Author interview with Kamaya Tarpley
In this interview, I speak to Kamaya Tarpley about her writing inspiration and the impact her work has had on other Black and POC authors.

In this interview, I speak to Kamaya Tarpley about her writing inspiration and the impact her work has had on other Black and POC authors.

Kamaya Tarpley is an accomplished author, having published 11 novels so far! These are spread across a mix of genres, including fantasy, thriller and horror.

Her latest novel, Witches of Ravenswood, was released in September. It is set in the town of Ravenswood, and follows the leader of the coven of witches: Scarlett Clarke. Scarlett, her sister Sevyn and their friend Rowena welcome a newcomer, Linnea James, into their coven. Meanwhile, one of the witches has been mutilated and murdered in the town square — committed by the town’s governor, Oliver Martinez. Scarlett and her coven investigate in this mystery where only one of them will survive.

I was thrilled to speak to Kamaya and find out about her writing inspiration and the impact her work has had on other Black and POC authors. Read our interview below.

Kamaya TarpleyTell me about yourself!

I currently live in Las Vegas, NV, but I am originally from Brooklyn, New York. I live with my cat, Chalupa, and work as a call center agent! l specialize in dark fantasy/thrillers/horror. Every story is based from a mythological source I have taken and twisted to make my own. I have 11 published books total.

Have you always wanted to be a writer/author?

I didn’t want to be a professional writer until I was 25.

Did you write many books or stories before your first book was published?

I was always a casual writer, meaning I wrote songs, poetry, and screenplays so I never kept count. However, I knew I liked it and I wrote way more than the average kid.

Where did your ideas and inspiration come from?

I have always enjoyed fantasy, so really I just write what I would like to read. With that being said, I enjoy reading and learning, so I enjoy adding color to myths around the world.

Which of your characters have been your favourite to write? And which have been the most challenging?

Lavender was definitely the most challenging because I had to do a lot of reflecting on the growth of people in general, not just myself. Amara in Mother Maiken and the War of the Realms was the most fun because she fought against evil for the right reasons.

What is your writing desk like? (if you have one!)

My writing desk is my lap. I have to have a hump on my back by now!

Do you have a writing routine?

I do not have a writing routine at all. I only write my best when I know I can stop when necessary. I will write any inspirational things or ideas in the notes app when I am out so I don’t lose that thought. No matter how stupid it is!

Have COVID and lockdowns changed your writing goals?

I wrote a little more because I wanted to take advantage of having more time to do so.

You have self-published 11 books now which is an amazing achievement! Why did you decide to go self-published?

I went self-published because unfortunately a lot of the agents and publishers who claimed to represent BIPOC authors were very unsupportive in having ethnic main characters. I chose to learn this craft every way possible including creating covers, editing properly, etc. It takes a lot of dedication and humility to learn new things. We always want to be right about things, but there is no shame in getting knowledge, especially if you want to produce quality work.

Do you have any tips or lessons you’ve learned about the process for anyone just starting out or thinking of going self-published?

You may have to learn everything yourself and that’s okay! Never be afraid to learn and expand yourself to produce the best quality of work you can.

What have people’s reactions been when you tell them that you are an author?

They usually get really impressed and boastful that they know an author! Many are surprised because I am not what they would picture as the typical author, but this is about your brain not your appearance.

What is your favourite thing about being an author? What have been your favourite or more proud moments?

Letting other Black and POC know this can be done. I have received a lot of comments that they felt alone in this until I showed them this absolutely an option. Even if I don’t get rich from this, I am just so happy other people felt a little less alone.

Are there any Black and POC authors that inspired you to start publishing your work?

Ironically I was not inspired by any other Black or POC authors. I was actually inspired by the fact that there are so few and they’re lumped into categories based on their skin colors. I really hope to change that one day.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? (Either about writing or just life in general!)

“Not everybody thinks like you.”

This was said by my mom by my entire life and she was right. This made me open up to many other people and many other points of view. It made me a more understanding person in life, but with my writing, I can tell different stories with a correct POV not just my own.

Who are some of your favourite indie authors and bloggers?

I actually follow T. Bishop and Cahlbooks. They are so welcoming and consistently lift others up. I appreciate them as writers and more importantly, as people.

Can you share one of your favourite quotes from one of your books?

One of my favourites is from my latest book, Witches of Ravenswood:

“Would you not bury a friend for power?”

About Kamaya Tarpley

You can find out more about Kamaya and her work on her website, and follow her for the latest news on Instagram and Twitter.

You can find all of her books on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats, and they are also available to read through Kindle Unlimited.