A big thanks to Sheila Gunthrie for letting me know about the Speculative Fiction Blog Hop, and inviting me aboard! Check out her post here!
For those of you who haven’t heard about it, it’s a blog hop designed for indie writers of spec fiction that’s been running for a good long while, from I hear. You can see all the previous posts made on the tour via this lovely page made up by Jessica Rydill: http://livinginthemaniototo.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/speculative-fiction-blog-hop-new-and.html
Now, for my own addition to the long chain!
What am I working on?
Right now I’m writing the first draft of the sequel to Ruin, my debut novel (see more here), called Brink. I’ve been writing for around six weeks, and I crossed the 60,000 word mark yesterday. That puts me around halfway. With any luck, I’ll be finished within another month or two.
At the same time, I’m editing a cli-fi (climate-change scif-fi) novel I wrote earlier this year while at university, called Our Fair Eden. Around 70,000 words of surprising turns that took me by surprise; it was a blast to write, but it’s a real bitch to edit. There’s a lot packed in there, and I have my work cut out for me. But rest assured, I’ll get there. Watch out for it in stores early 2015!
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
My work generally tends to deal with broad themes like good and evil, destiny, space exploration, the scars of childhood, and how technology can augment the human condition. There’s no strict single thing that grabs my attention. My work runs from magic realism/paranormal fantasy to hard sci-fi, and everywhere in between.
What I find myself drawn back to in a lot of work is isolation; the effect it has on human relationships, and the development of barbarism and insanity, are things I find fascinating.
I generally tend to address the same concepts in sci-fi as other writers, but my focus is on the people, and how it effects them. Many works of speculative fiction focus on the tech and robots to the point of reading like technical manuals, with cardboard cut-out characters to fill in the gaps. I’m not interested in that. I want to follow real, breathing people as they try to deal with extreme situations, which humanity never evolved to cope with.
Why do I write what I do?
I have a fascination with the wonder of the universe: its scale, its contents, its bewildering weirdness and bamboozling variety. That’s why I write hard sci-fi, forever captivated by the knowledge that humanity is but a young fledgling race just beginning a journey that could stretch into the depths of eternity.
At the same time, I’m also fasincated by the paranormal and supernatural. I’m a hard sceptic, and I’m always the first to bludgeon spiritual/religious beliefs with relentless logical discourse – to the point that I’ve had to train myself to rein myself in. But, though I live in a world of cold logic and rational constructs, supernatural and paranormal freakery appears everywhere in my work. No matter what my conscious mind would have me twitter on about, my imagination is forever trapped in a world of talking shadows, ancient gods, and other worlds.
How does my writing process work?
I hate plans. I’m a pants writer.
I’m a student studying at university, so my schedule is often ram-packed. During term time, writing tends to take a back-seat. I’ll cram in what I can between lectures, carrying a notebook and fountain pen around with my everywhere to snatch at those scant spare moments when I’m waiting for a bus or in a hallway. That’s how my most recent novel got written.
But I much prefer the summer months, like now. I get Tuesdays, Thursdays completely free to write. I read in the morning, and take care of social media and other chores. Then lunch, during which I’ll do a spot of beta-reading or editing. Then I’ll go out the shed in my parent’s garden, and I’ll write. I have a quota of 2,000 words, and I keep going until they’re up. If I feel like going ahead, I will. If not, I stop. The only thing I try to keep steady is the feeling of having a little more to give, which kicks starts the process when I sit down for the next session. I try never to bleed myself dry.
The other days of the week, I’ll sit down after work with my notebook and scratch out maybe 500-1,000 words, but I’m lenient with myself those times. It tends to work just fine, and can actually be pretty therapeutic if I’ve had a hard day.
I tend to let rough ideas and mental flashes guide me. Instead of pining down exact storyboarded scenes, I enjoy letting an amorphous concept flesh itself out as I go. Usually, I have no idea where I’m heading. That’s what makes writing so damn fun: you never know where you’re going to end up.
That’s me, folks. Thanks for reading!
Up ahead we have a forthcoming post in the blog hop by Carole McDonell!
Carole’s writings appear in various anthologies including “So Long Been Dreaming: Post-colonialism in science fiction,” edited by Nalo Hopkinson and published by Arsenal Pulp Press; Fantastic Visions III” anthology published by Fantasist Enterprises; “Jigsaw Nation” published by Spyre publications, “Griots: A Sword and Soul anthology,” edited by Milton Davis and Charles Saunders, “Life Spices from Seasoned Sistahs: writings by mature women of color,” “Fantastic Stories of the Imagination” edited by Warren Lapine and published by Wilder Publications. Her reviews appear in print and at various online sites. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, two sons, and their pets. Her novels — The Constant Tower and Wind Follower, were published by Wildside Books. Her other works include My Life as an Onion and The Boy Next Door From Far Away , Seeds of Bible Study: How NOT to Study the Bible. Her collection of short stories, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction, is available on kindle.
Be sure to check out Carole’s blog, and give her all the support you can spare: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/