Beverly Alice Black is an immigration attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the day and a fiction writer at night. Her short stories have been published by The Saturday Evening Post, Disturbed Digest and Enchanted Conversation. Follow her on Facebook at Attybeverlyblack and on Twitter @AuthorBevBlack.
When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I want to be a writer? I thought it was just something I had to do. But seriously, as like most writers, I've written since childhood, created characters and backstories. But I really started writing when my children were little and I wrote for them.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process?
I start with a character. I get to know that character, create a very detailed backstory. From there I create the story, focusing on the most important day in that person's life. I try to keep the other characters to a minimum.
Where did the inspiration for "Angel in Hell's Kitchen" come from?
That's an easy one. I went to Mexico at 18 and two years later spent my junior year abroad in Costa Rica. When I was growing up, where I was growing up, an attractive female was a blonde with long legs, big boobs and no butt. I was just the opposite: dark haired, short and with a big butt.. When I went to Latin America the men not only showed attention to me but they actually thought I was pretty. Hot, even. I couldn't believe it. I thought they were just trying to trick me, but I soon realized that different cultures have different ideas about beauty and what makes a person attractive. This story is all about that. About a group accepting you for who you are and appreciating what you bring to the table.
A lot of your writing is fact-based and serious. How different is it to write humor?
Writing humor is hard! It is much easier to write a legal brief because you know what has to be written and in what order. Humor is subjective ... It's hard to hit the sweet spot between being illuminating and obnoxious.
Your day job (immigration attorney) sounds pretty interesting. Tell us a little about it.
Many people in my critique group think I should write about immigration and immigrants. I have written a few stories, but I live this every day. My clients' stories are tragic. Many of my clients from Central America have lost loved ones and still don't qualify for asylum because they don't fit into rubric we've created about who deserves asylum. I don't feel qualified to write as a Latina because i'm not, even though my daughters are and I've spent a lot of time in Latin America.. I think Latinos should tell their own stories.
Is there a new author or book out there that you think we should be reading, and why?
Definitely. John Schoffstall's book The Half Witch came out last year and has bee nominated for a ton of awards. He's probably the most imaginative writer I know. if you haven't' read his work, you should. His imagination is amazing.
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