B55 Mini Interviews with Mary Robinette Kowal, R.W.W. Greene, Marianna Martin PhD & Craig Miller

Mary Robinette Kowal

mrobinettekowalMary Robinette Kowal is the author of historical fantasy novels: The Glamourist Histories series and Ghost Talkers. She has received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, three Hugo awards, the RT Reviews award for Best Fantasy Novel, and has been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. Stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, several Year’s Best anthologies and her collections Word Puppets and Scenting the Dark and Other Stories. As a professional puppeteer and voice actor (SAG/AFTRA), Mary has performed for LazyTown (CBS), the Center for Puppetry Arts, Jim Henson Pictures, and founded Other Hand Productions. Her designs have garnered two UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, the highest award an American puppeteer can achieve. She records fiction for authors such as Kage Baker, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi. Mary lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Visit her website, find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @MaryRobinette.

There are a number of conventions that you could attend. What is it about Boskone that makes you want to attend this convention?

This will be my first Boskone, but I’ve been hearing about it for years. What I hear is that it’s got a strong literary track and a ton of really smart fans. That’s enough, in and of itself, to get me excited. Plus, honestly, Boston is where the Puppet Showplace is, so when you have one of the best cons in the US in the same city as a venerable puppetry institution, it’s kinda like a giant neon sign saying “Come to me…”

In the realm of “truth is stranger than fiction,” what experience from your past would people never believe if it were written into a story?

Golly… sometimes, I feel like just my resume would make people roll their eyes. “Your MC is a puppeteer AND a writer AND a voice actor. What else, does she play violin, too?” Well… yes. Actually. For seventeen years.

2APz__128031When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? What costume did you wear?

This Halloween! We live on the second floor and it’s a little bit of a pain to run down the stairs so… since we have a balcony, I levitated down a basket of goodies while dressed as a witch. It’s great fun and I get to deploy my evil cackle, too.

If you were building a team of 3 (super)heroes to save the world from this trio of (super)villains: The Night King (GOT), the Emperor (Star Wars), and The Master/Missy (Doctor Who), who would you pick? The only catch is that you can’t pick characters from the GOT, Star Wars, or Doctor Who universes. Share why you chose your 3 (super)heroes.

Eleven from Stranger Things, because she’s got the mental powers to give the Emperor a run for his money. Mary Poppins, because she’s clearly a time lord and thus equipped to deal with the Master. My mom, because she would Bless Their Hearts into shame and surrender.

 

R.W.W. Greene

20170810_094602R.W.W. Greene is a New Hampshire writer with an MFA that he likes to exorcise in dive bars and dark coffee shops. His work has seen daylight in Daily Science Fiction, the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, and The New Republic, among other places. He keeps typewriters, collects bees, and Tweets about it all @rwwgreene. Visit his website or find him on Facebook.

There are a number of conventions that you could attend. What is it about Boskone that makes you want to attend this convention?

I’ve filled a couple of those Moleskin notebooks with tips, quotes, and ideas that I’ve gleaned from Boskone over the years. I never fail to come away inspired by something I have seen or heard. Just being in the uni-mind generated by so many bright, talented people improves my mental health. Boskone is a living history of where speculative fiction has been and where it’s going.

What is your favorite Boskone memory or experience?

I had dinner in the faux Irish pub with James Patrick Kelly, Brendan Dubois, and Jeffrey A. Carver at the last Boskone. We talked about writing, and I felt like I’d been allowed to sit at the big-kids table.

Looking back at your work, which character, piece of art, song, poem, article, etc. stands out as an all-time favorite? What is it about this piece that makes it stand out for you?

I have a character in as-yet unpublished, unfinished novel named “Brooklyn Lamontagne.” He’s a Queens kid, a street hustler, living in a 1970s America wherein the search for extraterrestrial life has been violently justified and taxi-cabs can be programmed with punch cards and 8-track tapes. I’m sort of enamored with Brooklyn–his all-American, gritty, can-do, to hell with the system–and I hope to join him on many adventures.

In the realm of “truth is stranger than fiction,” what experience from your past would people never believe if it were written into a story?

People are always shocked — and I often use that to my advantage — that my first “real” job was working in a veterinary hospital’s crematory. At 15, I made $3.65 an hour to reduce beloved pets — dogs, cats, litters of young — to ashes. Often, I was recruited to help “put them to sleep” as well.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I’m writing the back half of a novel about a slow apocalypse. The main character is a 20-something-year-old woman looking for a reason to live in a world that doesn’t offer much of a future for people her age. It’s kind of a modern-day Millennial’s tale made speculative. I love the idea and the characters. The challenge, as always, is finding more than quarter hours in which to write.

If you were building a team of 3 (super)heroes to save the world from this trio of (super)villains: The Night King (GOT), the Emperor (Star Wars), and The Master/Missy (Doctor Who), who would you pick? The only catch is that you can’t pick characters from the GOT, Star Wars, or Doctor Who universes.  Share why you chose your 3 (super)heroes.

