We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Givens Kurtz and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicole, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
One of the most important lessons the publishing business has taught me is to be true to your definition of success and to maintain patience. When I started digital publishing in 1998, ebooks were a novelty and required a chunky ereader the size of a scanner. Fast forward to now, when you can read ebooks on your cellular phone and tablets. The changes to publishing–the ease of publishing, the many pathways for writers to get published–has all taught me that patience is required and the definition of a successful business/career varies greatly from one author to another and from one publishing house to another. It’s easy to get lost in what they’re doing over there and what’s popular. Over the last 20 years in this industry, I can attest that nothing every stays the same and what is popular today will wane in a matter of moments, so defining success for myself, keeps me grounded and focused on what I want to accomplish.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
After 20 years in the publishing industry, I am most proud of my works as an author. I write science fiction and fantasy mysteries! As a Black woman, this is an accomplishment, because there aren’t many of us who are professionally published in the genre, and even fewer who write mashups like I do. One of my most proud moments came when Book Riot named me as “One of Book Riot’s 6 Best Black Indie SFF Authors to Read Now!

It wasn’t easy, but few things worthwhile are. I got here by networking with other authors at conventions and later via social media. I took risks and chances on opportunities as they presented themselves, and I still have a long way to go! There are many challenges in speculative fiction to making headway. One of the ways I conquered some of those challenges is by following my gut and taking risks. I would be remiss if I don’t include the fact that I had tons of support and advise from other, more experienced authors. The Black indie movement has been incredibly helpful. Milton Davis, Bill Campbell, Olivia Raymond, and Jahya Leigh, Shara Azod, and so many others who helped by sharing resources, information, and lifting each other up. No one moves through the publishing industry as an island.

One piece of advice is to find your group/tribe. Find those who believe in you and share your vision. That’s going to be key to success in this business. My brand, Mocha Memoirs Press, tagline is Bold, Fearless Fiction and that’s the lesson I learned in moving creatively. You must be bold and fearless. Take risks. Be patient. Learn about the business, because, well, it IS a business despite the creative aspects.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Friday 6:00 pm-Arriving in the city, we would go downtown to the Waffle House by the Georgia Aquarium for an early dinner.

7:00 pm-Visit the Georgia Aquarium

9:00 pm- Ride the Ferris Wheel

10:00-Sleep because tomorrow is a big day!


9:00 am-Visit Atlanta Breakfast Club for breakfast

11:00- Visit Dr. King’s house and the National Center for Civil Rights

1:00- Lunch at some fun place in downtown Atlanta!

3:00-Go see my friends who live in Decatur and visit historic cemeteries.

6:00-Grab dinner at Gladys Knight and Ron Winans’ Chicken and Waffles

8:00-Go to vintage bookstores


Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Absolutely! I would love to shout out to Rie Sheridan Rose who has been on this digital journey with me as my editor in chief since 2000! In conjunction with her shoutout, my mom, Gay Stinson, has been my rock, my support, and my cheerleader. When I felt down, when I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, or the way forward, my mom’s insight, advice, and guidance helped me, rescued me–even when I didn’t see what she saw or her vision. She believed, when I often times didn’t, and that has made the world of difference in my successes, in my career, and in my life.

Website: http://mochamemoirspress.com

Instagram: mochamemoirspress

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/nlkurtz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicolegkurtz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicolegkurtz

Youtube: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNMpvh4JWfEuyG6jhK2E4RMtTYf2lOBDG

Other: My author website is http://www.nicolegivenskurtz.net

Image Credits
Credit: Jordancon (their are labeled) Credit: Maya Preisler (this is me and her Wonder Woman) Credit: Gay Stinson (me and Deadpool) Credit: Randy Richards (me in the Star Trek outfit) Credit: Christian Strayhorn (booksigning photos)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlana is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.