Sunday, June 6, 2021

Interview with

S E Anderson

Author of Inalienable, Starstruck, and Aix Marks the Spot


Please tell me a little about your current work in progress.

I tend to have a few projects running at the same time… right now, I’m focusing on writing Starstruck 8, but I’ve also been working on a Wizard of Oz retelling for the past four years whose ending I just can’t seem to get right. More on that to come!

(As I sometimes do, I'm including comments and questions for Sarah in italics, and I invite her to respond in the comments to this post.)

Where did you get the idea for this book or series?

Starstruck grew from a need I had as a teen to see more girl-driven science fiction stories. I wanted to see myself in Doctor Who style adventures, and many of my friends agreed. Starstruck started as a project between me and one of my closest friends, just two teen girls trying to imagine a crazy adventure in space. After a decade of work, that seed grew into a wilder idea, full of chaos and joy.

I would imagine that you're a fan of the new Dr. Who with Jodie Whittaker then? I've never been a fan of that franchise, so I have no intelligent comment on the new Dr. (although that limitation rarely stops me).

Do you write in more than one genre?

I recently released a YA contemporary novel, Aix Marks the Spot, based on my childhood in Provence. Polar opposite of the Starstruck space adventures!


Tell me about something that you believe makes your writing unique or worthy of attention.

It’s honest. The best way to combat existential nihilism is to meet the world with unbridled enthusiasm and sincerity, and that’s what Sally does in the Starstruck books. She also struggles with anxiety and depression, something we talked about less openly when Starstruck first came out. Which makes the book sound like a bit of a downer, but no – we’re facing the chaos of the universe head on, fighting despair with humor, and having a good laugh through it all.

Is there anything about your personal history or personality that manifests strongly in your writing?

I’m sure there’s more than I can even point to right now! I am a terribly anxious person who’s been through my own experience with depression, which is part of the reason I wanted to write about the subject. But also my obsession with space, which cannot be cured until I can actually go there. I desperately wanted to be an astronaut but I miss the cutoff by two whole inches. So I’m a tiny ground-bound gal with her head in the clouds and my eyes on the skies.

Is there a valid reason for the height requirement? It sounds a lot like the old "You must be this tall to go on this ride" sign that I remember as a kid at the carnival. Isn't it time to eliminate height privilege?Shouldn't space be open to all otherwise qualified persons, without regard to the number of inches or centimeters in their vertical description? -- Well, unless they're too tall. I mean, space is precious in space.

What else would be helpful for readers to know about you?

I’m currently working on my doctorate in Astrophysics, which occasionally seeps into my books. Come for the space jokes, stay for the science I suppose?

Astrophysics -- is that more difficult than brain science and rocket surgery? Is the science fiction you write heavy on the science?

Excluding your own work, what underrated author or book would you recommend that more people read? Why?

I don’t know about underrated, but I recently read To be Taught, if Fortunate by Becky Chambers and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Would someone who is not competent an astrophysics or even algebra still enjoy the novel?

Which of your books do you most highly recommend? Why?

I recommend Starstruck to anyone who needs a good dose of laughter today, and Aix Marks the Spot if you need to get out of your lockdown.

Which break, event, decision, or fortuitous circumstance has helped you or your writing career the most?

Meeting R.R. Virdi. Before then, my writing was a hobby. But after meeting this brilliant author and working with him in a design capacity, his overwhelming enthusiasm and encouragement pushed me to just for for it. He also introduced me to my editor, Michelle Dunbar. I am forever grateful to him!

What question do you wish you would get asked more often?

What my favorite planet is, or something of the like. I know it’s not related to my books but honest, I feel like I’ve gotten so many great questions over the years I can’t pick one I wish I got more often. I love getting to tell people real space facts so I sorta wish I got more of them.

Do you have a favorite planet? What is it? I have a fondness for the earth, but perhaps the other members of the solar system suffer from poor publicity. 

Do you have a catch-phrase or quote that you like? What is it? And why do you choose it?

There’s a simple throwaway line in the third book of the Saga, Stardust for your thoughts, which got my readers way more than I expected it to. I love hearing it quoted back to me, or on fanart and such. It just makes me really happy that something I wrote actually made someone else happy, in a small way. 


Thanks to Sarah for participating in the interview.

As for my own writing, I finished a short story this week. During the coming days I'll review, edit, and send it off to see how quickly it will be rejected. It's a sword and sorcery piece in a flintlock fantasy setting. It was another fun one to write. I have yet to title it. Throw some blind suggestions my way. Maybe one of them will stick.

Once I send it off for consideration for rejection, I can finally get started writing my dystopian thriller. I have started outlining it, and I know the setting rather well, at least rather well as I remember it.

I recently gave away free ebooks to my newsletter subscribers. You can sign up for my newsletter here.

I may eventually move the blog to the new site as well after a couple of my posts here were temporarily erased.

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