Hello everyone! Welcome to another author spotlight! These will be posts where I discuss and showcase, predominantly women and people of color, their writing talents and published works. So without further ado let’s get on with the Author Spotlight!

Meet the Author!

Candice Lola is a fiction writer and essayist based in New York City. She is a graduate student in NYU’s Experimental Humanities program, focusing on Creative Writing and Human Rights. She is also closet gothic fantasy fan, a sommelier of cheap wines, a burner of fine foods, and a fan girl of all things geeky.  Her stories are heavily allegorical representations of her sociopolitical musings and fever dreams.

Candice Lola has published work with Indigo & Midnight, The Huffington Post, Medium, In The Words of Womyn (ITWOW) Journal, and other literary publications.

What and when started your love for writing?

I’ve loved reading and writing since I was a child. When my mom used to read me bedtime stories, I would try to memorize what she said on each page so that I could pretend to be reading those pages later. I started writing little poems when I started school and when I was 7, I published a poem in Bits of Lit, a really small primary school book filled with student submissions. 

As I went through school I became discouraged. All of the classic writers that I was assigned to read wrote very differently from the way I imagined my storytelling. By the time I reached high school, I had nearly stopped writing for good.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Paperback | Barnes ...

But my freshman year we had to read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. The way she played with punctuation and sentence structure was foreign and interesting to me. I didn’t know that playing with words and punctuation was allowed. It was then that I started writing the way I wanted to instead of the way I thought I should. That’s how I started writing, and how I fell in love with it again. 

Who is your favorite book character in your stories to write about?

I think my favorite character I’ve written is Cecile, the protagonist of my short story Every woman. She learns how to wear part of other women to make herself more desirable to her husband, Harold. The ability and her desire for acceptance eventually lead to her beginning to skin herself alive. Cecile reminds me that getting caught up in being like everyone else can result in self-inflicted violence. She reminds me of myself in many ways, and parts of myself that I’ve cut off because I didn’t want to be rejected. She is also incredibly brave and dedicated, even though her efforts are misguided. 

How does being Black impact how and what you write?

Being Black impacts everything I write! Much of what I’ve learned about Blackness I had to go and research myself. There are so many interesting ways of thinking and events within Blackness that we never learned about in school. Discovering my history has helped me accept my natural flow and the way I am driven to use words the way I do. 

Being Black also connects everything I create to a larger community and a higher purpose. Whenever I’m stuck I try to focus on why I believe I have my specific talents and inclinations. I think about my creative granddaddy, who loved to write but couldn’t get anything published because he lived in such a racist time. I write for him, for my ancestors who fought back against White supremacy in their own ways, and for anyone who will get any sort of encouragement from reading my work in the future. Lastly, I think about storybook characters I wished existed as a child, teenager, and even now as an adult. Living as a Black person helps me to fill in those gaps I’ve been missing my whole life. 

Of all of the book genres, what drew you to write about yours?

I think that my genre sort of picked me, not the other way around. When I first started writing seriously I imagined writing fantasy stories for young adults that would try to impart lessons I’ve learned in my life. But as I began to explore my medium I was drawn to darker and darker characters, stories, and conclusions. My sister, after reading at least 15 of my stories once asked me if it would kill me to leave one of my characters alive! 

Film Critics Debate the Evils of “Elevated Horror” | IndieWire
Movie: Us

I’ve come to accept that I am given to horror writing, which is surprising if you know me personally. You couldn’t PAY me to watch a horror movie, but it appears that you can’t pay me not to write a horror story. I appreciate the way that horror allows to me tell a grizzly truth that might come on too strong in other genres. I can follow the circumstances I write to their bitter end. It’s the only genre I can write where I don’t feel like I have to hold back anything.

What makes your book(s) special?

If we’re being honest, I’m still figuring that out! I have a very stylized way of storytelling that I’m still developing in a long-form. My short stories are weird from what I’m told. I have a story that is told backward. I have one about a man-made of glass and another where a girl is made of string. One of my earlier stories imagines me and my sister as tulips in a garden. So I guess my work is special because my stories are like fever dreams? Ha.

So…what are you working on now?

I’m working on my first novella, Everywoman is Born (working title. I am VERY bad at naming things). My book is about a lineage of women who inherited a Vodun-derived power that became warped during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and is now unrestrained and volatile. In my story the horror is not the Vodun, rather, the Vodun becomes the only defense again the White supremacy that wants to crush my protagonist and her descendants. I’m so excited to finish it but it’s kicking my butt. I hope to have it ready to shop around in the Fall. 

In the meantime, I have a few chapters that will be published. Two Giants, one of my favorite chapters to date, will be published in Midnight & Indigo’s Horror and Speculative Fiction Edition! The other one, entitled Freedom Costs Blood. I may just publish it on my blog. But that depends on where I am with the project and what the response to Two Giants looks like. Either way, keep up with me! I publish often and will have a finished novella soon!

Candice was fun to interview and work with! She is such a unique writer and person! If you want to get in contact or connect with Candice you can follow her on:

Thank you all for reading and remember:

Live. Love. Laugh.

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