Showing posts with label Steamfunk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Steamfunk. Show all posts

Friday, May 29, 2015

32 Months Later With Balogun Ojetade

Derrick Ferguson: What are the major changes that have taken place in your life personally and professionally since we last talked?

Balogun Ojetade: Personally, I now have two grandchildren (I had one back then), with a third one on the way and my father passed October 16, 2013, a year and a day after our first interview went live.

Professionally, I have published several books, completed a feature film, won a screenwriting contest and participated in several panels around the country.

DF: How have you grown as a writer/editor/publisher in the past 32 months?

BO: I certainly have – physically, at least. I now weigh 220 pounds. Back in 2012, I weighed about 180!

Seriously, I believe I have. I certainly have much more experience in all aspects of the business and the art. I have always worked hard at my craft as a writer, but I am devoting almost as much time to learning the business side of books.

DF: Is the direction you’re heading in now the same as it was 32 months ago?

BO: Pretty much. I have a stronger focus on pushing Black Speculative Fiction to the masses, now and I – with Milton Davis – have produced and / or curated nearly a dozen events since we last talked. These events include The Mahogany Masquerade; Alien Encounters; the Black Speculative Film Festival; the Black Science Fiction and Fantasy Youth Summit; The Black Speculative Fiction Author Showcase and many others. And now we are Co-Chairing SOBSFic Con (“State of Black Science Fiction Con) in 2016.

DF: Where do you see yourself five years from now?     
BO: I see myself publishing other authors, making more films and giving the world SOBSFic Con II. I also see a vacation in there, as I have not taking a vacation (other than working ones) in twenty-five years. My vacation spot of choice is Gabon, in Central Africa, my ancestral home.

DF: Do you think you’ve found your audience? Or that your audience has found you?

BO: My audience has found me. I wish I knew exactly who they were; it would certainly help with marketing. However, in this digital age, people buy books and you don’t know who they are unless they send you a message saying how much they loved, or didn’t love, your book.

DF: Have any of your attitudes about your work or your style of writing changed completely or modified?

BO: No sir. I’m still the same old me. If anything, I am more willing to experiment. Three years ago, I would have been too intimidated to write a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style book. I did that last year with The Keys and I am plotting out the second book in the series.

DF: Tell us about Steamfunk and your place in the genre.

BO: Steamfunk is the Black / African expression of Steampunk, but it is more than that. While steam is the dominant technology in Steampunk it doesn’t have to be in Steamfunk. Most non-European cultures did not rely on steam and saw steam technology as a tool of the oppressor. We deal with that in Steamfunk. We tell the stories of George Washington Carver, Bass Reeves, Harriet Tubman, John Henry and Frederick Douglass – stories you won’t read in Steampunk.

My place in the genre is as an author and screenwriter. Up until this year, I would have been considered the Steamfunk activist. But now I push Black Speculative Fiction in general. I think Steamfunk has grown wings and really caught on, which was my plan. No need for me to keep that as my focus.

DF: Rococoa is a genre that really excites me. For those not in the know can you tell us what Rococoa is?

Where Sword and Soul ends and before Steamfunk begins, there is the Age of Spring Technology and Clockwork. Think Three Finger’d Jack; the pirate, Black Caesar; and the Haitian Revolution. Think the Black Count, Nat Turner, and the Stono Rebellion…that is Rococoa!

A couple of years ago, at the Mahogany Masquerade: An Evening of Steamfunk and Film, I inquired about the era that sits between Sword and Soul – the subgenre of African-inspired epic and heroic fantasy that is usually set before colonization – and Steamfunk, which normally takes place between 1837 and 1901. I asked if anyone had a name for that time because it is a time that fascinates me – a time of revolution (in particular, the Haitian Revolution); a time of pirates and swashbucklers; a time of reverence for art and science. I am a huge fan of The Three Musketeers in all media and Brotherhood of the Wolf, also set during that era, is one of my favorite movies.

