Welcome to Origins of an African Elemental Mini-Tour and an interview with author, Alicia McCalla!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I can be best described as a writer on a mission. I began my love of SciFi and Fantasy as a teenager. I couldn’t get enough of it until all of my friends and family members began to tease me.
Thirty years ago, it really wasn’t cool for a black girl in the hood to read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But I loved those books and all things dragons, too. LOL. I even played Dungeons and Dragons. As I grew older, I allowed other people to dictate my reading tastes. That didn’t end well for me. I became miserable and felt as if I were missing pieces of who “I” was.
One day, I put my foot down and not only did I openly read SFF, I began to write it. The stories that I write usually have epic plots and unique characters. It’s my goal to desegregate paranormal and SciFi worlds and add people of color into the center of new universes. Shrug. Maybe, I’ll take over the SFF world someday. Bwahaahaa!(Evil laughter)
My writer self allows me the opportunity to grow my vivid imagination. I dream big and create outlandish worlds, unusual galaxies, and strange universes.
I’m also a school librarian and it is neat for me to see my students fall in love with a good SFF book. They already live the everyday life but “eyes” light up when they can view a societal problem from a different perspective. The stories that I and other SFF writers write help to engage a side of the brain that deals with curiosity, problem solving, and imagination. These are all abilities that need to be nurtured, particularly in the homes of minorities and people of color.
Truthfully, it’s why I continue to write when I know it’s not socially acceptable to read and write paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction.
When did you begin writing?
I wrote stories for as long as I can remember. I know for sure that I’d begun to use an old reconditioned typewriter to create my masterpieces at age 10 but my Mom says that I probably began writing much earlier than that.
I distinctly remember being a teenager and wondering what I should do with my life. I tossed and turned all night, in fact, it bothered me so much that I began sweating and became entranced. Then, a deep voice as “clear as a bell” told me to be a “writer.”
It rumbled and shook me awake. You would think that the heavenly voice waking me up from my sleep would have been enough to convince me. Unfortunately, I didn’t start seriously writing until my late thirties.
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
Origins of an African Elemental includes two difficult stories. This Soul Eater boxed set deals with issues of Trokosi slave wives, female genital mutilation, ritualistic sacrifice and domestic violence. This series mixes West African mythology and Norse mythology featuring vampire-like beasts.
Origins of an African Elemental was painful to write but I felt it was necessary to show controversial issues that impact African American women mixed with supernatural thriller elements to truly create a Black woman’s horror story.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
My writing voice doesn’t make things easy for anybody, especially me. I find that there is something untamed, sinister and dark lurking within my storytelling. Add controversial issues and well, my paranormal stories border on being more literary than commercial. When my supernatural writing voice grabs me, it scares the “heck out of me” and I can do nothing but watch the story unfold. That’s what has happened with this Soul Eater series.
Friends and family members tell me that I have a “dark gene” when it comes to telling stories but I want readers to become up close and personal with the atrocities committed toward women. Some readers may find the serial killer’s violence against female victims to be disturbing and well they should. My goal is to spur understanding and encourage action against these abuses. Reader who enjoys sword and sorcery stories will want to read this series highlighting strong Black women warriors who sometimes have to fight to the death to survive.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
I’m too excited about the ability in the 21st century to become the “everyday” writer, artist or musician. We now have the ability to create a platform, share our stories, find readers, and make a living doing exactly what we love, easily.
It’s an exciting time to be creative. I would encourage readers to support these authors, artists, and musicians by purchasing their works, spreading good news to family and friends, and putting positive reviews on sites like Amazon and other distributors. This is the new form of social activism in the 21st century. We need to create a campaign “Support Indies to Change the World!”
And the tale of the African Elementals begins… This prequel boxed set is the first and second installment in the Soul Eater series. Mawu, Iniko, and Shania grow into their strength as mothers and warriors.These women wield the elements and war swords to save this universe from an ancient evil.
Mawu An insidious demonic force infects the West African pantheon and a modest Earth goddess goes on a quest to save her people from destruction. She finds strength in the arms of a Norse god who believes in justice. But when Mawu returns to the African pantheon, she must take an oath that threatens the life of her unborn child.
Iniko, daughter of a West African goddess and a Norse god, struggles with her estranged husband, who abducted their child and is intent on murdering the girl in a blood-soaked ritual to gain power for his ancient demonic master. Iniko travels to a West African castle during the slave trade to battle possessed vampire-like beasts with her sword and dagger to rescue her child. Can she find the strength to kill the man who once held her heart and the key to her magic?
Flee: A Short Story After the death of her grandmother, Shania Moore, a 27-year old African-American woman, is tormented by her ex-boyfriend and a paranormal serial killer. When Shania falls into a dream realm and connects with an ancient African goddess, her earth magic awakens. Shania realizes that in order to save her daughter’s magical soul, she must run into the arms of the white man whom she lied to about having an abortion and stood up at the altar ten years before.
It took thirty years for Alicia to accept her calling as a writer of “unusual stories.” Always writing edgy tales that pushed the envelope. She learned to hide her violent, controversial, heart-pumping,and tragically romantic stories from family and friends.
It wasn’t until she joined a local writer’s group that she began to share her stories openly and take the plunge. Alicia writes for both new adults and adults with her brand of multicultural supernatural thrillers, urban fantasy, paranormal, and horror. Her stories always include strong women heroines who fight back, sometimes to the death.
Alicia’s influences are Octavia Butler, LA Banks, Faith Hunter, Patricia Briggs, and Laurell K. Hamilton.
Alicia is an activist in the movement towards diversifying Science fiction and Fantasy (#diversityinsff). She created the first “State of Black Science Fiction 2012” blog tour, is an active member in the State of Black Science Fiction FaceBook group and has a ScoopIt page where she actively curates topics related to Afrofuturism, Black Science Fiction, and Black Speculative fiction.
Alicia is a native Detroiter who currently resides in metro Atlanta. She works as a media specialist or school librarian in a local school district. Alicia enjoys spending time with her husband and son.
Alicia’s adult series mixes African-American women’s fiction with dark urban fantasy. Check out the Soul Eater series. Sign-up on http://www.aliciamccalla.com for free downloads, e-updates, sneak peeks, and coupons.
You can support this diverse title/author by clicking, and purchasing on the link below, adding it to you Goodreads Want-to-Read List, following Alicia via Twitter or liking her on Facebook!
Tour Giveaway: One winner can choose a Kindle Fire HD 6 Tablet or a $99 USD Amazon Gift Card. Each entrant will be subscribed to Alicia McCalla’s email list (they can unsubscribe at any time) and receive an eCopy of the first three chapters of Rise of an African Elemental.
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