Complete List of 2022 Black Heritage Series Interviewees
As we prepare to roll out the 2023 Black Heritage Month Interview, let’s stop and take a look back at our first year of interviews from 2022.
Introduction by Linda Addison
Linda D. Addison is an award-winning author of five collections, including The Place of Broken Things written with Alessandro Manzetti, & How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend, and the first African-American recipient of the HWA Bram Stoker Award®. She is a recipient of the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award, HWA Mentor of the Year and SFPA Grand Master of Fantastic Poetry. Addison has published over 380 poems, stories and articles and is a member of CITH, HWA, SFWA and SFPA. She is a co-editor of Sycorax’s Daughters, an anthology of horror fiction/poetry by African-American women. Catch her work in Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (May/June), Classic Monsters Unleashed and Giving the Devil His Due.
Tananarive Due (tah-nah-nah-REEVE doo) is an award-winning author who teaches Black Horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA. She is an executive producer on Shudder’s groundbreaking documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. She and her husband/collaborator, Steven Barnes, wrote “A Small Town” for Season 2 of Jordan Peele’s “The Twilight Zone” on Paramount Plus, and two segments of Shudder’s anthology film Horror Noire.
A leading voice in Black speculative fiction for more than 20 years, Due has won an American Book Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a British Fantasy Award, and her writing has been included in best-of-the-year anthologies. Her books include Ghost Summer: Stories, My Soul to Keep, and The Good House. She and her late mother, civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due, co-authored Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights. She and her husband live with their son, Jason.
Nicole Givens Kurtz
Nicole Givens Kurtz, Publisher. Educator. Author. Mom. Nicole loves reading, writing, and anime. She enjoys reading works that promote women of color and futuristic settings. She also loves a good mystery. She started Mocha Memoirs Press to provide more diversity in speculative fiction. She’s also a scribbler of tales. She’s the recipient of the Ladies of Horror Grant (2021), the Horror Writers Association’s Diversity Grant (2020) and the Atomacon Palmetto Scribe Award-Best Short Story 2021. She’s been named as one of Book Riot’s 6 Best Black Indie SFF Writers and editor of Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire.
Michelle Renee Lane
Sumiko Saulson is an award-winning author of Afrosurrealist and multicultural sci-fi and horror. They are the editor of the anthologies and collections Black Magic Women, Scry of Lust, Black Celebration, and Wickedly Abled. Ze is the winner of the 2016 HWA StokerCon “Scholarship from Hell”, 2017 BCC Voice “Reframing the Other” contest, 2017 Mixy Award, 2018 AWW “Afrosurrealist Writer Award,” 2020 HWA Diversity Grant recipient. They have an AA in English from Berkeley City College, and write a column called “Writing While Black” for a national Black Newspaper, the San Francisco BayView, are the host of the SOMA Leather and LGBT Cultural District’s “Erotic Storytelling Hour.” and the Social Media Manager at the Horror Writers Association. They teach courses on Kink in Horror and Queerness in Horror at the Speculative Fiction Academy. Their novel Happiness and Other Diseases is coming out on Mocha Memoirs Press on March 30, 2022.
L Marie Wood
L. Marie Wood is an award-winning psychological horror author and screenwriter. She won the Golden Stake Award for her novel The Promise Keeper. Her screenplays have won Best Horror, Best Afrofuturism/Horror/Sci-Fi, and Best Short Screenplay awards at several film festivals. Wood’s short fiction has been published in groundbreaking works, including the Bram Stoker Award Finalist anthology, Sycorax’s Daughters. She is also the founder of the Speculative Fiction Academy, a professor, and horror scholar.
A latchkey kid of film noir, cozy mysteries, and gritty detective novels, Nikki Woolfolk writes humorous mysteries with a bite.
