What is the working title for your book?
Eleven Words for Home
Where did the idea for the book come from?
elisem made a necklace that was clearly for me. Clearly clearly. It was one of the elisem necklaces that was just mine mine miiiiine. It's got eleven little jasper cubes suspended from a fairly large-grain silver chain. The cubes are black and white and a little bit green in spots. I have had this necklace for years trying to wrap my head around its book. Years. I think about the book every time I wear the necklace. For most of that time "thinking" and "flailing" came out much the same--I had a couple of snippets, scenelets, but it didn't fall together until fairly recently.
What genre does your book fall under?
Science fiction. Medium-term future science fiction. Science fiction with the whole Solar System settled and reasonably travelable.
What is the synopsis or blurb for this book?
A young woman's determination to reunite her family takes her from the Canadian Shield to the Asteroid Belt, from a university on Ganymede to a secret bio-terrorist lair, before she can finally return to her home in the Oort Cloud.
What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I don't do that. I really don't do that. Hollywood does a lot of limiting of choice there, and including British and Canadian productions doesn't really help enough. (And I don't know Bollywood or Chinese movies well enough for that to help me personally.) Look at what they did with Season 2 of The Wire and people who actually looked Polish--that's incredibly rare, and most of my characters have that kind of ethnic identity in one direction or another. On the other hand, look at what they did to Smilla's Sense of Snow--it was incredibly important to the book that Smilla Jasperson was Greenlandic, and Julia Ormond...is so not. I mean seriously what. I'm writing a book, so I don't have to redo my book because I can't find an actress who looks Vietnamese, and I don't have to say, "Um, how about a Chinese actress! Close enough! How about a white lady with dark hair, ha ha, that'll be great, no problems there!" She can just be ethnically Vietnamese. (Well. At this point ethnically Oorter. But descended from Vietnamese people.)
Now that I've had my rant, the one exception is that the protagonist's twin uncles could be played by Jim True-Frost without me rolling my eyes entirely out of their sockets. The Oort Cloud does a lot to get genetic diversity, so mixed-race families are the complete norm out there. There are more ethnically unified settlements further in-system. Anyway.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am looking for an agent for previous work. It all depends on how that goes. I am also raising an eyebrow at the excluded middle in this question: there might not be as many editors/publishers who take direct submissions as there used to be, but they do in fact exist.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well, we'll see, won't we? I decided not to answer these questions regarding my last finished work because you have all heard me blather about The True Tale of Carter Hall for awhile now. But if that's any indication, the first draft gives no clue about the eventual completion time.
I do think that I should not have to count the years of wearing the necklace and going, "hmmm," though.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I have been liking individual works of science fiction while being vaguely unsatisfied with the state of the genre for, oh, years now. Longer than I've had the necklace. I finally identified one thing I was missing when I read M. J. Locke's Up Against It, which I liked, but for some reason it was not what I had been looking for. And then I realized: what I am not finding, that I want, is intimate-voice SF. It looks to me like the default mode for a work of SF that is not immediate-future tends to be third person with at least three POV characters. When I asked my friends for first-person or intimate single third-person POV SF novels published lately, the results were dismal: people kept volunteering books that follow exactly the multi-third thing I was seeing everywhere. And I love some of those books. I just don't like the limitation on what SF can be.
There are a million other pieces inspiring this one--W.H. Auden, perfumers, bunches and bunches of music (early Sibelius, Antje Duvekot, Steve Earle's "This City," REM's "Find the River" because I am in fact that age), Martian peridots, family stuff. But once I realized I wanted something intimately single perspective and still large and SFnal, the rest started to come together.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I am notoriously bad at doing that. It's got the scope of something like 2312 or Blue Remembered Earth, but not at all the tone of either. There are tons of earlier things that are Solar System-y, but not nearly so...economics-focused, mostly? Or intimate-voice, mostly. Although if you're thinking of some, I don't mind recs.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, I'll be muttering about that from time to time as I write it, I expect.