If ever a non-Who character had a chance to match the intellect of Missy, it would be Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. (It would also give Missy a chance to drop some classic and cool innuendos.) The Night King can, what, raise the dead? Break steel weapons? Resist fire? I guess I’d recruit The Mighty Dragon from Peter Clines’ Ex-Heroes series. The Mighty Dragon has super zombie-pulping strength, can fly, is invulnerable, and breathes fire (good enough for the average wraith). The Emperor seems tough enough, with his TK, Force lightning, and precognition, but he was easily grabbed from behind and tossed down a Death Star shaft. I’m going to save some money on this one and hire Quasimodo, who has no fear of heights and has a history of throwing villains off tall buildings.

Marianna Martin PhD

mmartinA PhD in Cinema and Media Studies and founder of Genretastic.com, Marianna Martin got her start as a hopeless Star Trek nerd in suburban Boston. Her lifelong fascination with the structures of genre storytelling led to an abiding love of everything pertaining to the Marvel Universe–and a dissertation on the same. After an interlude working in Development in the US film and television industry, she decided that while helping other writers bring their stories to life was rewarding, finally writing her own would be even more so, and she now splits her time between her editorial duties at Genretastic.com and completing her debut SF YA novel. Visit her website, find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @genretastic.

There are a number of conventions that you could attend. What is it about Boskone that makes you want to attend this convention?

This is my first Boskone, and I’m quite excited. It has such positive word-of-mouth as an attendee experience, and I can’t wait to see for myself.

When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? What costume did you wear?

This year, actually! I hadn’t in a long time, but the right party/costume came together, and I went as Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. I’m trying to get up the courage to cosplay her at a future con, because it was a lot of fun.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I’m currently splitting my time between my writing/editorial duties at genretastic.com (the inclusive genre fandom site I founded) and getting my Young Adult science fiction novel to final draft. I’m really excited about the characters and world in the story I’m telling, but it’s hard to find the long stretches of time to settle in and write the way I prefer to work.

If you were building a team of 3 (super)heroes to save the world from this trio of (super)villains: The Night King (GOT), the Emperor (Star Wars), and The Master/Missy (Doctor Who), who would you pick? The only catch is that you can’t pick characters from the GOT, Star Wars, or Doctor Who universes. Share why you chose your 3 (super)heroes.

Carol Danvers (Marvel)–she’s a total badass and knows her Star Wars trivia, Jessica Jones (Marvel), because she knows how to hero and hates time travel, and Garnet (Steven Universe) because she’s totally unflappable.

Craig Miller

There are a number of conventions that you could attend. What is it about Boskone that makes you want to attend this convention?

While I don’t often travel out of Southern California for conventions any more, I used to attend a lot. And Boskones, which I’ve attended many of, were always filled with intelligent, interesting fans and I enjoyed the camaraderie, the broad scope of the program, and the general affability of everyone involved. Though not the Boston-in-February weather. (In fact, a 1980s Boskone was this L.A.-boy’s first experience with snow.) However, compared to last February, when I was on a glacier in Norway where Shakelton and other polar explorers trained, I expect Boskone’s weather to be favorable.

If you could relive your first experience with any book or film, which one would you pick? What is it about this book or film that you want to experience again for the “first time?”

Star Wars, of course, is near and dear to my heart for all kinds of reasons. I grew up a science fiction geek, loving science fiction in books and movies. Seeing Star Wars for the first time, a few weeks before the film opened in theaters, was magical. As with so many people, when the Star Destroyer cruised overhead in the opening sequence, coming and coming and coming onto the screen, it was the culmination of everything I wanted to see in a science fiction film. They had me.

There are two. For quite different reasons.

The Empire Strikes Back was the first movie I worked on from start to finish. I didn’t write it or direct it, of course, but everyone who works on a film feels a proprietary interest. And my role in things included spending weeks at the studio at various times, spending time with all of the principals in order to do my job, coming up with ideas to promote the film and writing all kinds of pieces about it. It also included operating R2-D2 for outside things like Sesame Street and commercials and award shows. And it led to my meeting and dating and eventually marrying my wife.

The other work that stands out is a show I co-created, co-produced, and wrote a couple dozen episodes of. An animated series titled Pocket Dragon Adventures, based on a character created by artist Real Musgrave. We did 104 episodes which aired all over the world, including running on the BBC seven days a week for six years.

vDgX__127681When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? What costume did you wear?

This year. I went as Po, the main character from Kung Fu Panda, to Larry & Fuzzy Niven’s annual Halloween party.

 

About Brenda Noiseux

Product Owner by day/Sci-fi geek and community builder by night. Using my super hero powers for the good of all kind. I'm the organizer several groups, including the League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen, a women's comics discussion group and a writer for Women Write About Comics.
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