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Eleven Questions with Eden Royce

1). How did your writing journey begin?

I won a writing contest posted in the paper where kids were encouraged to complete a sentence prompt to make a story. I think I was five or six and my mother still has the newspaper clipping somewhere.

2). Who are your writing inspirations?

Mildred D. Taylor, Virginia Hamilton, Zora Neale Hurston, J. California Cooper… to name just a few.

3). Are you an outliner or a panster?

I’m a panster when it comes to short stories, writing from notes and snippets of ideas and discovering the story as I write. (I always have a notebook with me to take down inspiration when it strikes.) When I wrote my first novel, it was a challenge and it underscored the importance of outlining to me. I won’t write another novel without outlining beforehand.

4). What are your favorite books?

Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime by J. California Cooper, Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely, The Odyssey by Homer, The Wood Wife by Terri Windling, The Street by Ann Petry.

5). Describe your writing process.

This is a continuation of the outliner vs pantser question. I take those notebooks/outlines/snippets I mentioned and write what’s there, filling in and expanding as I go. I throw everything at the page, even if it doesn’t seem to fit, then edit once the work is complete.

6). Why did you choose to write speculative fiction?

I think it chose me. I’ve always loved the magical and the fantastic in oral stories, books, and movies, so when I began to write my work naturally ventured into those spaces. Plus, I’m from Charleston; a city of ghosts and ghost stories, so that’s naturally is part of me and my writing.

7). Tell us a bit about your story.

Root Magic is my debut novel. It’s a middle-grade Southern Gothic historical ghost story set in South Carolina in the 1960s with themes of courage, friendship, and Black Girl Magic.

In the book, it’s 1963, and things are changing for Jezebel Turner. Her grandmother has just passed, the local police deputy won’t stop harassing her family, along with a host of other troubles. But the biggest change comes when Jez and her twin brother Jay turn eleven—and their uncle, Doc, decided it’s time to train them in rootwork. It’s a story of learning, acceptance, and using your ties to your ancestry to help you through.

8). What inspired you to write this story?

I didn’t have many stories about the culture I grew up in when I was a child, so I wanted to write a book that spoke to the stories my elders told me of their childhoods. It was also a way to remember and honor them.

9). Will there be more stories about this character?

I certainly hope so! I’d love to write another novel with the Turner family, and venture deeper into Gullah Geechee folklore and rootwork.

10). How do we keep up with all things Eden Royce?

11). What advice would you give to new writers?

Keep going. Keep pushing. When you start to feel discouraged, remember why you decided to write your own stories and hold that reason close. Oh, and reread books you love; more than likely you’ll discover something different when you visit them again.

Our thanks to Eden for stopping by to answer Eleven Questions. Be sure to check out her upcoming book release, Root Magic.

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