Kyra Davis [Black History Month Interview Series]

Posted February 13, 2018 by JoyNoel in Interview / 0 Comments

Today I have Kyra Davis as my guest!! I have read and loved her Sophia Katz series!! You can find these and more of her books on Amazon!!

Kyra Davis Interview

 

What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t wearing your author hat?
Obviously this depends on my mood, but hanging out with my dogs is always a winner.

What is the most recent book to make you cry?
I’m not much of a crier. It drives my husband nuts. We’ll be watching some incredibly sad movie and he’ll tear up, look over at me and see that I (while moved) will be completely dry eyed. That said, the last book I finished, Malcolm X’s Autobiography, had a major emotional affect on me. I’m embarrassed that it took me this long to read it but wow, am I glad I did.  That one’s going to stay with me.

What would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? Why?
The Phoenix. I’ve risen from the ashes a few times in my life and I suspect that I’ll need to do it again at some point in the future.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I’ve never had a hard time with that. Every person is an individual regardless of gender. So if you know your individual character you know how to write them. Your male character may or may not think or act like the stereotypical man. That’s not important. What’s important is that he thinks and acts in a way that is true and consistent to that individual.

How do you select the names of your characters?
Sometimes I’ll select a name that has meaning to a protagonist.  In Deceptive Innocence my protagonist goes by Bell, short for Bellona (the Roman Goddess of War). In Just One Lie my protagonist goes by Mercy, the one thing she wishes her family had given her. Her birth name is Melody which is fitting because she’s a singer. I always said if I had a daughter I’d name her after my grandmother. But I had a son so I did the next best thing and named my first protagonist (Sophie, from the ongoing Sophie Katz series) after her.

The rest of the names? Sometimes I randomly select them from the contributor’s page of a magazine or I’ll mix up the first and last names of people I see commenting on friends’ posts on Facebook. It’s not exactly scientific or even well thought out.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
A careful reader will recognize that the details in my books are usually there for a reason. For instance, if I have a couple who isn’t emotionally or intellectually connecting they probably aren’t going to be facing each other during the sex scenes I write for them. I don’t spell those things out for the reader but I don’t exactly think of them as secrets

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
There is no “average” for me. I’ve written books in three months and I’ve taken two years on other books. I really depends on what’s going on in my life and, of course, the book itself. In 2016 and ‘17 the state of the world and American politics were distracting to say the least. I was also preoccupied with my son applying to colleges, graduating and whatnot so I wasn’t as productive as I should have been. I’m determined to write more this year.

What does Black History Month Mean to you?
William Faulkner said, “The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even the past.” That’s doubly true for American black history. The conditions that led up to the Watts riot are the same conditions that led up to the Rodney King riot and they’re the same conditions that are leading up to what I fear will be another riot.

The brutal truth is this country was not designed for us. The rights we have been granted are afterthoughts. Addendum’s to the Constitution.  That doesn’t mean our Americanism is in question. Our ancestors worked the Nation’s land, built its monuments, suffered for the Nation’s sins. It certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t demand equality and fight for it. But it does mean that we need to be aware of the history and learn why we are where we are. We need to understand how redlining, instituted by FDR in the 40s, institutionalized housing segregation in the North. We need to understand how we went from blacks owning 14% of all family farms in 1920 to owning only 1% by 1997. We need to understand how the immense wealth gap between whites and blacks (not the income gap) was formed and why it’s the biggest economic contributor to financial inequality. If we don’t take the time to understand these things and how they affect our community and American society as a whole, we will never be able to find solutions to the challenges of the present and future.

But we also need to take the time to learn about our accomplishments. We need to learn about America’s many historic black heroes, leaders and innovators, not just those within the civil rights movement but those in the worlds of science and art and politics. We need to put in the effort to learn about the immense intellectual contributions African Americans have made to this country. And it does take effort because these are the individuals and accomplishments we aren’t unlikely to find in American text books. From the day our ancestors were forced onto slave ships and stripped of their names and language, the American power structure has been trying to rob us of our history. We can’t let that happen.

What are you currently reading?
The Future Is History by Masha Ges, Mudbound by Hillary Jordan and Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.

If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would it be?
Every mistake I made in my personal life (and I’ve made so many) have led me to where I am today: a mother to a wonderful, accomplished 18 year old son, a wife to the love of my life, a close friend to people of all different walks of life and the author of 12 published books. So despite the pain and struggles I went through in my twenties and thirties I wouldn’t want to advise myself to do anything differently.

BUT I would tell my twenty-year old self to invest in a company called Google.

Do you have any tips or hacks that help you stay organized in life, writing or social media?Asking me how to stay organized is like asking Charlie Sheen how to stay clean and sober. It’s just not my strong suit.  

The only advise I can give for future authors is read, read, read and then write, write, write. Even if what you’re writing sucks, keep writing. It’s easier to fix a rough draft than stare down at an empty page. So fill the page.

Oh, and try to be more organized than I am.

 Do you relate more to one of your characters than the others?
Relate? Hmm…I’m not sure I do. April (from So Much For My Happy Ending) and I had the most in common when I was in my 20s.  Not so sure about now. Sophie from my Sophie Katz mystery series is my first protagonist. She’s also starred in 7 of my books so I know her inside and out. I also understand Bell, my favorite badass from my Pure Sin series, even though I occasionally want to strangle her. Kasie, from Just One Night fascinates me. But Mercy, from Just One Lie, is one of my best friends. She speaks to me and encourages me when I’m feeling down. I relate to her struggles (even though they’re very different from my own) and I aspire to her strength.

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