Here is my long-overdue interview with Alicia McCalla. Alicia has been a delight to work with and I was proud to publish her book, Breaking Free, in February 2012. She’s hard at work on the sequel as well as another novel that she’ll be self-publishing. I frequently use Alicia as an example of how to market. She’s out there making contacts and speaking her heart. Her passion drives her fiction and it shows. This woman simply can not write fast enough to satisfy the hunger of her fans!
HA: Why did you decide to indie publish? Why now?
AM: A little over a year ago, I attended a discussion at my local writer’s group that discussed the problems and concerns with traditional publishing. I listened to authors published by traditional publishers share some truly heart wrenching stories. That discussion along with learning how digital publishing has been changing the face of the industry led me to seriously consider indie-publishing. Last February, my dream became a reality when my debut novel, Breaking Free, became available in print and for immediate download. Exciting!
HA: You have a platform that motivates you, and led me to want to publish your book. Tell us about that.
AM: My platform in Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal in color. It’s my goal to encourage FFP authors to desegregate their fictionalized worlds and add protagonists of color as well as content that relates to people of color. It’s a sensitive platform but very important in the 21st century. If readers are interested in why I write my blog, they can visit my first blog post “Black People Don’t Read Science Fiction.”
HA: Your book is incredibly relevant to current events. You speak directly to the young people of today. My husband and I have had a debate over whether Trayvon’s death was racially motivated. I claim that it was not, but that the handling of the case by police was a horrific injustice that has hurt racial healing. I think of the many misunderstandings in your book. I’m curious about your opinions.
AM: The Trayvon Martin case was very sensitive to me. I’m not only an African-American but a mother of a teen Black male. Trayvon’s case rattled me. Stereotyping, racism, and weapons are dangerous. In our 21st century minds, we think of lynching and segregation as a thing of the 19th or 20th century but the vestiges of that dying mindset still remain. I was so pleased when I put the call out to speculative fiction authors to participate in Trayvon 2.0: A Creative Science Fiction response towards racial healing, I received many short stories on my blog from writers of all races, backgrounds, and sentiments. I’d hoped that Trayvon 2.0 could be a creative outlet for people to heal. It’s been an amazing project.
HA: What do you do for a living?
AM: Um. I’m pretty boring LOL! I’m a school librarian. I spend my days encouraging students to read, research, and use technology. I do enjoy working as a librarian. It’s really quite fun. There’s always something really interesting going on in libraries. Wink!
HA: Do you think that affected your portrayal of the librarian in Breaking Free?
AM: Yes and No. I really just wanted to make a cool character who was evil with a capital “E.” I’m hoping that readers sit on the edge of their seats when they read the fight scene. It’s both physical and mental. It was a tough scene to write but I feel that I captured the full battle. Violence and triumph all in one.
HA: Can you tell us more about the story?
AM: Sure. XJ is a 17-year old genetically-enhanced girl who must save her mother from a mind swiping procedure. Breaking Free is the first book in the Genetic Revolution series. This series is intense and controversial. There are issues of race, class, gender as well as sexual identity crisis. Did I mention that there’s an interracial romance? This series chalked full of current issues. Teens will have lots to talk about after reading it.
HA: Would you indie publish again?
AM: Yes. I am publishing more books. Readers can visit: www.aliciamccalla.com to find out more about my upcoming books. Double Identity, the next book in XJ’s series will be available in February 2013. I’m so excited.