No one at the event had a name for the era, however, everyone agreed the time possessed that same  “cool factor” found in Steamfunk and Sword and Soul.

Curious by nature and a researcher by choice, I immediately began my quest of discovery, fueled by my determination to find a name for this era that fascinated me so.

After a brief bit of research, I stumbled upon Rococo…and, to my surprise, Rococopunk.

Rococo is derived from the French word rocaille, originally meaning the bits of rocky decoration sometimes found in 16th-century architectural schemes. It was first used in its modern sense around 1800, at about the same time as baroque, and, like baroque, was initially a pejorative term.

Rococopunk is – like Dieselpunk – a sibling of Steampunk, set in the earlier Renaissance era, primarily in the high-class French community of the time. Participants in this movement wear outlandish makeup and hairstyles and sport bold, brightly colored clothing.

Think Amadeus, Pirates of the Caribbean, or The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. For darker Rococo, think Last of the Mohicans, Perfume: The Story of A Murderer, Brotherhood of the Wolf, or Sleepy Hollow (the 1999 film, not the television show).

Okay, I had a name for the era. Now, I needed to come up with a name to define the Black expression of Rococopunk; a name to define the subgenre so that – as author and publisher Milton Davis says of Steamfunk and Sword and Soul – “when you hear or read ‘Steamfunk’ or ‘Sword and Soul’, you know exactly what you’re getting.”

Before I could come up with a name myself, the brilliant Briaan L. Barron, artist and owner of Bri-Dimensional Images, did it for me with her release of the documentary, Steamfunk and Rococoa: A Black Victorian Fantasy. While there is not much talk of Rococo or Rococopunk in the documentary – it is mainly about Steampunk and Steamfunk and features Diana Pho of Beyond Victoriana and Yours Truly – the spelling, Rococoa, was perfect!

At present, I am seeking submissions of Rococoa stories for an anthology I will release in early 2016. It is the first anthology I am publishing and I am very excited about it.

DF: You and Milton Davis won the 2014 Urban Action Showcase Award for Best Action Script for your screenplay NGOLO. How did you guys celebrate when you won?

BO: We celebrated with some great Chinese food and a beer. The next day, we were back on the grind, strategizing our next step with the screenplay.

DF: Tell us about the story of NGOLO and your plans for it. Will we eventually see the movie?

BO: The basic premise of NGOLO is this:
In the near-future, assassinations are legal, as long as they are carried out by government-sanctioned guilds of assassins, who settle disputes in boardrooms and political offices around the world. One guild – the Bloodmen – is the most skilled; the most dangerous; the most feared…until the day the hunters become the hunted.

Here’s the plot:
When a contract for the life of Senator PATRICK STANTON – a man hell-bent on eradicating the assassin guilds – is issued and taken on by the Bloodmen, it is suspected by the Bloodmen’s Guild Professor (2nd-In-Command), STEPHEN JONES, that the master of the guild, KAMARA KEITA, accepted the contract pro-bono (an illegal practice) in order to force Senator Stanton to vote in favor of the continued existence of legal assassination and assassin guilds at the upcoming vote on the Anti-Assassination Bill.

Desiring leadership of the Bloodmen, Stephen challenges Guildmaster Kamara to combat, with the prize being command of the guild. Kamara defeats Stephen. Ashamed and envious, Stephen leaves the Bloodmen and attempts to turn the other guilds against Kamara. Instead, the other Guildmasters and Guild Professors back Kamara and even encourage him to kill Stephen for his betrayal, which Kamara refuses to do.

Stephen goes to assassin wannabes, the TIGERS and offers them a chance to become a legitimate guild if they help him bring down the Bloodmen. The leader of the Tigers, CARLOS FAIRCHILD, is reluctant at first, but Stephen convinces him that, under Guildmaster Kamara’s leadership, the Bloodmen have become corrupt and they must be stopped before they cause the eradication of legal assassination and all the guilds. Carlos joins forces with Stephen and hands over leadership of the Tigers – and a few street gangs he has influence over – to the former Bloodman.

