As I posted last week, TV star, Jeffery Self, has a new LGBT book out and he was kind enough to grant me an interview. I wanted the interview questions to put him at ease, and at the same time get to know more about him as a writer, an actor, and man.
He not only sent the answers to the questions back in record time, I think he did a great job providing more insight into who he is and what he’s all about. As a side note, it was a lot of fun for me because I have been a fan of his for a long time, especially his TV show on Logo, Jeffery & Cole Casserole. When I used to watch it I never thought I’d be interviewing him about a book.
Here’s a link to his new book, “50 Shades of Gay,” on Amazon. And here’s one for the publisher’s web site. The book is out in both digital format and in paperback. The Amazon link will lead you to both. This is a link to his facebook page where you can follow his updates.
1. I love your online bios because they make you sound like so much fun, but what can you tell me about yourself that’s not listed in any bio out there?
Well, first of all I am NOT all that much fun. I’m actually a handful. However, I guess the main thing my bio leaves out is that I am OBSESSED with wigs and made for TV movies.
2. You’ve accomplished a lot of things so far for someone so young, how did you get into writing fiction?
I had the idea for “Fifty Shades Of Gay” and decided to just try and write it. I don’t come from the world of fiction writing so I just decided to write the book in my own weird voice and see if I could actually finish it. Turns out- I DID!
3. If you had to tell me what your book is about in one or two sentences, what would you say?
The sexy and secretive world of Hollywood.
4. The writing process is different for every writer. Some work fast. Others take their time. Some work late at night. Others work in the early morning. What’s it like for you? Or do you even have a schedule?
I try to have a schedule but I never seem to stick to that. I usually get most of my writing done in the daytime because my boyfriend has a normal person schedule and I like being done with my work at night so we can watch “The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills” or “Nashville” together and binge eat.
I usually write a few pages, stop and look at Facebook, write a few more, Facebook again, rinse and repeat until I exhaust myself or get hungry.
5. What inspired you to write a novel like this?
I had been hearing so much about the original “Fifty Shades Of Grey” from so many different people… and I thought… if a book appeals to both MY MOM and drag queens on the Internet then this must be something I’d enjoy.
While reading it, I realized it’s basically just a campy, contemporary version of what Jaqueline Susann did so brilliantly in the seventies. Which is a trashy but glamorous and exciting story that takes readers just enough out of their comfort zones but with characters they can
identify with. So with my book I wanted to capture that campy, celebrity obsessed Jaqueline Susann tone and mix it in with the original tone of “Fifty Shades Of Grey”.
6. I noticed in a few things I read about you online you’re kind of/sort of a pop culture junky with respect to TV shows like “Designing Women.” I’m a huge fan of that show and I agree that Carlene just never could compare to Charlene 🙂 And no one could ever replace Suzanne. If you could identify
with one character on that show, which would it be?
I reckon Delta Burke (Suzanne) just because she’s on the surface a little showy but underneath a neurotic and slightly annoying mess.
7. What other pop culture has influenced or inspired you as an actor or a writer?
I love sitcoms like Roseanne. I also love the writing of playwright and screenwriter Paul Rudnick. He is one of the first writers who’s writing really made me go… “Oh. I want to do that.” I also have a lot of super talented friends who influence and inspire what I do…folks like Cole Escola, Drew Droege, Erin Markey, Bryan Safi, Max Steele, Ben Rimalower, Jim Hansen, Julie Klausner, Rachel Shukert, and Billy Eichner.
8. Could you list a few of the TV shows you’ve appeared in?
Hot in Cleveland, 90210, Shameless, Torchwood, 30 Rock, Desperate Housewives.
9. As a writer, I’m always curious about how other artists in other fields work. You’ve done both writing and acting. How does one differ from the other…or do they differ?
They’re totally different. Writing is obviously a lot harder than acting, while I think acting is stupidly easy. Mind you, I’m not a “real actor” in that I’ve never really done anything but play myself or version of myself in the character of a sassy gay sidekick but I think that acting is without a doubt the easiest job on earth.
