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Getting Bi-Satisfaction with Nikki-Michelle

Written by Greg Anderson-Elysee on Wednesday, November 18 2015 and posted in Columns

Getting Bi-Satisfaction with Nikki-Michelle

Author Nikki Michelle stops by to talk about her most recent book, Bi-Satisfied, an exploration ones' sexuality and romantic beliefs, her intense and eye-opening research, and more!



Nikki-Michelle resides in Metro-Atlanta, Georgia by way of Lexington, Mississippi. Carried by her love of reading, she began writing at an early age and has been on a journey of "trying" to pen the perfect novel ever since, which she feels she is still working on achieving that. Her love of writing and wanting to create stories with true to life situations are what inspire her to continue to write stories readers will enjoy with characters they can relate to. You can catch her works in the previously released anthologies 'If Only For One Night 1&2,' 'Full Figured 3', 'Body Heat', and 'Girls From Da Hood 7'. Her full-length works include 'Tell Me No Secrets', 'Tell Me No Lies' and the critically acclaimed 'Bi-Satisfied'. Today she stops by to discuss her most recent work, Bi-Satisfied, a book that explores bisexuality relations and the people it affects in a way that is not usually portrayed in other works.

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Greg Anderson-Elysee: Welcome to (Heard It Thru) The Griotvine, Nikki-Michelle! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Nikki-Michelle: I'm an alien queen fromme2 the plant Khemet and I've come to rid the world of useless humans. (laughs). No, I'm a writer and a mother. I come from a little country hick town in Mississippi. My life story starts quite traumatic, but I've managed to turn negatives into positives. My favorite thing to do is read and I'm pretty much a recluse. I like to stay locked away in the comfort of my home. I'm the proverbial hermit-like writer if you would.

Greg: Your most recent book is called Bi-Satisfied. What is this book about and how would you categorize it?

Nikki: Bi-Satisfied is my baby and I would classify it as erotica/romance. The book is about a woman [Summer] trying to come to terms with the fact that the man [David] she loves is physically, emotionally, and sexually attracted to other men. The book also steps inside the mind of a black man who is open and honest about his sexuality, which is something we rarely see in these kinds of books. God rest his soul, but E. Lynn Harris had me thinking all black men were on the DL (down-low) and couldn't be honest about their sexuality. (Laughs)

bi-satisfied-ver-2

 Greg: So in that case, what inspired you to write this particular book?

Nikki: I wanted to show black men/women in a different light. I wanted to show a black man and a black woman in love and I wanted to do so by going a different route. I wanted to show a black woman conflicted by her man's sexuality but show her willing to do whatever it took to understand him better. Summer loved David so much but she just didn't know what to do with the fact that he was bisexual. He was out and proud about it too. Oftentimes, as mentioned above, when we read books about black men and bisexuality, we read about them being on the down-low and deceiving the women in their lives. After meeting my close friend, David (yes, I know a David in real life), he helped me to see that not all bisexual black men hid in a closet.

 Greg: First off I do want to applaud you and say thank you for portraying a bisexual man in a different light, a black one at that. Too often we're fed negative images of bisexuality when it comes to fiction. As you said, they're on the down-low or seen as the villains of the story.

Nikki: Oh absolutely. I have my own experience with dealing with black men who were on the DL and it crushed my spirit a bit. My mom had to deal with it when it came to the light that the father of two of my little brothers had been on the DL. It crushed our family at the time. And then, once I was older and in a relationship, I, too, had to deal with a man who lived openly with me and secretly had sex with men. It was a devastating blow. I had a skewed imaged of gay and bisexual black men for a long time after that. Not to mention, I read all the books on DL men and then I read books by E. Lynn Harris and I was just done for. (laughs). Then I met David and he was the first black man - man period - to tell me to my face that he was bisexual. He started my journey to healing.

Greg: Now having read the book, you haven't spilled all the tea on that description above. You presented to us the back and forth relationship between Summer and David, but there's another ingredient added to the mix of things: Michael. Can you tell us about him and his part in this story?

B-SNikki: Wow, believe it or not, Michael was my favorite character in the book in a sense. He was the anti-hero so that meant he was anti-David. While Michael had once upon a time lived his life out in the open too, he hid his sexuality from him wife and he can't explain why he did it. Especially since he hadn't ever done it before, you know? He had always been open and honest about his sexuality with women before he met his wife. Also, Michael and David used to be an item for a lack of a better description. David made love to Michael while Michael fucked David. Once people read the book, they'll know what I mean by this. David loved Michael, but Michael is one of those bisexuals who will be sexually intimate with a man, but he won't pursue a relationship with one. A good buddy of mine described Michael as the trickster, Anansi, from the African folklore tales and I'd have to agree. Michael came in and turned David and Summer lives upside down.

Greg: Yeah, the man really pulled them into a web of emotional challenges and traps. While you were attempting to draw bisexual men in a different light than what's usually portrayed, you steered clear from presented them as too squeaky-clean at the same time. All three main characters in this book were filled with dimensions and flaws. What was your process in fleshing out these characters? What motivated you to present them the way you did?

Nikki: I, for one, hate a perfect freaking character. I like to show my characters flawed so that by the end of the book people can see that just because you started off one way doesn't mean you have to end that way. It wasn't hard at all to write them this way. I used a lot of my own feelings to write Summer. I used my experience and all the emotions I felt when I confronted that ex of mine who was on the DL. I listened to a few of my bisexual male friends to write as David and Michael. I knew I needed to make David the polar opposite of Michael in order for this book to work. While I wanted to show black men and bisexuality in a positive light, I didn't want to make it a fairy-tale. I needed to make it true to life, which is why I did extensive research.

