Burris explores the issues we as black women can face with accepting our beauty on its own terms. These aren’t issues that only adults deal with; Black Beauty is listed as a children’s book on Amazon. It shows that identity issues and standards of beauty are ingrained early on in kids. And the real horror is the lengths these teens will go to achieve that so called beauty. I’m sure any parent will want to reassure their children that they are strong and beautiful after reading this story and that beauty comes in all forms.
Black Beauty is a timely, refreshing, yet cautionary story peppered with some chilling events. As it is marketed toward younger people, there isn’t a visceral, gory storyline, but it is disturbing in its message. When Jade’s identity begins to show through, another otherworldly danger is revealed. I will let you know that Black Beauty ends on a cliffhanger, as it is The Everleaf Series Book 0. But Book One is available and is titled Coal, which also happens to be Jade’s son’s name. I’ve also read Coal but it isn’t a horror story, so I won’t be reviewing it here (I’ll do that on my blog) but it is an engrossing read, full of elves and magic, swordplay, and high fantasy action.
Constance was kind enough to chat with me about her writing, specifically why she felt she had to write Black Beauty.
I really wanted to write a story with a girl whose dreads turned into snakes and a boy covered in cockroaches. It couldn’t be anything but a horror.
Ooh, Girl. Let me break it down.
Not having control. I hate depending on people to do anything for me, but I’ve gotten better at asking for help as I’ve grown older.
Of the works you’ve written, what’s your favorite? Of which are you most proud?
I’m really proud of Chaos, the first story I published. It’s about two telepaths. I shopped the short story around to a few places, but it was rejected by all of them. Impulsively, I published it online because I knew it was good.
I am working on finishing Book 2 and Book 3 of the Everleaf Series. Once those are complete, I plan on giving the characters from Black Beauty (Shemeya, Ashley, Andre, and Jade) their own stories, which I’m really excited about.
What shape would you like to see the future of dark fiction take?
I would like to see more stories that play with settings like the Midwest, west coast, east coast, and Canada. As well as play with intersectional narratives: gay and black, disabled and Latino for example.
I wrote most of Black Beauty on Wattpad, sharing scenes with my family until I began to get a bigger following. And everyone loved it! I originally thought examining black beauty issues in a horror would be controversial, but the reception has been great.
Thanks for taking the time to interview me about Black Beauty. I want to let the readers know if anyone subscribes to my newsletter at www.constanceburris.com, you will receive my first story Chaos and the first chapter of Black Beauty “Medusa” for free!
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