Michele Tracy Berger Slays Eleven Questions
1). Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a professor, a writer and a creativity coach. My main love is writing speculative fiction, but I also write poetry and creative nonfiction, too.
My short fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction has appeared, or is forthcoming in 100 word story, Glint, Thing Magazine, Blood and Bourbon, FIYAH: Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, Flying South, Oracle: Fine Arts Review, Carolina Woman, Ms., The Feminist Wire, Western North Carolina Woman, Blood and Bourbon, various zines and anthologies.
I love working with and inspiring writers, too! For over a decade, I have run an award-winning blog called ‘The Practice of Creativity’.
My science fiction novella, "Reenu-You" about a mysterious virus transmitted through an everyday hair care product was recently published by Falstaff Books.
Much of my work explores psychological horror, especially through issues of race and gender.
2). Who is your favorite vampire author?
Not sure I have just one. Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories and Octavia Butler’s Fledging are two of my favorites.
3). If you had the choice, would you be a vampire?
Absolutely! It’s the chance at immortality that draws me in. Think of all the novels I could write!
4). Who is your favorite vampire?
In novels, I love Shori, the main character in Fledgling. She’s in her early 50s, though she looks ten years old, and is a member of the Ina species—one that sustains itself on human blood formed through symbiotic relationships. Because of the way she looks, she is a master at using power in unexpected ways.
In movies, I still love the vampires in The Hunger, played by Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie.
5). What do you like the most about Slay?
That until now no one has attempted to retell the vampire mythology through and about experiences of people across the African Diaspora. It’s fresh and original.
6). What inspired you to write your story?
“Blood Saviors” is my first vampire story (but hopefully not my last!) and I merged two ideas together, one very old and one very new.
7). Tell us a bit about your story.
The story explores the question: What would someone be willing to do to save their own kind? Would they be willing to sacrifice another race to save their own?
It’s an urban fantasy story and the world is made up of humans, vampires, the Fae and other magical creatures. There are laws that govern their interaction. Shonda, my main character, an African American vampire is sent undercover by the Vampire Council to investigate a national chain of high-end spas called ‘Glamor Day Spas’ run by a vampire. Humans arrive looking aged and leave looking much younger. The Council believes unauthorized magic is afoot. What Shonda discovers in the lab below the spa shakes her to the core and she has to make some difficult decisions that may involve the fate of all vampires.
8). What do you hope to accomplish with your story?
I want readers to wrestle with the moral choices that Shonda faces on her journey.
9). Will there be more stories of Shonda?
I hope so. I would love to write a series about the conflicts between the Fae, humans and vampires that could lead to a war. And, Shonda would be in the middle of it all.
10). How do we keep up with all things Michele Tracy Berger?
Come find me on Twitter at @MicheleTBerger, Instagram: bergmichele2005, My author Facebook page is under my full name Michele Tracy Berger.
11). What advice would you give to Slay readers about this anthology?
Read it and review it. The discoverability of new books are often at the mercy of algorithms, especially those produced by small presses. Tell all your friends who are vampire aficionados and are interested in reading diverse stories about this fantastic collection.