Greg: And exactly how did you go about doing research for this story? You said you listened to friends, but were there any other researches you did to help keep this authentic?

Nikki: Ah, yeah. (laughs). I had to put my big girl panties on. A very good friend of mine who is openly bisexual was very open about his sex life. He even went as far as to allow me to watch him in the act of coitus with one of his partners, who is a male. Now believe me when I tell you, I was somewhere over the rainbow while watching this interaction. I'd never seen two masculine males go at it that way before. I wasn't ready. (Laughs). Not because it turned me off but for the exact opposite reason. I was like, "Fix it, Jesus." I didn't know that seeing that would elicit such a reaction from me. And then a few days later, the same friend, allowed me to see him and his male partner with a woman and boy, let me tell you... better yet, read the book. It's all in the book. (Laughs). Whew.

Greg: Wow, talk about going in deep for a story! And as an erotica, sex is one of the biggest components in this book. The sexual chemistry between Summer and David peaks throughout their years-long friendship and Michael is the type of character that uses sex to get what he wants. Given how this book is also erotica and a lot of the scenes are very, very vivid and detailed, how do you stay careful not to make it come off as... "smutty" for lack of a better term?

Nikki: I knew I didn't want smut. When I decided to write an erotica, I wanted to go against the norm in all aspects. I wanted erotica but I wanted it to be different. So when it came to sex between David, Summer, and Michael, I knew I had to tap into another part of my brain and make the passion, not just the sex, jump off the page. I literally had to place myself in the room with characters. I had to become them, every last one of them. And, also, writing as two men really taught me a thing or two. I had to become them and I did that by paying close attention to my bisexual male friends. I paid attention to their mannerisms and the way they spoke to one another. It was different for me seeing that men can have sex with one another and still keep their masculinity, both men, the giver and the taker.

B-S1Greg: Well while we're on that general subject, you challenged the notion of male sexuality in their desires, appearances, and personalities. Usually any type of sexuality not straight is seen as an attack on the black family or what it is to be black. You also challenged the norm of masculinity when you had Michael, who is seen as the alpha male in the book, be the receiver, or "the bottom" between he and David when it came to the bedroom.

Nikki: Hot dang! I'm so glad you caught on to that! I didn't want to do that typical crap where the bigger, taller one is automatically the alpha. David was 5'11" compared to Michael's 6'4". David and Summer describe Michael as having powerful thighs and bigger hands and yet David was the alpha in the equation when it came to sex. There is actually one scene in the book where David made Michael back off or stand down when he was having sex with Summer. One of my favorite scenes. I think Summer said something like David had made Michael the beta and that if Michael hadn't taken heed to his warning, he would have become the omega. Also, I gave Michael a family to challenge that bull-crap notion that anything other than straight is an attack on the black family.

Greg: What are your thoughts on the portrayal of sexuality as a whole, especially when it pertains to black characters?

Nikki: I really wish we had writers who weren't afraid to just go there. I wish they wouldn't be scared to buck the system and would leave their biases at home. Don't be afraid to show black men and women being intimate in passionate ways. And don't be afraid to show bisexual men as just that: bisexual. Believe it or not, even gay men have biases against bisexual black men. Also, most times black women are portrayed as promiscuous and black men are portrayed as having no emotions. They're shown as bucks or the entire negative shit you can think of. It grates my damn nerves.

BS promoGreg: Jumping onto Summer. She is a very interesting character. She's very flawed and she starts off very close-minded, but the book begins to act as a self-discovery story of exploration. But she is also confident, especially physically as a plus size woman. What made you decide to portray her as such, especially with the "standard of beauty" that's usually pushed when it comes to female characters?

Nikki: If you read any of my books all my main ladies are full-figured. I can't stand the notion that a woman a size fourteen or better shouldn't be able to find love and sex or that she should have low self-esteem because of her size. One of the things David loved about Summer was her confidence. I'm a curvy size sixteen myself (fourteen depending on the time of the month) and I struggle with self-esteem issues so I wanted Summer to be the confident woman I wish I could be. (laughs)

Greg: Haha! I understand. Our work usually is an extension of ourselves, some characters how we'd like to be perceived.

Nikki: Absolutely. One day I'll be just as confident as Summer... maybe.

Greg: How has the general reception been? Any detractors?

Nikki: Oh man, the reception, thus far, has been phenomenal. All the reviews have been four and five stars. So far, no one has come bible thumping or condemning me to hell. Well, one person tried and she got the read of her life. She won't try it again. I also love the fact that all of my friends have been open minded as well. Even a few straight male friends have managed to read the book and give me rave reviews. So that was a plus.

Greg: It was great having you here, Nikki! Thanks for exposing me to erotica; it surely opened up my eyes! (laughs)

Nikki: Thank you for reading it. It does my heart some good to know you enjoyed it.

Greg: Oh, very much so! That was definitely a trip. I wish all the best. Any last words before you leave?

Nikki: Thank you. Ummm...one last thing, writing this book exposed me to a side of same sex loving I didn't know existed. I once automatically assumed that if a man allowed another man to penetrate him then he lost all his masculinity, his manhood. I must say thank you to David and my other friends (who asked me not to name them) for opening my eyes and exposing me to things about bisexual black men I never knew. You guys are the real MVPs.

And thank you, Griotvine, for having me. This has been fun and I hope to be invited back one day.

 

Purchase Bi-Satisfied on Amazon!





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About the Author - Greg Anderson-Elysee


Gregory Anderson-Elysee is a Brooklyn born and based filmmaker (director and editor), playwright, comic book writer, model, and part time actor. He was one of the first writers and interviewers of The Outhouse. He is the writer and creator of the upcoming book Is'nana the Were-Spider. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.


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