Alicia McCalla, an African-American writer who has the ability to encourage social change and activism along with fantasy, futurism and paranormal in her books
She is a social writer who looks for important topics to people of color. Her Genetic Revolution Series will conclude with Double Identity and The Revolution
Alicia McCalla is a native Detroiter who currently resides in metro Atlanta, USA. She works as a media specialist or school librarian in a local school district. She writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural urban fantasy, futurism, paranormal, romance and horror. Her first book, Breaking Free, is available in print or for immediate download. Also, Flee: The Short Story y The Soul Eaters.
You began to writing with only ten years old with an old typewriter of your grandmother, is it something that comes from family?
My family has a long history in Education and Social Work. My grandmother did tell me about her great Uncle who wrote a book of poetry and her grandfather who wrote about his journey from slavery to freedom. I haven’t heard of other authors in my family. It seems to be me.
From always you have liked the unusual stories as imagination, horror or violence, why did you learn to hide your wild and outlandish stories from family and friends?
It was unusual for an African-American girl from Detroit, Michigan to read or write such stories. It just wasn’t cool to do.
You began to share your stories openly when you joined Romance Writers of America (RWA), what has it meant for you to join RWA?
RWA has been a wonderful experience. I am currently on the board of my local RWA chapter and have learned so much from the other writers in the organization. I don’t think I would’ve published without the mentorship and connections that I received from associating with RWA.A few writers are able to mix as you urban fantasy, futurism, paranormal, romance and horror, in their books. Do you find your difficulties at the moment of writing a book?
Well, I actually try to keep my science fiction stories separate from my paranormal romances. I do add that horror element to my paranormals. Generally, I go where the stories take me. That’s the fun of it.
In your first book the Genetic Revolution Series, Breaking Free, you narrate genetic manipulation in humans treated in a scene of fantasy and science fiction. Is it important for people of color to be a part of and represented within the science fiction paradigm?
It is very important. Science fiction and fantasy have the ability to encourage social change and activism as well as futuristic vision. If people of color are removed from these novels, that essentially means that they are not a part of “futuristic” thought. Dangerous…
Is it true that the black people do not read science fiction?
For the most part, Black people read the supernatural but generally, have not been attracted to Science Fiction literature. It could be because Scifi and fantasy publishers haven’t made it a habit to market to Blacks.
In the book you narrate also the difficulties of marriage between black and white people, is there still this type of discrimination in the street?
In the genetic revolution series, XJ and Brandon can’t be a couple because they’re genetic enhancements aren’t compatible. The question of race is not the issue. I thought it would be interesting to explore the idea of discrimination based upon genetic abilities versus race. In the world that I created there are still racial tensions but they aren’t as serious as the genetic oppression.
You sometimes discuss that “futuristic and paranormal story with a multicultural lens”. What does mean this expression?
That means that I look for stories that highlight multicultural protagonists or secondary characters as well as themes or issues that are important to people of color.
In Flee: The Short Story narrates the story of Shania Moore, an African- American woman who is tormented by her ex-boyfriend and she has an abortion too. What do you want to transmit with this book?
In this short story, I wanted to explore the question of domestic violence in the African-American community. It is my hope that this short story will encourage dialogue, discussion, and solutions. It is oftentimes hard to discuss this sensitive issue. I’m hoping the people will feel encouraged to take action.
In Flee: The Short Story, also narrate about female genital mutilation. How are you able to join domestic violence and female genital mutilation in a paranormal story?
In the African Elemental series, it was my goal to add elements of the supernatural or paranormal from Africana culture, history, and tradition. Along with the supernatural, I wanted to weave in issues of black women especially female genital mutilation. The paranormal serial killer in the story is harvesting the souls of young black girls through a ritualistic ceremony that uses female genital mutilation.
In The Soul Eaters narrate the battle between good and evil and an ancient West African soul. How did this idea arise?
I enjoy reading urban fantasies and paranormal romances. Many of them seem to be centered on Greek or Roman history, culture, and tradition. There is a few that use Egyptian culture but, by and large, the emphasis has been on European culture. I thought it would be neat to create a series that highlighted West African history, tradition, and culture. Particularly, because many African Americans are descendant from that area.
Your books are available in Smashwords, Amazon or Barnes & Noble. How are they working? Have they been much unloaded?
My books have very successful. I’ve been surprised and excited about the number of people reading my stories. The feedback from readers has been inspiring and great. I’m hoping to continue to write stories that entertain, inform, and encourage readers.
After knowing your three books, is it important to create books that the principal subject is the social? Do you want to raise public awareness across your books?
My mom always says that I’m a social activist at heart. I do enjoy adding those deeper issues to my novels. It is certainly my hope that my books not only entertain but raise public awareness surrounding issues of race, class, and gender.
We would like to know now the opinion of the readers, have you received many positive critiques? What do they say to you on your books?
I have received positive reviews on my series. Most comments center on my stories having great action, heart pumping story lines, and interesting twists. I especially enjoy hearing from teen boys. When I added the romance, I was thinking that this would not go over well but they seem to enjoy the entire novel. That makes me excited.
And on the literature in your country, do people read very much in Georgia? What kind is the most well-read?
The US is a huge country so it’s hard to say. There are so many wonderful authors who touch a wide variety of reading tastes. It’s hard to be definite about this. The librarian in me would offer way too many suggestions.
We are finishing the interview; have you new literary projects in mind?
I do. Soon I’ll be releasing Books two (Double Identity) and three (The Revolution) of the Genetic Revolution series. I’m so excited. I’ve been working with the graphic designer on the covers. The upcoming stories will take readers deeper into XJ’s world. I can’t wait to see what they think about the conclusion of the series.
What book would you recommend to readers of The Forced Reading?
I always offer unique reviews of books on my author page. They might enjoy reading some of the authors from my guest blogs and interviews. I’d love to read their thoughts and comments on http://www.aliciamccalla.com/ . Also, if they want to keep up on my upcoming books, they can subscribe to my e-newsletter.