Cleavester: Please give the readers that don’t know you a brief bio on you and your work (i.e. books, preacher, teacher, etc.)
Kevin E. Taylor: I have been writing all of my life but left BET in 2002 to really concentrate on it and ministry for my community. I released “UNCLUTTER: CLEANSE YOUR SPIRIT & CLAIM YOUR STUFF” a year later. I took a turn and really opened myself up and decided to move from empowerment/self-help books to novels and I released “JADED” in 2006 and it really took off. I have since done “BECAUSE HE LIVES” (novel), IT’S TIME FOR SOME ACTION (empowerment), ENVY…the darkest shade of green, which is the sequel to “JADED” and then “GET OFF YOUR ASS + DO SOMETHING (empowerment). I have been pastoring for more than a decade and it’s powerful to build a ministry where LGBT folks feel welcome and welcome to bring their mothers and sisters and co-workers. I love being a vessel for teaching in my own unique way. Like the sermon God has given me for Easter is BLOWING MY MIND but I know that God trusts me with it and I am going to stay focused so that people who are on a path of faith and clarity can feel a NEW HOPE AS WE DO A NEW THING! It’s powerful. Since I was a kid in the projects of DC, I have felt like I see words and heard them different and the more I preach, the more I see that little boy’s unique perspective coming alive!
Cleavester: Tell us about your new novel “Meet The Hendersons”?
Kevin E. Taylor: MEET THE HENDERSONS is the story of two older Black gay men who are in the midst of a life-and-death situation after one watched the other collapse in the backyard that they have shared for 40 years. As Seymour races Thurston to the hospital and they journey through whether or not Thurston will survive, we also journey with them through the free love of the 70s, the 80s AIDS pandemic and losing friends, homophobia running amok in the 90s and making their way into growing old in a community that doesn’t see them. Along the way, we learn so much about what it means and has meant to be Black and gay in America.
Cleavester: Where did the idea for it come from?
Kevin E. Taylor: I really felt a tenderness over the moments that The Hendersons had in JADED and when they didn’t show up in the sequel, I wondered where they were and this idea was born. I had four different books running through my head and I asked my followers and FB friends online to decide which of the four would win. MEET THE HENDERSONS won by a 2-to-1 margin!
Cleavester: Why did you choose to tell the story of an elder SGL couple?
Kevin E. Taylor: I really wanted to feel the love that they shared and talk about how that love and endure through so many different kinds of tragedies. There is a moment in JADED when they are in the club where Elijah, one of the main characters in that book, performed and they are curled up in their own world. I wanted to go into that world. It just kept coming to me and I felt my soul in their journey. Maybe it’s because I am getting to 50 myself that I wanted to see what that would feel like. I just started writing and it kept coming.
Cleavester: Do you think people are ready or want to read about older SGL people in this young driven world? When you have old men & women messing with these kids and wanting to be them.
Kevin E. Taylor: I keep talking to people about NOT DATING THEIR ASSIGNMENTS! It is in fact the young people who VOTED for this story. They wanted to see their future and the older audience wants to see hope. I was surprised at HOW MANY PEOPLE VOTED FOR THIS STORY and it was the younger audience that had things to say. They commented. They expressed their desire and anticipation at coming into this world. I think it’s my job as the author to help people DREAM A WORLD! I am honored to wrap almost 50 years of love into a story that speaks for my fathers and grandfathers, sons and grandsons who still have to look outside of their own world to see this kind of example. One of the young men who wrote me is 22 and he’s so excited about the story that he checks in with me to see how its progressing!
Cleavester: This is your 7th book, How do you keep coming up with so many stories and ideas?
Kevin E. Taylor: I don’t mind sending myself notes and keeping a journal online so that I can keep up with the ideas. What was beautiful about having these original FOUR ideas is that MANY people said “Please do all of them!” I love that. I am looking forward to releasing “TRADITION,” “WINE AND CHEESE” and “MOMMA, PLEASE” (which got the 2nd most votes). I am a preacher too, so I have to write sermons weekly. Writing a book a year isn’t hard at all…LOL
Cleavester: What can we expect from you in the future?
Kevin E. Taylor: Again, I have 3 other novels that will follow over the next 2 years AND I am working on a book about being RELIGIOUSLY SPIRITUAL AND SPIRITUALLY RELIGIOUS and how we have to stop worrying about “the church” and build “the temple” which is within you! If you come to church to fellowship, GREAT, but if you don’t, you shouldn’t be disconnected and you shouldn’t with a set of faith practices that can help you. I am also working on “NOW WHAT WITH KEVIN E. TAYLOR,” which is the talk show I have wanted to do since I was a little kid and used to interview invisible guests on the couch in our apartment. I am excited about working with SAVvy MARKeting, a Newark-based PR firm, about speaking at more colleges and universities, being on more TV and moving the UFC-NewArk ministry to the next level! I am EXTRAcited about what the next year has in store!!!