The book explores black LGBT issues by profiling 18 same-sex couples of color. With “When Love Takes Over: A Celebration of SGL Couples of Color” now out, Aaron is back to crafting new content for Living Out Loud. But he won’t promise his audience daily updates – there is a fulltime job and partner to attend to, after all. He presents the book at Outwrite on Aug. 30.
We recently caught up with Aaron, just a day after putting his hands on “When Love Takes Over” for the first time, and chatted about the blog, the book and what his day-to-day life is like now.
You’ve been working on the book for some time. We discussed it last year about this time and now, here it is. What’s it been like to have the finished product? What was it like to create it?
It’s been an overwhelming and emotional process. I actually held the first physical copy of my book in my hands yesterday [June 7] and I have to tell you it all seemed so surreal. This is a project that began as a simple idea in my head over a year ago and to see the idea come into fruition was simply amazing! Creating and writing the book was the easy part, the publishing process, which was new to me, was altogether different.
Publishing is not for the faint of heart. It can be quite difficult and time consuming. I originally planned on releasing the book this past spring, but it had to be pushed back due to publishing logistics. It was important to me that the finished product would be something that I and the community could be proud of, so in the end it was worth the wait.
Tell us some more about the book. How did you decide on the topic?
“When Love Takes Over: A Celebration of SGL Couples of Color” is actually based on the Coupled Up series from my blog. I was frustrated with the lack of representation of African-American gay couples in the LGBT and mainstream press, so instead of just complaining about our invisibility I decided to provide a platform on my blog for these couples who are maintaining healthy long-term relationships. The series was a huge success so I decided to compile it into book form.
I’ve encountered so many black gay men who can’t even fathom the possibility of being in such a union. I wanted to show our community and the world that it’s possible to find and maintain a loving relationship, specifically as a gay man of color. It was important to me to provide examples of couples who are doing it. Some of the couples in my book have been together for twenty years or more.
Why a coffee-table, large format book? You’ve created such a following in new media thanks to Living Out Loud, so why go all old school with a printed book?
That’s a great question. Most of my work is done in a digital format online, but as an avid reader and now a new author, I’m still in love with old school books. “When Love Takes Over” is also available as an ebook, but it was important to me that the reader had a tangible copy to pick up and potentially use as a resource to share with friends and family. My dream is that this coffee table book will find it’s way into the homes of millions of people and serve as a conversation starter around relationships, marriage equality, and homophobia. This book is the antithesis to the negative views some people hold about gay men and gay men of color and our ability to thrive in loving committed relationships.
What’s the reaction been so far to the book? Where can we find it in Atlanta?
The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive! I knew that I sort of had a built-in-audience after blogging for 5 1/2 years, but I had no idea that the demand for this book would be so great. I feel incredibly blessed to have such fierce support. And I feel incredibly blessed that I’ve played a small role in showing our community a positive reflection of who we are and what we can achieve.
“When Love Takes Over” is currently only available for order online at iUniverse.com, Amazon.com, and Barnes&Noble.com. I’m currently working with Outwrite Bookstore owner Philip Rafshoon and it should be available for purchase there in a few weeks. That’s going to be an amazing moment when I walk in and see my book at Outwrite for the first time. I hope there’s medical personnel nearby. Lol!
Last May, you announced you were bringing the blog to a close and cited the balancing act of working fulltime and blogging all of the time. Are you back to regularly blogging? What changed?
Am I back to regular blogging? I’m still trying to answer that question myself. The Bishop Eddie Long scandal and other breaking LGBT news brought me out of hiatus last year, not to forget the demand from my readers who were adamant in their almost daily e-mails that I return. I can say this: my blog will be live online for a long time, however, I can’t say with certitude that it’ll be updated everyday. There’s 5 1/2 years of work and information that I think people can find useful. But as I continue to grow as a writer and activist my priorities are bound to change.
Are you still working fulltime as a flight attendant? Run us through a day in the life of you.
Yes. Flying above 30, 000 feet on a weekly basis still pays the bills consistently. Thankfully, I’m still enjoying it. I am pursuing my bachelor’s in journalism and upon graduation I hope to work in the field full time and retire my wings. A day in my life is pretty busy and I love it that way. It’s not always easy juggling school, work, the blog, the book, and a partner. If I had no concept of time management my life would be a wreck! Organization skills and a supportive partner who understands (as best he can) that I’m juggling a million things at once, but people are what’s important to me and not superficial celebrity makes a world of difference during my crazy daily routine.
Of course, if there’s anything else you want us to know, please share it.
“When Love Takes Over: A Celebration of SGL Couples of Color” may have been written for gay men of color in mind, but the couples and their stories will resonate with all people regardless of race or sexual orientation. Love is universal and a language we all understand. Pick up a copy and tell a friend.