The Bloodmen throw their annual Founders’ Day celebration. All of the Guildmasters and Guild Professors from around the world attend. Kamara awaits the arrival of his son, MALCOLM and Malcolm’s fiancée, JAMELA RASHON, both top Bloodmen assassins.

Jamela is en route from an assignment in San Diego and Malcolm is en route from a job in Japan. While on his way to the Bloodmen’s guild house, Malcolm is ambushed by the Tigers. At the same time, the guild house is attacked by an army of Tigers and thugs, led by Stephen.

Jamela comes upon the house as it is being attacked.
And then…

You’ll have to wait for the movie or the graphic novel to find out what happens next. We are negotiating both right now, so I can’t say much, but a major feature film is going to happen, but man, it is a long process. Hopefully, the feature film will hit the Big Screen in 2017. The graphic novel should drop a bit earlier in the same year or in late 2016.

DF: You and Milton Davis have proven to be quite the formidable partnership. What’s the secret of such a successful team?

BO: Hard work, consistency and courage. When Milton and I first met – to discuss creating Ngolo, actually – I told Milton that I operate from a position of power; not fear; that I get things done and have no time for naysayers. He had the same principles, so we started setting up events and projects together. Of course, we would discuss our stories with each other and that led to us doing some collaboration with Ki-Khanga, Rite of Passage and Ngolo.  Now, my final installment of Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman will be set in Milton’s world of Freedonia.

It’s fun working with Milton and we have much more work to do together.

DF: Tell us about the State of Black Science Fiction Convention. How did it come about?

BO: Milton and I have long discussed doing a convention. All of the Black conventions at present are focused on comic books. That’s cool, but we need something more. There are many fans of Black Speculative Fiction who aren’t into comic books. I’m one of them. I lost a real interest in comic books after the last issue of Brotherman dropped, but I never lost interest in novels, films and television. Milton is not a fan of comic books either. I say that, not to bash comic books or comic book conventions, but to say that we need conventions that offer more, so we decided to create our own – one that would feature all aspects of Black Speculative Fiction. After curating Alien Encounters, a four-day Black Speculative Fiction conference (more academic than a convention) and sitting on panels at cons across the country, we know how to do this and it is going to be epic.
We call it State of Black Science Fiction Con because State of Black Science Fiction is the name of our collective. We call it SOBSFic [SAHBS-fik] Con for short. SOBSFic Con is set for June 17-18, 2016. There is already a huge buzz around it and we are expecting to get a great turnout.

DF: What are you working on now?

BO: I am working on Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman: Freedonia now. That will be the only novel I release this year. The rest of my time will be devoted to developing and marketing SOBSFic Con and doing panels at a few conventions.

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?

Balogun Ojetade: I am always seeking to collaborate with other authors and artists, so if any readers want to work on something, they can reach me at 

I also love doing cons, so if you are doing a con and need a panelist or a moderator, let me know that, too. Oh, and buy my books. Word on the street is, they’re pretty good.

For more information about Balogun Ojetade and his work, check out his blog Chronicles of Harriet

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With: MILTON DAVIS

Derrick Ferguson: Who is Milton Davis?

Milton Davis: I’m a part-time speculative fiction writer and publisher. I write speculative fiction about African Americans and people of African Descent. I’m the author of seven novels and editor or four anthologies.

DF: Where do you live and what is your profession? Besides being a writer, that is.

MD: I live in Metro Atlanta with my wife and two children. I’m a research and development chemist.

DF: When did your love of science fiction, heroic fantasy and speculative fiction begin?

MD: I began reading science fiction and fantasy in college at the urging of one of my English instructors. She thought I was wasting my time majoring in Chemistry and should be pursing and English degree. I guess she decided to share science fiction with me because of my major. Once I read it I was hooked.

DF: How long have you been writing?

