by Nicole Givens Kurtz

Collecting Stories

Before people could write, they spoke; when they spoke, they told stories. At first, stories helped us record our histories and to pass down learning from one generation to another. Those stories explained who we are and where we come from; they unravelled the mysteries of the universe. We are but a collection of stories.

As a writer, I grew up with stories read by my mom and other stories told by my grandmamma, who only had a sixth grade education. They’re embroidered on my personality, on who I am and how I carry myself in the world. This is also true of my fictional private inspector, Cybil Lewis.

Recently, my short story collection, titled Collected: A Cybil Lewis SF Mystery Collection, was released by Mocha Memoirs Press. These four stories are prequels of sorts. They occur before the first book (in my already three book series) Silenced: A Cybil Lewis SF Mystery. The purpose is to show readers who Cybil is prior to her first appearance in Silenced. As I said earlier, we are but a collection of stories, and these tales highlight how Cybil — a new PI — crafts her personality, her ethics, and her approach to regulation violations in the three core novels of the series.

Writing these stories provided me an opportunity to look back at Cybil’s growth as a character and where she needs to go. It is funny how a character can become so much a part of you that their existence, albeit in your head, is very much tangible and in your face. A great deal of who Cybil is spun up from these stories. She makes mistakes, she missteps, she errs, and in some instances, is almost killed.

I invite you to explore Cybil’s stories for yourself. I also suggest you share your own collection of stories with those in your life. Those tales may influence others to do more, to feel included, or to feel empowered. Or, they may just bring you closer together.

For we all are simply a collection of stories.