Cyril Gillion gives back with new novel

Cyril Gillion’s, “The Other Side of the Pillow” seeks to be a testimony of the hardships that blacks face.

Gillion, a former Florida A&M student, released the novel with the intent of encouraging black youth to read.

“The main point I want people to get out the book is that when you do something bad, it doesn’t wipe out what happened, and you still have to pay the repercussions even if you turn your life around,” Gillion said. He feels that being a writer essentially inspires him to write for black youth.

This 321-page novel takes place in Miami and Brooklyn. It outlines the life of young protagonist Angel Inghram, who witnesses her mother’s death by the hand of her stepfather. This affects her as she grows into adulthood, making her bitter toward men.

Ingrahm lives a double life-being a law student in the day and an escort at night. Later in the story, she meets a man who is twice her age that changes her tainted view of men.

Gillion said the novel was inspired by short love stories that he wrote in the past as well as situations that his friends had gone through.

“Writing has always been in my blood,” Gillion said. “A lot of my short stories start revolving around the same topic and that’s why I decided to write a novel,” he said.

Gillion said his experience at FAMU was the stage in his life where his passion for writing began. He wanted FAMU students to know about his book first. “A lot of friends I had at FAMU are still there,” Gillion said.

In pursuit of informing FAMU students about his novel, Gillion did not forget about the bottom line that it cost money to get his novel published. Much work was put into getting the funds needed for the novel to reach store shelves.

Gillion said that many blacks do not get the opportunity to be put in a higher bracket where literature is involved.

“I don’t feel as if there’s a lot of African Americans who get publicity,” Gillion said. “They get the short end of the stick.”

According to Gillion, he was able to raise money for his novel by working a regular job and saving money from each paycheck.

“I worked [an] 8 to 5,”Gillion said. “I’ve been working at a healthcare industry and on my breaks I was writing.”

After raising money from each paycheck, Gillion said the only way to reach a massive audience was for him to turn his short stories into something bigger.

Because of Gillion’s feelings about blacks not getting enough publicity, he decided to cater the novel toward something black people could appreciate.

“Urban black fiction has got to the point that it is very entertaining,” Gillion said. “The book will have some [real life] characters we all can relate to.”

Gillion said the novel will keep people at the edge of their seats, eager to know what new scenes will take place. “The Other Side of the Pillow,” is available for the price of $15.

For more information about the novel Gillion can be reached at