Rori Shay is the author of the short story "The Pendant," included in the anthology Athena's Daughters Vol 2, a collection of SF stories by--and about--women. In "The Pendant," Earth is a struggling planet after climate change brings flooding and all-out war. When America's First Lady is asked to hand over her most valuable possession, she must choose between fortifying her country or aiding a quest to cure the environment.
The Kickstarter for Athena's Daughters Vol 2 got under-way earlier this month, and today I have the pleasure of presenting an interview with Rori about this particular story, this anthology, and her writing life.
Q: Your story is about global warming. What responsibility do you believe fiction writers--especially science fiction writers--have when writing about controversial and political topics?
A: That’s a great question. Hmmm…well, I do want my readers to know that it’s still fiction, and it’s just my guesses as to what climate change could eventually do to the planet. It’s an extreme guess about the future. But I do think writers have a responsibility to do some research when talking about a subject that’s controversial/political/scientific. I tried to take the science of climate change seriously and incorporated information on what could happen if the arctics melted and how humans might react to much different weather patterns. One of the best parts of reading fiction is that you can delve in to the most controversial subject in a safe surrounding, and it illuminates your imagination. I hope what I write about helps my readers think about the topic, even if they disagree with the idea or the way I portray climate change affecting the environment in the future.
Q: Athena's Daughters, volumes one and two, are SF stories by female writers about female protagonists. What inspired you to write SF and what is your stance on the future of the genre?
A: I love commercialized science fiction, especially stories that give glimpses of a possible future. I mean, who doesn’t want a crystal ball? I think more and more women will get involved writing SF, especially after the success of Hunger Games and Divergent. Those are examples of scifi that I think are relatable to a lot of people. I have to admit, there’s some scifi that’s way too detailed and techy for me. I like my scifi punctured by a lot of romance and character depth and just peppered by the science.
Q: In addition to writing spec-fic novels and stories you also write picture books. How did you get into that area and what sorts of challenges do you face when switching from genre to genre?
A: It’s actually very hard to switch genres. The publishing industry doesn’t seem to like it. They want you to brand yourself in one genre or the other. I switch around because when I have an idea for a book, I go with whatever it is. Some lit agents, however, only rep one genre or the other. The agency I originally worked with, for instance, didn’t focus on children’s picture books, so I had to find someone else to help with those projects.
Q: I teach newer writers at university and we talk a lot about the writing process itself. Tell me about your writing process.
A: I outline everything! I start with the bones of the story and fill in details as I go, constantly adding more as I keep writing. I never get writers block that way because I can always just look at my outline and know what scenes I’m supposed to write next.
Q: What are you working on now? (Can you give a first-line sneak peek?)
A: I’d love to! I’m working on the 3rd book in the Elected Trilogy, on which "The Pendant" is based. The trilogy is made up of: Elected, Suspected, and Perfected. Elected is out there for people to purchase. Suspected is coming in Feb. And I’m about 1/3 of the way done with Perfected. Here’s the first line of Perfected: "Calix’s threat lashes around my head, leaving me no good options.”
Thanks to Rori for sharing with us!
To read more about Rori Shay and her work, and to purchase her books, visit her website girlclassified.com.
To support the Athena's Daughters Vol 2 Kickstarter, click the cover image to the right!
Next week, I post an interview with another fellow Athena's Daughters Vol 2 author, Sarah Brand. We will discuss her story "Perhance to Dream" as well as the Alpha Workshop for Young Writers.
Mostly thoughts on writing and the creative life.