Unexpected Questions with Shirley Meier

Shirley Meier has been writing professionally since the 1980s and lives in Toronto.  As well as being an award-winning author, she is an editor, a translator and an artist. Her archery, horse riding, and other hobbies have to take distant third place!


If you had to survive in a fantasy world with only the contents of your fridge what would be your game plan?

I would immediately decant my sauces and spices into smaller jars and they and the vinegars would have to go into a cool place.

I’m assuming my dog and cat were transported with me because they are usually on me, so the open dog and cat food gets fed to the animals.

Pull out the beef, cut it thin, and hang it to dry.  In fact, all meat shall be either smoked or air-dried, including the fish.

The milk gets turned into queso fresco and the eggs are stored in lime water to keep them from going bad.

Exotic veggies get dried as well as the meat.  The carrots go into damp sand. The onions get hung in nets.

I have champagne yeast and bread yeast in the fridge and peach and apricot seed stratifying!

I then set out to become a chef with some access to wildly exotic foods and spices.


If you could have any fictional pet as a companion, what would it be and why?

The female domestic octopus (with her eggs!) They are the gardener’s friend, the new mother’s companion, and one hell of a security system hanging from the rafters over the door!  They are also very cuddly and very quickly learn not to ink all over you.  Any ship’s captain would love it because they can keep a wooden hull clean.

Normally they are the texture of cool chamois that is very muscular and no cut-purse would want to stick his fingers in your ‘purse’ if you give it to a domoctopus to keep (they have beaks).


If I would write a love story between an alien and a human what challenges would they face?

This would need a whole thesis to talk about. Or a lifetime of short stories.  Are they physically compatible I mean air breathers?  If not, how does this meeting of minds occur?

Cultural differences? If they’re both apex predators so much the better but humans are pursuit predators which could be a problem if the love interest has evolved from an ambush predator or is part of ‘scream and leap’.  S.M. Stirling wrote a horrifying K’zin story where the ‘hero’ a male K’zin likes the woman so much he tries to make her over into an unintelligent female K’zin with drugs and surgery. (cringe)

I’m currently writing a short story called ‘Sex With Humans’ and the aliens are ‘trauma impregnators’ and are bemused that humans would even consider having sex with them, and what kind of protective armour do humans with an alien fetish have to don?

Love is something else again and it isn’t clear if the aliens even have an oxytocin hormone-based emotional system (the so-called ‘love hormone’). That would make a cool story finding out.

Aside from love I have an alien species that exchanges DNA every time they meet to establish hierarchy but they cannot do this with humans.  I have a detective who has found out that some human has passed on ‘serial killer’ genes into the alien race and is trying to track them down and isolate the aliens infected.

I could go on.  Cool idea.


If you had to survive on a deserted planet with only three items from my house what would they be and how would you use them to survive?

I’d want my tool chest on wheels with the built-in solar panel. It also has a small forge in the base and a kiln for glasswork about the size of a shoebox.  (I could build stuff, solder stuff, etc…)

I’d want my van.  Even if there are no roads there is shelter there immediately.  I’m cheating here because my camping gear and bedding are in the footwells of the van. I also have my bike bolted to the rack.

I’d want my dog.  He’d be my emotional support animal and possible protection from un-named wildlife. (deserted planet pre-supposes air, water, and possible food source).


If you could have dinner with any fictional character in Science Fiction or Fantasy.

Since you only specified one I cannot include Aziraphael and Crowley though they really come as a pair. And of course, it would be the Ritz.  We’d talk of Heaven and Hell and the Ineffability of the Divine.

I’d like to dine with Esme Weatherwax and ask her about ‘headology of being a witch’.  I’d take her to Stone Mill in St. Jacobs for good, plain food.

I’d love to hang out with the new saint out of Lois Bujold’s work Paladin of Souls.  Ista fights the God constantly and He loves her for it.


Shirley Meier’s books can be found in most bookstores, including https://www.amazon.com/stores/Shirley-Meier/author/B000AP7UAI

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