IN TANAINE’S OWN WORDS…I am a 26 year-old spoken word poet who woke up one day and took over the title of “author.” I was born, raised, and currently reside in Jacksonville, Florida. I am at a stage in my life where everyday counts towards something, every word I write and every word I speak means something. In the future I want to open a center for GLBT youth that will give them the tools they need to succeed in today’s society. I am the founder of ADLK Inc. and the co-founder of L’amour de Femme Productions. I am always looking for ways to make people laugh because laughter keeps you young. To find out more about me visit my web site www.adifferentkindaluv.com.
How long have you been writing and how did you get started?
I can’t remember how long I have been writing it’s been that long. I used to write short stories when I was about 9 years old. They would always be about someone named Jordan but the stories would never take off. The start of my writing career was fueled by both of my grandmothers, they always said that I had a gift with words.
Give a brief synopsis of your book A Different Kinda Luv.
A Different Kinda Luv is about a friendship between two women that have been fused at the hip since 7th grade. Jordan is the responsible work-a-holic who wants nothing but everything for her family and friends. After breaking up with her partner of two years, Jordan runs into Tamiera, the one that got away two years ago. Nick is the total opposite, she is not looking for love and couldn’t care less if she would ever find it. When Suenos enters Nick’s life Nick finds herself torn between her good and bad sides. After drama, almost losing a close friend, and near death experiences Nick, Jordan, Tamiera, and Suenos have to pull together to stay together.
How long did it take you to write A Different Kinda Luv, and how has the reception been so far?
It took about six months to write A Different Kinda Luv and two years to get it published. I wrote and rewrote chapters for over a year before the skeleton was what I wanted it to be. Everyone that I have spoken with that has read the book loves it. The GLBT community has welcomed A Different Kinda Luv.
Tell us about the main characters, Jordan Taylor and Nick Rivera.
Jordan has had to take care of her family since her father passed away when she was 17. She settled down and with her full four-year basketball scholarship she received her business management degree. With Flavors, she makes enough money to take care of her brother, Julian, and sister, Justice. Jordan is very humble and doesn’t flaunt her wealth.Nick is the total opposite of Jordan. The only reason that Nick and Jordan are in business together is that, Jordan wasn’t old enough to get a liquor license when she bought the club. But if not for the club Nick would not have Kronicks, a successful car accessory shop. Her passion is women and cars not necessarily in that order.
Jordan and Nick were childhood best friends who experienced a lot together growing up. How would you define their friendship?
Their friendship in it self defines A Different Kinda Luv. They haven’t made it through 13 years of friendship without ups and downs. What holds their friendship together is their past experiences and what they have helped each other through.
Whose personality do you most resemble: hard-working Jordan or playa extraordinaire Nick?
My friends say that I put me on paper with Jordan. I like to have fun but I am goal oriented and I once held 3 jobs will going to school full time.
All the bling, all the pimped-out rides, all the beautiful women–did any of the adventures portrayed in the book based on your own experiences?
LOL. I don’t have bling and pimped out rides. I do have a beautiful women though. As far as the club and performing, I was in that scene for a while and I was in the dressing room with Drag Queens a lot so the scene in the dressing room was so familiar to me. I would say that 35% of the books events I
have seen first or second hand.
What made you base the book in Tallahassee, Florida’s capital city?
It is based in Tallahassee because Florida State is there! It’s a big college town and there are different people merging together in the city.
The characters endured a lot to find “a different kinda luv.” How do you define a different kinda luv?
A different kinda luv is a luv that you have never experience before. It’s different from the love you had a year ago and different from the love you had yesterday. I don’t care if you were with the same person yesterday, they are always showing you something different, always keeping you on your toes.
Nick and Jordan owned a nightclub and a car shop. Does the women’s entrepreneurial spirit apply to your life as well?
Yes, very much so. I have ADKL Inc., which is A Different Kinda Luv Incorporated. Two of my best friends and I own L’amour de Femmes Productions, which will began to produce GLBT calendars and lesbian lingerie in the future.
Tell me about your poetry. What do you mostly write about and where do you perform?
I love expressing myself with words I fell into spoken word by mistake, LOL. I was playing around at work and wrote a poem called “Ghetto” and “Pretty Stud” followed. I write about everything, from “8.5” which is a sexual poem to “I do…but then again I don’t,” which is a poem about domestic violence and being happy with who you are. I am a regular on first and third Saturdays where Nokturnal Escape hosts Soul Release Poetry, at Boomtown Dinner Theater in Jacksonville, Florida.
What motivates you to write?
My friends. Every first Friday they put me on the spot to recite poems. I know people don’t want to hear the same thing over and over again, I have to please the crowd with something new. As far as writing novels, my partner is my biggest fan and sometimes she wont let me rest until I have finished a chapter.
How long were you in the military, and did it affect the way you look at the world or your sexuality?
I was in the military for a little over four years. Being in the military let me know how far behind the U.S. is. The don’t ask don’t tell policy was meant to protect us from hate crimes. But it was deemed as wrong and unacceptable, and that makes you not want to give your all if you can’t be yourself. I can be myself openly now and I love it.
What are you working on next?
I have finished My Heart Bleeds Six Colors, which is Jordan and Nick’s life before A Different Kinda Luv. I am also introducing and cast of new characters in the novel, Love is Love.
What is a typical day like for you?
Well I have a 9-to-5 job that takes up eight hours of my day, LOL. If dinner’s not ready when I get home, I cook dinner for my partner and our three-year-old son. After dinner I go straight to the computer to work on my writing and I am usually there until I am told it’s past my bed time, LOL.
What do you do for fun?
Basketball is my first love, and anything that has to do with the game you can find me attending or supporting. My partner is a poet also and we collaborate on our work, wither it’s short stories or poems. I spend time with my god-daughter, niece and nephews when I can.
What are your favorite books? Favorite authors?
My all-time favorite book is Patti Labelle’s autobiography Don’t Block the Blessings: Revelations of a Lifetime. My favorite authors is E. Lynn Harris and Eric Jerome Dickey.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I will be 36 and would have already reached the 12-book mark. As a mentor and inspirational speaker, I will travel the United States speaking to GLBT youth. I will also own one or more Love is Love counseling centers.
What piece of advice can you share with aspiring writers?
Success does not come overnight. You have to dedicate a lot of time and energy into your writing. Don’t settle for anything. Don’t change your work if you don’t want to change your work. You are who you are and your style of written is your own.
Why do you feel it’s important for black lesbian to tell their own stories, like you did with A Different Kinda Luv?
There are so many stereo types about Lesbians as a whole I just wanted to shed light on a lot of urban legends surrounding the Lesbian community. I believe that without African-American Lesbian writers, everything would be assumed and people would be ignorant. The cure to ignorance is education.
Interviewed June 2006
Tanaine Jenkins’ Reviews