How long have you been writing and what made you want to write in the first place?
I've been writing since I was a kid. I remember the first story I ever wrote was about a girl and her friendly giant. Wrote it, illustrated it, and somehow it placed in the Write-A-Book contest at my school. I was in kindergarten! I think what got me interested in writing was the idea that I could create a world as cool as the worlds I read or saw on tv. I was a very sheltered kid growing up in an immigrant household, so I spent a lot of time learning about American culture through the media I consumed. But I was also into fantasy books and Greek mythology and just wanted to be part of something like it, where my imagination had no end.
What genre do you prefer to write in? What draws you to that genre?
I'm definitely drawn towards drama, but when it comes to a specific genre, I'm kind of a mixed bag of sci-fi/fantasy thrillers. The opportunities I've had to write for others are always comedy though, which is a nice change of pace. What draws me to sci-fi/fantasy is the ability to create universes that are grounded in our reality to explore realities we're not familiar with. I think a good sci-fi story gives us a reflection of society and the way we impact each other's lives for better or worse, but I think it can also provide an ideal to aspire to in a way other genres can't.
Who are the writers that inspire you?
I draw inspiration from a wide variety of writers and creators for a wide variety of reasons. Barry Jenkins, Jordan Peele, Danai Gurira Bassey Ikpi (poet writer, mental health advocate, general badass and my friend), Orson Scott Card, Octavia Butler, Joss Whedon W Ronald D. Moore, Sam Raimi & Rob Tapert.
Tell us three things you're currently digging.
CAN I?? :-)
- Barry on HBO. Fantastic writing, concept, and performances, through and through. Bill Hader is a fantastic writer (he should've probably been in the list above, huh) and Paula Newsome is so fun to watch. Also, Hiro Murai is a BEAST of a director.
- American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. Whoa. Darren Criss' performance left me shaking. Cried many many many times. Anything tangentially associated with Ryan Murphy is sure to contain HOT fire.
- Mary Don't You Weep by Prince. Hauntingly beautiful. Spike Lee's best choice in Blackkklansmen (a great frigging film) was using that song at the end. My God.
What interested you about Roadmap's Diversity Initiative?
What initially interested me about Roadmap's Diversity Initiative was the idea of a space meant specifically for fostering writing talent of color, and giving them the tools they needed to take their careers to the next level. But what really got me interested was reading up on the woman it was started and named after, Coletta Preacely-Garcia. When I moved to LA, it was Black women who gave me my first opportunities to work as a writer - Stephanie Frederic of FGW Productions, and Issa Rae of Issa Rae Productions. Black women writers are just now gaining and securing a place in Hollywood, and it's a long time coming. To learn of Coletta's story, how she was on her way to that same place before she passed and that this initiative was created in her memory was deeply moving and makes this award all the more meaningful. I'm so thankful and grateful to Roadmap for the opportunity.
You can find D.K. on Twitter @DKuzNY and Instagram: @dkuzla