We recently interviewed author Nicole Givens Kurtz, whose short story “Death’s Harvest” will be the feature for this month’s #blackscifibookclub on Aug. 29!
Midwest BSFA: Tell us about yourself.
Kurtz: I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I have been writing since 11th grade, but creating stories since before I could write.
Midwest BSFA: How did you get into writing?
Kurtz: My 10th grade writing teacher saw that I enjoyed writing. She asked me to enter an area essay contest, and I won. It was then that I saw that I could make money writing. It became a viable career choice, something tangible.
Midwest BFSA: What would you do if you weren’t an author?
Kurtz: I’m an educator. When I’m not writing, I’m teaching students or coaching other teachers.
Midwest BSFA: Who’s your all-time favorite author and why?
Kurtz: This is a tough question! My all time favorite author would have to be Robert B. Parker and Stephen King. Both men, I know, but if I could add a third, it would be Sue Grafton. All three shaped how I write suspense and horror. But it was Octavia Butler and Zora Neale Hurston who shaped how I write about myself.
Midwest BSFA: Did you always want to be a writer?
Kurtz: There was a brief time that I wanted to be part of an all-female singing group in middle school, but even then, I wanted to be a writer in some form, either as a journalist, essayist or author.
Midwest BSFA: Were you a voracious reader when you were younger?
Kurtz: YES! I lived at the library. As a teenager I spent my time in libraries and at malls, with the former consuming most of my free time.
Midwest BSFA: Has that enthusiasm for books continued in your adult life? Isn’t that essential to be a writer?
Kurtz: I am an avid reader even now. I can’t see how anyone can write when they don’t read, especially the genre in which they intend to write. It is indeed essential.
Midwest BSFA: What sparked you to write “Death’s Harvest”?
Kurtz: A funeral prompted my story of “Death’s Harvest.” I thought of the Grim Reaper and the idea blossomed from there. Santa Claus had helpers, and I thought about how Death can’t be everywhere. So what would his help look like?
Midwest BSFA: What are you working on right now?
Kurtz: I’m working on a horror story right now that’s rooted in depression. I’ve also just released Devourer: A Minister Knight Novel, that is the second in my Minister Knight of Souls sword and sorcery series.
Midwest BSFA: What tips would you give women who want to get into writing in a genre like this?
Kurtz: My publishing company, Mocha Memoirs Press, is focused on publishing women in speculative fiction. Read in the genre. Write. Write. Write! The biggest tip would be to do your research before submitting your story to anyone. Money always flows TO the author.
Midwest BSFA: Anything else you want our audience to know?
Kurtz: I’d like to offer my sincere thanks for allowing me the opportunity to share my work with others. I’m also conducting a giveaway for those who sign up for my newsletter. They’ll get an exclusive copy of Recruited: A Cybil Lewis SF Mystery when they sign up. You can’t get that story anywhere. Visit www.nicolegivenskurtz.com/newsletter to sign up.
DETAILS: Black Sci-Fi Book Club, Aug. 29, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Twitter. Use the hashtag #blackscifibookclub to join in the conversation!