The second interviewee for the Blog World Tour: Science Fiction edition is JR Creaden! I’m happy to have her here today.
Welcome to my blog, JR! Let’s begin.
My first question is which writers inspire you?
So many authors have inspired me, but I’ll narrow it down to not sound boring. First and foremost, Isaac Asimov is my greatest inspiration. His plain speak approach to storytelling sold me on science fiction for life. The character arc of his android, R. Daneel Olivaw, over millions of years across eleven books—this is the type of hero I want to write and read about. And the concept of psychohistory? Don’t get me started—Asimov drove me straight into a history degree with the secret hope that, just maybe, I could contribute should anyone get some Seldonian ideas.
Second to Asimov, I owe a great debt of inspiration to Tom Robbins. His transformative ideas, his humor, his audacity—I’m blown away each time I pick up one of his dog-eared novels. One day, I hope to be so fearless with my art and voice.
R. Daneel Olivaw is one of my favorite literary characters! Asimov’s Robot Novels series ranks as one of my three favorite series (next to The Chanur Saga and Redwall). It’s amazing that Asimov inspired you to pursue a history degree. I haven’t read Tom Robbins but I’ll definitely search him out.
Since you have a clear love for science fiction, is there a particular fictional world where you would choose to live if you could?
I would choose the one I’m creating for Contact Files. While there are many fictional worlds that involve space travel, none of them feel so familiar, so hopeful, as the one I’m building. It has its problems, for certain, but the allure of alien planets, spaceships, and morphic technology is where I feel I belong.
I’d love to live in a futuristic world myself…though I’d also enjoy a world filled with magic. Let’s talk about your writing now–are there types of scenes you find more difficult to write? How do you handle that?
I hate writing setting details. As a reader, these bore me to tears if longer than a couple of lines, and I resist writing anything I don’t enjoy reading. I’ve learned a few techniques that help me offer scene details without it being too heavy or skimmable, but I’m still learning to “like” doing it.
I understand that! I also find it difficult to remember to add detail–usually critiquers of my first drafts spend a good part of their time shouting at me for not describing things! I like a minimalistic description myself–I’d rather let the scene develop in my imagination than be spelled out to the smallest details.
Now, since you’re writing science fiction–and I’ve run into this myself with my own writing–are there terms in your book that readers might be unfamiliar with? Can you explain some of these?
Initially I called the tech on Relativity holographic, but it turns out many readers are completely thrown by that term. Since the tech is not made of light but solid matter, and because the matter is changeable to suit the users’ preferences, I shifted the term to “haptomorphic” meaning touchable and adaptable. Now, rather than the short “hologram”, “holosuit”, or “holosuite” I use haptomorph, haptosuit, and haptosuite.
Also, there are different “states” of time—natural time, sliptime, and Between Time. Natural time refers to time as we know it, which moves in a forward progression. Sliptime is what Relativity exists within whenever it’s not visiting points in natural time, and is outside of natural time.
Between Time, or as my villain calls it “temporal stasis”, is my take on Stephen Hawking’s Imaginary Time—a concept I’ve studied and failed to understand so I came up with a version I could control. It is in between natural times, when all times are possible. Intersecting. Badan, one of the first cadets, slips into Between Time. From here, he can access other versions of himself in alternate times.
I can definitely see “holographic” being a confusing term, given the material involved. “Haptomorphic” is a cool description and makes more sense.
I love the concept of different time “states”, and the fact you created your own sort of time “state” with Between Time. It’s clever and also sounds like a fun plot device!
There’s time for one more question, so I’d like to ask one on the behalf of all the readers out there who dream of following in their favorite authors’ footsteps. What advice would you give them?
Don’t wait for the “best” idea to come along to begin learning the craft. Write right now. Experiment with different genres and story formats and find your voice. It may never be too late to start, but it’s never too early to begin either.
Great advice, JR! Thank you so much for being here today.
JR Creaden began her writing career as a child disgruntled with song lyrics. After some early success with poetry and essays, she spent decades distracted by songwriting and academia until her story dreams became too interesting to keep to myself. A Major Shift, JR’s first novel (rife with first-time novelist problems to solve), may permanently be “under revision,” but her current YA scifi project will soon be ready for public consumption or vivisection. Her goal is to share stories that inspire readers to embrace cultural diversity, the promise of science, and the value of humor and imagination to build a future that’s more Star Trek and less 1984. When she’s not writing, JR enjoys exchanging “your mama” jokes with her children, floating in lakes, and slaying virtual dragons.