It’s February, and in honor of Black History Month we would like to feature some of the black authors that are members of the Furry Writers’ Guild. Today we’ll be sharing an interview done with Carmen K. Welsh Jr. who is also known as Copper Sphynx! Without further ado, let’s get to the interview.
FWG: Tell the guild and our readers a bit about yourself!
Copper Sphynx: I’ve been a fan and consumer of anthropomorphized media most of my early childhood. When I watched a movie, cartoon, or finished a TV show or book, I would draw/write the story to continue it.
I currently write Fantasy/SF, Furry, essays, and comics.
FWG: What is your favorite work that you have written?
Copper Sphynx: I would like to say my most recent publication, but, in honor of Black History Month, I have to bring up my first and only published poem ‘Only Hound dogs up in Harlem’. It was first printed in a furry convention book and later officially published by the literary journal Typewriter Emergencies and is one of my favorite pieces. It’s based on poetry rooted in 1920s Harlem Renaissance but using canines.
FWG: What do you think makes a good story?
Copper Sphynx: I’m definitely a character-driven writer. Incredible plots I still enjoy, but the stories I take to heart are those where the cast resonates with me, whether they be protagonist(s) and antagonist(s).
FWG: How long have you been in the guild, and what changes have you seen with regards to how writing is handled since joining?
Copper Sphynx: I’ve been with the guild since 2011. I’ve seen more efforts in diversifying stories, who can tell what kind of stories, the awareness of differing culture, and more metadata references. Also, online courses and more conferences being offered are all newer changes and exciting.
FWG: What does Black History mean to you?
Copper Sphynx: To know that Black History and other history months is the true and total history of the United States. I have more to say but that’s for my blog and Twitter.
FWG: Do you feel that your Blackness has affected your writing?
Copper Sphynx: It definitely does! Blackness has been made into a visibly negative image at all levels and has been presented to me as a subtraction that I feel the need to show it in all its positives but to show that Blackness is fully faceted. Blackness also affects my furry writing. For example, I refuse to use certain animals in my stories as these very animals are used in real life and historically to denigrate not only people with my skin color but other groups of color as well.
FWG: Do you feel like the issues that affect the outside world affect your writing within the fandom or not?
Copper Sphynx: It certainly has that I’m feeling bolder in my writing and taking more risks with what material and subjects to tackle. And feeling the confidence in which style will serve that particular topic better. Before, I would’ve struggled as a writer and artist because I lacked confidence, but not anymore. Not saying I no longer struggle as a writer, I still do with story mechanics, world building, and the like. I just don’t struggle as much as before in how to present certain topics and subjects.
FWG: Do you have favorite Black authors and has their literature affected your writing in the fandom?
Copper Sphynx: Octavia Butler, Samuel Delaney, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due and these are just a handful within speculative fiction. But I’ve read Sharon Mathis, Nikki Giovanni, Midred D. Taylor, and Virginia Hamilton as a child. Reading Black authors of other genres has given me more freedom in the ideas I can explore: about race, ethnicity, on social justice, how politics can illuminate or oppress, and how someone can change their fate through conscious and consistent choices.
FWG: If you could convince everyone to read a single book, what would it be?
Copper Sphynx: Just ONE? In honor of Black History Month, perhaps Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild short story collection. Short stories have been my first step into literature, which is why I write short fiction now. Also, those same short stories lead to new novels to read and new authors to love.
FWG: Any last words for our readers and guild members?
Copper Sphynx: I was struggling to belong somewhere in the writing community at the same time I was changing direction in my job life. I learned about FWG at the right moment when I needed the guild. Furry has given my art and writing direction, purpose, and a platform. I don’t regret any of it.
To learn more about Copper Sphynx and their writings please visit their website here alongside links to their other writing and art accounts. A complete list of their publications is also available on The Angry Goblin Blog. They can be followed on Twitter @KayFey.
We hope you found this interview exciting and informative as we hope to feature more black authors this month! If you are a black member of the Furry Writers’ Guild and would like to be featured, please contact our public relations officer here. Until next time, may your words flow like water.