(1970-11-30) November 30, 1970 (age 46)
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
African American literature
Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow.
When I am writing a story it feels as real as the life I am experiencing off the page. It's an emotional illusion, I guess.
When it comes to memoir, we want to catch the author in a lie. When we read fiction, we want to catch the author telling the truth.
I take mentoring very seriously and as a result I hardly get any work done during the school year.
I am always urging my students to honor their writing practice, to set up a schedule.
My first novel, 'Leaving Atlanta,' took at look at my hometown in the late 1970s, when the city was terrorized by a serial murderer that left at least 29 African-American children dead.
I think the NAACP isn't recognized enough for all of the work it does, especially in the field of law. They may have faded from view over the last couple of decades, but they are fighting the good fight.
I like straightforward names for my characters. When I get too symbolic with names or places, I start feeling like the characters and the story are less read, and I lose interest.
I don't mind expressing my opinions and speaking out against injustice. I would be doing this even if I wasn't a writer. I grew up in a household that believed in social justice. I have always understood myself as having an obligation to stand on the side of the silenced, the oppressed, and the mistreated.
I take mentoring very seriously and I am on the board of an organization called Girls Write Now, where we match teen girls and writing mentors because it changes their lives.