Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The fabulous, funny Phoebe Wray

Interview by Ann Wilkes

I met the fabulous Phoebe Wray through Broad Universe - well, virtually anyway. We'll meet sometime soon at a convention, I'm sure. We also share a TOC in Defending the Future IV: No Man's Land, a military sci-fi anthology put out by Dark Quest Books a year ago.

Phoebe has been writing all her life. She started out as a journalist, but instead, became a stand-up comic, eventually writing material for others as well. Then it was off to the Theatre as an actress, appearing in off-off-Broadway and regional plays for many years. She continued to write: plays, theatre reviews, travel brochures, promotional material, educational material, scholarly essays, etc.

AW: When did you start writing SF?

PW: I started in 2000. It seemed the perfect year.

AW: What prompted you to choose SF?

PW: I READ sci-fi and love it . . . ergo . . . .

AW: Are there particular themes that run strongly throughout most of your fiction?

PW: Feminism. I have a real burr under my saddle about unfairness in all its forms. Political stuff, how we govern ourselves, or not. People standing up for what they know is right and not backing down.

AW: I've been mentioning Broad Universe every chance I get here. You were the President for quite a while. Were you a founding member?

PW: Yes. I attended the WisCon panel "World Domination 101" in 2000, where the idea of a "club" of serious writers to demand equal space, equal thought started. A couple of years later, Amy Hanson asked me to be on the Advisory Board. And then, I stepped in as President when she stepped down.

AW: How many members were there in the beginning?

PW: I think maybe 50-70 members. Most of them women who attended WisCon. We had some very lean years, with dwindling memberships, until we figured out just how and what we could do. It's been growing ever since.

AW: Would you say there are some differences between the way men and women write?

PW: Yes, I think so. There is a gender difference in what is immediately important in a given situation. And we plan differently. At least that's true among my many friends over the years. I've read a lot of excellent books by men, and believe we analyze things differently. There's incoming!!! Do you run? Protect the people next to you? Reach for a gun? Cover your head and get under the desk? Curse the universe? What is your take on a dark doorway in unfamiliar surroundings? Not that women can't do anything a man can do (read the obvious exceptions). We still will very likely do it differently. I saw that reading the wonderful stories in [Defending the Future IV:] No Man's Land.

AW: I try to keep romance to a bare minimum. You know, the Chick Flick effect. Guys might enjoy a chick flick now and then, but they'll never go to one without one - a chick. What's your take on romance in sci-fi?

PW: My characters have all definitely had someone to love. J2, the novel that's about the come out -- the sequel to Jemma7729 -- doesn't have a romance element, although it has a pretty specific, I hope, rather charming sex scene.

AW: What are you working on now?

PW: Promotion! Jemma7729 is coming out in ebook and J2 in print and ebook, both before March, so I'm gearing up for that. AND there is a third and last in this series. I have lots of notes and about 20 pages written on Jemma: The Legacy. Then, I hope on to another something . . . I really like dystopias.

AW: Yes, those have been quite popular since the economy tanked.

PW: I liked them before the economy tanked. Something about over-coming. The nasty something that is really beyond one's control but you fight it anyway . . . Lost causes, maybe? I don't know.

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