is published on October 31st by Saga Press.
Please join The Qwillery in wishing R.E. a very Happy Publication Day!
: Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?R.E.
: I've been writing short stories for as long as I can remember. I write to think, and because I have a terrible memory. When I discovered NaNoWrimo
in 2008, I started writing novels.TQ
: Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?R.E.
: I rely on enormous, color-coded plot outlines and accompanying color-coded timelines.
What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?R.E.
: Emotional scenes are challenging, because I am not an emotional person. I have to set my writing mood with music and pictures, and it's stressful and melodramatic. Then my agent or editor reads those supposedly melodramatic scenes and says "That's a pretty chill reaction for what just happened," and I do it all over again.TQ
: What has influenced / influences your writing?R.E.
: Real-life space exploration is very exciting! In fiction, the Expanse series (James S. A. Corey, 2012), Neuromancer
(William Gibson, 1984), Blade Runner
(Ridley Scott, 1982), and Firefly
(Joss Whedon, 2002) all contributed to the foundation of this novel.TQ
: Describe Barbary Station in 140 characters or less.R.E.
: Two join a pirate crew, two engineers take on a security AI which has trapped the crew, and our heroines, on an abandoned space station.TQ
: Tell us something about Barbary Station that is not found in the book description.
Adda and Iridian are romantic partners, not just professional ones.TQ
: What inspired you to write Barbary Station? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?R.E.
: SpaceX was just beginning to have success with its Grasshopper rocket when I was writing up ideas for Barbary Station
. That got me thinking about what it would be like if modern corporations were given absolute freedom in scientific development and resource exploitation simultaneously, perhaps in the aftermath of a colonial war for independence. That's all a solid sci fi setting, but it wasn't anything like a novel until Iridian and Adda came together as characters. Sci fi is appealing because our present is always changing, which means the future is always changing in big ways. There are fewer locked-in expectations in sci fi than in fantasy.TQ
: What sort of research did you do for Barbary Station?R.E.
: I am conveniently married to a computer engineer, so I pestered him with questions like "Does this sound plausible?" and "Is this how you'd say that?" I also spent a lot of time reading on the NASA website, and downloading articles in college libraries. Packing for Mars
by Mary Roach (2010) was a great resource, too. It's full of expert observations on the logistics of life in space, and it was so funny and disturbing that I kept having to remind myself to take notes. TQ
: Please tell us about the cover for Barbary Station?R.E.
: That cover is amazing, isn't it? That is Martin Deschambault's beautiful rendering of Barbary Station itself. I love that you can see the station's ring shape on the edges. The planets were necessary for lighting purposes but aren't present in the narrative, so in story terms, this is what Adda might see if she put the station exterior into her hallucinographic workspace.TQ
: In Barbary Station who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?R.E.
: Adda and I have a lot in common, so she was the easiest. We're about the same size, we obsess over projects we're working on, and we are similarly disconnected from most people around us. The main antagonist, the security AI, was toughest. It's hard for experts (which I am not) to predict what will go right and wrong with the learning algorithms we have today, let alone the monstrously complex stuff I'd expect to be developed 400 years from now. I had to make, and then keep track of, a lot of assumptions. TQ
: Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Barbary Station.R.E.
: That was Earther thinking, as if air, light, humidity, temperature, pressure, and gravity were unrelated forces outside human control. It would’ve been enough to say the enviro wasn’t healthy.TQ
: What's next?R.E.
: I'm working on the sequel to Barbary Station!TQ
: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.