Courtney LoCicero (a.k.a. Coco Nichole)
From an online interview on September 7 through 9, 2018.
First off, tell us a little about yourself. How do you see yourself as a writer?
I’m a high school English teacher living in the rim South. I’ve got a husband and two dogs. I’ve been writing fictional stories since I can remember. I started off writing short fiction, which eventually became full-length novels. Genres of choice: fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, and speculative fiction.
Now I know you wouldn’t call yourself especially “dreampunk,” but from what I’ve seen, you’re not far off. What does the term mean to you personally?
Hmm. I suppose would regard dreampunk as a narrative that relies on a state of the subconscious or even a level of unconsciousness. If we’re using the term loosely, I could see it extending to realms beyond our own; realms that are close in proximity, but detectable by a select few.
Sure, let’s say we’re being very loose with the term. What would you say distinguishes a “dream” from reality? Bearing in mind that were still talking about fiction, of course.
I feel like there’s a dozen ways you can answer this question. You can call upon what we understand of the limits of logic and science. But when it comes to fiction, I think the line between dreams and reality is actually drawn by the reader. As writers we intuitively know when to get the reader asking, “Is this supposed to be happening?” or “Is the character just imagining this?”
We use dreams to help characters resolve internal conflict or understand the path that they are supposed to take after they’ve been lost or wondering what they’re supposed to do next. So yeah, dreams occur whenever the reader acknowledges a shift in the laws of the universe we’ve created for them.
And just like in life, if you have a dream that connects to your waking reality in a way that seems impossible, you start to wonder what’s up. I love that moment. Have you ever pulled anything from your dreams to include in a story?
Well, I daydream a lot. So those have definitely have wormed their way into my writing. Other than that, I remember dreaming about complete fossilized limestone statues of T-rex along the sandy floor of a Caribbean reef. I held onto that image and vowed to represent it in one of my stories. But other than that, dreams acquired through sleep don’t really have a foothold in my creative process.
Those T-rex statues… You mean the skeletons or the full animals?
It was a skeleton like the ones you see at the museums, but made out of white limestone.
So has that image made it into a story yet?
Radish, eh? Could you give us a quick rundown of the publishing venues you’ve explored so far? What is your long-term strategy?
Sure. I’ll keep self-publishing through Radish, but I’m also querying my short fiction and poetry to different online litmags at the moment. I’ve been accepted into one so far (the mag is called Breadcrumbs).
Lastly, I’ve been working with another writer on a TV pilot script over the summer. We’re submitting it to as many film festivals and contests as we can. Hopefully one sticks! The pilot is a fantasy drama. Think Lost or one of the Marvel shows.
Oh, right. Wattpad has become something of an invaluable part of my writing process. I use it to connect with beta readers, draft chapters, and connect with other writers. I like to keep up a presence in case any promising opportunities come my way. Sponsors for the latest movies and TV shows are always having contests with some great prizes that can bring about exposure and experience.
It has certainly been a big motivator for me too, knowing that people are waiting to read more. How about reading? Do you have time for that these days? Who would you say have been your biggest influences?
I read all the time. I guess I’ve always identified as a reader-writer hybrid. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of Nalo Hopkinson’s works. She writes fantasy/sci-fi, lots of magical realism. Her characters tend to be Caribbean, queer, or both. Skin Folk and Falling in Love with Hominids are her two short fiction anthologies. On Wattpad I’m reading Janeiro by @HopelessBlues. Like Sun Kissed, it’s an urban fantasy set in Brazil. It explores mental health, gender identity, and developing relationships with others despite these socially stigmatized issues. I highly recommend it.
I know it varies from story to story, but can you think of any examples of movies or series that capture the same feeling you want your work to have?
Ha! I actually daydream about this a lot, but often come up short. Hmmm. I’ve always admired the works of Guillermo del Toro. I think Sun Kissed as well as a few of my short stories would translate well to that style.
I actually get influenced by anime a good bit. But as many know, anime/manga doesn’t really work effectively as live action. So I could also see something like my zombie novellas becoming an animated series for adults. The animators of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Netflix’s Voltron are really talented and created a nice space for Japanese-inspired American animation without it becoming cheesy or try-hard.
I’d absolutely love Guillermo del Toro for my Adelaide stories. So harsh and dark but still sweet and magical. Good answer. 😊 So how can we support you in your work? Do you have any books for sale?
Yeah, I’m not surprised you’re a del Toro fan. 😉
The best way to support me as of now is to follow and read/vote for my stories on Wattpad and Radish. I primarily use Wattpad to make any updates I have about publishing status or any changes to my profile.
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