A Flash Bang of Afrofuturism
by Bryan Carter
Good afternoon, this is Bryan Carter from Main Course with the Ms. Rorie Still, one of our many sponsors of the Main Course Launch Party that took place August 2015. I had the opportunity to briefly check out her book titled "Flashbang". Immediately the bear caught my eye. But, for our readers introduce yourself. Rorie Still: Hello, my name is Rorie Still, the author of Flashbang: Sci-Fi Stories That Will Blow Your Mind! Flashbang is my first book about short story science fiction. One of the stories is spiked with fiction and falls into afrouturism.
BC: Afrofuturism? Can you tell me a little bit more about that? RS: Well, the short version is we imagine the future so we can see the present a little bit more clearly about what we can fix in society and saying ok we want the future to look like this. It’s funny because an afrofuturist said that we are there future of our ancestors and they never even conceived of us being at this level. Basically, we try to imagine a better future and write about that. We create better stories then the ones we have now and what we could do now to create the future we see. BC: Now, with Afrofuturism how does that tie into Flashbang? RS: I saw a contest on Octavia Butler's store that she runs. She was one of the most famous science fiction writers and won a Hugo Award, which is like winning an Oscar. She was black and a woman. In reading her things it inspired me because I saw myself in science fiction. When I was younger, I loved RL Stine but kept looking for me and I wasn't seeing that. That was a problem, an incredibly huge problem when a child is trying to expand their imagination. For the contest, they had to submit science fiction stories, I entered a story her called taking wing, and it won. I was able to read it on the Black Tribbles podcast on G-Town Radio when I won the first Octavia City contest and I was able to meet Jason Richardson of J1 Studios. He told me that if I wrote stories and sold them on a disk I could sell them at his Con (Convention), J-1 Con, which I did. Then I said to myself, this is a book and I thank him for that suggestion. I kept compiling stories and told myself that this is a book. I'm doing this. I commissioned the cover art from my old high school classmate, Marcus Vanbeverhoudt. that gave me a priceless piece of art that I use. That's really how the book came to be. BC: Does the bear have a name? RS: Yes, he does. His name is Teddy Ninja. BC: Why science fiction? RS: People say you tend to write what you love to read. I love to read about the genres of horror, sci-fi and fantasy, including vampires. I recently learned that there's a genre in screenplay writing called sci-fantasy. I've always enjoyed those three categories. I write what I like to read. BC: Is there any particular reason why you chose a teddy bear? RS: Well, he's a Black Philadelphia Ninja who fights at night, but he's getting tired of doing what he's doing. He has the gift of the warrior, which can wear on someone's soul. So, to heal his soul he goes consignment shopping because he's cheap (laughing). He goes shopping on South St. and gets turned into a bear at this store and bought by the same samurai. What would you do if your greatest enemy, your biggest hater, bought you? See, the samurai was the one sending out all these people to do these crimes and Teddy is like, this is my enemy. I see this ending in my death, his death. BC: Now, is this a book in a series or a project you’re working on themed around animals? RS: With some of the stories in Flashbang, Teddy Ninja is a standalone while others are interlinking like Hatched, Birds Gone Bust, and Birds of a Feather. I am thinking about creating another volume, but it’s just a matter of time for when it’s going to come out. BC: How long are you looking to wait to produce your next project? RS: Well, I’m working on a soundtrack album for this book. There’s another instrumental soundtrack on my website www.Flashbangscifi.com. The current project I’m working on for the single Teddy Ninja 2 actually has artist on it and can be found at Black and Nobel. I also have various Philly artists on the album (New Headliner, Heroes 4 Hire, David Lyve, April Fool Child, King Zimm and The Negus). My focus is to reissue the book in a color version. BC: Let’s dive more into you. Would you consider yourself a writer, author, and a woman that writes books? How do you label yourself for your audience? RS: I would say I have an intricate intersectionality. I see myself as all three. I see myself as a feminist, a womanist in the full title because I am a woman of color and definitely a writer. I consider an author and a student. I’m still learning and getting the hang of this whole beautiful journey. BC: Was there another titled before Flashbang? RS: Honestly, I can’t remember. I told myself that I have to make this good, as I sat in class typing up what now has become Flashbang. I wanted a title that caught everyone’s attention. While in my ninth grade history class, my teacher at the time Mr. Stewart was telling us a story about World War II and how the Germans stopped our forces by throwing something that was wild, bright and would catch everyone’s attention. Without the hurt part, I wanted something mind catching and mind blowing. A flashbang in a regular reference is a just a weapon, but this book, the project is weapon to further a cause, to further literacy, education, and to further ideas. The theme that I feel is behind my book is that you’re going to go through some terrible things in your life. But, know there’s a way out of it. However, you have to realize you’re going to be dealing with that problem and how that problem affects you for a while. BC: What did you learn about yourself while putting together this book? RS: I learned that I liked my imagination and nothing that you think is worthless. Even what you dream about is useful. Those little thoughts and imaginations can become so many different things especially when you share them with people. One thing that Octavia Butler definitely said was that when you write something, people are going to interpret it differently; that’s their way of giving back to the story. BC: I like the question that you asked, “Did I like my own imagination”? That’s something creatives deal with. I must be willing to understand if others understand my imagination and what I’m bringing to the forefront. With that, what motivated you to conclude that you enjoy what you’re imagining? RS: When it weaves itself into a story, I found very stimulating. I thought about it some more like, yeah, I can stretch this out into a story. BC: Earlier, you mentioned instrumentals while talking about Flashbang. Do they go with your book? RS:Well, the first one was just instrumental. This time, they’re songs with lyrics! There’s something called synesthesia where your senses cross over. It’s a condition, but I believe it’s a gift and creatives have it. When I put together the story I tried to feel how each story felt. Actually, the two artist featured in them are Tray Digga and Shinagami, or Heroes 4 Hire. BC: What can we expect to see from you in the next 2 years? RS: I have a second book I co-authored with Naila Mattison called “Hidden Melody” I’m currently working on my vampire book titled Dracula Diaries: The Legacy. Once I get my colors figured out I’m going to turn Flashbang into a comic book series and I have a store that’s willing to carry it already. Some screenplays, plays, and films are in the works as well. BC: How can readers reach you? RS: Readers, you can reach me on IG Rorstll, my twitter account Rorstill and Facebook Rorie Still and my author page is also Rorie Still. I’m also a part of the Blue Writers group. We just launched our page on Facebook. Please also check out my website www.Flashbangscifi.com. BC: Any words of wisdom for not only myself, but also others looking to take up the path of a writer, author, etc.? RS: Trust God, and trust yourself. Know that you are great. God has put everything in you that you need. You are enough. Just write. It’s exactly what it needs to be. Trust your path. Even when you balance is off, that’s a part of it.Photography by Max Grudzinski www.maxgphoto.com/