Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Interview with Sarah Goslee - April 1, 2015

Please welcome Sarah Goslee to The Qwillery. “The Transplant Specialist” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the twenty-first in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here. GENIUS LOCI has been funded and reached the Deluxe format printed edition stretch goal! There are additional stretch goals!

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Sarah:  The difference between lengths for me is that I can hold the entire shape of a short story in my head. I can't do that with a novel, so I need to make some kind of attempt at outlining in advance. I have a serious problem with colored post-it notes, gel pens, and index cards, and novel outlining feeds that addiction beautifully. Even though novels are more colorful, I find short stories a whole lot easier.

TQ:  You are a scientist. How does this affect (or not) your writing?

Sarah:  It gives me a fertile source of ideas: much of my writing draws on themes or at least factoids from my research work. It also provides immense frustration: my well-practiced nonfiction skills don't transfer to fiction nearly as well as I'd like. I've been tempted to write fiction in the form of "Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions" (the standard sections of a scientific journal article) just to make the process more familiar. I know how that works!

TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Q: What do you do with all those post-its and colored pens?

A: Mostly I doodle on them, then stick them to the cats. Someday the cats will rearrange them into a coherent novel for me, thus saving me a great deal of work.

TQ:  Describe “The Transplant Specialist”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Sarah:  I'd be rich if I weren't ethical. Beth, the protagonist is not ethical, but disturbingly good at her work.

TQ:  Tell us something about “The Transplant Specialist” that will not give away the story.

Sarah:  I was reading the last of Kim Harrison's Hollows series when I wrote "The Transplant Specialist," and it shows.

TQ:  What was your inspiration for “The Transplant Specialist”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Sarah:  I'm an ecologist, and I research the combinations of soils, topography and climate that distinguish one site from another. There are some places that I'm intimately familiar with, over long times and all seasons: I know what grows where, and why, and when. Those are the things that I think of when I ponder spirits of place.

TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “The Transplant Specialist”.

Sarah:  "Nine out of ten of those 'best places to live'? I put them there, and the tenth I just haven't bumped off the list yet."

TQ:  In which genre or genres does “The Transplant Specialist” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Sarah:  It's urban fantasy, as you'd guess from the Kim Harrison influence. I think genre classifications are a useful marketing tool, in the "if you like stories like this" sense, but I've written everything from zombie erotica to horror to straight science fiction.

TQ:  What's next?

Sarah:  My current major project is not dying: I've been undergoing treatment for colon cancer for the past year and some. That's cut down greatly on my time and energy for fiction, but it's been going well and I hope to be back to writing regularly this summer. I've been writing nonfiction about my experiences at in hopes that it will help other people. It's finding its way into what fiction I've been able to write as well: I'm currently working on a story about the experience of being poisoned (chemotherapy being not all that different except in intent and outcome).

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

About Sarah Goslee

Sarah Goslee wants to know everything, and fully intends to live long enough to learn it all. She's a scientist so that she can help figure out the things that nobody knows yet. She writes fiction and nonfiction indiscriminately, makes things out of string, and dresses as a Viking on weekends.

Website  ~  Twitter @phiala


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