Tea with Alicia McCalla

Tea with Alicia McCalla

It took thirty years for Alicia to accept her calling as a writer of "unusual stories." Always writing edgy tales that pushed the envelope. She learned to hide her violent, controversial, heart-pumping,and tragically romantic stories from family and friends.

Alicia writes for both new adults and adults with her brand of diverse superheroes, urban fantasy, paranormal, and horror. Her stories always include strong women heroines who fight back, sometimes to the death.

Alicia's influences are Octavia Butler, LA Banks, Faith Hunter, Patricia Briggs, and Laurell K. Hamilton.

Alicia is an activist in the movement towards diversifying Science fiction and Fantasy (#diversityinsff). She created the first "State of Black Science Fiction 2012" blog tour, is an active member in the State of Black Science Fiction FaceBook group and has a ScoopIt page where she actively curates topics related to Afrofuturism, Black Science Fiction, and Black Speculative fiction.

Alicia is a native Detroiter who currently resides in metro Atlanta with her husband.

Alicia, thank you for stopping by to join us for tea and conversation.

First, what is your favorite tea and/or other beverage?

My favorite beverage is a nice cup of Pique Black Pu'er Tea. I love the complexity and earthy flavors it provides. It's the perfect companion as I delve into writing each day.

What time of day do you like to write?  Do you have any rituals when you’re working on your story? 

I try to dedicate my mornings to writing, usually getting a few hours in before the day begins. Having that uninterrupted focus time is crucial. I'll often listen to instrumental music or nature sounds to get in the zone. Writing is definitely a ritual for me.

What do you want to share with us about this story or series?  What really stands out about it and made you want to write it?

101 Badass Superhero Affirmations was born from my own journey with immense grief after losing my son, yet also my desire to help others find strength even in darkness. Superheroes inspired me to keep fighting in my lowest moments, which is why I created empowering affirmations drawing from aspirational female leads.

By combining fictional champions' strength with words of courage for real women, my hope was to pass on the comfort I received to those still facing adversity. The affirmations are meant to be that reminder of our indomitability, even in life's hardest seasons. Writing them and seeing the book come to life has helped nurture my continued healing process.

If others find an ounce of empowerment within its pages, it is well worth every word. Finding purpose through this book honors my son's memory in a way that also nourishes my healing journey. Superheroines once reignited hope within me during grief, and I aimed to recreate that feeling for others still battling challenges through positive thoughts anchored in fictional powerhouses.

Do you write in more than one genre?  What about this genre(s) appeals to you?

Yes, I enjoy writing across multiple genres including thriller/suspense, women's fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal. Each offers rewarding storytelling opportunities while allowing me to feature nuanced Black female protagonists.

Thrillers cater to my love of fast-paced action and plots challenging assumptions. Crafting resilient superheroes, slayers, and vigilantes battling injustice through grit and skill is immensely satisfying. I strive to showcase their humanity beyond the stereotypes often given to Black women, highlighting strength born equally from vulnerability.

Science fiction and fantasy make up an imaginative sandbox where anything can be possible. Warping reality offers boundless representation, from exploring distant worlds to speculative social issues. Readers escape into vibrant settings while seeing themselves leading in ways seldom afforded elsewhere.

Paranormal also embraces boundlessness through mystical elements. Supernatural powers illustrate inner strength manifest, perfect for celebrating excellence across seemingly "other" groups.

Maximizing creative freedom across subgenres energizes my writing while empowering varied audiences. Overall, diversity in storytelling holds endless opportunities for nuanced representation. No matter the setting, my characters rise as multifaceted beings, heroes in their full imperfect humanity. Uplifting others through dynamic worlds just beyond reality sustains my passion and purpose.

What made you decide to become an author?  Can you tell us a little about that journey?

I had always been a writer since the age of 10. I found my way to becoming a published author for about 10 years before I lost my son. From that moment of intense grief and loss, something changed deep within me and it impacted my writing greatly. My writing moved from basic storytelling and became a way for me to experience profound healing. Sharing aspirational characters who overcome immense challenges through bravery, strength, and heart gives me hope and brings me closer to honoring his memory and legacy.

Where do you get ideas for your stories?  Do they come to you over time, or do you suddenly think of an idea and realize it would make a great story?

I regularly incubate and purge my story ideas. High ideation is one of my top ten strengths and so they come to me from everywhere - current events, dreams, daily interactions. I have a method for incubation and purging, which includes maintaining folders of story arcs, and character snippets, as well as curated articles or resources that further build upon the idea. Sometimes something that I’ve incubated or curated develops and forms into an idea/project that just won’t leave me. That’s when I know my muse is ready to take the idea further into characterization, world-building, or theme.

Do you self-publish?  If so, what is the most enjoyable part of the author/publishing business?  What is the least enjoyable?

I am proudly a self-published author and just recently moved into the eCommerce Author space where I have a Shopify storefront that includes my books, audiobooks, and merchandise that I sell directly to my readers and customers. Moving into this space certainly has its challenges like figuring out fulfillment, making sure my storefront is optimized, and explaining my new mission. It’s also incredibly inspiring and fantastic. I love connecting with my readers not only through my books but also through my audiobook narration and connected merchandise. Entrepreneurship carries responsibilities, but I love having creative control and being able to extend my story worlds into other formats. It’s way cool!


What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started writing?

Looking back, I wish that I’d trusted myself and my natural inclinations and strengths sooner. I chased a lot of well-meaning gurus who gave great information, but it wasn’t suitable for me and how I needed to proceed as an author.

Are you working on a new book?  Can you share any details?

Currently, I'm working on a serial featuring a Black woman superhero vigilante. Representation matters deeply to me, so creating complex characters like her, who fight back unapologetically is deeply rewarding. My newest project further explores themes of found family, empowerment, and adversity through the lens of science fiction and fantasy.

The journey has been rewarding and I’ve been blogging about the project, my inspiration, and why I’m doing this project. Soon, I’ll be releasing the prequel episode so readers can get to know her better.

Do you have any advice you would like to offer future writers?

Take your time to accept yourself and, your strengths and figure out the stories you want to tell. Above all, stay dedicated to your craft through the challenges. And if you can, uplift others through your characters and world-building.

Alicia, thank you so much for joining us today!  We want to let everyone know Alicia have her own store where you can sign up for free downloads, e-updates, sneak peeks, and coupons.

You can find out more about Alicia and her books at her site and on social media at Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

We'll be back soon with another wonderful author to share tea and conversation. Thank you for joining us!

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