E.G. Wilson cut her authorial teeth writing Sherlock fanfiction at uni when she should really have been studying. She fell into writing science fiction after being inspired by Star Wars, Firefly, and Tolkien’s Legendarium, and has since won NaNoWriMo every year since 2012. She lives in South Canterbury, New Zealand; she loves mountains, hates broad beans, and never wears matching socks. Today she talks about her At the Edge story “12-36”.
1. What inspired your story?
The short answer is: Joss Whedon’s Firefly.
The longer answer is Firefly, and Terry Pratchett, and the fact that I am very much in love with my tiny home country at the bottom of the world.
Truth is, I was in the middle of Camp NaNoWriMo when I saw the call for submissions. Sir Pterry had passed away only a week or two beforehand, and the news was fresh in my mind. I put my WIP on hold and wrote 12-36 in two days, and then went back and finished the WIP. Guess it’s true what they say: a writer in motion will stay in motion unless they have to go to their day job.
Many of the elements evolved naturally as I wrote it, but the core three remained. For Firefly there was Tsione, who spoke a Firefly-influenced dialect and could hold her own against Captain Malcolm Reynolds any day. For New Zealand: Rerenga, barefoot and brown-skinned, innocent as a sunrise over the Pacific and wild as a rainstorm in the Catlins. And for the late Sir Terry Pratchett: Port Pratchett, a certain Scots phrase, and at least one tautologous simile.
2. What appealed to you about this project?
Two main things: the fact that it was a collaboration of New Zealand (and Australian) speculative fiction authors, and the chance to earn some money from my writing, which would shut the naysayers up for at least five minutes.
And of course the chance to work with Lee and Dan.
3. What do you love about short stories?
I wrote a haiku about this once. It even referred to 12-36.
this story is the
birth and death of an idea
in five thousand words
(and I am grieved)
4. Can you remember the first thing you ever read that made you want to write?
I can’t. But the thing that will always and forever make me fall in love with writing all over again is Tolkien’s Legendarium. I read The Hobbit as a child; graduated to The Lord Of The Rings as a teenager (I have to admit, the Jackson movies helped there); and I appreciate The Silmarillion so much more as an adult. The Professor’s command of language is masterful.
It gives me such hope as an author to know that even one of the literary greats like Tolkien can be surprised by his characters. As he put it in a letter to his son Christopher, “A new character has come on the scene (I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him, but there he came walking into the woods of Ithilien): Faramir, the brother of Boromir.” (Letter 66, 6th May 1944).
5. What’s next for you?
Among other drafts and manuscripts, I’ve written a science fiction duology set in my hometown of Timaru, or, to give it its Maori name which I’ve used in the books, Te Maru. An American publisher is interested; I signed the contract this morning. The Kickstarter for the Voiceless Duology should be live in August or September sometime.