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4.18.2010

The Process 2.8: Pop Life

Looking at this picture brings me joy. I was in my process. I always believe in keeping a record and taking time out to look back at what you've done. Something that I'm learning how to do. I didn't really realize what I had done, because I never stopped and looked at my own accomplishments. If you haven't done so already, take inventory and invest in your own stock. You'll be glad you did later.

I always start writing ideas out for my next book as soon as I wrap one. As soon as I finished "At This Moment" I knew that I would have to write a sequel, so I began "Full Circle". Looking back, I wish I would have waited. It was very a great idea, just at the wrong time. I can admit that, that was a bad move as an artist and as a business person. But you live and you learn. I was just thinking to myself, that the sequel to "At This Moment" should have been released now. Who knows, I may revisit Mr. Maverick Williams. One day.

I started "Pop Life" 3 years ago as I was promoting "Full Circle". I was out one night, having a good time and my mind just went into that mode...what I like to call SRM or Super Record Mode also known as Sensitive Record Mode. Everything around me becomes, I don't know, dream like. The atmosphere changes. I sense everything more intense, the smells, the mood, emotions, everything becomes delicate. I remembered exactly what I was doing when I started mentally writing "Pop Life" . I'll keep that moment dear to my heart.

I never know what my book is about until i'm more than half way through the writing process. I had ideas of what the project was about, but it really came to me like three weeks ago. However, I knew early on that I wanted to make this project unique from all the other books I've done.

When I write a book, I want it to be more than just a book In addition to the written word, I want the book to have an identity beyond the story, which is why you'll get a DVD or a shirt or something else to package the book. All of my previous covers are metaphoric. There is always some greater meaning behind the cover. I knew for this book, I wanted to use models, instead of hiring a cover artist. I wanted the guys on the cover to tell the story of Kyle DeVoe, Bryan Alexander, Simeon Shanks, Omar Julian and Shaheed Manning, the 5 main characters of "Pop Life".

The book follows the story of 5 friends, who are famous who just so happen to be black and gay. Just think the fabulosity of Sex And The City, combined with the realness of Waiting To Exhale, the youthfulness of A Different World in the the spirit of Noah's Arc, you get "Pop Life".

Late last year I  made a call to Shawn, my uber fantastic graphic artist and had him put together a flyer concept to advertise my model search. I can say one of the plus sides of smoking weed (which was a first while working on a book) is that it takes you to a far out place where everything is possible and I must say that when you see the cover concept you are going to gag for the high heavens!!! Casting for this cover was more difficult than you think! While there are tons of black gay men in Los Angeles, where I did my primary casting, a lot of them are not comfortable with being on a cover of a gay themed novel, even though there is nothing suggestive about the cover. So once I finally found the group that was comfortable, I ended up with three people I felt at the core, conveyed what I wrote. There was only one problem, I hadn't found the lead character, Kyle DeVoe.

I postponed the casting calls, I was getting moody, dealing with issues that kept coming up that I obviously didn't feel like dealing with and I was working myself for nothing. I was going head to head with an editor that I had never worked with before, she wasn't really getting my style, I was a mess and I really felt that I picked the wrong time to start production on the book. I couldn't help but think about all of the drama that revolved around the "Full Circle" book tour and I felt myself shutting down a little bit. One night, on the last day of the submission deadline I got an email and I immediately spazzed out. The guy that I knew would portray Kyle DeVoe sent an email and all of the craziness I had been through with the casting didn't even matter anymore. I immediately picked up the phone and called him, because I had already knew that I was picking him to be the lead. In fact when I saw all of the guys I picked, I had already decided, they just didn't know that...needless to say, I can't wait until the cover comes to life. It wil solitify so many things...thinking about it makes me proud. I can't wait until I'm able to get the over sized blow up of the cover to hang on my wall with the rest of my covers.

Part of my secret mission to New York was to do some last minute preparations for the release, since my book does take place in New York...it was almost surreal going there. I had become each and everyone of the characters for the last years and walking around in New York, going to the places they went, walking the streets they walked almost made me cry. There is something special about art when you give birth to it, but there is a particular feeling when you actually do the research and make everything real, that enhances your work. It makes it more of an experience for the person who is receiving your message through your work. I'm looking forward to the warm receipt of "Pop Life".

I'm excited. I can't wait until you see what I've been working on this entire time...I know you are going to eat it up!!!

always do something you've wanted to do...and don't have any qualms about it.


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