Rebecca Stevenson, still catching up on her sleep from Taos, settled down to answer a few questions for us. Rebecca is fluent in many genres and uses a lot of them at once, which this reader likes!
Tamago: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Rebecca: Like a lot of people, I started writing very young, but I think I would pinpoint 2008 as the year of decision. That's when I decided to stop messing around and take the endeavor seriously, started trying to learn more about the craft, find beta readers, and set concrete goals.
Tamago: What are you working on right now?
Rebecca: I am writing the first draft of an urban fantasy novel set in Boston, which includes a lot of Arthurian mythos and Lord Byron. I'm also doing final revisions on a kitchen-sink science fantasy -- AI ships, magic, nanotechnology, and shapeshifters saving the universe!
Tamago: Which writers are your influences?
Rebecca: Early on, my outlook was heavily influenced by Barbara Hambly and Tanya Huff. Later on, Guy Gavriel Kay and Walter Jon Williams are two of the big ones.
Tamago: I know you write both fantasy and science fiction. How important do you consider the concept of genre in speculative fiction?
Rebecca: I come to this question as a technical writer -- it's important to understand the audience, to understand their expectations. Genre helps set the guidelines for both writers and readers, and provides a context in which they have a conversation.
Naturally, one doesn't have to live by those guidelines, but it gives you a sense of where you need to signpost for the audience that you *are* diverging. With my science fantasy, I tried hard to get a number of cross-genre elements onto the first page, so that readers wouldn't think they were getting one flavor only to trip over elements from a different genre later.
Tamago: You are a very busy person, with a full time job and 3 kids. How do you find time to keep writing in your every day life?
Rebecca: I set small goals and try to keep to a routine. I've recently adopted a 500 new words/day primary goal and created a spreadsheet that tracks my projects. That's far from ambitious, but almost always something I can manage to do. Being able to make measurable progress every day is a huge boost. Tracking *everything* I write is also helpful; the numbers tell me if I'm spending more time than I want to on side projects. I am very distractable. 🙂
Tamago: At Taos, you seemed to blossom. What did you learn at Taos that you think will make you a better writer?
Rebecca: It was the first time I've really been able to hang out with other writers for an extended period. Just being surrounded by people with the same enthusiasms was a huge lift. I feel like I came out of it with a better technical understanding of the writing process, a greater degree of trust in myself, and some wonderful friends. I'm looking forward to hearing about everyone's future successes.
Tamago: What advice would you give an author about to enter a workshop?
Rebecca: Pack light. Be open to the unexpected. Bring a camera. You can catch up sleep when you get home.
Tamago: Where do you hope to be in 10 years as a writer?
Rebecca: I hope that by that time I'll have something published, and that I'll continue to grow. No matter what, I'll still be writing--the part of my brain that comes up with stories never turns off, so I might as well write them down.
Tamago: What is your dream project?
Rebecca: That's difficult to answer, since whatever book I'm working on at the moment tends to be the one that I most want to write. I do have an idea for a project that would absolutely require me to spend a lot of time in the south of France to do research, so probably that one!
Tamago: Where can people find your work?
Rebecca: My hard drive. I have some fan-fiction on Archive of Our Own, but no published work. Yet.