In our feature, Catching Up With…, Sistahs on the Shelf is pleased to bring you updates on your favorite authors, ones who have new books or projects in the works.
Revisit with Billie Simone, whose latest work, Suite 69: Black Lesbian Erotica Volume III, finds Billie talking about heartbreak and finding new love. Read on to learn about Billie’s upcoming novel and passion for photography.
Why should people read your latest poetry book, Suite 69: Black Lesbian Erotica Volume III?
I would like to think that any poetry lover could appreciate the raw and candid nature of my poetry. This particular volume takes you on a journey of a scorned hopeful romantic who ultimately finds a “Happily Ever After”; something that many of us desire, but refuse to believe in.
From Volume I to Volume III, how have you matured as a writer and a person?
At this point in my writing career, I feel very confident in what I have to offer. In the beginning, it was a mere hobby, then a gesture to impress a woman. Once I realized people could actually relate to my work, it became a purpose that led me to understand my true destiny. Thus, I now know that I have an obligation to my community and not just my well being. It’s very important to me that “our” stories are told, and documented. I published Volume I in 1999, and there were not many titles of “our” experiences on bookshelves. Today, there are many more, and that makes me smile.
Your work is grounded in some pretty powerful emotions. How do you manage to share yourself so freely in your work?
It’s a catch-22. About 80% of my work is autobiographical. I communicate better when I write, and I’ve used writing as my therapy for over 20 years, so reading my work, is like reading my heart. The hard part is sharing it with others. I don’t like to hurt or embarrass anyone, nor do I like the “shade” from those I’ve written about. But if my words can help another with their confidence, or their decisions to be a better person, I’ve done my job as a writer.
In Volume III, you say “we tend to look for love in the wrong individual, and find ourselves stuck in lifeless relationships with no depth.” Why do you think that is, and what can women do to break themselves out of the rut?
I think a lot of women simply don’t love themselves. I know I didn’t. I was told to love myself, but not taught how to love myself. Learning to love yourself in your adulthood can be complex, especially if have no clue who you are, what you are, what you need, and/or want from another. My advice to anyone when pursuing love is simple: LOVE YOURSELF FIRST! It sounds selfish, but if you don’t love yourself, you can’t possibly love another unconditionally. In addition, if you find yourself in a lifeless relationship with no depth…and you truly don’t see a future with the person, get out of it immediately; don’t wait until you are forced to. A lot of time we stay in these relationships hoping things will change, but we know deep within that the relationship has ran its course. We may stay for stability, comfort, finances, etc., but we are miserable. That is so not healthy, and so 90’s.
Your poems exude a bravado, but underneath a certain vulnerability. Is it hard to strike that balance being a masculine lesbian?
Yes indeed! I have such a male brain, that sometime my femininity annoys me. I may start a poem with my testosterone, full of vigor, and masculinity, only to have it end softly and demure. My masculine voice is often overshadowed by my feminine heart…I can’t help it…I was born this way.
What is your true passion?
My true passion(s) include writing, and photography; mostly because I am a true introvert, and both allow me to work independently.
Tell us about your photography. What moves you to pick up your camera?
Like writing, I have been shooting for many years, but I still consider myself a novice in the field. I’m currently researching the best gear to enhance my photojournalism. I love to capture compositions that are simple yet, thought provoking. In the last few years, I’ve been an avid iPhoneographer. I had no idea iPhone photography was so popular, but the genre is huge. Last Fall I had my first “iArt® by Billie Simone” photo exhibit, and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. My prints are available on my website, www.BillieSimonePhotography.com
Are you still working on your first novel?
My first novel, “INTIMATE FRIENDS” is complete, but I am my worst critic, so it’s still in its editing stage. But it will indeed be published and available this year.
What projects are you working on next?
I’m currently working on a screenplay for “INTIMATE FRIENDS”. In addition, my partner (Alix B. Golden) and I are working on a long-distance relationship book for couples. We were a long-distance couple who met online, found true love, and are proof that it’s possible. So we hope we can inspire, help and encourage others who are struggling with the distance and time apart.
Interviewed June 2012