn’t get what I wanted or I felt like I was being treated unfairly, I would get a piece of paper and a pencil and start writing.
My first book was published through my publishing house in November 2005. I didn’t try to solicit any publishing houses or agents. Prior to starting my own business, I had worked in the legal field and in entertainment (film and music). I worked in both an artist capacity and a business/legal affairs capacity, and saw firsthand what the business is really like. Therefore, I decided that I wanted complete financial and creative autonomy.
How do you identify and nurture ideas for new projects?
Ideas just come to me spontaneously. I could be lying in bed at night, hanging out in a club, or getting ready for work in the morning. If I really like the idea, I’ll start writing, and if I feel like it is developing well, I’ll keep writing.
Authors/writers/performers or others that have influenced your artistic style?
I receive great support from family, friends, and members of the LGBT community, and
their words inspire me to keep writing and to continue developing good storylines.
Although she is not an author per se, Mariah Carey is a great lyricist and songwriter, and has influenced my writing style. Her songs are vivid and poetic. She can capture a moment in a single word, and that’s how I write. I don’t write paragraphs of superfluous material to pad my story or to increase my word count. If I can capture something in a sentence or two, I will. I don’t like fluff.
On the other side of the spectrum, I enjoy programs produced by Alan Ball. (He is the creator and Executive Producer of Six Feet Under.) Although some of his works are perceived as morbid and abstract, I enjoy the way he and his writers develop and execute their stories.
2-3 books or CDs that everyone should own:
Native Son – Richard Wright
Invisible Life – E. Lynn Harris
Othello – Shakespeare
Because they’re great written works!
My thoughts on LGBGT authors’ obligation to the LGBT community?
“Obligation” is vague and ambiguous; you have to define what that “obligation” is. However, in a broad sense, I feel that no one has an “obligation” to another person other than a parent to his/her child and a committed couple to each other.
However, as an author who is both African-American and gay, I do feel that it is important to give back to your community in some form, but it’s not a requirement. I also believe that because a person may be African-American and/or gay, you don’t have to present works with African-American and/or LGBT themes or characters. By being an author or artist who is African-American and gay, you are automatically representing despite the type of work you create or the type of audience who purchases your book.
Advice for aspiring writers?
If you are a writer who wants to be in the publishing business or a published author, then be pro-active and aggressive. You have to also keep the faith and keep writing, and everything will fall into place.
Preview of my upcoming project(s):
The follow-up to Breathe is currently scheduled to be released in Fall 2006. Also, my company will start accepting manuscript submissions in Spring 2006.