Saturday, December 12, 2015

Twinja Book Reviews 3rd Annual Diversity Month Day Ten: Interview with @constanceburris +month long #giveaway

Happy Saturday awesome people. Totally confused about the weather East Coast bound. It's December and CT don't know what month it wants to be. I'll keep the warm weather, but don't come at me with snow next week!

So we mentioned the weekends were fair game, and I almost waited until the last minute, but our next interview is up!
Our next guest we've both reviewed her books and enjoyed them, and even highlighted her cover during our Favorites Month!

 Twinja Book Reviews Annual Diversity Month Event Day Ten:

Author Constance Burris

So your book is kinda all over our blog, but this is the first real time you've been on our blog. What can you tell us about yourself?

I am author of diverse speculative fiction.

What can you tell us about your journey being an author?

I had always planned to be a published author by the time I was 30. I was seven years late, so I have a lot of writing to make up for. Now that I have two books published, I've learned you really don't make much money when you initially start. I've read that before, but I was hoping I would be the exception to the rule.

Two years ago, I decided I didn't want to work for someone else my entire life. I love my job, but I'm ready to strike out on my own, make my own hours, and spend much more time with my kids.

I've read somewhere that if you can write five books, decent money will start coming in. Now, I'm wondering if that's closer to ten. Anyways, my plan is to publish one book a year for five years. This year I published two. So I'm on track. 

What inspires the content you create?

I'm an avid reader. When I began my writing journey, I decided I wanted to write books with characters that reflected myself and the people I was raised with. 
What created the initiative behind your blog?

I blog, but I mostly post writing updates and diverse speculative fiction book reviews.
What draws you into a book? What themes do you look for? What makes a book an amazing read?

Action. I love action. And good dialogue. 

What can you tell us about your experience growing up?

I was born and raised in Oklahoma, on welfare, one of six kids. Oklahoma has a small black population, so I've always felt like the other. I've always been aware of how different I was in comparison to most of the kids around me. For the most part, I embraced the difference because to be normal is to be boring.

Do you feel well represented in books and/or media?

Books, yes. Thanks to the self-publishing boom, I have no problem finding books with black women.

Movies, No. Movies suck, and if there is a black women in the movie she's light-skinned. If it was evenly spit between dark, medium, light... That would be one thing, but that's not the case and it's pissing me off. 

How can we make the conversation about diversity where it needs to be?

Right now, I feel like the message for diverse books is being misinterpreted. Some of the people who hear the call for diverse books are feeling like they should be the ones writing diverse books. But some of these people should just be uplifting and promoting the works of diverse authors who write diverse books.

Some folks are try their best to write to the trends but sometimes we need to take a step back. For example, I am intrigued by reading stories where the lead is gay. But that doesn't mean I should write a story with a gay main character. It also doesn't mean I shouldn't. I just need to check my motives.

What has been your favorite character to create and why?

Chalcedony, from the Everleaf Series. She is my favorite because she was supposed to be minor character in the book, but she quickly overruled me and carved out a space in the book all her own.

If you're a creator, what has been the piece of your work you've taken most pride in?

Black Beauty. It's my second book, I was able to build on what I learned in my first book COAL.

Like wise, once I finish my third book, CHALCEDONY, I think that'll be my favorite because I would have learned even more.

What types of books did you like consuming growing up?

Fantasy and Science Fiction no doubt because the action is immediate. A lot of times its a journey, and I like to travel. Mainstream books have a hard time keeping my attention.

Are there any books that you thinks gets representation right?

Kaleidoscope. Its an anthology, but OHEMGEE! It's a diversity smorgasbord.

Why do you write the types of books you write, and do you plan diversifying genres in the future?

I write YA diverse books, for black folks interested in a fantasy setting. Something I didn't have when I was a kid reading.

What would you tell your teenage self that you wish you knew now about your growth?

Save and pay off everything as soon as possible so you can write full time.
What type of advice can you give to those starting out?

Write to completion. Show people your work. Edit three times and then let it go.

What sites would you recommend for those trying to educate themselves better on the conversation about diversity in books and media?

Dos Twinjas, duh!(you can so tell we're friends...)

Finally, where can folks go for updates, and to learn more about your projects going on?

Constance Burris is a nerd, writer, wife and mother. Most of her stories are speculative fiction. She was lost the moment she read her first science fiction story in kindergarten about people living on Venus. When she discovered the story was fiction, she was heartbroken, but it didn't affect her love for all things fantastical.

She's even donating her books Coal and Black Beauty in the giveaway! Enter for a chance to win!


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