Welcome to the Amazing Stories BLOG HORDE INTERVIEWS!
The ASM Blog Horde is a diverse and wonderful species. I have the privilege of talking with all of them, and I get to share those chats with you. In this long-running series, you will have the opportunity to peek inside the minds of the ASM bloggers to to see just what makes them tick.
I hope you enjoy the series as much as I have enjoyed preparing it for you. Please feel free to ask questions, or just let the Horde know you’ve stopped by for a visit.
Bloggers love comments, so let them know you’re out there!
FELICITY SAVAGE is an American fantasy author, born in South Carolina. Savage lived her childhood in rural France, the west of Ireland, and finally the island of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, where she joined the Girl Guides and appeared in productions of Robin Hood and Peter Pan at the RAF base on Benbecula.
Felicity’s first novel, Humility Garden, and its sequel Delta City were published by Penguin ROC in 1994 and 1995, while she was still at Columbia University. Her Ever trilogy was published by HarperCollins in 1995, 1996, and 1997. Savage was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1995 and 1996. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, with her husband, their daughter, and two cats (one fat and one insane). When not writing, she works as a Japanese translator, sings Gregorian chant, and moonlights as a serial houseplant killer.
Fran Friel for Amazing Stories Magazine: Greetings, Feliticy! It’s a pleasure to have you with us. Please tell us how you became interested in blogging for Amazing Stories Magazine.
Felicity Savage: I’ve never blogged before. I was the sulky kid sitting in the back of the classroom, reading a novel on my lap, while everyone else talked. But when I heard about the Amazing Stories re-launch from Douglas Smith, I knew this was the catalyst I needed to get off my derriere. Turns out I’ve got a lot to say! It’s a great pleasure to be part of the Amazing Stories community, with such intelligent and witty compadres.
ASM: I’m very happy to be your compadre, Felicity! As you know, Amazing Stories Magazine has quite a variety of blogging categories. In what categories can we find your blogs at ASM? And what is your special interest in those topics?
FS: My blog focuses on Japan and SF/F. I live in Japan and work as a translator; my husband is Japanese. Meanwhile, I’m a fantasy and science fiction author with an apocalyptic turn of mind. The robots are taking over! Taking over, I tell you! Er, I try to keep my rants short and to the point, and my commentary limited to topics I actually know something about.
FS: I love this question! My favorite living authors are passions. Iain Banks; George R.R. Martin; K.J. Parker; Peter F. Hamilton. Those four need no introduction from me.
A lesser-known author I admire greatly is Jeff Carlson. His Plague trilogy and the stand-alone Frozen Sky are best-in-class, distinguished by their relentless interrogation of human motives, and I believe his best work is still ahead of him. Outside the genre, I read a lot of suspense: John le Carré, Michael Connelly, Robert Harris, Andy McNab, Jeffrey Deaver.
Non-fiction: Michael Lewis, Jon Krakauer, Max Hastings, whatever book on politics or economics has caught my eye this week. Dead authors: Hilaire Belloc, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dostoevsky, Graham Greene, Kingsley Amis, Patricia Highsmith, Shusaku Endo, Malcolm Muggeridge—non-fiction and fiction blur together for me when authors are dead; it’s the distinct worldview of their era (roughly, middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th) that I read them for.
When I’m unhappy, I comfort myself with Sue Townsend’s, Molesworth, and E.F. Benson’s, Lucia. Not enough people have met Lucia and everyone should.
ASM: You’ve named some of my huge favorites, but Lucia is new to me, Felicity. I’ll add it to my “to be read’ list. Thanks! So, what’s your day job? Is your blogging influenced by your work, or is it a respite from your day job?
FS: I have two day jobs (doesn’t everyone in this economy?). I’m a writer. And I’m also a Japanese-to-English translator, working in a boring, obscure, and technologically crucial corner of the electronics industry. That is why I know that the robots are coming to put us all in boxes equipped with catheters and Playstations. But I have to be quite careful not to trip any corporate security alarms, so you won’t be hearing anything about that on my blog.
It would seem natural that my other job—writing speculative fiction—would influence my blogging, but so far it hasn’t much. That would be different if I were blogging about the writing process itself, or about my own stuff (God ‘elp us). But I’m blogging about things that interest me, independent of my current writing projects. This blog is more of a glimpse into the basement where the stories get made; think the Unabomber’s hideout, with a better view.
FS: I used to say that if I hadn’t been a writer, I would be a rock star. This was hideously optimistic. I played the guitar for eight years until I gave it up in college to concentrate on writing, but I think I made the right choice, as I would certainly have ended up working a menial job and gigging on weekday nights at half-empty bars.
I wrote a novel about this alternate reality, Music to Die By (suspense; one part autobiography to three parts fiction, more or less). But lack of ability needn’t keep one from enjoying music! Nowadays I sing Gregorian chant with a small Japanese group. Better than drugs.
ASM: Gregorian chant? Heck, you’re a medieval rock star! And a lot of writers, as you know, work those menial jobs to pursue their passion late into the night, as well. They’re just hungry rock stars minus the “axe.” (Or with the axe, if you include the horror writers. *wink).
FS: I’m on the point of completing a fat fantasy trilogy, The Godslayer Cycle. Each volume is in the range of 250K words so it may actually get split into six books. Imagine A Song of Ice and Fire with tanks, machine-guns, IEDs, and sovereign debt crises, set in a world where sorcery is a felony, holy relics are hard currency … and one little boy, born to wield the magical sword, Godslayer, is about to suffer a catastrophe that will leave his destiny hanging in the scales.
This might just be my magnum opus, although I recall saying that about everything I’ve ever written. Anyway, I hope to get it published before the robots come. I’m currently considering offers.
ASM: That IS fat, and quite juicy sounding, Felicity. Best wishes to you for placing it with the perfect publishing house. Now that we’re on the look out for the robots and we’ve learned a bit more about you, which of your blog titles would you recommend to our readers to give them a taste of your work at ASM?
FS: Have a read of, “The Chocolate Teapots of the 21st Century”— Baudrillard! M. John Harrison! Makoto Aida! The Tokyo “Thumbs Up Our ***es” Electric Power Company! The robots are taking over!
Ahem. Did anyone get the title? The saying is “about as useful as a chocolate teapot.” A bit obscure perhaps, or too British to be instantly chuckled over in the States. I’m American but I grew up on the other side of the pond, so I tend to blend British and American English indiscriminately. My daughter wears nappies and rides in a pushchair, but we live in an apartment and commute by subway.
ASM: My husband is Scottish, so I totally get it. Sounds like you’ve reached a nice level of cultural equilibrium. Not an easy task. One more question for you, Felicity. Have you won any awards or competitions in genre publishing?
FS: I was nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in both my years of eligibility (you’re eligible for the two years following your first professional publication. Didn’t win either time and was devastated the first time, merely grumpy the second time.
I still like the idea of winning awards, but experience has taught me that readership is much more important. I love my readers, the things they think and the things they say; it’s a two-way street, this speculative fiction business. Comments from readers are just as valuable to me as award nominations.
I hope you’ve enjoyed tonight’s interview. Please come back next week for another featured blogger in the Amazing Stories Blog Horde Series.
We’ll keep the light on for you!