I think the big difference is that writing requires every single facet of your brain to show up, while acting you really only need like fifty percent. That said, I am more referring to what is it I DO as opposed to someone who’s a real actor like Meryl Streep or the little girl on “Modern Family”.
10. There’s a lot of talk these days about how publishing is changing and how authors have to work harder to promote their books. I always find it difficult to talk about myself, and yet if I don’t promote the book suffers. How are you going about the promotion of this book?
I am trying to do my part to get the book directly to people that I know will enjoy it. For me, that’s been getting friends in subcultures like gay porn and erotic fiction and Hollywood gossip to say to their fanbases: hey, this book is something you might enjoy.
I don’t know the publishing world BEFORE it’s change to what it is now so for me, it feels moderately natural to have to pound the digital pavement.
11. Is this recently released book going to be a series? Can we expect more to follow?
Maybe so! I have an idea for a sequel I’ve been playing around with.
12. I was actually a huge fan of Jeffery & Cole Casserole, especially because it was filmed on webcam. I used to look for it all the time on Logo. What plans, if any, do you have in the making for future shows…or TV appearances?
Cole and I wrote a movie a while back that is sort of a “Jeffery and Cole Casserole” type adventure. In a dream scenario, we’d be able to make that sometime in the near future. As far as tv stuff goes… I’ve written some pilots this year that I’m proud of, so we’ll see if anything ever happens with those and I’m in a made for tv movie on MTV coming up in April called “Made: Ladies Man”. I play neither the lady nor man.
13. I hate to ask anything too personal, but you are interesting, extremely good-looking, and people do like to hear more personal things sometimes. Is there anything you’d like to share in that respect?
My boyfriend and I have been together for a few years now and we just got a puppy named Bodhi who is the cutest thing on planet earth.
14. I’ve always been fascinated by closeted gay actors in Hollywood, which is what I saw mentioned in your book description that caught my eye so to speak. Is there anything in your new book that’s based on real life?
I’ve been around a lot of closeted actors in LA and in New York. It’s such a weird thing for me to witness because I’m SO disconnected from any sort of mindset that says you can’t be out. I honestly don’t know what that would feel like. However, there IS something very sexy about
the idea that this public persona who advertises himself as straight is secretly doing guys. I’ve witnessed some of this first hand and while I am not naming names, we all know Hollywood is FULL of them.
15. You and other actors like Matt Bomer are putting yourselves out there, as openly gay, and you’re creating role models for younger gay men who need these role models. Do you have an opinion on closeted gay actors? And, does being openly gay create obstacles?
Its tricky because people should be allowed their private lives, however I think if you’re putting yourself out there as a public figure then you should put yourself out there entirely. Not just some version of yourself that your agents at CAA think will make them more money.
I think that openly gay actors in Hollywood DO have a harder time. I happen to play quirky gay characters so it’s somewhat easier for me but I do have friends who are going after leading man roles that are perfect for the industry except that studios and networks are too scared to take the risk on someone who happens to be gay.
The same goes for writers to some degree… Hollywood still has a lot of hyper masculine people at the helm and while I think that’s rapidly changing… it’s an annoying and old fashioned road block for so many talented people.
16. Was there anything interesting or unusual about writing this book that you’d like to share?
It was my first time writing anything sexy so it was all sorts of bizarre to sit in my local coffee shop and describe the feeling of a dick in your ass.
17. Do you have any book signings planned? Feel free to share.
Not at this time!
18. I know this might sound like a dumb question to ask a writer, but I have to ask anyway. I’ve seen a lot of photos of you online and almost each one seems markedly different from the others. You always look great, but you always look different, too. Is this something you plan, or does it just work out that way by accident?
Sort of by accident and sort of by choice. I am constantly getting tired of the way I look or dress and deciding to do a “appearance overhaul.”
19. What would Suzanne Sugarbaker say if she read your new book?
I think Suzanne would be pretty turned on by my book. She’d read it with her blinds shut and door locked but she’d definitely read the whole thing.
20. Now, what would Bernice Clifton say?
Could Bernice read?