*All pictures excluding the cover were stolen from the official magnifiqueNoir website.*
Today I’m interviewing Briana Lawrence, author of I Am Magical, the first book in the magnifiqueNoir series, which will provide major representation for many minority groups. Before we get started, let’s learn a little bit more about the book, and trust me it sounds amazing!
“There’s a city. It’s like most other cities. Buildings. People. Monsters who can destroy sidewalks by vomiting acid onto the ground, and an elite group of black, queer, magical girls who work to put those monsters in their place.
See? Just like most other cities.
Bree Danvers would’ve compared it to a video game, maybe a cartoon or comic book, except black girls are rarely the heroines of the story. But there her heroine stood, plus sized and wonderful, rocking a dazzling amount of purple and defeating monsters with galactic sparkles. Galactic Purple, that was her name, and soon, Bree was joining her on a magical adventure full of transformations and after school battles to defend a city like most other cities.
And soon, others would join them, and each one would be magical in their own way… give or take a few bumps on the acid covered ground.” – Magnifiquenoir.com
- What inspired you to write magnifiqueNOIR?
To be honest, it just kinda happened. I was supposed to be working on something else, but my muses told me to sit and sketch a purple haired girl with cosmic hair. So I did. I showed my partner and she told me to sketch more girls. So, I did. After that, her and a friend said that maybe they could become something, and during a roadtrip to a convention in Utah, we ended up bouncing back ideas to make a book series — complete with full colored illustrations where I’d partner with different artists and run a crowdfunding campaign to get everything going.
I’m really into stuff like “Sailor Moon” and “Madoka Magica,” so the idea of making my own group of magical girls was really exciting, then I decided to add to the idea: create a series of girls that reflected who I was — black, queer, and magical.
- When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
The memory sticks out in my head is being nine-years-old and creating this pop-up book out of construction paper. I wrote and illustrated the whole thing. It was probably less than ten pages, but I remember being really proud of it. The story was about farm animals… that’s all I can tell you, lol, because I don’t remember the plot, I just remember really enjoying it and wanting to write more.
- If you could spend the day with anybody who has ever lived on this Earth, who would it be?
My brother who passed away when I was 13. I’d love to have one more day with him to show him what I’ve done with my life.
- Do you have a writing process?
I really try to! Generally speaking, when I have an idea, I try to outline it before I start writing. Then I share the outline with my partner, and we go back and forth until the idea is fleshed out. I try to do a bit of writing everyday, but it never seems to be on the same idea. It may be a few pages of a book, or a WatchMojo script since I write for them, or any other ideas I have. I kinda wish I was one of those writers who can sit and write at a set time everyday, but it never works out that way for me.
- Who is your mentor, for writing or for life?
I always try to do my best in honor of my brother.
- Do you feel it was harder for you to find a publisher because of the diversity in I Am Magical?
I actually didn’t even try, I just went straight to self publishing. I’ve been promoting the book at conventions and online and everything. I’ve gotten some great reception to it, but every once in a while there’s a “do they have to be queer” or something along those lines. I just tell people that I wanted to create something where the characters were like me, because there aren’t a lot of black queer heroines out there, and seeing people’s eyes light up when they realize one of the girls is plus size, or transgender, or anything else that’s scarce in the media, that’s what I try to focus on, because that’s what’s important.
- Who did you have in mind when you wrote this book?
Anyone who wanted to see themselves represented in a positive way.
- If you weren’t a writer, what career would you have?
I have no idea! I used to work retail for six years and stuck with it because people kept telling me that writing wasn’t a “real” job and that it wasn’t secure enough… then I got fired and ended up writing anyway.
Original Pancake House
Wifey and cats
Wifey and cats