This weekend, I’m in the “Hot Seat” in the Virtual Living Room forum. Here is the first quesiton posed by Henriette, the group’s fearless moderator:
Start by telling us a bit about yourself and how this book came about.
And what was your first reaction when you heard about the [Alice B Lavender] award?
I am a writer, director, producer and speaker. Jukebox is my debut novel and I worked on for a decade before it was finally “ready” to be eaten. I imagine it was like a slow roasting piece of meat (sorry to you veggies). Before publishing Jukebox, I worked as a freelance writer. I’m also still an advice columnist in CURVE Magazine. I co-write the column Lipstick & Dipstick. I’m the femme half, Lipstick. Dipstick is my good friend Kathy Belge. More about that in a moment…
The idea for Jukebox actually came about when I was penning my way out of the closet many years ago. Back then, there was this bar my girlfriend and I used to escape into. It’s a straight bar called Ernie’s and it still exists. We were both obsessed with music and we used to play songs to each other as a way to flirt, connect, even punish. It started before we got together and then continued on as a mainstay throughout our journey of self discovery. We were also debutantes. And sorority sisters. If you’ve read the book, you can probably do the math. It’s fiction for sure, but there are definite threads lifted from my own life.
I knew I wanted to be a writer, and I knew, even though I’d graduated from college, I didn’t have the tools necessary to write a story well-enough that it could get published. I went back to school and got a second bachelors in Creative Writing. The seed for Jukebox was in form of a diary entry, but it started sprout as my senior thesis when I graduated—that was 2002 and I’ve been working on it ever since.
I was totally pumped when I heard about the Lavender Certificate! I felt honored, humbled, giddy. I was in Safeway and I think I skipped down the cereal aisle.