Fran Wilde (that’s me!) can program robot minions, set gemstones, tie a sailor’s knot board, and harmonize perfectly when alone in my car.
Your debut novel, Updraft, was published by Tor Books at the beginning of September. It looks really cool. How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?
Updraft is about wind and wings, secrets and betrayal, songs and silence. It is a high-flying adventure in a city of bone towers that rises above the clouds. Updraft can be read as a stand-alone book; there will be another, Cloudbound, coming from Tor in fall 2016.
What inspired you to write the novel and series? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?
Originally, the novel came from a short story I was working on, about a winged knife-fight in a wind tunnel. The rest of the book grew around it.
I draw my ideas from everything – from conversations I’m having while standing in line at the grocery store, to watching birds glide the Chesapeake Bay breezes, high above the Eastern Shore cliffs.
How were you introduced to genre fiction?
That’s a good question. I’ve read genre fiction as long as I can remember. Probably fairy tales and folk tales first. I have a collection of folk tales from each place I visited with my family on those long road trips. Science fiction – the local independent bookstore used to set aside SF novels (even some ARCs) for me.
How do you like being a writer and working within the publishing industry?
I think I like learning – and being a writer means learning new things every minute of every day. As I work within the industry, I’m learning new things all the time. That’s pretty cool too.
Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?
I do! (I don’t always follow them.) Write every day. When can’t write, draw. Follow leads and talk to real live people when at all possible. Even though the internet is easy to access, go to the library or the historic society. Look at maps. Take time to read.
When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?
I believe there is a second grade poem locked away somewhere about winter sports. It is somewhat terrifying in its enthusiasm and use of exclamation points.
What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?
I like the vastness of it. Genre is so many things now, and so many wonderful places to visit. So many amazing people to get to know – both characters and the authors beyond them. I’m always amazed and delighted to find myself surrounded by them. I’d like to hope someday another reader feels that way about my work.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline, and what are you working on at the moment?
Yes, there’s Cloudbound (Tor 2016) and Horizon (Tor 2017) – that’s in brackets because the title will likely change. I have a novella coming out with Tor.com next spring called “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” that’s set in a different universe. And there are always new, shiny projects appearing.
What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?
I am reading for the Endeavour Awards, where I’m a judge –wonderful books coming out of the Pacific Northwest! And I’ve just finished Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife and William Gibson’s The Peripheral.
What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?
I’m terrible at baking! I like to improvise too much. But I’m very good with a soldering iron.
What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?
Talking to readers. Hearing about what they found within the pages of Updraft. Finishing Cloudbound. Writing new stories.