This week, I’ve got the great pleasure to host my friend, R J Theodore!
If you’ve been following her on Twitter (This is a good idea. You can find her here), then you know that she’s got a new book coming out on September 3rd.
Have a look at this cover:
To help celebrate the launch of Salvage, R J stopped by to answer a few questions. I’m going to step out of the way and let R J take over…
Me: What is the hardest part about writing?
RJT: Staying present in the moment is currently my biggest challenge. Since moving from an aspiring author to a published author, the focus has shifted from writing to finishing.
I catch myself wishing I was done with whatever I’m working on so I can go do that other thing. That feels like wishing away the moments I should find incredibly fulfilling, and it’s something I have to really be mindful of so I can bring myself back to the joy I find in each step.
It’s okay to be excited about the next project, but I find that it’s a cycle thatleads to anxiety unless I’m intentional about stepping out of it.
Me: Where do you derive the most satisfaction from your writing?
RJT: Hmm, that would probably be the dialog. When I read back over a scene, the moments where my characters’ personalities meet in fire bursts or light breezes are where I feel like I really know what I’m doing! Very often, the dialog in a story will survive unchanged from draft one to the finished product and I believe that’s because I’m most present and most engaged in writing in those scenes.
Of course, I’m also hugely interested in world building and take hedonistic pleasure in describing my secondary worlds. I make myself laugh writing ironic observations about my stories’ various groups by contrasting common sense with practice, and I have no plans to stop describing otherworldly things like airships, space whales, cephalopod pilots, and winged cats.
Me: What attracted you to your genre(s)?
RJT: Star Trek: The Next Generation drew me into Science Fiction without my realizing it. Watching the show was a weekly tradition in my family and when I discovered there were also novels in that universe, I knocked over a huge stack of Baby Sitter’s Club books to get to them. I explored the SFF shelves outward from there, eventually landing on Charles deLint and C.J. Cherryh books to satisfy, respectively, my fantasy and science fiction cravings. I also chose genre books from summer reading lists wherever I could (though the pickings were slim among titles like Wuthering Heights and Of Mice and Men and I still haven’t made it through DUNE).
Me: Do you see any issues in your genre and how are you addressing them?
RJT:SFF has a long, unfortunately proud legacy of a myopic world view with white men at the fore and everyone else serving only to make them look good, if they’re present at all.
The amazing thing is that these issues I would identify, reinforced misogyny and racism, including erasure, and a desperate need for diversity, are currently being trampled upon by the genre as a whole. So, while I’m not a stand-out at inclusivity or making a statement about human rights, I’m happy to be among a crowd of incredibly talented and vocal writers who are tackling these things. The John Campbell Award for Best New Writer was just renamed to the Astounding Award for Best New Writer as a response to the awareness raised by Jeannette Ng’s recent acceptance speech. It’s not that the issue hasn’t been raised before, but the discord has moved forward to the point where more people can recognize these issues are important and not to be dismissed, specifically the people who are in the position to make decisions on acquisitions and award names.
I still think there’s room for improvement, of course. We have plenty of work ahead of us. But, if some day, people look back at the writing of this generation and cringe, just as we look back to what are considered ‘classics’ now and see the inherent problems, I think that will be excellent because it means the discussion has only gotten better and diversity and inclusivity is broadening to include more and more voices and experiences.
About R J Theodore:
R J Theodore is hell bent on keeping herself busy. No, really, if she has two minutes to rub together at the end of the day, she invents a new project with which to occupy them.
She enjoys reading, design, illustration, video games (she will take you down in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo), binging on movies and streaming series, napping with her cats, and cooking. She is passionate about art and coffee.
R J Theodore lives in New England with her family.
In 2018, Theodore made her publishing debut with her self-published novella THE BANTAM, and her novel FLOTSAM, Book One of the Peridot Shift series, published by Parvus Press.
Read about her writing process, find her on social media, and subscribe to her reader list for updates, announcements, and free short fiction by visiting rjtheodore.com
Huge thanks to R J Theodore for stopping by this week. Salvage releases on September 3rd, and is available for Pre-Order now!