I am honoured to start my interviews of the year with A.C. Wise, speculative fiction writer and editor. She needs no introduction, therefore I’ll just leave you with her.
- Who is A.C. Wise, and how did she become a writer?
Let’s see. A.C. Wise is a transplanted Canadian, born and raised in Montreal, and currently living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I’m primarily a short fiction writer, at least at the moment. I’m also a wrangler of corgis whose pictures tend to end up on my twitter and instagram feed. As for how I become a writer, it’s something I’ve always been passionate about. I have a binder full of “stories” I wrote when I was maybe five or six, fully illustrated, and replete with many creative misspellings. Most of them are only a sentence or two long, and involve mice in some way, but they are proof that the urge to write was there from a very early age. These days, sadly, very few of my stories involve mice, which really seems like an oversight on my part.
- Speculative fiction. What has attracted you to it in the first place?
Speculative fiction has always been my first choice for reading material, so it seems natural to write it as well. It probably started with fairy tales, then The Chronicles of Narnia, and onward from there. All fiction, at its heart, starts with ‘what if’. Speculative fiction asks ‘what if’ but with unicorns, sea monsters, and robots, and that’s a fun sandbox to play in. To my mind, the best speculative fiction says something about our world, but presents it all a little bit askew so there are also dragons and zombies and colonies on Mars.
- Your favourite authors – who they are and what you’d like to tell about them?
Ray Bradbury is definitely on the list. The way he uses language, and the joy with which he writes sweeps me up as a reader. Catlin R. Kiernan is also on the list. There’s an uneasiness to much of her writing, a sense that reality itself is unreliable, or that there are layers of reality nested inside each other, and many of those layers contain teeth and shadows and darkness. I could go on and on, but I will toss out a few more names in case you’re in need of reading recommendations: Gemma Files, N.K. Jemisin, John Langan, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and E. Catherine Tobler. (I really could go on, though.)
- You’ve been also an editor with Unlikely Story. How did it affect/change your own writing?
Working on Unlikely Story was a lot of fun. I think one of the main things it taught me as a writer is that rejection isn’t personal. It may feel that way when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a piece of fiction and sent it out into the world only to have it come blazing back to you. But it really is a matter of finding the right editors/reader at the right time. It also taught me the value of being efficient with words. Not that I’m always able to put it into practice, but getting to the heart of the story quickly, and making the reader care enough to follow your characters through to the end without burying them in pages of back story is a handy skill to have.
- You write such amazing stories. Let’s talk about your future goals as a writer.
For future goals, I’d like to maybe try out some longer work. (See how confident I am about that idea?) As I said in my introduction, I’m primarily a short fiction writer, but I’ve been dipping my toe into longer lengths recently. I have a novella coming out from Broken Eye Books this spring, and I’ve been working on a few other things in the novelette/novella range. I’m hoping I might be able to work myself up to something novel length one day.
- The story that made you cry -if any.
Hmm, I’m sure there were others, but the first thing that comes to mind is Maria Dahvana Headley’s novel Magonia. Technically, I read it in 2016, but the sequel, Aerie, which I read in 2017, packed a few gut punches, too.
- Anything else you want to say?
Read everything. Short fiction, novels, web comics, non-fiction, everything. If you read something and love it, pass it on, tell a friend, boost it on social media, let the author know, write a review. Also, write everything. The story you think no one will want to read. The story that scares you. The story only you can tell. That and – corgis are pretty great. And the very last thing I want to say is thank you so much for interviewing me!
Thanks again to A.C. for this interview. You can have a look at her work here. Incidentally, her blog is definitively one you want to follow if you love speculative fiction: it’s where she interviews amazing SFF authors and prepares awesome reading lists of short stories.