If I could spend 15 mins with…

For this Monday’s writing related post I wanted to write about one of my favourite authors of all time… Octavia Butler.

Butler has been on my list of faves since I came across her obituary in the NY Times while I was in college.  I was surprised to learn that there was an African American female science fiction author.  I’ve always enjoyed sci-fi and was thrilled to find out about her.  That very same day I visited the nearest Barnes & Noble to find her books.  I’ve read just about all of her work that I can find.  Lillith’s Brood and Fledgling are two of my favourites.

If I could spend 15 minutes with Octavia Butler…I’d ask:

  • What sparks her story ideas?
  • Does she let a story ripen for months and years before attempting to write?
  • Was she a pantser?
  • The only story she has that I’ve never managed to complete is Bloodchild. It freaks me out.  What sort of things inspire stories like those?
  • Do you think that african american/black authors have come far in the science fiction genre?
  • What was her writing space like?
  • What advice would she have for her younger self about writing and would she change anything about her journey to becoming a published author?

If you could spend some time with anyone famous who would it be?

4 thoughts on “If I could spend 15 mins with…

  1. Wonderful to find this touching tribute to a great author! I was fortunate enough to meet her at a book signing in the Bay Area some years ago. Oddly enough, I didn’t know her work at the time, but my brother did and as a surprise for him, I went down to the signing armed with a copy of ‘Parable of the Sower’.
    Long story short, I got there and was amazed to see the unbelievable outpouring of love she received from her fans! When it was my turn to speak to her, I asked her to sign the book for my brother who couldn’t be there, but knew all of her work. She thought that was cool of me(!), and asked if I had read any of her work. I told her I had only just discovered her and would be sure to ‘fill in the gaps and catch up’. This actually made her laugh!
    I don’t suppose I will ever forget that fantastic day and the impression she left on me. When she passed, it was as though a brilliant light went out in the heavens for a minute, until I recalled the gifts she left behind for all of us!
    Like you, I write, and just finished a first draft of my first NOVEL. It took me a moment to realize the importance of writing about people who look like me… not exclusively, but until I feel it isn’t necessary any more.
    Best of luck with your work, your creativity, your personal growth. Staying open to the Universe is and should be a beautiful thing!


  2. Reblogged this on obzervashunal : looking @ the Universe… and commented:
    The beautiful Rene DeSuza wrote this piece on a fantastic African-American author, Octavia Butler. After finding it and leaving a somewhat lengthy(sorry!) comment, I thought what I really should do is reblog…
    If you don’t know the author and enjoy not only great sci fi, but great writing period, you owe it to yourself to check out the late, great Octavia Butler!

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