What does a typical writing day look like for you?
I try to write in the morning, that’s usually the best time for me. Before the pandemic started, my goal was usually about 1000 words a day. Now, basically because of all the stress, it’s about 500-700 words a day. After I get as much writing done as I can, I answer email and other admin tasks, and then take care of housework and errands in the afternoon.
What makes a great character?
I think that’s very different for different readers. I don’t think you necessarily need to identify with a character to make them great, but you have to be able to understand their point of view to a certain extent, even if you don’t agree with it or like it at all. And the reader has to want to know what is going to happen to the character, what they’re going to do, to stay engaged with the story.
Your fantasy book Witch King comes out in May this year! Tell us a little about it.
It’s a secondary world fantasy, about immortals who once defended their world from a colonizing empire, and who are now trying to keep the coalition of countries from becoming an empire in turn.
A second and highly-anticipated release this year will be System Collapse, book seven in the popular Murderbot Diaries. What is it like writing from the point of view of Murderbot and were you surprised by the popularity of the character?
I was very surprised, I didn’t expect the series to go past the first two novellas, and it’s just been amazing to me how popular it’s become.
What elements of fantasy and science fiction make you like reading and writing in the genre?
I love the world building. I love secondary world fantasy and far future space opera, the less like our world the better.
Is your writing process hugely different for fantasy and science fiction?
No, it’s not different at all. It’s still creating a world, whether it’s in space or anywhere else.
If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
I don’t think I want to be a fictional character, it sounds stressful.
When did you start reading? And what books/series did you read over and over again?
I started reading SF when I was still in elementary school. I read Andre Norton and read a lot of her books multiple times. I think my favorite was The Stars Are Ours, about scientists fleeing from an Earth that’s been taken over by a conservative religious cult, and I know I read it over and over again. Also, Star Rangers.
What are some of your favourite recent reads?
I just finished The Keeper’s Six by Kate Elliott, and Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire, and Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse.
What do you enjoy doing outside of writing and reading?
I don’t have time to do much of anything outside of writing and reading. I love watching TV and movies, I like taking care of my house
If you only had one piece of advice to give to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Learn as much as you can about how publishing works. There are a lot of scams out there aimed at new or aspiring writers. Learn how the business works.
Are you working on any other new books or projects at the moment?
Right now I’m working on a sequel to Witch King.
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