Welcome to the latest installment of Breaking In, where I interview authors about their experiences breaking in as writers — how they did it, what it felt like to get there, and how it differed from what they were expecting.
Today I’m delighted to have the opportunity to interview an academic, dramatist, and author of both science fiction and non-fiction about science fiction, Professor Fiona Moore.
As she notes on her website, Fiona is Professor of Business Anthropology at Royal Holloway, University of London. She’s the author of guidebooks to SF television series, plays, novels and stories. She adds that “… in all forms, I write about gender and ethnic identity, globalization and nationalism, networking, and how people deal with the changing working world.”
Fiona is extensively published in all her areas of interest – academia, drama, non-fiction, and prose. A detailed list of her credits is available on her website. Her most recent SFFnal guidebook is By Your Command: The Unofficial and Unauthorized Guide to Battlestar Galactica Volume 2, co-authored with Alan Stevens. Her audio dramas include Radio Bastard: A Comedy in 15 Parts (co-written with Alan Stevens, Robert Barringer-Lock and Steven Allen), and available from Magic Bullet. Her first published novel, Driving Ambition, is coming out from Bundoran Press in autumn 2018.
This is one of my Breaking In posts focusing on a fellow contributor to the forthcoming anthology Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-One). So while I haven’t read her piece yet, once again, I can be considered to be a trifle biased.
Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-One) is a collection of optimistic speculative fiction stories, each optimistic in a slightly different way. These stories explore the optimism that drives us to seek out new worlds, that inspires us to sacrifice for others or fuels us to just keep going when everything seems lost and in so doing turn the idea upside down and inside out.
One of the best reasons for doing an anthology of optimistic futures this year was because no matter which side of the political or social spectrum you land on, it’s been a tough year. Nevertheless we try to remain optimistic. Nevertheless, we don’t give up. Nevertheless, yes, we persist. The stories in this anthology of optimistic SF are some of the darkest optimistic stories you’ll ever read but, nevertheless, they are optimistic. And powerful.
Featuring stories and poems by: James Bambury, Meghan Bell, Gavin Bradley, Ryan Henson Creighton, Darrel Duckworth, Dorianne Emmerton, Pat Flewwelling, Stephen Geigen-Miller, Jason M. Harley, Kate Heartfield, R. W. Hodgson, Jerri Jerreat, Jason Lane, Buzz Lanthier-Rogers, Alison McBain, Michael Milne, Fiona Moore, Ursula Pflug, Michael Reid, S. L. Saboviec, Lisa Timpf, Leslie Van Zwol, Natalia Yanchak.
[SGM] Welcome to the blog, Fiona! To begin, when did you feel like you’d broken in as a writer?
[FM] When my first novel, Driving Ambition (“a novel of murder, political extremism, and self-driving cars”), was acquired by Bundoran Press. I’d been publishing in semipro and pro markets for a while before then, but that was the point where I was, like, “yes, I can legitimately call myself an sf writer now.”
What was your path to breaking in? Did you have a strategy? Did it work, or did you end up getting there another way?
I’ll have to admit, I didn’t have a strategy per se. I started writing largely for my own entertainment, so I tend to write what I like, and then look around for a publisher who I think might like what I’ve written. Which has also, gratifyingly, meant I’ve acquired a lot of new friends along the way!
And following up on that, knowing what you do now, what would you do differently?
I think I’d’ve started submitting fiction to markets earlier than I did. There are more publishers who like what I’ve written than I thought when I was starting out.
Now that you’ve broken in, is it like or unlike what you expected? How?
I’d rather hoped that it would involve a lot of talking about my work and meeting people who are interested in what I have to say, and I’m pleased to say that this is what it’s been like.
What are you working on now?
Fiction-wise, I’m working on another novel in the same universe as Driving Ambition. Non-fiction-wise, I’m working on a book for The Black Archive range of novella-length academic studies of Doctor Who stories, and an article on humour and British identity under Brexit.
How can people keep up with you online?
My professional website is www.fiona-moore.com. Next month I’m launching an authorblog, and there’ll be a link to it on the site above.
Thank you to Fiona for the interview! I was excited to learn about her forthcoming novel — murder, political extremism and self-driving cars is pretty much precisely up my alley — and now I’m even more looking forward to reading her story in Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-One).
Coming up next on the blog: A Breaking In interview with Nevertheless contributor and actual rock star Natalia Yanchak.