I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by DiversityYA on my book Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of The Timekeeper. Read the interview below and please let me know what you think! Also, please note I will NO LONGER be releasing EKROTK at New York Comic Con. I am going to begin seeking agent representation for this manuscript SOON, so for now it is under wraps 🙂 My pubslush is still on for The Skinwalker’s Apprentice though, so follow the link in the article to donate! Hope you enjoy the interview 🙂
1) Can you tell us a little more about Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of The Timekeeper? What inspired you to write it?
Riddle of The Timekeeper is about a teen witch living in New York City during the nineteen eighties. She’s rebellious, pierced and pink haired and early on we find out she’s kind of lost and confused about what her future will bring. She’s one of only two witches living in New York, the other being her aunt Nora. On her last day of High School, which was a struggle to achieve in itself because of her penchant for trouble, her aunt vanishes before her eyes. Emerald then receives a message from the past, “Find The Timekeeper, Solve The Riddle,” and she is introduced to a NYC she’s never known; equal parts magical and dangerous.
I really wanted to write a story about New York that not only incorporated magic, but also history. There are many characters pulled from the headlines so to speak, like Goody Garlick who was accused of witchcraft on Long Island a good thirty five years before the Salem witch trials and even The Timekeeper himself who was inspired by New York University’s beloved John Votta. He was nicknamed The Timekeeper because he stood on a corner of Washington Square Park yelling the time to passing students. I took inspiration from these real life people and weaved them into my alternate, magical New York City.
2) Many of your characters struggle with mental health issues. Was that a conscious choice, or did that just happen? Why is diversity in fiction important to you?
One thing I wanted to explore was the real world ramifications that being a witch would entail. For Emerald, the only other person who she can identify with fully is her aunt Nora. Aside from that, her mother passed at a young age and her father abandoned the family shortly after. Many times we find these tragic characters who have been through so much, yet mentally they don’t seem affected in the same way any of us would be, despite the inferences that they are very much human in addition to be extraordinary.
Emerald is the manifestation of what I believe would happen to someone who was dealing with the death of a parent, with abandonment and with being so completely different they felt they had no where to turn.
Diversity in fiction is important to me because as an author of color I know first hand that having a character you can relate to in a book as a kid can be a great thing. I have always been a reader, I was obsessed with books as a child, but rarely did I find a character that looked like me, that came from any of the same kinds of neighborhoods I lived in. The books that I could identify with (Like The House On Mango Street) I read close to a million times. They were important to me because I could see myself in the pages, and it made me feel like I was understood in some way.
It’s my hope that readers feel they can identify with my characters, and that it helps them realize they’re not less than because of how they look or what they’re struggling with.
3) How did you prepare for writing about mental health issues? How did you conduct your research?
Read the rest of the article here.