MD: Off and on, about thirty years. I took writing classes soon after college and went through the submission rejection cycle for a while. Then the children came and I stopped writing for a long time. I resumed about eight years ago as a self-publisher.

DF: What’s your philosophy of writing?

MD: I think writing should be fun. I’m not one to deal with deep issues, at least not intentionally, because that’s not what I like to read. My only constant is Black main characters. As a reader I was well aware of the absence of such characters in speculative fiction and I seek to rectify that in my own way. I also like the good guys to win.

DF: What writers have influenced you?

The two biggest influences on my writing are James Baldwin and Frank Herbert. James Baldwin’s “Giovanni’s Room” was the first fiction novel I ever read. I was 16 and home sick for a week. My sister, a big reader of fiction by Black writers, dropped a pile of her books for me to read. It was the first book I read and I was fascinated on his eloquent and economic style.

Frank Herbert’s “Dune” was the first book I read that involved serious world building. I was stunned at how someone could make a fictional world seem so real. Dune is the blueprint I use for every world that I build.

DF: What is MVMedia and what are its goals?

MD: MVMedia is my publishing company. Its goals are to develop speculative fiction novels that highlights African American and African descent characters and to develop this material into other media forms such as graphic novels, animation, movies and video series.

DF: For the few who don’t know, tell us what Sword and Soul is.

MD: Sword and Soul is heroic or epic fantasy based on African culture, traditions, history and spirituality. It was created by Charles R. Saunders in the late seventies with the release of Imaro, the first sword and sorcery character of color. The phrase ‘Sword and Soul’ was coined when Charles was asked to describe his form of writing.

DF: As a genre, Sword and Soul has grown tremendously in the past few years. To what do you attribute the growth of the genre?

MD: I think a number of factors. Charles R. Saunders, the creator of Sword and Soul, has built on his cult following over the past few years by releasing new Imaro and Dossouye books. I believe the release of my books and the Griots Sword and Soul anthology has contributed as well. But most of all I think it’s due to the power of social networking. Information spreads so much faster these days and we have been able to build a network of writers and readers interested in what’s happening.

DF: Tell us about MEJI.

MD: MEJI is a duology about twin brothers Ndoro and Obaseki. They are born to a royal family then separated because their birth is considered an abomination by the father’s people. The novels follow both brothers as they grow into their unique abilities and discover there is a reason for their birth.

MEJI was my first novel. I consider it my homage to my African roots. I tried to convey the diversity of the Continent and its people while delivering an exciting tale.

DF: Tell us about CHANGA’S SAFARI.

MD: CHANGA’S SAFARI is a historical fiction action adventure series. Changa Diop is the son of a deposed Kongo ngolo (king) who was forced to flee home at a very young age. The series begins with Changa as a successful Swahili merchant determined to build enough wealth to raise a mercenary army then return home to claim his father’s kingdom. His adventures are told through a series of kitabus (books), novellas that take the reader throughout the Spice Trade World and the African continent during the 15th century.  The series will consist of four books. The first two books are complete; books three and four will be released in 2014.

DF: Tell us about WOMAN OF THE WOODS.

MD: With WOMAN OF THE WOODS I return to the Meji universe. It’s my first book with a woman main character so I was a little nervous about how it would be received. Sadatina is the child of a Shosa, women warriors trained to fight demons that are threatening her people, the Adamu. Sadatina eventually grows up to be a warrior herself, aided by two female lions she raised from birth. It’s an exciting story that follows Sadatina from birth and expands the world of Meji. 

DF: You’ve recently written a children’s book: AMBER AND THE HIDDEN CITY. Why a children’s book and will you be writing more?

MD: Amber came from my interactions with readers at conventions. I was constantly asked by parents if I was going to write books for children and young adults. Many of them told me how their children were reading books like Harry Potter and wishing there were books like that with Black main characters. So I came up with Amber to help fill that void. My wife, a teacher, was also a major reason Amber was completed. She would light a fire under me whenever I got distracted. Amber will be a trilogy so there will be more. I have ideas for a few more YA books as well.

