Meet author C.F.E. Black
C. F. E. Black learned her love of literature from her two professor parents and a handful of excellent English teachers. She now pours this love back into young people by teaching high school and writing novels for teens. She lives in north Alabama with her husband, son, and a cat named Sprinkles. Find her on her website cfeblack.com.
Mind of Mine is YA sci-fi about a girl who has to share her mind with fifteen other people. It released with Illuminate YA, an imprint of LPC Books (now Iron Stream Media). Mind of Mine is my first novel.
What inspired you to write Mind of Mine?
Mind of Mine was two things for me: a means of giving back and of not giving up. I teach high schoolers and I see their hurts, their triumphs, their challenges, and their needs every day. Books have a way of telling us the things we need to hear, but they do so in a way that entertains and delights. Teenagers who read are often the more successful ones in the classroom. I wrote this book for all my students. I wrote this book because I want to tell young people that they matter enough for adults to write about and for them.
The second reason I wrote Mind of Mine is a personal one. While a writer at heart for many years, I did not begin my drive toward publication until after a near-death experience that left me shaken and awed at the temporality of our lives. I dove into writing full-time for one academic year (thanks to my husband’s support), and completed a novel as I’d always wanted to do.
How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?
She is a genius . . . who frequently forgets her own name.
Raised to put science over self, V must link her brain with fifteen other people, making her one of the world’s smartest humans. With this privilege comes a life dedicated to continual research inside a secluded facility, a life devoid of freedom.
But V is losing her identity and unable to predict which face will peer back at her from the nearest mirror. Escaping this life will mean freedom to think for herself—and abandoning everything and everyone she’s known and loved.
When your thoughts and speech are no longer private, freedom comes at a price. But for V the price may be her life.
What genre do you focus on and why?
I write YA sci-fi and fantasy because I teach high school and know how important it is for young people to have clean entertainment with positive messages.
Why do you write?
Writing is so exciting! I love creating characters and worlds. But I also understand that fiction can communicate deep truths, so I strive to do that in a God-honoring way. Because I have spent so much time with teenagers, I know how badly they (and we all) need the truth!
Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?
Her name is Valeria, but she goes by V. The name actually came from a secret society I was in in college (almost all the names did!). She goes by V because she is known by her superiors as just the Roman numeral five, and she has taken this number, which she resents, and let it become just a letter, which is unique to her. She’s a little prickly at first, but there’s a reason!
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?
For this book, I actually took a year off of full-time teaching after a scary near-death experience that left me more motivated to write. Emotionally and physically, I just didn’t feel ready to go back to full-time teaching, so I wrote. Everyday. A year later, I took another job teaching high school English. Now, my writing schedule consists of writing as much as possible during my toddler’s nap time! I’m more of a morning writer, so I don’t write too much after my son goes to sleep.
What is the hardest part of being an author?
Navigating the marketing world. Being an author requires so much more than putting words on a page in a compelling way. I’ve learned a lot since the book came out, but I still have much to learn!
What’s the best part of your author’s life?
Creation. I just love the thrill of writing. I can’t imagine ever not wanting to write all the time.
What’s one thing your readers should know about you?
My readers may want to know that my students helped me pick my author name, the book title, and website design. One unusual fact about me is that I grew up thinking I wanted to be a lawyer—then changed my mind senior year of college and decided to teach! I always encourage my students when they don’t know what they want to “be” yet.
How have you changed or grown as a writer?
The first manuscript I wrote was a story I’d been writing and revising since I was probably twelve. I needed to finish it, just to tell myself it could be done. The second book I finished, which is the only one I’ve published, is hopefully much better than the first one I wrote. And with God’s blessing, I hope I’m continuing to hone my craft and improve as a writer. I’m currently taking a writing course to that end!
What is your favorite pastime?
Like all authors, I love to read. But perhaps the hobby that brings me the most joy and relaxation is running. I’m not one of those super-runners, but I completely love it. I’ll run instead of read if the time permits.
Do you have other books? We’d love to know.
No other published works. Yet. I’m working on a YA fantasy draft, and I’ve got another sci-fi book starting to take shape in my mind after that. We’ll see!
Link to book: https://amzn.to/2LLMHDx
Social media links: https://www.instagram.com/author_cfeblack/
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