IN ALIX’S OWN WORDS…Alix B. Golden was an accident. Her blog, A Brown Girl Gone Gay, was originally created with the need to be anonymous, so that she could hide after a recent break up. Out of the need for free expression, Alix B. Golden was created. The authenticity used to write about her life’s experiences has been translated into her creative writing in her recent fiction work.
How long have you been writing and how did this passion begin?
I had a teacher in elementary school that loved to assign writing assignments. We had weekly journal entries, daily writing prompts. It was that teacher that made me realize what I could do with words.
Give a brief description of your novel, Girl in the Mirror.
GITM is the coming of age story of a girl trying to live up to what she sees in the mirror.
Describe Christen Calhoun, the main character of Girl in the Mirror.
Christen is your homegirl that doesn’t know how great she is when she’s just being herself. She tries so hard to please those around her and be who she thinks she’s supposed to be that she loses herself.
I love how the plot was multi-layered, involving several distinct storylines that tied together nicely. How did you envision the plot?
I didn’t. I knew how I wanted the story to ultimately end. I wrote scenes out of order. Arranged them and rearranged them. The ending is not what I originally planned. I let the characters lead me.
In the beginning of GITM, Christen’s relationships were dramatic, at best, carrying on love affairs that weren’t healthy. Why do you think we as women sometimes find ourselves in toxic relationships?
We want to be loved. A lot of us have never truly experienced love, so we get it confused with lust and infatuation. We identify any strong and semi-pleasant emotion as love. It takes us going through drama to realize we didn’t get that feeling of security and acceptance that comes along with being loved.
How often do you look at the girl in the mirror? What do you see?
Every time I can catch my reflection, I take a peek. I see my Mama staring back at me. I look so much like her. I always have, but as I mature the similarities are more obvious. I see a shy, little woman with a huge attitude and even bigger goals.
Christen’s life seems scattered, but her rock was always her dad, who wanted nothing but best for her. Is that truly a parent’s love?
I think so. My mother never approved of my sexuality, but when she found out she only had months left to live because of a really aggressive pancreatic cancer, she was happy to know that I had someone that loves me in my life. No matter what we do or the choices we make, I do believe that our parents ultimately have our well being and our happiness in mind. They want the best for us.
Your partner, Billie Simone, is a writer also, whose books and interview have been featured here at Sistahs on the Shelf. As a fellow artist, how does she encourage you? How do you encourage her?
Billie Simone is always on her hustle. She’s selling pictures, writing poems, and currently working on her first novel. When you’re in a relationship with someone that is always doing something, you feel motivated, almost physically propelled, to do the same. When I don’t have the energy, when I want to give up, she won’t let me. She’s physically carried me to the completion of this book.
She is a veteran of publishing with her Suite 69 Series started back in 1999. The publishing world is constantly changing. I believe that while I shared things I learned about design and marketing, it motivated her to be a part of that world. Putting together a poetry book is a bit different than a novel…and truthfully, her novel has been completed for a while. I believe that seeing [me] complete mine propelled her to get to editing hers so that she can introduce it to the world.
Artists that are surrounded by other creatives constantly create. It’s something about the energy that always makes you look towards your next project. It’s a great feeling!
I’ve been reading your blog, A Brown Girl Gone Gay, for years. For those who have not followed or are not familiar with your blog, tell us what new readers can find there.
You will find all of my shenanigans! I’ve offered my heart a lot, I’ve had it broken a lot, but had some interesting (and depressing) times along the way. You’ll see my life on A Brown Girl Gone Gay. Since I initially started writing anonymously, I put everything out there. It is a completely honest view of my life. It’s raw.
How long has your blog been around, and how has your blog grown you as a writer? Do you feel too exposed at times?
It has taught me a lot about writing for an audience. Through blogging, I’ve learned what the people like, what they want to hear about. While writing a great book is a major achievement, you still have to think about who will be reading that book. Blogging has allowed me to always keep that at the forefront of my mind. I don’t feel nearly as exposed as I did in the past. I’ve adapted my writing now, and I don’t reveal quite as much of myself as I used to, but my past is still out there if someone wants to read it. I think that it often confuses people that read the old posts, but have met me in the present. The growth is not only in my writing, but in my life. There’s a different Alix writing the posts now. I wrote my first post on September 8, 2008, so I’m just about 4 years in.
What are you working on next?
I have a novel I’m currently outlining, called The Price of Paper. Can women from different financial and moral backgrounds make it work? We’ll see. I hope to have this completed at the beginning of 2013, but I’m currently being sidetracked by erotic short stories. It is likely a compilation will be released before the novel.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I’m usually up by 7:15 am, every morning, even on the weekends. I usually spend some time online, answering email or checking social media sites. If I have time, I’ll do a bit of writing before preparing for work. I head into my day job at a small web design and software company where I help clients use our software. When the boss isn’t looking, I can usually get in some tweets, answer personal emails, and whore my work to the masses. After work, I head home, have dinner with Billie Simone, give our cat, Loki some attention, and try not to fall asleep on whatever movie we’re watching.
What is your favorite book? Favorite author?
My absolute favorite book is The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. She is my all-time favorite. I was introduced to her in high school and ended up writing my term paper on that book. I was already heavily into writing at that point, but she solidified my life’s plan with that book. It’s really, really sad and I had never had anyone make me feel anything with words before reading that book.
What piece of advice can you share with aspiring authors?
Take your time. I spent two years writing my book. I went through quite a series of edits, and when I sat down to read it, I still found more I wanted to change. Take your time and get it right before releasing it to the world. The finished project will always be tied to you. The last thing you want is to present an inferior representation of yourself to your audience. While you’re taking your time writing and editing, be sure to take the time to allow other people to read it. It is likely someone will catch something that your eyes won’t, just because you’ve been staring at it too long. A writer friend said to me once to let someone read the book that knows more about writing than you do.
Why do you feel it’s important for black lesbians to tell their own stories, as you did with Girl in the Mirror?
It’s important to tell our stories for a few reasons. We have to document what our life is like for those that come after us. When you write a story and share it, you’re creating your spot in history. We also need to let people know we exist and what life is like as a black lesbian. When we share our stories, we’re making it easier for people to relate to who we are. We go through the same type of heartbreak, the same type of family drama, and we love in the same way as everyone else. How are people supposed to know that if we don’t show them?
Interviewed August 2012
Alix B. Golden Reviews