DF: You’re also a mover and shaker in the field of Steamfunk. Tell us about this genre.

MD: Steamfunk is subgenre of Steampunk. We incorporate the trappings of steampunk, such as steam-based technology and other concepts such as aether but our main characters are people of African descent. We also incorporated the history and culture of people of African descent during the time period which most Steampunk focuses on, the 19th century.

DF: You and Balogun Ojetade have formed quite the extraordinary partnership. How did this come about and where is it going?

MD: I met Balogun when searching for a source for indigenous African martial arts. Little did I know he was a renaissance man; writer, director, rapper and fight choreographer. Balogun and I have a similar vision when it comes to speculative fiction, which is why we work together often. We both have our separate endeavors, but we do come together often to work on projects.

I believe we’ll be working together for a long time. It’s our goal to move forward into speculative fiction movies and animation.

DF: You’ve been very vocal in promoting Black Speculative Fiction. What do you see as the major obstacle to Black Speculative Fiction being accepted by the larger reading public?

MD: Exposure. The last few years have proved to me that there is a demand for what we produce. The challenge is making people aware of it. Because I don’t have the funds to support widespread marketing my efforts have been more localized and more focused.

DF: Should writers of Black Speculative Fiction be seeking acceptance by the larger reading public?

MD: The reality of writing is that you won’t please everyone. Any writer pursuing any form of writing should realize that. The goal, in my opinion, is to find YOUR audience. As you write and promote your work the readers who like what you do will come forward. That’s the best you can hope for. And if you happen to be that lucky writer where your work appeals to the larger reading public, all the better. No one can predict that.

DF: You are seen (at least by me) as a major inspiration to those who are working and writing in the related fields of Black Speculative Fiction, Sword and Soul and Steamfunk. But how do you see yourself at this stage of your career?

MD: I’m still learning and hopefully growing as a writer, but I’m comfortable where I am right now. I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish in my first 5 years doing this, and I’m looking forward to the next five years. I’m inspired by the folks that have supported my work over the years and I hope I stay in their good favor in the future.

DF: How important is it to you, personally, that Black people be represented in the fields of speculative fiction and heroic fantasy?

MD: It is vitally important. Entertainment is such a large part of our life these days. The images that we are exposed to on a daily basis have an effect on what we think of ourselves and the world. For so long we have been flooded with negative images about us and our history. Some people seek inspiration from fiction, so it is essential that they find positive images if fiction as well as real life. So I personally believe that we have to be represented and we have to be represented well.

Derrick Ferguson: What’s A Day In The Life of Milton Davis like? Anything else we should know?

Milton Davis: It’s rather routine. Wake up, write, go to work, come home, write, repeat. Not much else to share unless we want to put folks to sleep. I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the chance to read my work and especially thank those who continue. If you keep reading I’ll keep writing. Thank you Derrick for the interview.

Friday, December 20, 2013

17 Months Later With: VALJEANNE JEFFERS

It’s been a while since the original Kickin’ The Willy Bobo interview with Valjeanne so I thought it about time we caught up with what she’s all about and what she’s doing 17 MONTHS LATER…

Derrick Ferguson: Have there been any major changes in your life since we last talked?

Valjeanne Jeffers: Actually, yes. Im pleased to announce that my new grand-baby, Kyle Toussaint will arrive in December of 2013. My first grand-baby, Logan Alexander, turned four this year; and he is a continual source of joy in my journey.

Ive been published in two anthologies, which were just released this year: Griots: Sisters of the Spear, and Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction Volume II. And Im releasing two new novels, Colony: Ascension, An Erotic Space Opera and Mona Livelong: Paranormal Detective.

Colony: Ascension, is a spin-off of my earlier short stories, “Colony” and “Probe.” It is a full-length novel about an apocalyptic, dying Earth. . .and what becomes of it. In the year 2045, Earths leaders are hell-bent on colonizing new planets. But an alien species has its own agenda, its own ideas, about what the future of Earth should hold. Heres a short excerpt from Colony: Ascension.

