Authors of Note: Anike Bay was originally published December 2012.GIRLS LIKE US! Part 2 will premiere at The Harold Washington Cultural Center (4701 S. King Drive in Chicago) on Saturday October 19th Girls Like Us! Part 1 will be released to DVD on October 22 to order the DVD click here
Anike Bay’s “GIRLS LIKE US!”
Anike Bay is an up-and-coming lesbian author born and raised in Chicago. Her books “GIRLS LIKE US! Seasons 1 – 4,” is a dramatic series which follows about the adventures of a bisexual female lawyer. It is being adapted for the big screen by Chicago filmmaker Coquie Hughes. She also wrote “LITTLE IRIS’ FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL” a children’s book she penned in only 45 minutes in a parked car at the mall while waiting for a friend! Bay, who earned a BA in Political Science and is currently working on a Masters in Public Policy Administration, hopes to go into politics. She counts Terry McMillan, Robert Lipsyte and Dick Gregory as authors that have had the most influence on her style as a writer. PrideIndex had a chance to catch up with the rising star to get the lowdown.
PRIDEINDEX: How long have you been writing?
ANIKE BAY: 8 years to be exact I wrote my first children’s story entitled, “LITTLE IRIS’ FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL,” on notebook paper in 2003, and then I self-published it in 2008 under Iris Montgomery-Ilori my real name, Anike B is used for my LGBT genre books Girls Like Us series only.
PI: Tell us about your earliest memories of writing?
AB: My earliest memories of writing started back in 2003, while sitting in a parked car at a shopping mall waiting on a friend to return to the vehicle, I wrote “LITTLE IRIS’ FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL,” and I wrote it in 45 minutes. Now, upon her return to vehicle, I wasn’t aware that I had written it in 45 minutes, but she quickly told me so. (LAUGHS) I read the story that I had written on paper to her and she laughed and laughed, and she laughed, when she finished laughing she said,” Iris, you need to publish that story that’s funny!” Well, back then I was little bit hard headed, so I didn’t exactly listen to her. In fact, I put my book in a storage bin for the next five years and kept going on with my life that I thought was so groovy! Five years went by and 2008 came upon me, and I was still working the same job and living the same life that I had been living all time long. That’s when reality had sat in and it sat in a big way. I knew deep in my heart that I needed more out of life than what I was getting, so I finally took the initiative and self – published my book, ‘LITTLE IRIS’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL,” which turned out to be a good thing. Now, I got a book deal!
PI: Why did you write GIRLS LIKE US in different seasons?
AB: I was inspired by Tyler Perry! Well, I was working on “GIRLS LIKE US! Season 1,” when I read somewhere in a magazine that he had written 100 episodes for “Meet the Browns.” Well, I thought to myself,” Hey, that’s pretty cool what he did and all, but I can do that too!” So, I started writing “GIRLS LIKE US!” as if it was a drama series and here we are 32 episodes and 3 seasons later…I’m currently working on my next ten episodes. Now, that’s what’s up!
PI: What inspired you to write “GIRLS LIKE US!?”
AB: Well, with me being openly gay, and a fan of Queer as Folks, The L-Word, and Noah’s Ark. It wasn’t hard to notice that there wasn’t a drama series about African American women on TV/Cable TV. I knew that I couldn’t afford to put one there, so I decided to create one via book in hopes of turning it into a cable drama series one day.
Well, that was then, but now at the current time “GIRLS LIKE US! Season 1”screenplay is being written by Coquie “Theillest” Hughes a hot movie director (MY MAMA SAID YO MAMMA”S A DYKE) in Chicago and we’re looking to premiere it next year at a theater near you. (LAUGHS)
PI: Regarding the main character Keisha, and the other characters in the “GIRLS LIKE US!‘ how did you develop them; were they based on real people?
AB: None of the characters are based off real people; I made them all up. I have a vivid imagination.
PI: How did you meet Coquie Hughes?
AB: I first met Producer/Director Coquie Hughes via a telephone conversation. I was introduced to Coquie by my friend author/model and co-producer Milon Parker. I was personally introduced to Coquie at her and Milon’s movie “THE LIES WE TELL BUT THE SECRETS WE KEEP,” which premiered last summer during Chicago’s Black Gay Pride.
PI: Who will play Keisha in the film?
AB: We haven’t decided who will play Keisha in “GIRLS LIKE US! Season 1” we have not had a casting yet. Trust and believe me when I tell you whoever plays her will be a sophisticated, intelligent and very very beautiful young lady!
PI: How has your experiences growing up on Chicago’s Southside influenced GIRLS LIKE US!?
AB: I would have to say that growing up on the South Side of Chicago didn’t influence the GIRLS LIKE US story line at all. It was most definitely the Lesbian relationships that I’ve experienced in my lifetime that had the greatest influences on me writing the GIRLS LIKE US drama series. I mean, any woman whose ever been in a lesbian relationship knows that lesbian relationships are emotional, challenging, and must be nurtured in order to succeed. Trust me living the lesbian lifestyle has influenced me the most as far as the GIRLS LIKE US series.
PI: When does Season 4 come out?
AB: I’m looking for GIRLS LIKE US! Season 4 to be released in June 2012.
PI: Name at least 3 people who have most influenced your artistic style as a writer?
AB: Terry McMillan, I love all of her books and it’s not because she’s my birthday buddy. Robert Lipsyte: I love his writing style and my favorite book he’s written is entitled, “The Contender.” Dick Gregory: I really enjoyed reading his book as well especially his autobiography entitled, “Nigger,” which he co-wrote with Robert Lipsyte
PI: I understand that you’re a writer of children’s book, tell us more about that.
AB: Well, as I mentioned earlier, “LITTLE IRIS’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL,” is actually the story I wrote in 45 minutes while sitting in a parked car at the mall. Five years later in 2008, I self published it, pitched it around to a lot of publishers, and then I finally got a book deal in 2010. Now, my new children’s book release date is scheduled for December 27th 2012 all around the world!
PI: According to your Facebook page you intend on running for public office someday please expound.
AB: Well, I’ve always been interested in Chicago politics. I grew up in Chicago and Election Day has always been a big deal. It was so much excitement over that one day (Election Day) that’s what inspired me to want to learn more about city politics particularly Chicago Politics! So, I went away to Eastern Illinois University to get an education after high school, and I chose to study and earn a Bachelor of Art degree in Political Science. I love politics! Now, I’m working on my Masters of Public Administration and Public Policy, and after that, I’ll make a decision about my political future
PI: What’s next for you?
AB: Besides spending 2012 traveling around the States promoting my book entitled, “LITTLE IRIS’ FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL,” and filming “GIRLS LIKE US! Season 1” in hopes of bringing it to the big screens for Chicago’s Gay Black Pride in June 2010 for the ladies, and taking a few more graduate classes at Governors State University working hard towards my Masters. I would have to say that my plate is full. (LAUGHS)
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