April Blair — better known by her pen name, Skyy — had no idea she was even writing a book six years ago when she wrote the draft of her first book, Choices. She was just writing to combat depression, but after a friend read the manuscript, that friend convinced Blair to publish. This past June, Blair released Full Circle, the fourth and final book in her "Choices" fiction series. (The second and third books are titled Consequences and Crossroads.)
The books follow the lives of four women navigating lesbian life at a fictional Memphis college. At the center of the story are Lena and Denise, a pair of roommates whose relationship progresses beyond friendship but not without a cost. Lena was engaged to Brandon, star of the men's basketball team, until Denise shakes up Lena's world. The Flyer recently spoke with "Skyy" about her pen name, her fans, and her future. — Bianca Phillips
The Flyer: So, a friend convinced you to publish?
April Blair: That friend was sitting at my computer, and I asked her what she was doing. She said, "Reading this book you wrote. This is even better than the last Eric Jerome Dickey book I read. You should do something with it." I started researching how to get published, and I came across an independent lesbian book publisher called King's Crossing.
Has King's Crossing published all your books?
They published the first two, and they ended up going out of business. But by then, I had been featured on the Michael Baisden radio show, and my books had taken off. Carl Weber, who owns Urban Books, an imprint of Kensington, then wanted my books. He'd been selling them in his bookstores, and they were flying off the shelves.
Where does the pen name Skyy come from?
I originally started calling myself Skyy, because I have a tendency to daydream. In the gay community, if you join gay houses or families, they give you your own name. So I said I'd be Skyy.
Are the books written for the lesbian community, or do they have a broader appeal?
They were originally written for the lesbian community, but after I did The Michael Baisden Show, I learned that I had a lot of straight readers — men and women. The characters almost become gender-neutral. I think that's why the books appeal to so many. You don't love these people, because they're gay. You love these people because of who they are.
What's next for you?
One of the main things my fans want is a movie or TV series based on the books. I hope that's coming soon. The geek in me wants to write sci-fi books. And I'd like to assist other lesbian and gay authors to get their work out there and be seen.