I had the chance to read 'Raised' and it was fantastic. It's still pretty new, but now that we're getting close to Halloween, I just had to mention it.
Raised is one of the more unusual zombie stories I've read in a while. Think portals, Vegas, institutionalized necromancy, Scottish royals, and affable plump girls. I won't say anymore. Buy it; you won't be disappointed.
And now for your blast from the past!
Multi-talented writer Michelle Browne has agreed to be interviewed! Michelle has written a Novella and Short Stories in the science fiction genre featuring awesome feisty female characters. Now she’s turned her hand to writing not only a horror novel, but a load of short stories too. Her horror anthology The Loved, The Lost, The Dreaming is out now!
Q: Hi Michelle, thanks so much for allowing me to pick your lovely brain! So, to start I’m going to ask you for a single sentence synopsis that sums up your life so far…
A: Getting more interesting by the day, especially when it involves other writers and pursuing the things I love to do—also, very busy!
Q: Now a choice: You may give us a quote that describes your outlook on life, or you can compare yourself to an alcoholic beverage. What’ll it be?
A: I’d love a nice raspberry ale right now, and that sounds like a good self comparision, but I’ll give you the quote as well: "I was born for this. I am not afraid." Joan of Arc (attributed)
Q: Now let’s talk books! You’ve written, with a great deal of passion, fantastic sci-fi stories with themes of repression and censorship in ‘The Stolen: Two Short Stories’. Are these issues that are close to your own heart?
A: Well, I have a deep and abiding love for the great dystopian classics. That is where it all started. I also have strong feelings about censorship in the personal sphere—a lot of people say and do things against their nature to fit in, or hide secrets from their families and friends. I hate the way people repress themselves for the sake of some sort of ideal, and as a kid, having to repress myself was very damaging. Ever since I came out of the closet, and since I—more terrifyingly—admitted to myself that I really wanted to write, I have been much freer as a person. I really hope that my readers will also understand that listening to an idea just because people tell you to, and because it smoothes the way to help you fit in, always ends poorly.
Q: Your first novella was a sci-fi adventure story with a diary narrative in ‘And the Stars will Sing’, has a lot of appeal to a YA audience. Did you write it to appeal to YA readers, and what are your thoughts on the YA genre as a whole?
A: Frankly, I wrote my first draft in grade 10—so it really is a YA story. Regardless of the audience targeted, I love a good adventure story. I really like the fact that we have a genre transitioning between adult fiction and kid fiction. Lately a lot of books have been pushing the boundaries of YA fiction, which both interests and annoys me—I liked ‘The Hunger Games’ a lot, but dang it, why not just write a book like that as an adult novel?
I prefer to have YA novels that give teens a voice and introduce hard concepts, rather than going elbow-deep in gore and sex right away. There is a place for that too, and it will be interesting to see how it shifts as time goes on. People tell me my stories often fall neatly into YA, so I’ll let my readers decide—writing a good story is the most important thing, rather than just worrying about the audience.
Q: I found your feisty females a refreshing change in a largely male dominated genre. What made you decide to write sci-fi from this perspective?
A: It just happened. I grew up on Atwood’s stuff, and while I eventually got sick of her fairly whiny heroines, I still admired her sci fi. I work best with female characters because I am a female and fairly attached to being so. Really, the transition just made sense. I read about feisty, realistic girls in Diana Wynne Jones’ books growing up, too, so I knew they existed. I do identify as a feminist, but I was really just concerned with telling character stories that people could relate to—and hopefully, telling stories that would resonate with the many awesome geek girls I know, too.
Q: You’ve now written a horror anthology! Have you always been into horror or is this something that you’ve more recently found time for?
A: I have always been afraid of the dark and fearful of the moving shadows. Add some infrequent and chronic nightmares to the mix, and account for my too-vivid imagination, and you have a recipe for fear. I had written some scary stories, often based on nightmares, and I noticed that they all fit together really well. Then I had a few more nightmares and…it snowballed.
Q: Tell us about The Loved, The Lost, The Dreaming. It’s such an intriguing title for a horror book. Can you tell us what it means without giving too much away?
A: The stories are thematically related by topics right there in the title! I liked writing about love and loss even though it really hurt, just as a vicarious experience. There is a big fairy-tale theme and influence in the stories as well. The tales are literally about dreams, and love and loss. Believe me, that won’t spoil much at all for readers. Add in some cannibal urban fairies, evil dolls, a couple of dystopian stories, and even more, and…I don’t think I could spoil it if I tried; it’s diverse but I think readers will definitely feel the relationship between stories.
Q: Are you working on anything new right now? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?
A: I am indeed! I am putting my first novel ever, “Synchronicity’, through final edits so I can release the damn thing after 11 years of work and waiting. It’s the story of six university students who sign up for a virtual reality game beta test. They quickly find themselves caught in a deadly revenge plot, a game of cat and mouse. It’s very character-driven sci fi, and I’m really looking forward to finally releasing it.
Lastly, would you mind ever so much giving us a little taster from your new book, a quote or a couple
From the work in progress—
““INCOMING! OH, FUUUUUCK! INCOMING!”
The suit, lined with sweat, was no longer a second skin. The strange rush of fear and adrenaline, foreign-feeling, and the metallic-undertone of the scent particles filled her nose. Taurine, she’d been told, was the key--harmless and exciting in small doses. Well, this was more than exciting. Exciting had been days ago. Choking with fear, Phoebe pulled on the trigger of her laser M-16 over and over. The empty click signalled the worst—no ammo.
Her limbs were hot and cold and seemed to be moving too slowly. Across from her, also facedown on the forest floor, was Mona, looking frightened enough to vomit. She was slowly inching up, raising herself to get a look at Geo, hoping he was all right. His face had a bad, bloodless look, but the gun hand poised beneath his body was steady.
Phoebe heard Lex groan and panic seized her. Griffins, this early in the day, were bad enough, but it looked as though their motionlessness might be enough to make them pass by. She didn’t want a repeat of the chon-chon incident. More flying heads trying to take a bite out of her thighs, and she’d call it quits then and there.
It didn’t sound as though they were going to be lucky. The beating of enormous wings was becoming louder. The griffins were coming back. ”
Thanks very much for speaking with me today, Michelle.
Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on Twitter, Facebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out!