Author Aliya S. King

Tuesday, 04 January 2011 16:06 Written by  Frances Moffett

Aliya S. King has lived almost every journalist’s dream—to write for national publications, win an award for a story featured in one of them and then to write a book—or three.

ak King is a graduate of Rutgers University with a B.A. in African American history and certification in secondary education from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. The New Jersey native has worked for Billboard and The Source magazines, and her work has been featured in Vibe, Giant, Essence, Upscale, Teen People and Us Weekly––just to name a few. She co-authored singer Faith Evans’ memoir Keep the Faith and collaborated with Frank Lucas on his book American Gangster. And now she’s making her fiction debut with her novel, PLATINUM, which depicts the lives of hip hop wives.

GlossMagazineOnline (GMO): You studied history and education in college. How did you become interested in journalism?

Aliya S. King: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was four years old. I just didn’t see it as a viable career option when I was in college. Ultimately, I was scared to take that leap. After teaching for two years, I decided to go for it.

GMO: How were you able to land positions at The Source and Billboard magazines?

AK: I attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course (now the Columbia Publishing Course) in the summer of 1998, after I left my teaching job. From there, I landed my first journalism job, as an editorial assistant at Billboard. From there, I moved to The Source.

GMO: What do you think about the way the magazine industry has changed?

AK: It’s scary! Positively frightening. But I’m eternally optimistic. If you want to be a writer, you can. Period.

GMO: In the book, the characters can almost be connected to real life celebs. When you were working on the book, did you ever think that certain celebrities would figure you were talking about them? Did you have certain people in mind when you were developing the characters?

AK: I did have certain people in mind. And only one person called me and said, ‘Hey! That sounds like me!’ I have heard from people who told me I really capture what it means to be a rapper’s wife. So that feels good.

GMO: How long did it take you to write the book?

AK: I started it, put it down and then came back to it a year or two later. Overall, it probably took a year to write.

GMO: On your website, you said that you wanted your first book to be something reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston’s work, which I think most real writers aspire to! At what point were you okay with your book and how you wrote it? In other words, when did you come to terms with it being not what you initially wanted?

AK: When I sold the book, I got over it! Honestly, I realized that what comes out is what comes out. I’m proud of PLATINUM. It came to me. I executed it. And people connected with it. That’s really all I can ask for.

GMO: How did your other book projects (Keep the Faith and American Gangster) come about?

AK: I wrote a cover story for VIBE on Faith Evans. Several years later, she contacted me about working with on her book. I had never had a book published before so I was very nervous. But she believed in me and never looked back. I owe her my career as an author. Frank Lucas and Faith Evans share an agent. So when I was done with Faith’s book, her agent asked me if I would be interested in working with Frank Lucas as well. So that’s how that project came about.

GMO: Something that was interesting to me is that your website ( seems like more of a tool for up-and-coming writers rather than a promotional vehicle. Why did you decide to have it that way?

AK: I wanted my website to be a place that I would have liked to visit when I was first starting out as a writer. I didn’t want to do general pontificating. (Though I do a bit of that as well.) I really wanted to provide a service. Because that is what my favorite blogs do.

GMO: What advice do you have for up-and-coming writers and authors?

AK: Try to write something every single day.

Frances Moffett

Frances Moffett

GMO Editor-At-Large Frances Moffett is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. She has worked with GMO since its inception. With a love for journalism and all things writing, she is currently pursuing her master’s degree in public relations and advertising from DePaul University. Frances is also an editor at the country’s largest association management company and has written for a variety of publications, including Jet magazine, The Chicago Defender and The Chicago Reporter.

Frances can be contacted at

Follow her on Twitter: @FrancesMMM


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