Chesya Burke is an Asst. Professor of English and U.S. Literatures at Stetson University. Having written and published over a hundred fiction pieces and articles within the genres of science fiction, fantasy, comics and horror, her academic research focuses primarily on the intersections of race, gender and genre. Her primary areas of study are in African American literature, race and gender studies, comics and speculative fiction. Chesya received her Master’s degree in African American Studies from Georgia State University, and she wrote several articles for the African American National Biography published by Harvard and Oxford University Press. Burke is the Chair of Stetson University’s American Association of University Women (AAUW), and her story collection, Let’s Play White, is being taught in universities around the world
Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You, which was published by One World Random House in August 2021. It is a New York Times Editor’s Choice, a finalist for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and one of Electric Lit’s Best Books of the Year. His first book, We Cast a Shadow, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the PEN America Open Book Prize. It was longlisted for the 2021 DUBLIN Literary Award, the Center for Fiction Prize, and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. The novel was also a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Ruffin is the winner of several literary prizes, including the Iowa Review Award in fiction and the William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Award for Novel-in-Progress. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the LA Times, the Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Kenyon Review, and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America. A New Orleans native, Ruffin is a professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University, and the 2020-2021 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. Ruffin is the 2022 Grand Marshal of the Mardi Gras Krewe of House Floats.
Tenea D. Johnson
Tenea D. Johnson is a multimedia storyteller, musician, editor, arts & empowerment entrepreneur, and award-winning author of 7 speculative fiction works, including 2021’s releases, Frequencies, a Fiction Album and Broken Fevers, of which Publisher’s Weekly wrote “the 14 hard-hitting, memorable short stories and prose vignettes in this powerhouse collection … are astounding in their originality” (starred review). Her debut novel Smoketown won the Parallax Award for excellence in a speculative fiction work by a person of color while R/evolution earned an honorable mention that year as well.
Valjeanne Jeffers is a speculative fiction author, screenwriter, a Spelman College graduate, a member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective (CAAWC) and the Horror Writers Association (HWA). She is the author of ten books, including her Immortal series and her most recent Mona Livelong: Paranormal Detective series. She also co-edited the erotic speculative fiction anthologies, Scierogenous: An Anthology of Erotic Science Fiction and Fantasy Volumes I and II (with Quinton Veal).
Her writing has been published in numerous anthologies including: The City: A Cyberfunk Anthology; Steamfunk!; Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler (winner of the Locus Award, nominated for the Hugo award); Fitting In; Sycorax’s Daughters (nominated for the Bram Stoker Award); 100 Black Women in Horror; Black Magic Women; The Bright Empire; Black Celebration, All The Songs We Sing; Blerdrotica Volume I, and Slay:Stories of the Vampire Noire. Valjeanne is also the screenwriter of the pilot script The Switch II: Clockwork, and was chosen as a finalist by the Peachtree Village International Film Festival and a quarter finalist by the Atlanta International Screenplay Awards.
Steven Van Patten
Steven Van Patten is the author of the celebrated Brookwater’s Curse vampire trilogy, and the Killer Genius serial killer series. He’s also co-author of Hell at The Way Station, which won Best Anthology and Best in Science Fiction at the 2019 African American Literary Awards. Numerous short stories have been published in over a dozen anthologies and he’s a contributing writer/consultant for the YouTube channel Extra History as well as the Viral Vignettes series. He’s a member of the New York Chapter of The Horror Writer’s Association, The Director’s Guild of America, and professional arts fraternity Gamma Xi Phi Incorporated. He’s also the publisher of Growth: The Basics of Our Gardens, a how to guide for anyone interested in growing medicinal marijuana. A fourth of the Brookwater’s Curse series and a final Killer Genius installment are in the works now that Hell at Brooklyn Tea dropped in early 2021.
Marc L Abbott is the award-winning author of Hell at the Way Station and Hell at Brooklyn Tea. He resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Michelle Renee Lane
Michelle Renee Lane holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and recently joined the faculty of the Speculative Fiction Academy. She writes dark speculative fiction about identity politics and women of color battling their inner demons while fighting/falling in love with monsters. Her work includes elements of fantasy, horror, romance, and erotica. Her short fiction appears in several anthologies and has been featured on The Wicked Library podcast. Her Bram Stoker Award nominated debut novel, Invisible Chains, is available from Haverhill House Publishing. Her nonfiction can be found at Medium, Speculative Chic, and in Writers Workshop of Horror 2.
