Sonora Taylor has been writing for many years. She is the author of The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales, a collection of short stories, and Please Give, a novel. Her next short story collection, Wither and Other Stories, will be released October 9, 2018. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband.
Sonora’s description of The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales:
When seeking gifts from others, the greatest gift is often a connection. A lonely fourth-grader finds an unlikely friendship with a murder of crows. A college student tries, against all odds, to meet her favorite author. A commuter sees a stranger every day on her way to work. And a man who lives alone in the woods seeks a connection with anyone, so long as they’re another body to hold.
The greatest gifts, however, don’t always mean the greatest rewards. The fourth-grader learns that a crow’s idea of loyalty may challenge her own. The college student learns that in a battle between herself and fate, neither may be the victor. The commuter never learns her new friend’s name, which may be a gift in itself. The man in the woods sees any connection as a reward — though not necessarily for those he seeks.
Connections with others keep us afloat, in varying degrees and at varying costs. As the man in the woods so aptly says, “We all want closeness and companionship. Some of us just gain that by burying people in the floorboards.”
Sonora’s lovely book cover was designed by Doug Puller.
Did something in the real world inspire The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales?
Three of the four stories were inspired by the real world. “I Love Your Work” and “I Never Knew Your Name” were both inspired by occurrences in my own life. “I Love Your Work” follows a girl who wants to meet her favorite author, yet never seems to be able to. I have favorite authors who I always seem to miss when they’re in town for a ticketed event. “I Never Knew Your Name” follows a woman who sees the same stranger every day. When I worked at my old job, I often walked by the same person every day who walked in the opposite direction. We developed a rapport, saying hi and smiling when we’d walk by each other, but that was it. In both of these instances, the stories ended there in my own life. I added sinister twists to the stories in the book.
The title story, “The Crow’s Gift,” was inspired by a story I read about a little girl who befriended a murder of crows by leaving them food. Soon, she found objects left on her porch as “gifts” from the crows. The crows remembered her and reciprocated her kindness. I thought this was a wonderful story and a great example of how human crows can be. Crows are also known to remember how different people behave toward them, including bad behavior. I focused more on that as I wrote “The Crow’s Gift.”
What is your favorite scene in the book?
My favorite scene is in the fourth and final story, “All the Pieces Coming Together.” Unfortunately, it’s a spoiler, so I’m hesitant to share it. Without revealing too much, it’s the scene that begins with the narrator saying, “You’ve got to be shitting me.”
I also like the scene at the end of “The Crow’s Gift,” where the main character, Tabitha, reflects on what it means for her to be friends with this particular crow.
What was your writing process like as you wrote The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales?
I wrote each story as they came to me. When I wrote them, I didn’t originally plan to collect them in a book. I decided to do so when I decided to self-publish my work. I realized after putting them together that they were connected — and funny enough, that theme was connection. Each character seeks to make a connection. It’s what that connection entails that leads to the horror.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
People buying it! I’m self-published and do all my own marketing. It always makes me happy when I see another sale.
I also loved seeing my book in print. I initially sold The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales as an ebook only, but then I used CreateSpace to offer a paperback version. When I got my proof copy, it made me feel really special to hold an honest-to-God book — one that I wrote — in my hands.
What do you have planned next?
I have another collection of short stories coming out on October 9, 2018. It’s called Wither and Other Stories, and features four new stories: “Wither,” “Nesting,” “Smoke Circles,” and “We Really Shouldn’t.”
I am also in the process of revising my second novel. It’s currently called Without Condition and is a combination of horror, dark comedy, and romance. It’s dark, sharp, and tender — my favorite kind of story.
You can pick up your own copy of The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales from Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2K9cKiO.