Congratulations on your recent victory. Which came first, the book title or the story idea?
In this case, the story, then the title. It also marks the last known appearance of my Title Muse. (Reward offered for any info leading to the capture for the AWOL Muse).
How many times did you change the title before you settled on the one you use now?
None. The story was still a vague outline in my head when the title hit me. Literally. It draws inspiration from a Babylon 5 episode, The Geometry of Shadows. An old VHS tape fell on my head while I was tidying up my bookcase. Since my story deals with a form of time-traveling, everything clicked in place then and there.
Tell us a little about The Geometry of Time. Is it finished/published?
Well, a rough blurb is finished, along with the outlines of the major characters, key scenes and the resolution. Knowing those characters, since they already feature in many of my short stories (some of them even *gasp!* finished and sold), I know they’ll go their own way once I start typing.
As a reader, does a good book title make a difference to you?
Yes, and no. A bad and/or cheesy title won’t win me over, that’s for sure.
What’s your preferred genre/wordcount?
Historical genres: Alt His, Historical Fantasy, Sword & Sandal, and everything in between. As for w/c, well, I can’t write flash. My stories won’t remain below 1000 words, but they also rarely go over 7000. Novels excluded.
What’s your current WIP?
Aside from the poor, neglected, Geometry of Time, I’m currently wrestling with an ancient Egypt steampunk story. Yeah…
Are you a pantser or an outliner?
I’m an outliner, but my characters are pantsers. Whatever I outline, they’ll go the other way. Especially the cats (duh).
What are your long term goals as a writer?
Win WOTF, become a full SFWA member, and finally finish the frakking novel. I wonder why the cats are ROLFing as I type this…
Tell us about your very first sale.
HELLCAT, sold to the now RIP UK magazine, Ballista. (Guess what it’s about. No, really). Inspired from my kitty Spitha, it follows an unfortunate monk’s adventure in Hell, where he’s forced to cat-sit for a demon. It doesn’t end well for him, but then again, he should have read the fine print before making deals with demons.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever heard?
Set goals. And then forgive yourself when you fail to meet them.
What’s the worst?
Adverbs/passive voice/present tense/whatever is EVIL and should be avoided at all costs.
What was the last story/novel you pitched/submitted?
MAKE NONE TO WEEP. In ancient Egypt, the High Priest of Anubis and his faithful (sort of) cat investigate a haunted house, where they learn the cost of innocence, faith, and forgiveness. Sold to Hadley Rille Books for their Quiet Shelter There anthology (profits go to the Friends of Homeless Animals shelter).
What was the last story/novel you read?
The Triangulation: Last Contact anthology.
Do you belong to a writing/critique group? Why?/Why not?
Yes, OWW and Liberty Hall. Also to Critique Circle, a while ago, but it was a huge disappointment.
I’ve found my regulars critiquers priceless, because, since I mostly write in historical setting, they offer me a valuable reality check when the setting details are overwhelming the story. And many of them are quite quick with (still) excellent feedback, especially when the submission deadline is OMG! in three days…
Where can readers find your work?
I have a list of my most notable publications in my blog/website, under “Short Fiction”.
Where on the web can you be found?
What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you first started writing?
That writing a cover letter in Standard Lolcat is probably a bad idea. Some editors are d*g people.
Also, developing your voice takes time. That story that looks like a masterpiece today, will probably look as though it slouched out of the cat’s litterbox in a year.
Is there’s anything I didn’t ask you, that you want to answer anyway?
Yes. English is my second language, and writing in a non-native language can be tricky. Not only because you have to think in a foreign language, but because during the polishing/critiquing phase, there are certain ‘helpful’ people out there who’ll rush in with their ‘advice’, because native English speakers are always right and ESL writers are always wrong. Tru Fax.
And, this year, I’m thinking of writing my NaNo novel in Standard Lolcat. Yeah, that’s my native language. Just ask my kitty Spitha and she’ll verify everything.
Who do you think would win in a fight, astronauts or cavemen?
The sabertooth tiger who’ll eat them all. Duh.
Christine Lucas lives in Greece with an assortment of spoiled cats. A retired Air Force officer and mostly self-taught in English, she likes to explore through her writing overlooked parts of fantasy worlds, especially the lives of the animals that dwell in them. Her work has appeared is several print and online magazines, including Daily Science Fiction, Cabinet des Fées, the Aether Age and Footprints anthologies, Necrotic Tissue, and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Her short story DOMINION appears in Ellen Datlow’s anthology Tails of Wonder and Imagination from Night Shade Books. She is currently working on her first novel.