1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?
Hi. And thank you for conducting these interviews! My name is Kerry E.B. Black, and I am a writer living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA USA.
2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?
My most recently published book is a YA paranormal thriller called Spring of Spirits. It’s the second in a series that follows Casey, a shy college freshman at Ol’NorEastern U, where an Autumn Equinox awakening ceremony changed the participants in subtle ways – and might have released something murderous.
The main character, Casey, bears a lot of burdens. Her home life leaves much to be desired, yet she does all she can to help there. She works and attends school. She’s a hard worker who also faced mental health issues. She’s someone to admire, truly.
3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?
How she came about? I have many friends in different special needs communities. They’ve served as partial models for Casey.
Later this year. I’m releasing a book of scary poetry called Poetic Nightmares (my already released collections of short scares are named Carousel of Nightmares, Herd of Mightmares, and Fairy Herds and Mythscapes). I adore reading and writing short fiction, with its encapsulated experiences. Often in my busy life, I haven’t enough time. So I appreciate intoxicating, brief interludes.
4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?
I’m working on a novella that’s stymied me because I dread the latest scene. It’s set in the ambiguous past, when midwives and herbalists we’re persecuted as witches. This particular herbalist lead character has cerebral palsy – and a surprising relationship with another character in the story. I hope to finish it before the end of the year.
5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?
I work with a dear woman named Deb Sanchez at Tree Shadow Press to publish most of my work. She’s a one woman hybrid press dynamo, and I love her!
Terry M. West curates a magazine called Weirdsmith, and I was honored to be a featured author for his volume five. Those two stories remain the goriest I’ve ever written. Otherwise, a number of amazing lit mags and anthologies have kindly published some of my stories.
6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?
Imposter Syndrome cripples. It kept me from writing for far too long. Life’s short, and tomorrow is not promised, or so common sense tells us. So, write if you want to, tell stories and leave a mark. Not everyone will enjoy your work, but don’t allow that to stop you. Write what you enjoy.
7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Good question. Many of my stories come from a shared universe. I sometimes have a character in a story refer to another character or experience from a different story, so although the stories stand alone, they often contain “Easter Eggs.”
8. What are some of your favourite authors and books and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?
Some of my favorite authors include C.S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Joe Hill, Alice Hoffman, Grady Hendrix, Gwendolyn Kiste, Edgar A. Poe, Holly Black, and Cynthia Pelayo. But there are so many more! I think my mom inspired me to write. I started early with ghost stories I’d write and illustrate and share with underclassmen at my elementary school. Through writing, I am marginally more eloquent than my normal, tongue-tied and awkward self.
9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?
I am not sure about the best way to market my books. My Twitter following is largest, but I think I have more actual engagement on Instagram.
10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?
I am not a fan of erotica or extreme gore.
11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?
I do read reviews and try to look at anything negative constructively. That’s not to say it doesn’t sting, but I try to turn it into a learning experience. As Hemingway explained, we’re all learning as we go. There’s something magical about always striving to be better.
12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?
I always know the beginning and the end of my stories. The action has to progress toward that conclusion. For longer works, I know plot points that must be reached. The business of getting there is often something of a mystery to me, though.
I don’t usually pay attention to the world around me when I write. I tune everything out by necessity, I suppose. My house is tiny and overly populated, and thus noisy and distracting.
13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?
Join writing groups. Support your fellow writers and listen to their suggestions about your writing. Objective opinions are invaluable.
14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?
I am always writing. Even when I don’t write things down, my mind seizes and elaborates on ideas. I’ve that novella to complete. I use submission calls for publications I admire as muses for short works. I write a drabble weekly for https://www.carrotranch.com.
15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:
Thank you again for conducting this interview! I’ve boosted your offer of interviews on my Instagram (where I discovered it.)
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