Nzondi (Ace Antonio Hall)
Nzondi (Ace Antonio Hall) is an American science fiction and horror author. His novel Oware Mosaic won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Young Adult fiction. His latest novel, Lipstick Asylum, won Book of the Year and Thriller of the Year awards from SW Book Reviews. It also received a 5-star rating from Readers’ Favorite. Among his many short stories that were published in anthologies and print magazines, Hall’s short story, “Raising Mary: Frankenstein”, was nominated for the 2016 horror story of the year for the 19th Annual Editors and Preditors Readers Poll. Additionally, three of his short stories were on the Horror Writers Association Reading list for the 2017 Bram Stoker Awards. A former Director of Education for NYC schools and the Sylvan Learning Center, the award-winning educator earned a BFA from Long Island University. Hall currently lives bi-coastal in New York and Los Angeles.
Penelope Flynn creates mixed genre adult-targeted speculative fiction and illustrations featuring elements of dark fiction, horror, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, and erotica and erotic romance. Her works are included in the Dark Universe anthologies, Steamfunk, Scierogenous II, and SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire. She authors the Sci-Fi/Horror/Erotica mash-up series, the Chronicles of Renfields, and co-edits and contributes to the Blerdrotica, Black erotica anthology series. She is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association and has joined the faculty of the Speculative Fiction Academy. She has appeared on panels for World Fantasy Con, WorldCon, MultiverseCon, Blacktasticon and the FAMU Literary Forum. Penelope Flynn moderates and co-hosts the weekly podcast, Discussions From the OTHERhood and heads Prolific Hybrid Multimedia.
Jim Potts, JD is a lawyer and author with a B.A. and Juris Doctorate Degree. He is a former Reserve Captain, a P.O.S.T. Certified Terrorist Investigator, a member of the Open Source Intelligence Team, and was with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for twenty years, achieving the rank of Captain. Potts is a certified Mediator through the Los Angeles County Bar Association and a former Master Teacher for the University of Phoenix (Southern California Campus), having taught undergraduate and graduate levels. His course curriculums included United States Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Ethics, Business Law, and Employment Law. He has represented over one thousand employers and industries regarding State & Federal employment law compliance for forty years.
Potts travels the nation speaking on domestic terrorism in front of political groups, business associations, community-based organizations, schools, businesses, as well as conducts active shooter training for thousands in and out of the workplace.
Jim’s blog, “Listen Up!“, has fans in over 55 countries.
Rhonda Jackson Garcia
Rhonda Jackson Garcia, AKA RJ Joseph, is a Stoker Award™ nominated, Texas-based academic and creative writer/professor whose writing regularly focuses on the intersections of gender and race in the horror and romance genres and popular culture. She has had works published in various applauded venues, including the 2020 Halloween issue of Southwest Review and The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Series. Rhonda is also an instructor at the Speculative Fiction academy.
She occasionally peeks out on Twitter @rjacksonjoseph.
Jamal Hodge is a multi-award-winning filmmaker and writer who is a sitting Board Member of Harlem Film House and Axs Lab. Hodge is an active member of The Horror Writer’s Association and The SFPA, being nominated for a 2021 Rhysling Award for his Poem ‘Fermi’s Spaceship’ and a 2022 Rhysling Award for his poem ‘Loving Venus’. While his poem ‘The Silence of God’ placed in the 2021 Horror Writer Association Showcase. His Poetry is Featured in the Anthology Chiral Mad 5 alongside such legends as Stephen King, Langston Hughes, Linda Addison & Josh Malerman. Jamal’s screenplay ‘Mourning Meal’ won 5 awards (including best short screenplay at NYC Horror Film Festival 2018) while his poetry is featured in the historical all-black issue of Star*line Magazine (issue 43.4) and has been featured in SPACE AND TIME Magazine, PENUMBRIC Speculative Fiction Magazine, amongst others.