Having her first novel finally out is a dream come true for local author Monika M. Pickett.
“Pretty Boy Blue,” out June 9 from Next Level Publishing, is the coming-of-age story of Nikki Blue, a D.C.-area young lesbian who is bullied in school but finds solace in the local LGBT scene. Pickett, who lived in Alexandria, Va., in her own teen years, says it has autobiographical undertones.
Pickett says it feels “surreal” to have the book finally out. It took her three years to write it and it’s the first installment in a proposed trilogy.
Pickett returned to Washington after having lived in Chicago for the last 15 years. She says the gay acceptance she found here in her teen years was life changing.
“The Blade saved my life,” the 50-year-old Woodbridge, Va., resident says. “At the age of 17, I began cutting myself to soothe the hidden wounds of sexual child abuse. On one of my darkest days, I walked into Lambda Rising bookstore and found the Washington Blade. Inside was a listing for free therapy sessions offered by the Whitman-Walker Clinic. I am finally home.”
“Pretty Boy Blue” is $16.98 and will be available on Amazon and at prettyboyblue.com. Look for Pickett on Thursday, July 20 at Busboys & Poets (the 14th and V location) for a book signing and discussion.
Pickett is single and enjoys writing, working out and going to “strip clubs” in her free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I have been out for 36 years. The hardest person to tell was my son.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
My LGBT heroes are Aisha and Danielle Moodie-Mills. I am inspired by their courage and audacity to live their authentic lives.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I am looking forward to rediscovering Washington as I have lived in Chicago for the past 15 years. However, Tracks was the best nightspot back in the day.
Describe your dream wedding.
A beach wedding with family and friends and the most beautiful woman in the world.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Child advocacy, specifically sexual abuse.
What historical outcome would you change?
The dreadful outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime
Being in Los Angeles when Whitney Houston passed.
On what do you insist?
Honesty and compassion.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
My last Tweet was my recent HuffPost article, “The Golden Lesbian Years.” I’m trying to figure out when I became an older woman.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Pretty Boy Blue.” I always felt like a pretty boy as I struggled with coming out at such a young age. Blue represents the sadness I endured being bullied in high school.
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Remain the same. I love who I am and who I’m becoming.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Address and eradicate the racism that exists within the LGBT community.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My son, Kyle.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That lesbians hate men. I don’t hate men, I just love women.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“When Night is Falling.” The chemistry between Camille and Petra is intoxicating.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
When meeting strangers, ”What do you do?”
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
My DD214. It denotes the service and sacrifice I made to my country. I served as a medic in Desert Storm.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That sometimes, the most beautiful things are born from the most painful experiences.
Washington is where I found myself. At the age of 17, I walked into Lambda Rising bookstore in Dupont Circle and found the Washington Blade. The skies opened.