Monday, 2 October 2017

The First of Its Name

I'm no good at introducing my books. When anyone asks me what my books are about, I always feel like slapping a kindle into their hands and saying, "Read it and see."
I try to think if anyone ever gave me a treatise on a book before I picked it up and I gotta say, no they didn't. Usually, I just pick up a book, read the blurb, read the first few pages and if they look likely that's it.
Or not.

So I'm not going to give you a treatise on In Search of Paradise, the first of book of its do I know that, you ask? Well, in the process of submitting it for publishing, there is a step where you choose the category your book belongs to right? So I looked for "African, gay", also "African postapocalyptic"...
Guess what?
Those categories don't exist.
The closest I got was African American gay romance.
Why do you think that is? Well, of course, it's mostly the denial that gay Africans exist, I know that for a fact. Even my family, which is the most chill in existence has given me the massive side-eye over this project.
My sister put it this way, "Annemarie is writing gay porn now." huge sigh. What are we going to do with her?
Of course at this point eliciting that reaction is a way of life for me so...

Well, gay Africans do exist, gay Kenyans are out here trying to hustle just like the rest of us, and that's where the national gay and lesbian human rights commission comes in. I'll let them say it in their own words:

Founded by six young legal advocates, The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) announced its foundation at its inaugural Gay and Lesbian Awards in December 2012. Held in Nairobi’s City Hall, the Awards affirmed the Kenyanness of the LGBTIQ community while demanding for their inclusion in public and social organizing spaces. Since then, NGLHRC has been encouraging diversity and agitating for public dialogue on sex, sexuality, gender, and nonconformity.
Since 2013, we have been the go-to organization for LGBTIQ legal aid, including security response. We provide a greatly needed national legal aid response mechanism to help prevent and respond to discrimination on account of real or presumed sexual orientation or gender identity. We also engage in civic and public education on LGBTIQ identity, needs, and rights as we push for the full inclusion of LGBTIQ individuals and communities in Kenyan society. Through unique partnerships, targeted trainings and a responsive staff, NGLHRC’s services and resources are available to LGBTIQ individuals wherever they may be; in every city, town, rural area, and county in Kenya.

When I began to write this book, I didn't have any lofty ambitions in mind. It was a story, it came to me, it wanted to be written. LGBTQIA is not really my space - except in the laziest of terms, where I could probably be described as an ally, maybe. But I thought that since I have appropriated their culture for my book, it's only fair that they reap some of the benefits. That's why I decided to give all preorder proceeds to the NGLHRC to help in my own very small teeny tiny way to make it easier to be gay in Africa. That way, it won't take the goddamned apocalypse for people to come out of the closet.
Damn, is that a spoiler?
I think that's a spoiler.
Oh well.
 Speaking of the apocalypse, I wake up every day and the events I'm describing as fiction in my book seem about to happen in real time. You guys, I'm not ready to live in the Walking Dead. Can we all chill? Mother nature included.
What the fuck is happening though you guys?
Anyways, here is an excerpt from In Search of Paradise, read it, enjoy, go preorder the book, it's available from tomorrow.


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