WATCH: Author Rashid Darden Talks New Books, And Why Writing Black Gay Stories Is Neccesary
Black, gay novelist and friend to Living Out Loud 2.0, Rashid Darden, is releasing his eighth novel today, and after 15 years in the game, the D.C. transplant to rural North Carolina is betting on himself in a major way.
An award-winning novelist and professional educator in D.C. alternative schools, Darden recently made the decision to leave his job in education to focus solely on writing full-time.
With a goal of writing 50,000 words a month, Darden is blessing his supporters with the simultaneous release of two news books: the supernatural thriller "Children of Fury" and "Time:" a collection of never before published poems, blog entries, and short stories.
In "Children of Fury," a mysterious teacher, Kyren Towers, has come out of hiding to fulfill his timeless mission: train an army that will fight the dark forces lurking beneath Washington’s streets. An unlikely general, Delonté Oakes, is seduced by his teacher’s promise of power, his gold-flecked eyes, and his devilish grin.
Darden tells Living Out Loud 2.0 that "TIME," "speaks to what it means to be a gay man of a certain age" and "Children of Fury" is his "longest and best work."
Darden is no stranger to exploring gay themes in his work, from his debut novel "Lazarus," which explored homosexuality through the lens of a traditional Black Greek fraternity, to exploring bisexuality in "Children of Fury."
"I deal more overtly with bisexuality for the first time, but not in a heavy handed way," says Darden. "I use those elements to develop strong characters."
And developing strong characters that reflect the Black gay experience, whether inside a fictional world that mirrors reality or in the supernatural, writing Black gay characters is a necessary part of the writing process for Darden.
"There just isn't enough gay Black men writing gay Black stories. If that's all that I ever write, then that'll be enough," he says.
All of the characters come to life in a way that makes you think you know them personally or have met them somewhere in your life.-Ayana
Darden also tells Living Out Loud 2.0 that after 15 years, he is still motivated to write because— "I have a story to tell and I'm the only person who can tell these stories."
Check out my Zoom interview with Darden below about his new books, his writing approach and whether or not he is in community with new Black gay writers.