Who is your biggest literary influence
NGK: My biggest literary influences have been Octavia Butler, Mary Shelley, and Stephen King. I have many more, Sue Grafton, Robert B. Parker, and Zora Neal Hurston, but the first three are my primary influences since childhood.
What is your writing process like? What inspires your writing?
NGK: I’m an educator, a mother, and a business owner, so my writing process is erratic. I write every day, from small notes on sticky notes, to full-fledged stories over the course of a few days.
Life inspires my writings. I wrote an entire novel around an accident scene I drove by while living in New Mexico (Cozened: A Cybil Lewis Story). I also wrote my short story, “Rise,” from my feelings regarding police brutality.
Where did your creative spark begin? Can you trace the path/timeline that got you where you are today?
NGK: My creative spark came from being raised in a housing project with limited funds. I remember watching television, or my teacher reading a story to us in class, and me continuing and expanding the story in my imagination, into the night to help me sleep. I didn’t start writing those stories down until middle school, and I walked around with my notebook full of stories.
In high school, my freshman English teacher further encouraged my writing flame by helping enter writing contests, which I won. I won the district essay contest and a few local poetry contests. From there I went to college and to English as my major. I graduated with a BA in writing, concentration rhetoric and went into the world.
I continued to write short stories and essays through 1998. Frustrated by the seemingly lack of diversity in speculative fiction, I started Mocha Memoirs Ezine of Short Fiction & Poetry. I published authors from 1998-2002, while at the same time my first novel, Browne Candidate was selected to be published as an ebook (1998).
I was small pressed published until 2008 when Parker Publishing paid my first advanced and first 2000 copy print run for Silenced: A Cybil Lewis story. I’m still a hybrid author today. Small press, electronically, and mid-sized published.
When did you know writing was for you?
NGK: Since about 4th grade, writing had been a path I enjoyed. My momma loved writing and had notebooks scattered all over the house. When she comes to visit now, she gets on my laptop and writes about her past, memories she wants to retain and revisit. Writing is in my blood. In retrospect, it has always been something I valued and felt compelled to do.
Why speculative fiction? What other genre(s) do you write?
NGK: Star Trek® and Stephen King are probably directly responsible for my love of speculative fiction. Until about 15, my life was devoted to horror and urban stories. In college, I discovered Toni Morrison, Sue Grafton, and Octavia Butler, and I was never the same again. All three women wrote very different genres, and soon my stories began to incorporate bits of all three genres into one story.
I write scifi pulp, or what I like to call futuristic pulp. I love mysteries, and I adore speculative settings, hence my Cybil Lewis series. I also write horror and fantasy.
For fun, I write romance under a pen name, but other than that, I write non-fiction articles and essays.
How can people connect with you?
NGK: People can connect with me via the following social media methods:
- Twitter: @nicolegkurtz
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nicolegkurtz
- Website: http://www.nicolegivenskurtz.com
- Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nlkurtz
- Cybil Lewis Site: http://www.cybillewisseries.blogspot.com
Thank you for the interview! Loads of fun.