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The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I’ve been tagged by the marvelous Heather Albano (author of the e-novels Timepiece and Timekeeper, and famous writer for Choice of Games) for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. This sort of thing is normally aimed at novelists, but I adapted it to fit one of my upcoming stories:

What is the working title of your story?

“Hear the Enemy, My Daughter”

Where did the idea come from for the story?

As part of my Kickstarter project in 2010, one of my donors (the screenwriter Cinthea Stahl, who is too clever by half) gave me the prompt, “Marsupials are fearsome warriors.” Everything flowed from there.

What genre does your story fall under?

Science fiction, although it’s probably what Nancy Kress would call “hard humanities” SF.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m not sufficiently current to know who could actually do this, but Viola Davis seems like a good fit for the role of Halima. Davis is at least 15 years older than Halima, but usually it’s not too hard for actors to play young.

The other major character is Halima’s daughter Kesi, and I don’t know any child actors nowadays. This is why God invented casting directors.

The Sheshash would need to be digitized, probably.

For Jabbari, I think Terence Howard might be a good fit, although, again, he’s about 10 years older than the character.

For Levi, I like Jesse Spencer.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your story?

“Sometimes being a parent is like communicating with enemy aliens.”

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will appear in the online SFF magazine Strange Horizons, probably in May of 2013. They will also podcast an audio version.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft, called “The Sacred Band,” was written in two bursts between July 21 and September 7 of 2010. I was working on other stories at the same time, but I think I spent a total of about 15 hours on it. (The first draft was 6,800 words). After that, I didn’t do very much with it until I showed it to the members of the Cambridge Science Fiction Workshop, over a year later. Then I revised it again based on their comments, finishing at the start of 2012.

What other stories would you compare this story to within your genre?

This story fits within what Alexander Jablokov calls the “bringing work home” school of science fiction; think of Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life” and Nancy Kress’s “Dancing on Air.”

Who or what inspired you to write this story?

I prefer my SFF with a heavy dose of heartache and heartbreak, bringing the reader face-to-face with insoluble human problems. I’ve mentioned Chiang, Jablokov and Kress, all of whom do this very well, but I think I’d also have to add Elizabeth Bear, Rajan Khanna, Matthew Kressel, Ken Liu.

What else about your story might pique the reader’s interest?

This story asks questions rather than answering them; they are questions that trouble me very much, and I think may trouble you too.

The next three authors:

  • The exquisite wordsmith, editor and publisher David Kudler.
  • My personal guru, podcaster of Toasted Cake, and author of the delightful novel Ironskin, Tina Connolly
  • My Clarion roommate, the multi-talented Matt London, novelist, filmmaker, gaming critic, whose works have appeared in Lightspeed, Fantasy Magazine, The Living Dead 2, Daily Science Fiction, and elsewhere. His current crazy project is the animated Web comic Space Pirates in Space!

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