I’m no good at introducing my books. When anyone asks me what my books are about, I always feel like slapping a kindle into their hands and saying, “Read it and see.”
I think that many writers have that problem. The book blurb is always the hardest thing to write. How do you condense all of that awesome into a few sentences, not give away the plot and still make it sound interesting enough to make someone want to read it. It’s a headache, I can tell you.
So I’m not going to give you a treatise on In Search of Paradise, the first of book of its genre; how do I know that, you ask? Well, in the process of submitting it for publishing, there is a step where you choose the category your book belongs to right? So I looked for “African, gay”, also “African post apocalyptic”…
Those categories don’t exist.
The closest I got was African American gay romance.
Why do you think that is? Well, of course, there is the denial that gay Africans even exist; I know that for a fact. It’s getting better by the day what with TV shows like Empire which are popular locally, having gay couples. I’ve even had a discussion about it with work colleagues; mostly they seemed to suspect their wives of having lesbian relationships when they insist on seeing their friends. Sigh…
Well, gay Africans do exist, gay Kenyans are out here trying to hustle just like the rest of us. To make sure they can do that, there exists the national gay and lesbian human rights commission – a legal charity. I’ll let them introduce themselves in their own words:
Founded by six young legal advocates, The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) announced its foundation at its inaugural Gay and Lesbian Awards in December 2012. Held in Nairobi’s City Hall, the Awards affirmed the Kenyanness of the LGBTIQ community while demanding for their inclusion in public and social organizing spaces. Since then, NGLHRC has been encouraging diversity and agitating for public dialogue on sex, sexuality, gender, and nonconformity.
Since 2013, we have been the go-to organization for LGBTIQ legal aid, including security response. We provide a greatly needed national legal aid response mechanism to help prevent and respond to discrimination on account of real or presumed sexual orientation or gender identity. We also engage in civic and public education on LGBTIQ identity, needs, and rights as we push for the full inclusion of LGBTIQ individuals and communities in Kenyan society. Through unique partnerships, targeted trainings and a responsive staff, NGLHRC’s services and resources are available to LGBTIQ individuals wherever they may be; in every city, town, rural area, and county in Kenya.
When I began to write this book, I didn’t have any lofty ambitions in mind. It was a story, it came to me, and it wanted to be written. LGBTQIA is not really my space – except in the laziest of terms, where I could probably be described as an ally, maybe. But I thought that since I have appropriated their culture for my book, it’s only fair that they reap some of the benefits. That’s why I decided to give all preorder proceeds to the NGLHRC to help in my own very small teeny tiny way to make it easier to be gay in Africa. That way, it won’t take the goddamned apocalypse for people to come out of the closet.
Damn, is that a spoiler?
I think that’s a spoiler.
When the world ends, it’s not with a bang, but a series of disasters. Ben and Anders, caught wrong-footed and unprepared – and mostly in the closet, find themselves on the run with Anders’ sister Zawadi.
Their families are gone and all they have is each other. Now they’re looking for somewhere safe to lay their heads; somewhere they can be themselves.
The hot dry Sahara desert offers hope- if only they can get across it and to Egypt where a new civilization is said to be rising. Already there is new lore about old gods; anywhere where people have enough leisure time to make up stories must surely be safe…right?
Anders wants more than safe, he wants a place where he can sleep in the same bed as his boyfriend without being lynched. Ben just wants to keep everyone alive. And Zawadi? Zawadi knows that these two boys would have been long dead without her.
Pre-order price is discounted. All pre-order proceeds go to the national gay and lesbian human rights commission.
About the author
Annemarie is a writer of several published stories as well as a ghostwriter of many more. She enjoys writing stories about love, life, and relationships in a way that is real, relatable and possibly a little uncomfortable. If any of her stories provoked thought in her readers, then she’s done her job. She’s still waiting to make the New York Times bestseller lists though.
Find out more about the author here