Earth’s atmosphere was polluted. The weather was a miasma of storms, heat waves and solar flares; shifting from twenty to ninety degrees within the space of a day. Mutated animals roamed the streets. Those without jobs, panhandled and squatted in alleys and deserted building. When their rationed water was gone, they used homemade filters. They ate rats, insects, dogs—anything they could find. Some had even become cannibals. Those with jobs lived under the Domes.

I thought Id be finished with both novels by the end of the year, but they wont be ready until sometime in 2014. Quinton Veal, my cover artist and fiancée, is releasing his fourth book, Fire and Desire, in 2014which is also a very big deal for me.

I have two audio books, too, which are coming out soon (both narrated by voice actress Darla Middlebrook). The audio book of my first novel, Immortal, will be released on December 31, 2013. The audio of the second novel of my series, Immortal II: The Time of Legend, will be out in March 2014.

DF: How do you feel your writing has developed since we last talked?

VJ: As writers we are always developing, always growing. When I wrote my first novel, it was more fun than work. I would slip into my characters’ world during the day, like a beautiful waking dream. Even when I wasn’t writing, my characters were never far from my mind.

Now, as a more seasoned author, I’m still just as consumed with my writing. But I have to remind myself to have fun. Writing is hard work. But authors also have to enjoy themselves. That’s a lot more difficult than it sounds. Especially when you have self-imposed deadlines and quotas to meet.

I have to remind myself, too, to slip into my characters’ skin; to let let them evolve emotionally and connect with them emotionally. In this way my characters become “spirits who walk across the page,” rather than chess pieces I’m pushing across a book. I enjoy them, love them, and so do my readers.

DF: In what direction do you think your work is heading now as opposed to seventeen months ago? Or is it heading in the same direction?

VJ: I believe that in last year or so, I’ve learned to take my time—to not rush my writing. I’d venture to say that I’ve actually developed more patience, which is no mean feat for me. Anyone who knows me well, will tell you patience is not my strong suit. But I am learning.

DF: Tell us about Mona Livelong.

VJ: Mona Livelong: Paranormal Detective is a new series, in which I introduce Mona Livelong, a seasoned detective who is takes on a case, “The Case of the Angry Ghost”, of a family haunted by an angry poltergeist, an evil spirit if you will. Mona grudgingly takes the job, and finds herself swept up into a dangerous plot to turn North America on its head. But she’s “sharp as a mosquito’s tweeter,” as one of my characters describes her, and gifted with preternatural abilities.

In “The Case of the Angry Ghost” the first novel of the Mona Livelong series, I introduce my readers to a whole new cast of characters: Mona, the darkly beautiful sorceress and sleuth; her on-again/off-again lover, Curtis Dubois, a Haitian detective; his partner and best friend, Harold Polanski.  And a charming Southern gambler, who also happens to be a ghost, “Larry Junebug Walker.”

Here’s a short excerpt:

Mona turned the crank on her steam-powered auto and trailed Bouvier, traveling east to Bourbon one of her town, Clearwater’s, Black communities. The home was a freshly painted, two-story, bone-white house with a wraparound porch complete with swing, and roses blooming in the yard.

The moment she stepped out of her auto, she felt it. Negative energy surrounded the house. In the second-story window, Mona saw the silhouette of woman. And she knew she wasnt human. Broke as she was, Mona was starting to think this was a bad idea. Vengeful spirits were among her least favorite preternatural beings. They couldn’t be trusted.

Sneaky, unreliable hants. Like this one, being quiet until these folks moved in and then raising all this hell. She’d known them to lay low for weeks at a time, sometimes years, lulling folks into a false sense of security. Only to attack the new owners of the house later.

This is a new series I hope my readers will love, as much as they love my Immortal series. But it is detour off the beaten path for me. Mona Livelong is a detective novel, and a horror/steamfunk book, with shades of Voudon.

