Born and raised in the DC Metro Area, and currently living in Brooklyn, Kosoko Jackson is a digital media strategist for non-profit organizations; which enables his Twitter obsession. Occasionally, his personal essays have been featured on Medium, Thought Catalog, and The Advocate. When not searching for an extra hour in the day, he can be found obsessing over movies or drinking his (umpteenth) London Fog. He is the author of Survive the Dome and Yesterday is History.
I had the opportunity to interview Kosoko, which you can read below.
First of all, welcome to Geeks OUT! Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Thank YOU for having me! I’m so excited to be here. I’m Kosoko Jackson. I’m an east coast native, author of Survive the Dome and Yesterday is History. I’m a Scorpio sun, Virgo Moon, Scorpio Rising (fun fact, I have a triple stellium). I love to write, watch far too many movies (in 2022 I’m trying to watch IMBD’s top 100 movies by the end of the year), and I love indie folk music. I say that without any shame.
How would you describe your upcoming book, Survive the Doom? Where did the inspiration for the story come from?
Survive the Dome is basically Black Lives Matter meets Internment by Samira Ahmed. I came up with the book in 2020 during the George Floyd protests. I was in NYC, during the height of COVID, unable to protest with my fellow Black brothers and sisters, and I wanted to come up with a way to resist. I always have believed writing is a form of resistance, so I put my pen to paper and got started. I’m a huge science fiction nerd, and believe science fiction is the perfect grounds for dealing with complex world issues on a grand or microscopic scale. And thus, Survive the Dome was born!
What do you do to help yourself as a writer? Any tips to spark or help creativity?
Most of my books, honestly, come from movie or TV show inspirations. It can be a simple shot, one line, or something I wish the director/writer did differently and wanting to explore that. I get a lot of inspiration from music, too. I listen to soundtracks and albums when writing, and sometimes just one well played line can inspire a whole scene, or book.
How did you get into writing, and what drew you to young adult fiction and speculative fiction specifically?
I’ve always loved writing. When I was young, I used to write stories and have my parents listen to them during commercial breaks or shows. I fell in love with writing young adult fiction because, as a team, I didn’t see a lot of positive Black queer characters. When I decided that I wanted to be a writer, I knew that I wanted to fix that and add to the tapestry of diverse authors who are helping to diversify our literary canon. When it comes to science fiction, I think I just started writing that because it was a lot of the entertainment that I absorbed when I was younger. Stories, books, movies, TV shows about fantastical worlds where anything was possible, but rooted in science, always interested me the most.
What would you say are some of your favorite craft elements to work on?
Personally, and I think it’s a bit of my writing crutch, I really like dialogue. I think you get the most characterization in the most understanding of the world and the internal motivations of said characters through their dialogue. How they talk, what they omit, unique ways to create differences in two different characters simply by their word choice is the most fun part for me. and I’m a big fan of banter also period there won’t be a book written by me, no matter the genre, that doesn’t have at least two or three good solid banter scenes.
Were there any stories or authors that inspired you as a writer coming into your own?
The Pendragon Series by DJ McHale. It’s an epic 10 book series that I encourage everyone reads. I ADORED it and it was probably the series that made me want to be an author.
Besides being a writer, what are some things you would like others to know about you?
I’m obsessed with movies! Like, before the pandemic I used to see 100 movies a year in theaters. Starting in 2022, I’m going to try to get back into that, but using more streaming services to watch more movies. By the end of the year, I’m hoping to see the IMDb top 100 movies. Interview me in 2023 to see if I actually achieved it!
What’s a question you haven’t been asked yet but wish you were asked (as well as the answer to that question)?
I never get asked if I could have one superpower, what would it be? And this seems like a pretty easy question, but if you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m kind of obsessed with DC and Marvel Comics and I just feel like it’s such a lowball question. The non-nerdy answer would be phasing. If you’re a fan of Marvel Comics then you know of Katherine Pryde, AKA Shadowcat, and I’ve always found her ability to be the most interesting. The nerdy answer would be telepathy, with a focus on psychic surgery and skills augmentation through precise psychic manipulation.
What advice might you have to give to other aspiring writers?
I think the hardest piece of advice to follow is to understand that your writing will change. I never thought 5 years ago I’d write adult rom coms, but I’m loving this journey for me. You do not have to stay in the genre, or field, you started in, just because you think that’s right or where you belong. Allow yourself to grow. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t succeed.
Are there other projects you are working on and at liberty to discuss?
I cannot discuss some of the cool things I’m working on YET, but I am working on my second adult rom com that I’m very excited about, and something secret!
Finally, what LGBTQ+ books/authors would you recommend to the readers of Geeks OUT?
I’m a big fan of anything by CL Polk, Sam Miller, Ryan La Salla! I’ve learned so much about writing from reading their work.