K. R. S. MCENTIRE
Words of Wisdom
What inspired you to write your book?
I got the idea for my first book, Saving Eden, in the oddest way possible. In high school we played a game called Dance Dance Revolution. The plot and setting of my books are actually inspired by a music video in that game. The music video shows a young girl
playing a piano in a beautiful, almost magical, garden, but the video hints that there is something dark and sinister under the surface of this world. I started writing a story about a teenage girl who lives in the last healthy garden in a dangerous, post-apocalyptic world. I found that draft as an adult and edited the story.
What is your writing process like?
I am a mix between a plotter and a pantser. I usually create an outline of the plot before writing, but my story takes a life of its own as I write.
How many hours a day do you write?
I try to find a couple of hours to write each day, be it book writing or working on freelance articles. I tend to juggle multiple projects!
What does literary success look like to you?
Honestly, the simple act of having people enjoy something I created while also making a profit from a world that I built in my head is my definition of success.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
There are some authors who can write quickly and pump out a new story every few months. I think the most difficult aspect for me is that its usually a slow process of writing 1000 or so words a day, on a good day.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
When I get into a flow, it energizes me. But I have to listen to when my mind tells me it's time to stop, or the quality of the writing will suffer.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I was always writing as a child and teen. Who would have known that a story I wrote as a teen would go on to sell over 200 copies so far? Even if I only sold one book, someone has enjoyed something I created. I would tell my younger self to keep writing!
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
If I write about a place I've never been, I spend a lot of time researching the places. I also did some research on weapons and medicine.
What advice do you have for other Black writers?
There are some things you’ll have to think about as a Black writer that other writes don’t have to think about. For example, finding stock photos with Black characters can be difficult. When you create a Facebook ad for your book, an author suggested I add Michelle Obama as a keyword on my Facebook ads to reach Black readers. I’d also love to see more Black writers working on Dystopian stories. With the historical experiences that Black people have faced, we have a lot to pull from!
My main advice would be to tell the story of your heart and don’t worry about what others think. This would honestly be my advice for all writers, but I feel like it can be more difficult for Black writers. I’ve heard Black people say they wouldn't read a book
by a Black author if it had a dragon in it because Dragons are not from Africa. News flash: Dragons are not from anywhere because they are not real. I’ve had Black people say my Black characters did not act “Black enough.” But the Black experience is not a
Tell your story how you want to tell it. That's my advice. Don’t worry about anything else. Keep writing. That's the best advice I can give.
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