Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire from the African Diaspora
An entire anthology based upon vampires and vampire tales from the African diaspora is not only a rare find, but a well needed one! While there are so many books, films and short stories centered around the fanged, creatures of the night, discovering tales from people of color is not only fascinating but long overdue. Nicole Givens Kurtz and her publishing company Mocha Memoirs Press, who are ever expanding the quantity and quality of diverse speculative literature, saw the need, the desire for stories of a long classic, dangerous and sexy beast and have collected many of them in one fabulous work!
Naturally, Colors in Darkness had to know more and Nicole was ready with answers!!
CID: What was the inspiration behind creating an anthology based around vampires?
Nicole Givens Kurtz: SLAY came about due to many conversations I have had with authors about the lack of Black vampire stories in the wake of L.A. Banks’s death. Sure, there have been other Black vampires, but they remained on the perimeter, in the background, window dressing. We wanted stories like Banks wrote, that centered Black people, Black vampires and Black slayers in the forefront. What would that look like now? So, the idea was born to seek out short stories for an anthology to answer that question and to fill the void.
CID: Why do you think vampires have been such a popular creature throughout the ages?
Nicole Givens Kurtz: Vampires are flexible and durable. They can do many different things and their lore is so varied and diverse, it allows for many different types of stories.
CID: What is your favorite vampire film, novel or short story?
Nicole Givens Kurtz: My favorite vampire novel is Minion by L.A. Banks.
CID: Does the anthology have a range of vampire stories from say drama to erotic to outright terror?
Nicole Givens Kurtz: Yes! SLAY has stories from YA to the erotic to the most horror filled scare. This is not for the faint of heart, but it is also not for anyone under the age of 18.
CID: Did you have a story limit and if so, how hard was it to choose which stories would go in to the anthology?
Nicole Givens Kurtz: In the beginning, I didn’t know how many stories I would receive and what types of stories I would get as this is a first. I did know I wanted a diverse grouping of stories. It was incredibly difficult to choose stories. It is likely they’ll be a volume 2 at some point because I had more solid stories than I could fit into the anthology. It’s already 28 stories strong.
CID: Who was the artist who did the fabulous cover for your anthology? Did you give them an idea of what you wanted or did you trust their vision? Was it a collaboration?
Nicole Givens Kurtz: Taria Reed did the cover and it was one she had created as a pre-made cover. She has semi-annual sales and I selected it and another one for my personal horror stories, but when the idea for SLAY came about, I thought this cover would be perfect. Taria also came up with the title of the anthology, SLAY. I added, Stories of the Vampire Noire. Taria is a true talent and if authors need cover art, she’s one of the best around and a mainstay on my list of artists.
CID: Were there any stories in particular that blew you away?
Nicole Givens Kurtz: Oh, this is asking a mother to pick her favorite child! I loved them all, for various reasons, but the stories that lingered the longest after I read them were, Craig L. Gidney’s “Desiccant,” Steven Van Patten’s “The Retiree,” L. Marie Wood’s “The Dance,” Sheree Renee Thomas’s “Love Hangover,” and Alledria Hurt’s “Uijim.”
CID: How was it working with so many writers in the editing and compilation of the anthology?
Nicole Givens Kurtz: Busy! But they’ve all been gracious and kind. They’re a solid group of authors who all want the anthology to be successful, and they are fans of each other’s works, which is just amazingly cool.
CID: Do you have plans to publish an anthology focusing on werewolves? Vampires aren’t the only sexy creatures of the night
Nicole Givens Kurtz: This has actually come up in other conversations so I’m not ruling it out.
CID: Will there be a print release for the anthology and if so when?
Nicole Givens Kurtz: There will be a paperback and a hardcover version of the anthology. As of right now, they should be available the same day the ebook is available on October 13th.
Sheree Renée Thomas, Craig L. Gidney, Milton Davis, Jessica Cage, Michele Tracy Berger, Alicia McCalla, Jeff Carroll, and Steven Van Patten, Penelope Flynn, Lynette Hoag, Steve Van Samson, Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald, Balogun Ojetade, Valjeanne Jeffers, Samantha Bryant, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Miranda J. Riley, K.R.S. McEntire, Alledria Hurt, Kai Leakes, John Linwood Grant, Sumiko Saulson, Dicey Grenor, L. Marie Wood, LH Moore, Delizhia D. Jenkins, Colin Cloud Dance, and V.G. Harrison.
Nicole Givens Kurtz is an author, educator, and publisher. Over 40 of her short stories have been published and several novels. She's the publisher of Mocha Memoirs Press, a small publishing company devoted to amplifying marginalized voices in speculative fiction. Find her online at nicolegivenskurtz.net.