In writing a horror novel, I deliberately steered away from my comfort zone. Those who are familiar with my writing will tell you that I like to mix genres. But this was the first time that I’ve gone out my way to scare my readers. I hope they enjoy it.

DF: You’ve got a story in Griots II. Tell us about it.

VJ: Griots: Sisters of the Spear (edited by Charles Saunders and Milton Davis) is the second volume of the Griots Anthology series; and my short story, “The Sickness” is included in it. In “The Sickness”, the journey of Nandi, a young West African woman, continues. Nandi is also the heroine of “Awakening”, my story which was published in Griots: A Sword and Sword Anthology. She is a warrior who has taken control of her own destiny— with a little supernatural help from her friends.

This anthology features some exceptional writers; including the man himself, Charles Saunders, Carole McDonnell, Ronald Jones, and Joe Bonadonna. It is a pleasure and an honor to be listed among them.

DF: Tell us about Steamfunk and your place in the genre.

VJ: Steamfunk is a sub-genre in which Steampunk is written from an African American’s, really any person of color’s worldview.  This genre gives me an opportunity to be creative with gizmos and gadgets, as well as to tie them to other plot mechanisms; such as (as one of readers described it) environmental racism. And when writing within this genre the author is automatically creating an alternative universe—which I love.

I found my niche in Steamfunk back in 2011, when I wrote The Switch. In the beginning, The Switch was an open-ended short story that I really enjoyed writing, but had no intentions of continuing. But, at the urging of my oldest son, Toussaint, I revisited it and developed it into a full novel: The Switch II: Clockwork: which includes The Switch as a Prologue and The Switch II as the Conclusion.

The Switch: Book I, was later published in the Steamfunk! anthology. It was also nominated the 2013 E-festival of Words for Best Novella Award. Since 2011, I’ve become very comfortable with Steamfunk. I’ve written two more short stories, “Mocha Faeryland” and “Outcasts”, a story of an alternate Haiti and Toussaint L’Overture’s revolution. And then, of course, there’s Mona Livelong.

DF: Where do you see Valjeanne Jeffers in five years?

VJ: In five years, Quinton and I plan to edit and release at least one SF/Fantasy anthology. I also plan to write four more novels, and connect with more of my wonderful readers, so that I go on to become a bestselling author.

DF: Hollywood calls and says that they’re going to give you 500 million dollars to make a movie out of one of your books and let you pick the director. Which book do you let them have and which director do you choose?

VJ: I don’t even have to think about it. Immortal. Not only is the first novel, of my first series, very near and dear to my heart, I believe that Immortal would make a dynamite movie. The special effects alone would be off the chain.

The director? Also a no-brainer. I’d pick filmmaker/director M. Asli Dukan, who is writing and directing a film documentary of Black Speculative Fiction, entitled “Invisible Universe”. I’m very, very honored to be listed among the authors of the “Invisible Universe.”

DF: Recommend a movie, a book and a TV show.

VJ: I’d recommend “Sugar Hill”, a Blaxploitation Horror classic about a young woman, Diane Hill, who avenges her lover’s death with the help of a powerful Voudon Loa. For books, how could I pass up a chance to recommend The Switch II: Clockwork? It’s got science fiction, time-travel, Steamfunk and even a little erotica. What’s not to love?

For TV shows, my all-time favorite is “Supernatural”—a horror series. This show features deep, subtle commentary about life, from some very likable characters. It even manages to be funny. “Supernatural” also has one of the best rock soundtracks I’ve had the pleasure of listening too.

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?

Valjeanne Jeffers: Readers can preview or publish my books at:

I’d like to thank Derrick Ferguson, Author Extraordinaire, for taking the time to interview me.

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With...BERTRAM GIBBS

DF: Who is Bertram Gibbs? Bertram Gibbs: Husband, father, film, comic book, television, Broadway collector and enthusiast. Researcher of ...