1. What inspired you to start writing?
I wrote fantasy stories as a child. But I took a long hiatus from writing and didn’t return to it until I was in my forties – writing nonfiction, believe it or not. Discovering Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed was the inspiration that started me on my journey to writing Afrofuturism: Black horror, science fiction and fantasy.
2. How do you feel about this renaissance Black horror is experiencing?
It’s beautiful! I love being surrounded by so many brilliant Black authors, and to be able to collaborate with them too. Two of the newest anthologies I’ve been published in are: Blerotica I (edited by Cranston Burney and Penelope Flynn) and Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire (edited by Nicole Smith).
3. Which Black writer inspires you the most and why?
Octavia Butler, hands down. She’s the reason I started writing horror/fantasy and her journey continues to inspire me. Madam Butler stayed on her grind, doing whatever she could to make ends meet, until her writing placed her among the stars. Another reason she inspires me is that she so often portrays the oppressed fighting the system, something I try to do. I was honored to be published in Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler, an anthology of letters to, and articles about, Octavia Butler. I’ve also written poetry about her.
4. What are your favorite pieces of Black horror, whether it be literary, film, or audio?
My favorites are Wild Seed (Octavia Butler), The Ballad of Black Tom (Victor LaValle), Whispers in the Night (Quinton Veal/Blerotica I), The Chronicles of Renfields (Penelope Flynn), and Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire (edited by Nicole Smith). My favorite TV series to date is Lovecraft Country. This show really “gets me where I live.” I have never seen a more powerful or more skillful portrayal of a horror novel intermingled with history.
5. How can we support you and your work?
Readers can visit me at: www.vjeffersandqveal.com
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