Tor.com content by

Maurice Broaddus

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

The Power of Art: Community Development Through Writing

One of the things I’m passionate about is community development. In trying to figure out how to do this using writing, I became a part of an arts collective called The Learning Tree. We’re a group of organized neighbors that specializes in Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). We identify and invest in the individuals, organizations, and the community to see and celebrate the abundance in our neighborhood. Simply put, our neighbors are our business partners.

The community I work in, like other communities, is rich with gifted talented individuals who care about each other and their community but don’t have financial stability. The problem is that poor people aren’t being seen. There is a misrepresentation of poor people, in terms of who they are and what their capacity is to effect change within their communities. The dominant narrative about poor people or neighborhoods is that they are impoverished, broken, and filled with needs. Most stories of the poor focus on their economic and personal failures. Stories define a people. Stories reflect a people. Stories shape our perception, from the news to media to politics. The thing about stories, to paraphrase Neil Gaiman, is that it’s easy to let a bad one in you. Once labeled, it’s a constant battle not to live into that label.

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Buffalo Soldier

Having stumbled onto a plot within his homeland of Jamaica, former espionage agent, Desmond Coke, finds himself caught between warring religious and political factions, all vying for control of a mysterious boy named Lij Tafari. Wanting the boy to have a chance to live a free life, Desmond assumes responsibility for him and they flee. But a dogged enemy agent remains ever on their heels, desperate to obtain the secrets held within Lij for her employer alone.

Assassins, intrigue, and steammen stand between Desmond and Lij as they search for a place to call home in a North America that could have been.

Buffalo Soldier is a steampunk adventure from Maurice Broaddus—available April 25th from Tor.com Publishing!

[Read an Excerpt]

The One Book That Taught Me How to Explore Faith in My Writing

Issues of faith matter a lot to me and I’m always fascinated by how they are explored in fiction. It’s something that’s been a theme in some of my writing, but when I was starting out, it was something I shied away from. It took Stephen King’s Desperation to show me the light.

These days, I consider myself a skeptical Christian, which sounds contradictory but it’s the best way for me to describe how I leave room to doubt and question in my faith. I was raised in a conservative, fundamentalist church which had a contentious relationship with art/pop culture. So coming up in the horror circles, my work was seen as “of the devil” and “glorifying evil.” Their take home message was that the only redemptive art was a kind of proselytizing art. This created a tension between my faith and my art because “Christian fiction” was something I had no interest in writing. I still wanted to explore faith as a theme in some of my stories, but I had no framework of how to explore issues of faith that weren’t reduced to essentially Christian propaganda.

[Then I read Desperation.]