Of Spaceships and Sisters: Meet Sci-Fi Author Karina Fabian
Following up from the review I posted on Tuesday, I have the great pleasure of welcoming to the blog stellar sci-fi author Karina Fabian. Getting a glimpse into the workings of an author's mind is like opening up the engine of a spaceship. My challenge was to come up with questions that dig deep into Discovery itself and Karina's own remarkable creativity. It's possible that I had way too much fun. Enjoy!
By day, Karina is a mild-mannered reviewer of business software and services for Top Ten Reviews. After hours, she’s a psychic intent on saving the world; a snarky dragon who thinks he saves the world all-too regularly; a zombie exterminator who just wants her world clear of undead vermin; and Catholic religious sisters whose callings have taken them off our world. Needless to say, her imagination is vast, her stories legion, and her brain crowded. When she’s not converting her wild tales to stories, she’s enjoying time with her husband, Rob, their four kids, and their two dogs.
1. In Discovery, which was your favorite character to write, and why?
Definitely Sister Ann, because she was the most complex thinker and a genius who didn’t communicate in a normal way. I had to look up new quotes, do extra research, and mix science and theology like a saintly mad scientist just so she could have a casual conversation. When I didn’t find what I needed, I got to make up new saints and scientists. Sometimes, I’d run across a quote at random that was so perfect for Ann that I had to make a scene just for it.
Let me give you an example. Ann is thinking that she needs to be a better leader for the crew. (actually, King David is telling her this. She’s a mystic, too.) Sean interrupts her, and asks what she likes to read:
She sighed and again picked at her food. "Right now, I probably should be reading up on sheep."He laughed. "Thinking of becoming a shepherd?"She glanced to where King David had sat only moments before. "I'm not sure I get the choice."His laughter died. "Really?"She set her fork down and again met his eyes with an earnest gaze. "It depends on what you mean by real. In the 1920s, quantum physics suggested that there was no objective reality, but that observation influenced reality, and they're still experimenting on that today. Dr. Endor Galvin believes that the key to instantaneous interplanetary communications depends on it. To carry on a conversation between our worlds, we must speak through a different reality. In 2010, astrophysicists found evidence that even the most basic laws of physics might only be locally applied. Psychology says perceptions equal reality on some level. Yet in Colossians, Saint Paul reminds us that the only reality is Christ."He chewed on his lip, digesting this. She liked that about the documentarist. He didn’t dismiss what she said, even when he didn’t understand it. "Okay, but let me rephrase that. Do you mean literal shepherd?""David was a shepherd; then he became a king, but in a sense, all he did was change his flock. Jesus, of course, is the Good Shepherd. So do you need domesticated ruminants of the cattle family? Are the skills so different?"
If I ever write a sequel, I fear it will take longer than usual because I have to get my head in a weird but wonderful place to write Sister Ann’s scenes.
In about every way imaginable. First, there’s Ann, which I talked about above. Second, there was the fact that the first draft was a NaNoWriMo challenge – 50,000 words in one month. The final result is about what I’d expected writing that fast with no predetermined plot at my level of experience (this was 8 years and something like 10 books ago), so I was challenged to revise it so it would work.
Then, just when I thought I had it, my computer died, along with the backup, causing me to start nearly from scratch. Finally, as Catholic science fiction that’s not evangelizing but nonetheless unabashedly CATHOLIC, it was a challenge to find a publisher. It’s kind of my Olympic obstacle course of books.
3. What's one thing you'd like your readers to know about Discovery?
You don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy it, as long as you’re willing to be immersed in a world where that (and other) faiths are strong and viable.
4. What advice do you have for young aspiring writers?
Write! Learn your craft. Take criticism. Submit stuff. Accept rejection. Write, write, write.
5. What are your top 5 favorite books?
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Any Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
Rachel’s Contrition by Michelle Buckman
Whichever novel I’m currently writing or promoting
6. Is there a story you'd love to write but aren't sure if you can?
I have a romcom about a female publicist in love with a gay man. He talks her into helping him win the heart of one of her (male) clients. Kind of the reverse of the cliché where the gay friend helps the girl win the guy with the advice, makeovers, etc. Only in the end she and the gay guy fall in love and get married. I want to call it “Gay is the New Black” for the fashion angle, not referring to race. Still, I figure I’d be hunted down and burned alive by multiple special interest groups. I may still write it someday.
7. What is your writing routine/habits?
I get up early, work on whatever is my most pressing need – a saint story, a critique, an interview, email – for about an hour before work. At work, I write reviews and articles about products and services for Top Ten Reviews. I come home and do whatever writing is required in between or sometimes instead of my family chores. I don’t have a schedule like I used to because the past couple of years have been messy. However, come October, I’m scaling back on promotions and working on my DragonEye novels before my dragon comes to life and burns me alive before the special interest groups discover my secret romcom ambition.
I’m lucky to work with a bunch of other writers, too, so Wednesday lunchtimes, we meet in a conference room and just write for an hour. We always get a lot done.