PT: Awwww yissss. Daylight. Time to talk about wurdz and stuff. On the agenda for this PT 5Q is "Me Myself I", from the Pink Narcissus Press anthology "Daughters of Icarus: New Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy".
AJF: Hit me with your rhythm stick, cat person.
PT: So, even before we get into the How and Why of this story, tell me about the When.
AJF: MMI was the second story I wrote, over three years ago now, when I decided to give this writing thing a swing. It's a concept I'd been holding in my head for a very long time. It seems very strange to have my second oldest stories coming out now - my oldest will be released later this year, which is just as odd - and looking at it now I can see how far I've come in improving my talent even after just three years.
PT: Where did the idea come from? And what came first, the song or the story?
AJF: Damn. You know about the song. Alright alright, don't look at me like that. Story first, song second. Like I said, I'd held the idea in my head for maybe ten years - and yes, that's a stupid long time to get round to writing - and then the song came from an artist I hold in high esteem. While it is essentially a love song, it's also a love song to the self, of meeting your future self and seeing all the possibilities that you never imagined you could be. As with many of this artist's songs, its a bit of nonsense, mixed with a grain of truth, and a kick ass dance beat. Here's a quote:
The future echoesPT: Hehehehe the author has a muse!
With your memory
AJF: Shaddap, or it's back in the cage for you. Yes, alright, call them a muse if you like, perhaps influence is a better term. They're not the only influence on my writing, but they pushed this story in the right direction.
PT: So tell me about the direction of this story. Multi-dimensions is not a new thing.
AJF: No, it's not, but the difference here is why the story fits the theme of the anthology: each iteration that Lana, my character, meets is of herself. They're all women or around a woman presentation on the gender fluid spectrum.
I was interested in playing with the concept that a person's personality, talents, and attributes don't have to be static, depending on the choices and the non-choices in their life, the confluence of nature versus nurture. This was especially important for me to explore as women are often constrained by evo-psyche and evolutionary biology to explain their personalities and life options, put them into neat little boxes. Which, to be blunt, is utter bullshit.
Looking back now, I see I made the "personalities" in the story too binary, but there is always the conclusion that they are all One, part of the original protagonist.
PT: So, if this was one of your first stories, and it's only coming out now, how many times did it get rejected before Pink Narcissus Press laid claim?
AJF: *sigh* Is that really important?
PT: You do talk about rejection a lot.
AJF: True true. And that's to mitigate the sting. That's not to say rejection should be ignored. It's been character building for me over the last three years. It's still character building, even though I've started making pro sales - yay, in the plural!
Alright, it was rejected 18 times before it made its way into Icarus. It also received a rejection post-acceptance too, from another venue that Rose and Josie said we were free to submit to. So you could call that 19 rejections in reality.
PT: OK, let's finish with an easy one. You don't drink coffee, so why the obsession with coffee shops? And what's your favourite tea?
AJF: Hey! Cheat! That's two questions in one!
AJF: Ok, as for coffee shops, it's weird, I know...but I like their smell. I can't stand to drink coffee, and I really wish I could because some days I need caffeine like you wouldn't believe, but I love the smell. When I visited my first Starbucks it seemed like a very grown up thing to do. I loved visiting the original store in Pike Place because of all the wood and the smells. Yes, I know Starbucks are capitalist evil scum, and what the western demand for coffee does to coffee farmers. Buy Fair Trade, people.
My perennial favourite tea is Chai. I'm always on the search for the right blend. There's a shop right here in Christchurch called Teas'Me which sells a good mix. But I will settle for a bag chai, if it's good enough.
PT: Mmmm Chai....
AJF: Hey, I thought cats didn't drink tea? Right, questions done. Back in the cage for you.
PT: Hey! Bah. Oh well, you'll be seeing more of me sooner than you think...