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Meet Kamaya Tarpley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kamaya Tarpley.

Hi Kamaya, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I started as someone who was just writing a book because I had a poor relationship and wanted to tell a story from a military spouse’s perspective. After I published Alicia Vale: I Salute You, I realized I wanted to continue writing. However, I felt I told enough of my story and wanted to dive into what I actually loved to read – fantasy and horror.

Since then, I have written 11 fiction novels, going on 12; the 12th being my first Young Adult novel titled Gumdrop Hollow. I had to humble myself to learn how to edit properly, create eye-catching covers, and market myself to the best of my ability. It has invoked a level of independence I didn’t realize I had!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road for me unfortunately. I experience quite a bit of backlash from white men in particular because I dare to put brown skin on the covers. The writing community does have quite a bit of racism and misogyny, so I have to keep a thick skin at all times.

I have also had a hard time fitting in with the Black community because religion is a major part of the culture and writing horror is frowned upon. I have had to get used to the public disapproval and even expect it when I’m at an event because I shouldn’t be writing “scary” stories.

However, I have no hard feelings towards any of these groups. Part of overcoming a struggle is understanding you have to be pleased with yourself and love what you do at the end of the day. I don’t care if the road is bumpy, it’s still a road.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am known for being a fantasy and horror author with a series knack for gruesome death scenes. I specialize in taking myths or legends from all over the world and twisting them to make them my own.

As far as being proud of something, I am especially proud of inspiring other young girls to take up writing. I have had kids send me their work and just knowing they are proud of themselves for creating a book motivates me to keep going. It ensures me that I am doing the right thing with remaining true to myself.

I am different from others because there aren’t very many Black women who write horror. Not only that, but I am someone who refuses to include any racial issues in their books. I’m different because I provide a sense of safety for anyone and everyone.

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
Being able to show other young Black girls and WOC that creating your own lane is absolutely possible matters the most to me. I had zero representation growing up and I’m extremely happy I can provide that to them.

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