Q: What other writers inspire you?
A: Recently, I’ve been inspired by the nonfiction writing of Isabel Wilkerson and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Wilkerson blends impeccable research with vibrant storytelling and I admire Coates’ commitment to delving into difficult questions. When I read his articles, he reminds me to focus on the messy truth over snappy soundbites in my writing.
In fiction, I’ve been reading a lot of James Baldwin this year and his language and characters blow me away. He writes about human beings’ fallibility with such compassion and insight. He’s one of those writers from which I read a line and then stop and sit with the line because it’s that beautiful.
In speculative fiction, I really like Catherynne M. Valente’s use of language, I love N. K. Jemisin’s world-building, and I love Mary Robinette Kowal’s character relationships and character arcs.
On a professional level my mother, Carrie Newcomer, is a songwriter and I learned the basics of what is means to be a working artist from her: work hard, be collegial, and never stop growing. On the same note, my friend and fellow Hoosier Michael R. Underwood is one of the hardest working people I know and I’ve watched him grow with every novel. His passion for stories and the writing community has inspired me to keep writing through the ups and downs of life and I look forward to whatever he writes next.