Author E. Lynn Harris talks character, the DL

Flint, Mich. native, E. Lynn Harris, is one of the many authors who proved that self-publishing can lead to success. In 1991, he published his first book, Invisible Life, and has gone on to release eleven New York Times bestsellers, including his memoir W

Flint, Mich. native, E. Lynn Harris, is one of the many authors who proved that self-publishing can lead to success. In 1991, he published his first book, Invisible Life, and has gone on to release eleven New York Times bestsellers, including his memoir What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.

Tuesday, he released his latest novel, Basketball Jones. Harris spoke to the Defender about men on the down low and his books.

Chicago Defender: In all of your books, there seems to be a man on the down low. What makes you continue to write about this topic?

E. Lynn Harris: It’s something that I know.

CD: Do you see any reason why a man would want to stay on the down low?

ELH: Oh yeah, the society we live in is still very homophobic, and to be successful in certain careers, I think it’s absolutely necessary.

CD: So which side do you agree with (out or down low)?

ELH: Quite frankly, I understand them both…the reason to be truthful with yourself and I understand the reason why someone would continue to be deceptive.

CD: Do you feel like Black women are more conscious of down low brothers or do you think they’ve become overly paranoid?

ELH: I think a little bit of both. Sometimes women do think about it too much. Every brother is not on the down low. If we’re to believe statistics, not even 10 percent. I think that by the books and by the conversations that have started about it, Black women are more aware of it.

CD: What Becomes of the Brokenhearted was your memoir. Are you more comfortable with fiction?

ELH: I’m much more comfortable with fiction. You get to be creative…real life is sometimes tough.

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