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Art & Life with L. M. Davis

Today we’d like to introduce you to L. M. Davis.

L. M. Davis, like most writers, has always loved the written word. She learned to read early to catch up with her older brother, who was a year ahead of her. Almost immediately, she was drawn to fantastic books. One of her favorites from early childhood was The People Could Fly: American Black Folk Tales by Virginia Hamilton. She loved the stories interwoven with bits of magic (it’s still one of her favorite books to gift to expecting parents). From reading, her love of writing and of making up her own stories was an inevitable, natural progression.

L. M. wrote her first story around the age of seven. It’s probably more accurate to say that she started her first story at seven. The tale went through so many revisions it might have been a full year before she was satisfied with the results. Her love of writing was always nurtured by her family, who valued the arts. Her mother, Lynda, had writing aspirations too, and she would give L. M. reading and report assignments that both sharpened her vocabulary and her ability to weave a good yarn.

This love of language carried L. M. through a Bachelor’s degree from Hampton University and a Masters and a Doctorate from Emory University; all in English. While pursuing these degrees, she focused on African American and Native American literature and cultures. During this time, she was also publishing short stories, which were almost always fantasy, in her universities’ literary magazines.

While finishing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota, she wrote the first draft of her novel Interlopers. A novel about shapeshifting werepanther teens, the story drew both from her long love of fantasy and her more recent studies. It was released in 2010. L. M. has since released two more novels: Posers, the second book in the Shifters Novel series, and skinless, a stand-alone book. For almost a decade, L. M. has been sharing her stories with the world. Forgers, the third installment in her Shifters Novel series, is forthcoming.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I have a lot of creative interests. First and foremost, I am an author. My three published books are young adult/middle grade fantasy, but I write for all ages and audiences with an emphasis on creating diverse worlds. I write fantasy because in it and through it, I can imagine a world that is better (or worse) than the one we live in, and I can tell stories that escape the sometimes narrow scope of more reality-based fiction. I love the possibility of that.

I write for young people for the same reason: because they, perhaps more than any of us, need to see limitless possibility at the very time when they are determining their own futures. Finally, I write stories full of people of color because I want young black boys and girls to see that their stories are necessary to our collective narratives and that they have a place in all possible worlds.

Being a storyteller has taken me into a lot of different arenas including film. In the past decade, I have worked on a variety of sets in onscreen and off-screen roles, including television shows like The Gifted and major blockbusters like Black Panther. I love film as a mode of storytelling. Where writing is mostly a solitary endeavor, I enjoy the collaborative nature of film and watching many people work together to bring a single vision to life. I love it so much that I have recently begun working on scripts both as part of a writing group and solo.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
Atlanta is really teaming with artist communities and collectives. First things first, connect with the people you already know. They may be aware of resources and can also help introduce you into those communities. Second, get out to any one of the many book festivals hosted in and around Atlanta, such as Decatur Book Festival, Atlanta African American Book Festival, and Book Fest Gwinnett hosted by the Atlanta Writers’ Club. Many feature the best of local authors and have dedicated Writer’s Tracks for those who are interested in the craft. Finally: Don’t be shy. One of the best things about Atlanta’s creative community is how warm and open it is. Almost everyone I have met has always been willing to have a conversation and pass along a few words of wisdom from their journey. They may be super busy, but they have all made time for that.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Look for me around Atlanta this summer. I will be at the Decatur Book Festival over Labor Day weekend. The festival is largely free and open to the public. I love to meet new readers, so come on by and say hi.

My books can be purchased from my website, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and as ebooks on Kobo. After reading, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads and tell your friends.  Word of mouth is really important for authors to get their books out there.

Also, follow me on social media for the latest updates about writing and appearances.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Author Photo: Dorien Gray:
Book Covers: Jamil Ramsey
Film Still: Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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