GlossMagazineOnline (GMO): When you were writing “Platinum,” did you already have the sequel “Diamond Life” in your mind?
Aliya King: I honestly didn’t think about a sequel until the very, very end of “Platinum” was completed. I wasn’t ready to let go, so I think subconsciously I ended it in a way that could leave the reader—and me—hanging on for the next installment. I wasn’t sure how things would turn out for everyone when I finished “Platinum.”
GMO: The characters in this series can almost be compared to certain real-life celebrities. Why did you choose to develop the characters in that way?
Aliya: It’s been said that you have to write what you know. And I’ve interviewed real-life celebrities for my entire career. So it’s what I know!
GMO: You really touched on some important subjects in this sequel, like addictions, infidelity and abuse. But I think the biggest one is the introduction of the character Lilly. Without giving too much away, why did you feel it was important to bring in her character?
Aliya: I love Lilly so much, and I really hope I got her right. I wrote a non-fiction story for Vibe that touched lightly on the topic, and it’s just so rich and interesting, I just couldn’t stay away from the idea.
GMO: For certain characters, the end of “Diamond Life” seemed to leave some open ends. Will there be a third book?
Aliya: No. I’m done. It’s time to move on. I have new ideas I’d like to pursue!
GMO: How long did it take you to write “Diamond Life?”
Aliya: That’s a question that’s often hard for me to answer for every book I’ve written. I don’t usually note when I begin a new work—or when I end one. So I’m honestly not sure. But if I had to guess I would have to say two years start to finish with long breaks to work on other things here and there.
GMO: I read on your website that when you were working on the manuscript for "Diamond Life," you really forced yourself to focus and crank it out. I’m interested in knowing more about your process of writing. How do you prepare yourself mentally to begin working on a novel?
Aliya: I don’t think I really mentally prepare. I think I’m always writing a novel in my head actually. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about a fictional world and fictional dialogue and plot twists. I’m always thinking, what if? My oldest daughter is into reading about serial killers right now. And my youngest daughter is into My Little Pony stuff. So today I thought, what if a serial killer always left behind My Little Pony stuff at the scene of every crime. I’ll never write that book (I don’t think!), but I spent the day dreaming it out. So when I sit down to write, I’ve been preparing the book in my head sometimes for years.
GMO: You’ve also collaborated with people like Faith Evans and Frank Lucas to tell their stories. How is that process different from writing your own book?
Aliya: Very different. It’s about pulling out someone else’s words and their stories. It’s less taxing in some ways because the story is there, I just have to find it.
GMO: Do you plan on collaborating with any other people who want to write a memoir?
Aliya: I’d love to! I’m waiting on Jay and Beyonce to give me that call about writing a memoir about their 10-year love affair and marriage. But I’m not holding my breath.
GMO: Switching gears a little, with all this new technology these days, it seems like any and everybody can publish and sell their own books. What is your advice to writers who aspire to do it the traditional way, as far as going through a publisher, etc.?
Aliya: I say get ready to switch your style up! With Kindles, NOOKs, iPads and eBooks, I really don’t know what publishing has in store for writers. Here’s what I do know: Readers want to read. Writers want to write. We’ll find each other. I’m sure of it.
GMO: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Aliya: Don’t take no for an answer. My mom has been telling me that since I was four years old. And she’s so right.
GMO: What are some things you’ll be working on in the future?
Aliya: I’m working on a non-fiction magazine piece for Vibe that I’m really excited about. As for fiction, my next idea has me frightened—which is a good thing! I’m really enjoying mapping it out!
To learn more about Aliya, visit aliyasking.com or follow her on Twitter: @aliyasking.