The REAL Women Writers of Speculative Fiction #REALWomenWriters

Welcome back to the blog series #REALWomenWriters to explore #REALWomenWriters who toil in the day-to-day, soul-crushing, confidence-demolishing, existence that is the life of a REAL Woman Writer. We hope you enjoy this inside look and if you are a REAL Woman Writer, email us to share your story.

Name: Nicole Kurtz
Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Weird Westerns

Favorite story you’ve written and why. My favorite short story is “The Trader.” It’s a horror story that’s rooted in the Southwest’s business of trading Native American goods for cash and supplies. It is a weird western, and it has a great twist.
Favorite character you’ve ever written and why?
Cybil Lewis is my favorite character because she is true to herself, always. She follows her own moral compass. She’s fearless, and even when she is a bit nervous, she pushes through anyway.
What is one thing everyone thinks about you that isn’t true? Everyone thinks that I am younger than I am. It surprises people when I reveal my true age.
What is one thing about writing you didn’t know before you started? The editing! I didn’t quite understand the value of a good editor and a good copy editor. Over the last 20 years, those two pieces have become invaluable to me as a writer.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write? The hardest scene for me to write was in “Belly Speaker.” I was going through a tremendously difficult time in my life, and there was one scene where the heroine must face the thing she’s relied on and abhorred. Tough. Scene. There was lots of crying.
Did you go to college? What was your major? I have a Bachelor of Science in Rhetorical Writing, a Master of Arts in Secondary Education, and a Post Master’s certificate in School Administration.
What did you think you’d be “when you grew up?” I thought I would be a corporate businesswoman, living in Chicago, downtown in an expensive condo.
What is the best event you’ve ever been to? The best event I have ever attended Blacktasticon 2018. It was the absolute best science fiction convention I’ve ever attended—and I attend a lot of them.
What is something hurtful you’ve had to endure at an event? One of the most hurtful things that I have to endure at events is the perception that because I’m a black woman, that my stories and novels are: 1. Subpar, 2. Only for black people, and 3. Are worthless.

I’ve had people say these things to me, explicitly, over the last 20 years, and it is always hurtful.

How did you recover from experiencing this hurtful thing? One of the things I try to do is present the humanity of each story when I’m talking to someone about my works. For those who are not open to even listening to the pitch because “that’s not for me,” then I have more energy for the next customer/reader.
What is something hurtful you’ve witnessed another #WomanAuthor experience? (No names please.) I have witnessed another woman who was selling books like I was in the Author’s Alley of an event. One of the customers, a man, was berating her about the cost of her book. She wasn’t self-published, and she couldn’t change the price. It was horrible. That customer didn’t react that way to the male authors, who had equally priced books. Again, the idea that she was a woman, her work was somehow thought to be less worthy.
If you could give that woman or any other #WomanAuthor a pep talk, what would you say? You are not responsible for the way other people act. Clearly, your publisher priced your book because they believe your book is worth every cent. Screw him. Now, tell me what your book’s about.
What is your favorite form of social media? Where can we follow you? I’m old, so Facebook is still my primary social media location.

You can find me at:

I am also on Twitter at @nicolegkurtz

What is the biggest challenge of social media? Visibility. It often feels like I am screaming into a chorus of a 7 billion voices and I can’t be heard.
Have you ever been abused or shamed on social media because of your sex, skin color, views, etc..? And how do you deal with that? I don’t post many pictures of myself on social media. I have not been shamed by others on social media, but I am very self-conscious.

I have been the victim of an ex-boyfriend dumping photos of me on the web that I didn’t give him permission to do. That has been a harrowing experience that involved police, restraining orders, and other not to fun things. I handled with the support of my friends and my fiancé. It still affects me to this day.

Have you ever seen another #WomanAuthor shamed? Were you able to help? When I am moderating panels at conventions, there is at least one time a woman is shamed, either for her opinion, her work, or her participation in the fandom. It’s ridiculous, but often, I offer verbal support, a verbal rebuke of the shaming and moving on to the next discussion point.
What should readers know about your social media presence? My social media presence is mine. It’s who I am. I’m a real person. Despite some celebrities’ social media presences being maintained by a hired hand, it is me on the other end of that message, tweet, or comment.

Me. A living breathing person.

*That is not to say the hired hand isn’t human.*

What is the message you try to convey with your writing? Is there any keyword you want all of your work to convey? When I write, I try to convey the humanity of protagonists. So often black women and girls, are dehumanized. When I tell stories, I try to give that humanity back, to show the reader that too. So often in popular media, our identity and humanity are erased for entertainment or humor. My goal when I write, is to illustrate the authenticity and humanity of women, black women in particular, and POC overall.

Check in next time when Jennifer Rahn
will tell us about her journey.

Thank you for joining us for

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