I remember reading Kai Ashante Wilson’s work for the very first time and feeling like I’d been struck by lightning. There is a breadth and a depth to his work, an underlying passion which is enhanced by mastery of narrative, language and form.
The Devil in America, which was published on Tor.com in April of this year, is a masterpiece of writing. I will admit to putting forward this story for a Nebula and I certainly hope that it will get well-deserved recognition.
Kai’s previous works, Legendaire (published in Bloodchildren, an anthology of stories by Octavia Butler scholars) and Super Bass, reveal a writer who does not shirk from complex themes.
Publishing this interview and bringing attention to the work of this important writer is a joy and a privilege. I hope you enjoy this process interview with Kai Ashante Wilson.
I’d like to start by asking you about The Devil in America which was published on Tor.com on the 4th of April. Would you like to talk about what it was that inspired you to write this story?
Ten thousands things have to spark all at the same time, and cohere into a good hot flame, before a story results for me. I can still count the stories I’ve begun and finished on one hand. But I suppose I might date the precipitating spark of “The Devil in America” to an interview I caught with Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother. The love of parent for child has been an immense preoccupation of mine for a long time, and in the most receptive state of mind imaginable, I sat listening to that television interview: My son was walking back from the convenience store… Continue reading