Next we have Cerece Renee Murphy. I got a chance to hear her speak at the State of Black Science Fiction Convention. She is a wonderful speaker with a beautiful voice.
Which author inspired you the most to write your own stories?
My favorite writer of all time is Toni Morrison. I’ve been reading her books since I was maybe 16. When I discovered Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed, she blew my mind. I’m often asked if their examples inspired me to write and I always give the same answer – Of course not! Who reads an Octavia Butler or Toni Morrison book and thinks, “Yes! I can do that!” LOL! Those women are geniuses. I’m just Cerece.
I really got up the guts to write my own stories through the fan fiction community. Some of the best writers I’ve ever read are fan fiction writers. Back in the 90s, I remember reading literally thousands of pages of X-files fan fiction. Some of those stories have stayed with me until this day. I remember thinking, these are ordinary people just like me who have the courage to write and put themselves out there just for the love of a story. I was so inspired by their humility and courage. It made me think that maybe I could try to do the same.
Do you think we need a black speculative fiction month? Why or why not?
Sure. I think the demand for unique stories is out there. Yet, the knowledge about where to find them is seriously lagging behind that demand. Authors of Color in sci-fi broaden the scope of how, why and who tells a story and that is always an interesting place to be. I love reading a story that challenges my notions of how things have to be. I think a lot of sci-fi readers do. So, whatever we can do to raise awareness about the full spectrum of stories being told out there, I’m up for.
Last month, I had the privilege of participating on an Afrofuturism panel at WorldCon. To be honest, I really didn’t know how many people would show up, given the Mad/Sad Puppy contingent, but to my utter joy the room was PACKED with people, ALL kinds of people, trying to learn and understand more about Afrofuturism, where they could find it and what it meant. So I know the demand is there.
As a reader, what would you like to see more of from black speculative fiction authors?
As a reader, I love the uniqueness of place and context in so many of the stories that I see coming out of the Black Speculative Fiction space. What I want to see more of from Black Speculative Fiction Authors is a belief in our stories and their relevance beyond the Black community. I would love to see more authors market their work more widely without apprehension, not for approval, but with the belief that ALL people NEED to read the stories we are creating. I want to see us take our stories directly to the readers in a powerful and intentional way. We have nothing to fear. We are the future.
Do you remember the first time you encountered your first black character in a work of speculative fiction? How old were you? How did it affect you?
I remember seeing Lt. Uhura on Star Trek (my Dad is a big fan.) and I thought it was normal. It made sense to me. I didn’t think that it was a big deal, at all. When I saw Lando Calrissian in Empire Strikes Back, I also thought is was normal and right that he should be there and I thought George Lucas was a very smart man for casting the perfect actor for the role. LOL! But then again, I grew up in DC in the 80s, when it was truly Chocolate City. Being Black was so prevalent and normal that I took it for granted that Blacks were, could and should be everywhere. Seeing a Black person in a pioneering, leadership role was normal to me.
Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with writing and science fiction at an early age. It’s a love affair that has grown ever since. In addition to working on the release of the 2nd book in the Ellis and The Magic Mirror children’s book series with her son, Mrs. Murphy is developing a 2-part science fiction thriller set in outer space. Mrs. Murphy lives and writes in her hometown
of Washington, DC with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda. To learn more about the author and her upcoming projects, please visit her website at www.cerecerenniemurphy.com.
You can find more info about Cerece here: www.cerecerenniemurphy.com