I still can barely fathom the fact that I get to say the subject line for this blog post out loud and have it be true. I wrote a book. An honest-to-goodness book that has my name on it and will be in print and on bookstore shelves on September 15th of this year.
The backstory: I do a fair bit of TV reviewing for Paste (hence why that has its own section of this here website) and earlier this year, decided to take on Empire, the hot new show from director Lee Daniels and writer Danny Strong. The big hip-hop soap opera drama starring the deplorable yet talented Terrence Howard and the amazing Taraji P. Henson, as well as featuring new music overseen by Timbaland. For the most part, I dug the show, even as I wrestled with the politics of its treatment of a gay character and the often shaky writing that chose to emphasize the more Dynasty-like elements of the show. It held my attention by daring to be ridiculous and over-the-top and making sure that Henson had all the best lines and outfits.
A few weeks or so after the first season wrapped up, I got a curious email from a gent who worked for a fairly new publishing imprint in New York. He was putting together a quickie, strike while the commercial iron is hot, "unauthorized" book about the show to coincide with the start of the second season. In his research on the show, he stumbled across my reviews and decided that I was the man for this particular job.
What followed was a long period of corporate finagling and foot dragging before I was let loose to write a manuscript that told the story of each episode of Empire, the backstory of the characters in it, and a bit of a discussion about the cultural impact of the show. All of it done and dusted in the span of about a month, with a little help of a long weekend in a room at the Sou'wester Lodge trying to ignore the sounds of the shitty folk band playing below me. Not the most ideal of circumstances, but I rose to the occasion and got it done. And I'm really proud of the results.
Excited as I am about this, my expectations about this book are very low. As I wandered through the aisles of my neighborhood Dollar Tree, I stumbled across their book department, which featured a bunch of mass-market titles from former President Jimmy Carter and the late Harris Wittels. As I told my wife, what I can't forget is that there's a better than average chance that my book will end up right there on the shelves of a discount grocery. I'm completely OK with that. It was more about the doing it than the subject matter at hand. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. (Seriously. Anyone need another mass-market paperback churned out with a tight deadline? Holla at your boy.)
Whether this sells 100 copies or 100,000 copies is the least of my concerns. I wrote a book.