"Stand tall, speak deeply, keep a strong handshake, never draw attention, never be “too gay.”
Last year 2019 #ownvoice author Seth King published his novel Fem which he explains is "my real life". Fused with personal experiences, Fem is told from the perspective of an openly gay man who has endured "a lifetime of taunting from his family and community." The raw grittiness with which Fem is written is an experience that according to one reviewer on Amazon "I wish every GBT man would read this book. And some straight men, too."
Today, we take a brief look into the life of Seth King, the man and the author. Are they one and the same?
GIANNI: Hi Seth,
Welcome to Writing with Pride, a feature on own voice authors in the queer authorship space. It’s so great to have you here today to talk about yourself and your experience in the industry as a gay man writing gay romance books.
Let’s start with how old you are, where you’re from, and your pronouns. Do you mind sharing these with us?
SETH: I’m 30, I’m from Florida, and my pronouns are he/him/his.
GIANNI: What's your feel good song?
SETH: Hard to answer, because I always like writing to sad music! Even my favorite dance songs are sad, “dance while you’re crying” songs, like Green Light by Lorde or Robyn’s Dancing On My Own. Now that I think about it, gee, I guess that confirms that I’m a poetic depressive type...
GIANNI: Those are the best songs to listen to while writing though, right? Who's your favorite person in your life?
SETH: My late brother, Martin, and he always will be.
GIANNI: So sorry for your loss. You two seemed really close. What's the hardest part about being Seth King?
GIANNI: Do you remember your first gay romance book/movie? What was your honest to goodness reaction?
SETH: My first gay love story was Brokeback Mountain, and it changed my life and forced me to accept myself.
GIANNI: When did you know that you wanted to become a writer?
SETH: I always knew, there was never really anything else.
GIANNI: If you would write in any other genre, what would it be?
SETH: I love a good fucked-up psychological thriller. Probably that. But I can’t imagine not writing gay content, in some way.
GIANNI: Sounds cool. Is Seth the author different from the man?
SETH: I’m not. This is me, pretty much.
GIANNI: Who has been your strongest supporter in your writing?
SETH: My mother.
GIANNI: Do you have any author who you'd do a collab with and why?
SETH: I’m a terrible control freak, so collabing in general would be a nightmare with me.
GIANNI: I've read Fem, and great book. I think that book so gritty, real, and raw shows the importance of own voice authors in this genre. How much of Fem is about you?
SETH: Thank you! It *was* my life. I was becoming more open to my own femininity, and guys didn’t really like it. So I wrote a book about it.
GIANNI: What would you like to see more of in the queer author/reader space?
SETH:More activism, less hiding behind sentiments like “it’s not my place to say anything, so I’ll stay quiet.” Progress is everyone’s place.
GIANNI: Do you think writing queer romance is inherently political and why?
SETH: Of course! I mean, I couldn’t even legally get married until my mid-twenties - my life was MADE political, by politicians. There was no going back for me.
GIANNI: What's the coolest thing a fan has ever done for you?
SETH: “Come out” because of one of my books.
GIANNI: Moving. Sometimes we forget the potential impact of our books on people's lives. What can we expect from Seth for the rest of 2020?
SETH: I just want to be happy, and keep getting better as a writer.
GIANNI: Tell us about a book of yours that revealed something to you about yourself that you didn't know until you wrote it.
SETH: I didn’t know if I would ever even be strong enough to release Honesty, my first gay book, when I started writing it. At the time, I was closeted and in deep denial, but the story bled out of me anyway. In the end, the book is how I came out. I literally released it and said, “welp, I’m gay.”
GIANNI: Can you share with us how you've 'evolved' as a gay man living where you are since coming out at 26?
SETH: I am leaving my city as soon as I can afford to. The atmosphere here is not conducive to being gay and happy.
GIANNI: I hope you'll be able to do that sooner than later. We're winding down in a bit. I'm curious, what's your favorite makeup item?
SETH: Nothing beats a good tinted moisturizer.
GIANNI: I'll pretend I know what that is, lol. What is a night out on the town like with Seth King?
SETH: Drag queens will be involved. So will disco balls. And 90s pop songs, like Britney or Spice Girls. So basically put me in any gay bar and I’m fine.
GIANNI: Remind me to hit you up when next in Florida. Sounds fun. What’s something from your childhood you still own?
SETH: The table I’m writing on, right now! I’ve been writing on it since middle school and can’t let it go. One of the legs fell off, so I just pushed it into a corner and propped it against a wall.
SETH: All I want to do is reflect my own life, as I see it and live it every day. One thing about #OwnVoice I would like to dispel is that by promoting queer authors, you are not taking anything away from straight authors, similar to how saying #BlackLivesMatter is not saying white lives don’t. All you’re doing is helping a minority population get boosted.
GIANNI: Seth, thanks so much for this insightful interview, and all the best in your future endeavors.
To win a copy of any book from Seth's backlist, check out his books and comment here or in my Facebook group Gianni's Gems the title you'd like to read. I'll send out copies in 48 hours.
You can connect with Seth in the following places...
Our next #OwnVoice author comes to you on Saturday June 13th. Stick around to find out who's Writing with Pride in our next issue.
Until next time, keep shining like the gems you are.