During the next Black Sci-Fi Book Club from 6:30-8:30 p.m. EST on Oct. 31 on Twitter, we’re discussing Maurice Broaddus’ “At the Village Vanguard (Ruminations on Blacktopia),” which was posted on the website of Mothership Zeta digtial magazine earlier this year. We talked to him about his background, his writing and what he would do if he wasn’t a writer. (Click here to read the story and use the hashtag #blackscifibookclub on Twitter to give your thoughts!)
Midwest BSFA: Tell us about yourself.
Broaddus: I was a scientist for twenty years, then dove into full-time writing. I do community development work and I teach a class at a middle school on the side. Husband of one, father of two.
Midwest BSFA: How did you get started writing?
Broaddus: I started in second grade when my teacher, who wasn’t sure what to do with me, basically put me in the back of the class with a stack of paper and told me to just create for the year. In high school, a teacher of mine took an interest in my writing and kept challenging me to do more with it.
Midwest BSFA: How did you come up with this story we’re reading for Black Sci-Fi Book Club?
Broaddus: “At the Village Vanguard (Ruminations on Blacktopia)” came about from sitting around daydreaming with a buddy of mine. It’s a specific creative process which involves quite a bit of vodka. But we ended up discussing black people leaving all of “this” behind and starting over in space.
Midwest BSFA: The first-person format for the story is one that you see in a lot of magazines around the anniversaries of big events (tragic or otherwise). What made you use this format?
Broaddus: I was actually having trouble telling the story because I couldn’t maintain a consistent voice for the story. The I struck upon the idea of telling the story as an oral history, using several distinct voices, and everything fell into place.
Midwest BSFA: What do you do when you aren’t writing?
Broaddus: I’ll let you know if I am ever not writing.
Midwest BSFA: What do you hope readers get out of your stories?
Broaddus: I try to layer my stories with lots of ideas and weighty topics to give people stuff to chew on while being entertained.
Midwest BSFA: Did you always want to be a writer?
Broaddus: For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer and a scientist.
Midwest BSFA: What would you do if you weren’t an author?
Broaddus: If I had to do it all over again, I’d be a tap dancer. Otherwise, being a teacher, writing, and giving back to the community is exactly the life I want to live.
Midwest BSFA: Were you a voracious reader when you were younger?
Broaddus: Absolutely. The first books I remember reading were the Danny Dunn mysteries (a kid scientist detective!)
Midwest BSFA: Has that enthusiasm for books continued in your adult life? Isn’t that essential to be a writer?
Broaddus: My “To Be Read” stack takes up a quarter of my bedroom, much to my wife’s … delight (“delight” is a word, though it might not mean what I think it does for this scenario).
Midwest BSFA: Is there anything else you want to tell our readers?
Broaddus: Short stories are my first love and where I go to experiment as a writer. This was an experiment in voice and story telling. I hope you enjoy it.
Visit mauricebroaddus.com for more samples of his work!