Monday, September 14, 2009


Do you ever get tired of reading gay novels about the same old scenarios? Gay guy meets other gay guy, they fall in love somehow a women falls into the picture and she ends up sleeping with the top/vers and the other guy who is usually the bottom/vers is dealing with sharing his man with her, very gay soap opera and I for one love these types of books; however lets spice things up a bit. Now with the art of reading I recommend that we read all kinds of literature, and here recently True Blood and Twilight have been all the rage for mainstream America and there is a new author in town that is delivering gay vampire suspense that will leave readers out of breath. Kenan Gilmore from Memphis, TN, recently wrote an amazing novel that puts “Vampire in Brooklyn” to shame, here is what he had to say about his passion for writing, what inspired him to tackle gay blood sucking, and how it is to be gay in Tennessee.

Who is Kenan Gilmore?
-Well, I’m just an ordinary guy with a massive imagination. I’m a Realtor and have been a long time Real Estate fanatic. Instead of going outside on the weekends when I was younger, I would stay in and watch the showcase of luxury homes for sale on TV. I’m new to the Board of Directors for the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center and I’m working hard to influence the young, black-gay community. I’m a writer at heart and “Is This Him?” is the first to be published.

So tell me about your first book?
-Hmm… Well, I hadn’t read any good breath taking suspense novels by us (meaning young black gay community) for us. I wanted something that would not be predictable and that would also keep you at the edge of your seat. I did something else that I hadn’t seen a lot of by adding a sci-fi twist that the reader totally doesn’t see coming. It does have some fierce sex scenes so caution is advised… Camron is the lead character and his life was either centered on friends that lie to him or his parents lying to him. He didn’t really know what his parents had hidden from him until he went to Atlanta for his friend’s birthday celebration and met the love of his life.

What made you decide that you wanted to write a book?
-I wanted something that was different, hip and relatable with a fantasy that we all can relate to. I’ve been writing all my life and let my Mom and Grandma tell it… I was bound to get published sooner or later. I just thank God it was sooner!

How was the publishing process?
-Well, lets just say that it was one that I won’t forget. I was initially told that the review before acceptance could take up to 2 months but I got a call 3 days after I submitted the manuscript.

What was your largest inspiration for creating your novel?
-My largest inspiration was James Earl Hardy. I appreciated his work because he gave us the more urban side of things which was mostly relatable to me and those of my generation. Another inspiration was the fact that so many people say that the young guys don’t read and that we can’t and won’t make anything of ourselves. I had to let them know by example that there are ones who are rocketing off in many different ways.

What is your fascination with vampires?
-Ha… I wouldn’t say that it’s a fascination but more so a fantasy of many. I actually started work on this book before the Twilight saga started and I was uncertain on how it would be received but after Twilight… I knew it would be a success! Come on, how many black and gay vampire novels have you read? I love stories like those and I would like them even better if it were more relatable to me. Black, Gay, Hip and Steamy! I packed it with all of those things for the readers out there like myself!

How has the LGBT community embraced you as an author?
-The love is greater than I would have imagined! I’ve gotten a lot of good reviews and I’ve had people to thank me for giving them that fix through reading the book. Now, I did get some negative reviews claiming the black-gay community wasn’t ready for fantasy like this…and my response was “Why the hell not?”

How has living in Memphis affected your writing career?

-I will say that it’s hard to find those opportunities here in Memphis, but it’s not at all impossible. I plan to aid in changing that by being on the Board and MGLCC. I want to tap into the talents of our locals GLBT community and find ways to showcase our writers, actors, singers…everything. I think that something can only affect your career if you let it. If you have a missile to launch with clear sky above…why let what’s going on around you stop you, when your goal is to reach the sky? I love Memphis and all things are possible if you try.

How has your life changed since your book was released?
-My faith grew stronger! I’ve always been the type of person to push and pull people to have faith in themselves and in God… so when the book was published, it showed me that my words and faith weren’t in vain. I’ve also become more outgoing versus the quiet and shy person that I was before. I figure, I can’t sell myself or my work if I’m afraid to talk and be seen.

Who has been your largest supporter so far?
-I would have to say my family. They have really been there for me.

What can we expect next from you in your career?
-God willing, I will have “His Love/My Pain” out within the next few months. It’s a suspense/thriller surrounding 2 lovers. An agreement to allow “playtime” outside the relationship leads to a lot of pain and drama… Keep in mind, I like to keep my readers guessing, so if you think you know what kind of drama…you have no idea. I would also like to make my acting debut soon! I’ve always had a passion for acting, so I guess I’m also an aspiring actor. After my next book, I really want to pursue the acting realm of my heart.

What is the hottest Memphis nightlife spot?
-If you are looking for hip-hop with a club setting, 901 Complex! If you like the techno scene, I would say Backsteet. For a nice lounge type of setting, I would suggest Side Street Grill, Dish, or Quetzel.

What does Memphis offer for the LGBT community?
-We have the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Center which has a vast array of services for us in the city. We have different sports leagues and we have more social places than ever for the LGBT community outside of the night clubs.

Does Memphis embrace the LGBT culture?
-Well, I have to say that Memphis has come a long way. I’ll just say that I’m supporting the current battle for Workplace Equality. The Non Discrimination Ordinance is one that we are hoping will help with discrimination to the GLBT community. Currently there isn’t a law that would protect a person who was turned away from an employment opportunity for being gay, bi, lesbian or transgendered.

If you could change one thing about the gay scene what would it be?
-Honestly… I would love to change our community’s outlook of it’s self! There is a mad separation and judgment going on amongst ourselves and I want us to start embracing each other. We should open our eyes to the main thing that keeps us down, which so often, can be us!

Where can we see your work, contact you, and stay up to date on all your work?
You guys can keep up with me on my site, Contact me through the site, send me feedback and any support is appreciated!

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