I am certain my first exposure to Sunny‘s writing was in the Shimmer submissions. And I thought “hey, what a voice! What is this person doing in this story, oh em gee? What can this narrative teach me?” Sunny always teaches me something, which is another reason I’m excited to read Crowflight from Masque Books. (I also need to get my paws on Line and Orbit! So many books, so little time.)
Tell us something about Crowflight and how it came to be.
Crowflight actually started with the title – a title it no longer has, because it didn’t end up being suitable for the book it’s turned into. It began as A Murder of Crows – I simply wanted to write a book called that, because it sounded like a very cool title, so I started thinking about what kind of book that might end up being. It was mostly a whim, but it obviously ended up being something more concrete.
The main character, Turn, came into my mind very fully formed, and very visual at first; in my head she looked like Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, outwardly a little aggressive but physically small and slight. Then as I started to learn more about her, about her dreams and fears and vulnerabilities, I just fell in love with her. I wrote the book itself in the fall of my fourth year of a PhD program that’s ended up taking a lot out of me emotionally and mentally, and in retrospect I think that what she goes through over the course of the story grew out of all of that in a way.
If this book had a soundtrack (and perhaps it does!), what would the first three tracks be?
I usually write fiction to ambient/instrumental music, but the Grimes and Florence really fit the overall mood of the book, I think.
You write both short and long fiction. Do you have a preference for one form over the other, or does it completely depend on the story you want to tell?
It really depends. I love writing both, and I cut my teeth on short fiction, so I always end up returning to it sooner or later, even now that I’m spending a lot of time and energy on long projects. There’s a speed and exhilaration to short story writing that I really enjoy – if novels are a marathon, short fiction feels like a sprint to me. But I love novels as well, it’s just such a different process.
I also feel like I’m pretty good at short stories now, at least for the most part, whereas I still feel like I’m figuring out what I’m doing with novels. Though by this point I’ve written several.
You had a fantastically creepy story in the July Clarkesworld, “I Tell Thee All, I Can No More.” Where did your interest with drones start? Where do you think it’s leading?
My interest in drones actually began with this article in The State by Adam Rothstein, which contended that when we think and talk about “drones”, we’re actually thinking and talking about a work of fiction, a “cultural node” made up of all the thoughts and fears and assumptions that we construct around the very real technology, the use of which has very real consequences. A follow-up article by Olivia Rosane called for more drone fiction, works by which we might begin to approach the truth of “drones” directly. That set something off in me. I’ve been writing regularly (under my legal name) about technology and society for the blog Cyborgology, but with drones I saw an opportunity to bring fiction and fact together in new ways. I’ve written a lot about drones since then, both fiction and essays. In June I was fortunate enough to participate in Murmuration, a festival of drone culture that took place via Tumblr, which yielded some amazing art and writing. In October I’ll be in New York with Olivia and Adam for the Drones and Aerial Robotics Conference, and I’m really looking forward to the continuing conversations that will come out of that.
Where I hope it’s leading? Toward what Olivia was calling for. A deeper, richer conversation about our relationship with and the implications of a specific form of technology, which will hopefully lead to a richer conversation about our relationship with technology in general, both as a society and a species.
You claim to love bad TV. Tell us about the very worst of these loves. Confess all!
Oh, God. This is embarrassing. Some of my guilty pleasures are both often bad/problematic and (in my opinion) genuinely good, and my love for them is completely unironic; Supernatural (though that’s been sliding downhill) and Spartacus (the Starz series that recently concluded) both fall into this category. I occasionally go through periods where I can’t get enough of Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras, while the sociologist in me looks on in utter horror. Lately I’ve been scraping the bottom of the barrel in Netflix horror movies, but that’s mostly because I’ve run through all the good ones. Occasionally I do find some gems even there. But even the bad stuff tends to entertain me. I also enjoy a good (bad) Lifetime movie.
Recently I discovered a movie called .Com For Murder, which has me so excited about how awful it looks that I’m waiting for the perfect time to immerse myself in it.
I am excited to say Shimmer #17 will feature a story from you, “Love in the Time of Vivisection”! What else is coming up that you can talk about?
The next few months are very exciting! In addition to Crowflight and the next issue of Shimmer, I have a story coming out in Strange Horizons that I’m very pleased about: “Event Horizon,” a horror story that features a trans* character dealing with bullies, a teen crush, and a house that has a taste for living flesh.
I also have a sort of horror sequel to The Little Mermaid coming out in Lightspeed at some point, and a story about the Monstrous Feminine appearing soon in Apex. And I just sold a pretty dark story to Daily Science Fiction, about magic and the creation of worlds, which will probably be out in November. I seem to be writing a lot of creepy/gory stuff these days for some reason.
And finally, the print edition of my debut QUILTBAG space opera novel Line and Orbit will be out in February. More distant future, but I’m excited.
Cake vs. Pie. Which wins?
ARGH I DON’T KNOW. Cakepie. Piecake. I can’t choose. You can’t make me.