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Keep going! At the end of the day, trust in the story you have to tell, and find joy in the writing itself. I want to say that it was in , at Armadillocon in Austin. Steve and I attended as pro guests. They had these kaffeeklatches, where they pair up two writers, and readers can sign up to sit down with them in small groups of about six or eight, to chat and ask questions.

Steve and I signed up for one of them, as a pair. And as I was seating myself, one of them, a young man, introduced himself to me. I saw he had a copy of my first book in his hands, that he wanted me to autograph. I was utterly flabbergasted. But SFF literature and the fan community that has grown up around it and sustained it are so much more to me than where I fit into the picture. SFF makes up a part of my core identity that goes way back to my childhood. I think we have something deeply precious and worth preserving. TI: How about your writing schedule today.

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You mentioned your kids are grown. So my time is my own!


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I have a regular writing schedule; contingent on my health, I typically get days of writing in a week, barring a major migraine stretch, and I track word counts and other project milestones for my writing sessions. The goalposts help me stay on track. But learning to accept my limitations has been a useful lesson, like I said, and one that has allowed me to reclaim my love of writing again.

Is there promising science on the horizon? I really appreciate that. In fact, not one, but three new medications have been released for migraine sufferers over the past eight months. But medical researchers recently learned that people having a migraine have more of a neurotransmitter known as gene-related calcitonin peptide, or GRCP, in their brains, and the new medications target GRCP with monoclonal antibodies.

The shots are a treatment; not a cure.

But wow, do they ever increase my ability to function. I have a lot more stamina now. It goes away. I know, because I have had my share. And the words that helped me the most came from a friend of mine who described her own experience of writing as like being a gardener. I need only be patient, and give the seed nourishment, sunshine, and time.

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I can get stuck for different reasons. In that case, it feels like my characters go on strike. We heap these high expectations on ourselves and then freeze up. To learn and grow, we need to be willing to try new things. And that means we might fail. Scary stuff! I give myself an assignment to write something freeing, even if the idea seems inconsequential or silly. Maybe especially if! Getting feedback from a group of writer peers has been helpful as well.

When writers whose work I respect can see value in my own drafts, it helps me feel seen and validated. Here are a couple of other practical tips that have helped me. For instance, I had a secondary character in one story who just was not into his role. He was a total grump. He walked on, said his lines, and walked off again like a robot. Dude, he was totally phoning it in!

The poetry never made it onto the page, nor did the relationship between him and this other character come to light or have anything to do with what was on the page. But shining that spotlight into his inner life helped me understand him better.


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  8. Another time, I had to build a model of the physical space my characters occupied, because I was having trouble visualizing where and how the action occurred. Not every writer needs this, but I tend to. Do you sketch something out by hand, or do you go full-tilt and bust out the clay? I mostly do drawings and sketches, blueprints of structures, descriptive notes, and so on. Or I visit locales I can use as an analogy, or search online for images, and try to visualize from there, or find recipes and cook them.

    Stuff like that. Things that evoke a sense of place and time. That helps ground my sense of place and time as well. My main character spent a lot of time out in the elements, so I spent quite a bit of time trying to understand what the skies would look like from her perspective. I calculated orbits and did sketches and diagrams of where she and others would be standing on the world, where the sunlight was coming from, and what the other moons would look like, and figured out how the skyscape would change with time.

    Things like that. Not that the reader is going to be able to tell any of that, but it made the world more real to me, which helps me deliver the experience to the reader better, I think. I wanted to have the language to feel real, so I created a set of grammatical rules and composed a few tunes that were also sentences. The heart of the story is what matters, and sometimes you just need to push through and write whatever, and fix settings and tweak subplots afterward.

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    If you could have dinner with one of them, who would it be? Probably not Lamia…. Her transition to joker was probably one of the best things that could have happened to the state of her soul.

    She was a much better version of herself as a lamia than she had been as a snooty, bigoted, upper-crust debutante…. TI: Oh, absolutely.

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    Good point! Honestly, I would hate to have to pick among the three.

    Clara may be incredibly clueless and manipulatable when it comes to relationships with individual humans, but she is a brilliant genetic researcher, committed to bettering humanity and with lots of interesting opinions about politics and joker moons. And the Candle? Any similarities to your character and your own self in this sense? Do you ski? And yes, I did used to ski, when I was younger—on my honeymoon, in fact! Fortunately, there was no injured child involved. TI: One more question about John, not least because he can shoot flames out of his butthole.

    Can you give us any insight as to why? Or at least tell us where she is? He has some big secrets he has never been able to share, and the existence and location of his little sister is part of it. This is part of why he never lets anyone get too close. The Candle is an art-and-antiquities investigator and security lead for a major insurance company. On the eve of the mission, he develops a sleep disorder and his power starts leaking again, like it did when he was a teen. It has a fascinating history…from ocean liner to troopship during WWII. In , the Queen Mary s liced through the hull of an escort ship off the coast of Ireland—killing people.

    It was fabulous!

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    I loved the art deco. So considering your background and expertise, what impacts do you see global warming having in our future? This is a topic very close to my heart. Honestly, climate change is terrifying. I remember when I first encountered the concept. Fortunately, more and more people are paying attention now, and understand what a risk unchecked carbon emissions pose to everything we care about. A majority of Americans want to see action. And frankly, we owe it to our kids not to delay. What exactly is called for? We need become a carbon-free civilization.