For years there have been wedding guides dedicated to helping straight couple’s plan their big day, but nothing ever for gay grooms… until now! Thanks to author Robert E. Blackmon and his new top-selling book, The Gay Groom’s Guide to Planning Your Perfect Wedding (http://www.thegaygroomsguide.com), same-sex couples can now gain some useful insight into planning their wedding!
The book, which is in partnership with Marriage Equality USA and has gained celebrity fans such as Lance Bass, Judy Tenuta and Kate Linder, was written & designed to help answer some of the basic and difficult questions during the wedding process, taken from Robert’s own gay wedding experience to his longtime partner. The Levity Ball had to sit down with Robert to find out more…
When did you first “know” that you wanted to write a book?
Like most people who are planning their wedding, I started scrapbooking magazine pictures and articles. After several months of searching for gay themed wedding materials with very little success, I became dismayed. That is when my “now husband” Martin suggested that I turn this project into a book. He said, “If we are having trouble finding wedding materials, many other couples have to be in the same situation.” That’s how it all began.
What was the hardest thing to do as a first-time author while writing The Gay Groom’s Guide?
The hardest things as a first time book author were condensing the material into a workbook that would not overwhelm the reader. The second and most challenging thing was getting it published. I have been a professional writer in Hollywood for twenty years. I thought that my connections would make the process easier, I was wrong. When I started the book nearly six years ago, there were only a handful of established publishing houses producing this kind of gay material. But the LGBT wedding industry was in its infancy, so few books of this kind were accepted. After several years of getting zero response, I decided to go it alone and self-publish.
Who were some of your role models growing up?
My parents were my role models growing up. I am extremely fortunate to have grown up in a family were divorce was rare. The family unit was very important. You worked out your problems and kept it moving. No two people exemplified that more to me than my parents. They certainly had their struggles, but at the end of the day, it was always about what was best for the family unit. They both worked extremely hard to provide me with a better life than they had and that’s what my husband Martin and I are doing with our daughter Alex.
How have you felt with the support countless celebrities and organizations have shown towards yourself and the book?
I have been amazed at the amount of support I have received from my celebrity friends and other organizations regarding my book. I get emails and tweets on a regular basis saying what a great idea this was. I recently did a book signing at Palm Springs Gay Pride and so many couples came up to me and said, “Oh my God, where was this book when we were planning our wedding?” I never expected this project to effect people in the way that it has. It feels really wonderful to know that it might save other couples some of the hassle and aggravation that we went through.
Where do you see yourself five years from now? More books?
It’s hard to answer that question. But what I can tell you is that there are several books already in the works. There is also a television project which I’m developing. Currently, I have convinced Martin to co-author the follow up book about honeymoons which we are currently writing. Look for it in the Summer/Fall 2015.
What is your advice to others looking at writing a book?
If you are serious about your project, go for it! I would do my homework first. Take a look at other books in the genre that you are considering. Make notes about the writing styles, book lengths, etc. Write because you are passionate about it, not because you think you might win a Nobel Prize. After you have completed your work, get at least three different people or editors to read and critique it. This can be difficult having your work judged but it’s a great training ground for you. Take those notes to heart. Send out query letters to publishing houses or explore the world of self-publishing. It’s a lot of work and time consuming, but very rewarding.
What would you like to be remembered for as a person?
I spent the early part of my life pleasing everyone. My parents, family, friends, co-workers. I used to be way too serious about everything. Somewhere along to lines I learned to relax and lighten up. I began to really enjoy every aspect of my life both good and bad. I live a very “Auntie Mame” kind of life these days. I take the adventures as they come. I want people to remember that I am a good person who cares about the people in my life. I live to have fun. I love fashion. Shoes are an obsession of mine. Most importantly, I want people to remember that I lived, lived, lived!
What do you hope people walk away after reading your book feel?
I hope that people feel a sense of relief after reading my book. I hope that they can take a breath, dive in and enjoy the entire wedding planning process. I hope that they mark up, rabbit ear, and take full advantage of every page in this guide. And after the wedding is over, be able to pick up that worn out book, and enjoy reminiscing how much fun they had planning their perfect wedding day!
You can also follow Robert on Twitter at: @GayGroomRobert